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Truth in Music Laws

Joe Muscara

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I can't remember if I saw this subject here a while back, but I tried to search for it and came up with nothing.


I was going thru the list of laws passed this year in TX, and one was HB 54 - Restricting musical performances by imposter groups. Here's the full text of the law




and here is an analysis of it




Some interesting items.


"Last year in Texas, the Coasters played Lubbock on February 25th. They

also were performing in Fort Meyers, Florida on the same night. As it

turned out, the real Coasters were in Florida, while imposters performed

the show in Texas."


"In the case of the Platters, more than 75 groups at one time

were pretending to be the popular group and performing under a similar





What's your take on these laws? Do you think they will help, or are they even needed?

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I certainly agree with the idea that the original performers should be protected against imposters making money off their name.

The problem I have is how do you make it fair and how do you enforce it?


Who is allowed to claim the name? Is it one performer? Is there a minimum of 2? The Who only have 2 original members left but they are still the legitimate band. If the Stones broke up could each one of them go out and create their own version of the band? There could be 5 legitimate Rolling Stones running around.


I once went to see a version of Humble Pie. Turned out the only "real" member was the bass player and he was a relative unknown who filled in with the band for 6 months.


A Lifetime of Peace, Love and Protest Music


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Are you now or have you ever been a member of the ... Coasters?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.


In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.


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What's your take on these laws? Do you think they will help, or are they even needed?


Usually someone from the original group owns the rights to the name. Not always, but most of the time. That being said they only are entitled to use the name. Any other group using the name without permission is in violation of the law. Enforcing the matter is another issue. In most of those old time groups like the Coasters and Platters there was not one individual who "made" the sound....singers could be interchanged at will and the group would still sound the same. Many of the lead singers went on to fame such Ben E. King and Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters and that group continued to have success too. Several of The Temptations also made it as solo acts. As long as a group gives the paying public the sound and songs that made the group name famous I son't see any harm in having only one original member...any maybe not even one. The InkSpots continue to tour to this day, sound great, and everyone of the original members had died. But you can bet someone owns that InkSpot name and continues to benefit from it.

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I think the law is legit. I'm not aware of any cases where the band split up and both sides used the same name. Since there's no previous instance of this (AFAIK), there shouldn't be a concern for this type of misuse/misinterpretation of the law.


- Roger Waters tours as Roger Waters, and the rest as Pink Floyd;

- When Duran Duran split, they formed Arcadia and Power Station;


... and so forth. Often bands change members frequently, such as Jethro Tull, which has a 'revolving door' policy :), but then again, how would this fit in the this law? I don't think it does. Also, if I go to watch Deep Purple, and get frustrated that it's not Jon Lord on keys, I'm pretty dumb and behind the times ;)


Personally, I'd been infuriated if I payed to see a live band and got something else, even if they played the material perfectly. If it's true that this is happening, there should be a law against it.


I have no problem with cover bands, as long as I know what I'm getting.


There as cases where band members have to be sub'd on the last minute (do to illness a lot of times), and I don't see that as a problem either. The guy is not performing somewhere else :)

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The bass player of The Guess Who, Jim Kale, owns the name. he goes out with what the rest refer to as "Kale's Clones", and the rest cannot use the name.


Promoters wouldn't even try to book Bachman, Cummings and Peterson as The Guess Who because they can get Kales group for much le$$.


I don't know that any one member defines a group, but is it still The Who without Moon and Entwistle?


What about The Preservation Hall Jazz Band?


Is it still Van Halen without Michael Anthony and Garry Cherone?






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