Gene Simmons, one of the founding members of KISS, said recently that he envisioned a day when “the band would perform concerts with no original members after he and Paul Stanley retire.”
After all, he and Stanley are well into their 60s and most certainly do not need the money. Why not just give up the road and enjoy the fruit of their labors?
I am certain that we will soon see the day when four capable musicians wearing the iconic band makeup will tour as KISS. They will be licensed and approved by the band and later, their estates.
Sure, it will be a glorified tribute band but this is a practice that has been going on for years. As a teen, I wondered how there could be a Glenn Miller Orchestra when Miller had been dead since 1944!
Just like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, bands are corporate entities with names registered and trademarked. The Glenn Miller heirs receive royalties as his classic big band music is performed all over the world for fans expecting and hearing songs made famous by the late musician. That’s good by me.
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC DEPT. It’s already happening now with newer bands. There are no original members of the Kingston Trio touring but does it really matter?
Only Kingston Trio member Bob Shane is still alive and, yes, he gets his share of the pie while Tom Dooley, Scotch and Soda, and the rest of their dozens of hits are still enjoyed in concert by their fans. Shane approves all members of the “new” Kingston Trio to assure fans old and new that a quality product will be presented.
There are only two original Doobie Brothers in the band nowadays. Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons have had their children on stage with the band for years so it wouldn’t be surprising to see their offspring playing gigs under the Doobie Brothers name someday.
It’s the best way to keep anyone’s songs alive when the original band isn’t.
WHO’S IN THE BAND? Are there any original guys in the group? I get asked this question repeatedly when a classic rock band comes to town. It was astounding to see Foreigner’s show at Bell Auditorium a couple of months ago. The band was terrific, the songs were great, and the crowd loved it!
But I doubt that most folks there knew that no original members of the band were on the stage in Augusta. The replacement singer Kelly Hansen sounded very much like Lou Gramm, and the music was spot-on accurate right down to the eighth notes. I heard no complaints whatsoever.
Journey is still doing stellar business on the road even though the band is currently fronted by the fourth, yes, the fourth lead singer since original vocalist Steve Perry retired from the group in 1998. Why? They still sound like Journey, even though they have only two originals in the fold, and everyone knows their hits.
Besides, I think it’s cool that both Journey and Boston, the latter of which has only guitarist/composer Tom Scholz on board these days, discovered their current lead singers on You Tube singing in tribute bands.
IN SEARCH OF THE LAST MUSICIAN DEPT. Other classic rock bands with much different lineups touring these days include two that just have their original drummer (Deep Purple and the Moody Blues), Guns N’ Roses (only singer Axl Rose is still in the band), and the Little River Band, who have none.
There are many more, but I feel it’s important to note that when you have what is basically a tribute band legally using a band name that you know exactly what to expect: renditions ( and hopefully good ones) of songs that have stood the test of time.
The Beach Boys’ upcoming July 13 show at Bell Auditorium will feature only Mike Love (who sang lead on California Girls, I Get Around and Little Deuce Coupe, among others) from their early days. Love licenses the name from co-founder Brian Wilson and the other musicians – Bruce Johnston, Christian Love, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsills and Scott Totten – are seasoned pros who know the material very well.
Illness, death, and age change many a group’s lineup. No, classic rock isn’t dead, it’s just getting older, and in most instances we must accept the fact that bands with replacement musicians will be the only way fans are going to hear their biggest hits in concert. It’s the songs that continue to live, and as time passes on they will outlast most everyone reading this column.