Thursday, 29 October 2009

And the Band Played On

As the owner of this blog and bearing in mind its title, it would be seriously remiss of me if I didn’t say a few words on the recently announced retirement of those two cockney sparrows, Chas and Dave, who once regaled us with their cheeky charm but frankly what is there to say?

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).


Adrian said...

I believe the Warminger Pie Chart (patent pending) should be instituted as a definitive measure in band marketing. Unless a certain percentage (I'd suggest at least 70% or more) of a musical group represents unreconstituted essence of the band bearing such name, it cannot tour or record. Further, the WPC could become a labelling standard - and a full-colour graphic declaration added to all packaging in the same way that we now see the content of foodstuffs analyzed.

If we are to eat, or listen to, Humble Pie we must be assured of its musical fibre+. Shirley, that's not asking too much.

musicobsessive said...

Adrian - I like it! Especially the bit about barring derivative bands, that's well overdue. With consumer rights on the increase I expect to see some sort of classification marking being debated at the next G8 conference. It would've saved me some embarrassing purchases in the past!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Just stopping by to catch up and say hello!

musicobsessive said...

Hi Barbara, always glad to hear from you! I know you have a bunch of issues in your life at the moment so thanks for looking in.