Old guys sure love their old bands.
Old guys have money for concert tickets. But c’mon. At what point is a band not really the band anymore?
In Brandon, it seems like when it comes to concerts, we’re on a steady diet of classic rockers and quite frankly this bothers me. Not because these bands haven’t had a hit since I swung my Scooby Doo lunchbox at Erickson elementary school, but because most of these bands seldom have the original lineup.
Now I’m not going to pick on Trooper — after all, even I have to admit I love seeing these guys live. But Trooper hasn’t been "Trooper" since ET phoned home. There are now more people who can lay claim to being members of the band than those who have a Costco membership card. There are a lot. They come and go. But in the end, two of the original guys stay the same.
Then there’s the Doobie Brothers. How many members of the original lineup are with this band?
Like Trooper, two — Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons.
Now the good news is recent visits from Motley Crue and ZZ Top were 100 per cent the real deal. What we saw was, in fact, the original Crue crew of Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Vince Neil.
ZZ Top has three members, although you wouldn’t know it. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and their famous beards are the band’s trademark. Ironically Frank Beard is the only clean shaven one. ZZ Top was original. So we can’t say ALL the classic rockers who come to Brandon are stand-ins and walk-ons.
But classic rock acts are touring like never before. As the "senior citizen" rockers come into retirement money, bands that kept them rockin’ are slowly losing theirs. That means it’s time to hit the road — often with whatever bandmates you can find or get along with — do some shows, sell some T-shirts and make more green.
The group Yes has hit the road, part of a triple bill with Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder. But this version of the group is without lead singer Jon Anderson. Not to mention the confusion when seeing more than one group calling themselves Styx. Former band member Dennis DeYoung is also on the road this summer, and can legally call the group he assembles for a concert "Styx."
So if you’re pumped about scoring Styx tickets online, be sure to do a little research so you know which band you’re seeing.
There’s something about a band touring minus its original lead singer that just doesn’t sit well with me. Foreigner has been touring without Lou Gramm since 2004.
Journey is doing that this year as well. "Don’t Stop Believing" could be one of the greatest songs of a generation, but to hear some other guy sing it other than Steve Perry is just wrong.
Then what is the answer? What is the mathematical equation for allowing bands to use the name of the original act?
Can Burton Cummings assemble the Guess Who with a group of 20 and 30 year olds and go on tour? Legally, if Randy Bachman let him, this would be something I would want to see. I think it’s perfect. After all, most of the hits were sung by Cummings. And as long as a band’s lead singer is original, I can buy it.
This week’s column could easily use a flow chart or family tree. Getting back to Trooper — at least they have two of the original five band members. Maybe that should be the new rule.
Dear classic rock grandpas: Please don’t go on tour unless you have at minimum two-fifths of your original band, and at least one of the two remaining "antiques" must be the lead singer.
So, Journey you’re out; Van Halen, you’re in. Did you know David Lee Roth is touring with the band?
Hello, 1984. And just think, under this rule if things got so bad for 80-year-old Paul McCartney and Ringo Star, they could hire John’s son and a cousin of George to bring the Beatles back together. All songs performed would have to be either McCartney leads or shared leads. John Lennon lead songs would not be allowed at the show.
The current version of Creedence Clearwater Revival has two of its five members, but under a different name: Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Where is John Fogerty? Not part of it, so it doesn’t pass the "Tyler test".
For what it’s worth, John has always said he would reunited with Clifford and Cook when the time was right. Translated: "I’m not doing this for beer and girls anymore. Show me the money."
Then there’s the blatant money-making grandpas with NO relevance.
Take the band currently billing itself as Chicago. While they’ve got the horn section, they don’t have guitarist Terry Kath, and lead singer Peter Cetera, the voice behind the group’s biggest hits — he hasn’t been with the band since I was 11 years old.
At one point in the 1990s, three bands were billing themselves as the Platters, including one band that had no connection to the original group.
Even ’90s rock band Stone Temple Pilots have hit the road, but without Scott Weiland. Big fail. Remember, two-fifths and the lead singer please. Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland is like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, without Tom Petty.
But here’s the good news. There are some aging rockers still on tour with the original members or my ‘two-fifths and lead singer’ rule.
Those acts include the aforementioned Motley Crue and ZZ Top, as well as the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Blue Oyster Cult and the Eagles.
Queen is touring with Adam Lambert, and there was a Manitoba stop earlier this year. Is this really Queen? Regrettably it isn’t. But at least promoters selling the show sold the concert as Adam Lambert and Queen.
For what it’s worth, Trooper does pass the "Tyler test" with two of five originals including lead singer Ra McGuire — likely why they can still pack the house wherever they go.
Kelsey J Taylor
JOKE THIS WEEK
Three men walk up to the Pearly Gates.
"What did you do on Earth?" Saint Peter asks the first one.
The man says, " I was a doctor."
St. Peter says, "OK, go right through those Pearly Gates. Next?"
The next man approaches and St. Peter asks, "What did you do on Earth."
"I was a schoolteacher," the man says.
"Great! Go right through those Pearly Gates. Next? And what did you do on Earth?"
"I was a musician."
St. Peter looks at the guy and says, "Go around to the door in the alley, up the freight elevator, through the kitchen..."