Woman Honor Thyself

When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. --Elaine Boosler

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Oldies But FakerS?

This was expressed by JON BAUMAN, better known as "Bowzer,"who was a member of the singing group Sha Na Na.

Anybody out there remember them?..HeH.

"HOW CAN THIS happen in America? If I plunk down my hard-earned entertainment dollars to see a group called the Coasters, it's got to at least have something to do with the Coasters, right? Somebody has to have had some connection to "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Poison Ivy" and the other classic hits that made the Coasters the first group to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, right?

Not necessarily. In fact, Carl Gardner, who sang virtually every Coasters lead and is the holder of the federally registered trademark of the name, has spent years trying to shut down shows by Coasters impostor groups. But even with the trademark as a weapon, his task has proved nearly impossible. He is more than entitled to quote Charlie Brown and ask, "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"

"Impostor groups are everywhere. In a sophisticated form of identity theft, they perform across the country at theaters, festivals and fairs. Often they perform on the same oldies bill as one another, duping consumers and stealing the remuneration and applause due the real pioneers of rock 'n' roll....

It's done cleverly. There's usually at least one really old guy in the phony group, so that you
can sit out in the audience and say: "That must be the 'real one.' "

"I have been told by several musicians who back up these impostor shows that they've seen instances when one of the phony groups didn't make it to the gig. So some of the fake "Coasters" who'd just performed changed out of the red spangly suits into the blue spangly suits and reemerged as the "Drifters"! You got a problem with that?"

Hmmmmmmm...Well yes Bowzer, I do. One of the definitions of "imitation" is "not genuine or real",copying (or trying to copy) the actions of someone else.
In all forms of Art, theft is nothing new. Roman sculptors used to produce copies of Greek sculptures. Actually before art became a commercial market, copying a work of a master was considered a tribute, not forgery.

Many painters such as Rembrandt had apprentices that studied painting techniques by copying the works and style of the master. As a payment for the training, the master had a right to sell these works for money. And as it turns out some of these apprentices' works have on occasion even been erroneously attributed to the masters!

But what constitutes 'stealing',as opposed to flattering imitation- is when someone intentionally tries to pass something off as genuine even if they are truly not.

The new, young "oldie' singers can either be proficient singers who simply love the doo-wop sound or perhaps struggling artists trying to break into the music industry ,eventually resorting to this form of imitation.

I daresay there are some fans who just want to hear live music reminiscent of that oldie style, and care not about authenticity as long as it can pass for the real thing.

"Bowzer" is working with the Vocal Group Hall of Fame on a bill to solve this problem in perpetuity. "Legislation has passed in Pennsylvania and is being considered in 12 other states; we're introducing it in California soon. It requires that an authentic member of the "recording group" appear in the "performing group," unless the performing group owns a legitimate federally registered trademark to the name."

Sounds fair enough.
In the mean time all you struggling artists..heed the words of Judy Garland:
"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

In other words:

Don't imitate -- innovate!

What do y'all think?


  • At 4:42 AM, Blogger Don said…

    Interestingly, being someone your not indicates unhappiness in the person you truly are. Anyway...

    For "Oldies Clone" groups, it's simpler to sing and act the same as the original rather than trying to generate enough originality to find success in a media that has been replaced several times over by different misic styles including, dare I say it, rap. Most followers of Do Whop also follow the artists and know if they are still performing or not.

    It's a "let the 'groupy' beware" kinda thing.

    I spent longer than I care to say listening to Hy Lit on WIBG and going to Philly dancing at Jerry Blavets Chev Vous (even got invited to dance on Blavets Discophonic Scene TV show). I didn't go, I was way to cool for TV :)

  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger Karl m said…

    WHT you have hit on a deeply psychological issue.
    One would think that no one would go to a concert hosted by hoaxsters, but precisely the opposite is true!!Turn on channel 13 this week and watch the doo-oop shop 50-60's special.
    The reason that the Coasters will/can not drift under the boardwalk or drop those pennies from heaven or be stilled " of the night" is because this music defines a generation ,while old, are not quite dead. This sound is the CPR that keeps them alive, therefore the singer is not nearly as important as the song.
    So if you be near the pyramids upon the nile, or my new Blue suede shoes need a polish, i will always look forward to my wife calling, "take out the papers and the trash" caz i still love that old time a rock and roll!!!!

  • At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Be Thy Self! Hmmm - sounds like an internet problem! ;-D

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Ogre said…

    I thought I was the only person left alive that remembered Bowser. He was my absolute favorite from Sha Na Na!

  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said…

    Don..u still listen to the oldies but goodies??..fess up !
    Karl M..hum us a bar eh?
    Ogre...ure datin yerself mon!


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