Thursday, 29 October 2009
And the Band Played On
Instead, I mourn the passing of the singing group that were once the Sugababes. It seems that the last remaining founder member, Keisha Buchanan, has now fled the coop and whether she was pushed or left willingly is not really the issue. What is important now is whether the remaining ‘Babes plus any newcomer really have the right to call themselves the Sugababes with all the global goodwill that goes with that name?
This is a matter that I have touched on before and as yet is still largely unresolved. My contention is this: should any band have the right to use their original name once all founder members have left?
In a recent issue of ‘Record Collector’ there is a page of gig adverts which includes the following; Focus (featuring Thijs van Leer), Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash and The Grounghogs with Tony McPhee. All these are really the thin edge of the wedge as none of them are the original bands but one member plus supporting players. Focus was never Thijs van Leer on his own and without Messrs Akkerman, Ruiter and Van der Linden the Focus name seems a little sullied. I’m not sure who’d want to see Wishbone Ash without Andy Powell (and Upton and Ted Turner come to that) but the name is still being used for commercial gain. It would be interesting to know what a conglomeration of Powell, Upton and T Turner would call themselves?
The case of the Groundhogs is perhaps more acceptable as Tony McPhee was undoubtedly the main man, but I’m sure long time fans of the band would still feel a little short changed without the remaining members.
My feeling is that all bands that do not have a single founding member should be forced by the musicians union to change their name. After all, from a punter’s point of view there is a little matter of the Trades Descriptions Act and the misrepresentation of goods. I dare say that Martin Turner would claim he has done just that by playing under the mantle of ‘Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash’ but I hear the sound of hairs being split. What we need is a decent judicial decision on this point then we can look forward to years of acrimony (see Pink Floyd).