Miscellaneous Rumbles

The Ventures Current Line Up - Your Thoughts?

1

What do you make of The Ventures, now. No original members. Closest thing is Mel Taylor's son Leon. He's an excellent drummer like his dad. Of course we know Nokie, Mel, Bob B, and Gerry have passed away. I know, I know Mel and Gerry are not originals if we are picky, but they have a long history with the band and Mel was in on the early years. Bob Spalding has a history with them but not like Gerry. I guess are they just a cover band? Are they like The Glenn Miller Orchestra and the name lives on? I got to see The Ventures in somewhat original form. Saw Nokie and Don play and the rest were Bob Spalding and Leon. Since then Don retired, he's pushing 87 now. Time to relax all the time.

I personally am not opposed to The Ventures living on in name because I know it is what it is, but wonder about your thoughts?

The original Ventures drummer General George Babbitt -

2

Not sure I go for the no original members scene... at that point it's a tribute band. Or even band where the main guy ins't part of it.... FWIW Grand Funk Railorad w/o Mark Farner?

3

DC, agree with you it is a tribute band now. Leon Taylor was great with the Ventures when original members ran the group but now even with him not being part of the classic line up he is just a tribute member. I read where he lobbied to get Bob Spalding in as a member of The Ventures replacing the late Bob B. Guess they are friends. He has a history with the band. I just saw a photo of Don Wilson a few minutes ago and I see he is in a wheel chair. Sad but he is pushing 90.

4

I have no dog in this hunt, technically they tour as The Ventures Live! rather than "The Ventures" but almost nobody I know ever says the "Live!" part.

For the majority of the public, they'll never know the difference. The time I saw The Ventures Live they put on a tight show, the crowd loved it and someone's still out there playing Surf, so it can't be all bad.

5

Well said. I forgot about the Live at the end. I’m just glad I saw the semi original band with Don and Nokie. But hey the latest edition if they are good then it would be worth seeing regardless of a name plus they add “Live” to the name to distinguish.

6

There is an old joke about a trusty whisk broom;
It's had 2 handles replaced and 5 heads.
GREAT old broom!

It doesn't make sense to call your band 'that name' unless it has at least one original member. And even then it's a pretty weak link.

What happens when Otis Williams retires or passes? Do The Temptations cease to exist, or are the existing members 'anointed' into a legacy name? How does that work?

Some bands seem to pull it off if they don't lose key members.

On that note, backing up DCBirdMan: Seriously! How can Brewer and Schacher call themselves 'Grand Funk' without Farner? That's an easy fail right there.

7

I have always liked dorky 1960s top 40. There was the mid 60s Chicago scene (Buckinghams, Shadows of Knight, Cryan Shames, New Colony Six, and maybe one other) So these bands are still around in some form and place locally out there in a package show.

Uusally there are one or two original members, sometimes with their sons in the group, etc. or young pros. At last one or two original members have died along the way. Mostly (to my dismay) they ''update' the sound with the usual Modern World guitar tones, etc. instead of playing it like 1966. But then the big 1960s pros also do that with their old songs-- like McCartney does.

So bands and band names go on.

8

Maybe they should get JD Hoag to join them. He was a member of the Ventures for about 2 years. An amazing guitar player that we a see regularly here in the Phoenix Arizona area. He usually plays one or two Ventures songs in his set.

9

I too think the current Ventures are a tribute band more than anything else. But who owns the name "the Ventures"? A manager? Somebody in it (mostly) for the money, no doubt.

One example (re. money, legal rights and legendary bands) comes to mind: Today's Herman's Hermits has one original member: the drummer. While Peter Noone, "the voice" of Herman's Hermits, and the only member who without a doubt is featured on the hit recordings (there were lots of session musicians on the HH recordings), is not legally permitted to use the name. Duh!

IMO it's probably easier to do a credible "reissue/recreation" (in the lack of a better word - hope you know what I mean...) job as an instrumental group than a vocal group. Best example I can come up with is the many different incarnations of the Platters. At one point I believe there were THREE different Platters touring; Herb Reed's Platters, Zola Taylor's Platters and The Buck Ram Platters, and NONE of them had a lead singer who could hold a candle to original lead singer Tony Williams.

Back to the Ventures issue; why don't they do like four previous members of Swedens' legendary the Spotnicks have done? They do shows calling themselves "A Tribute To The Spotnicks". The original band did their last concert a couple of years ago and original lead guitarist Bo Winberg died recently (RIP), and the four current guys have all been members of the band. Rumours say they sound amazing, and with a name like "...tribute..." there's no confusing them for the real thing. While they're as close to the real thing as possible.

Anders

10

The term is "ghost band". Years ago I read an article(probably in GP) about the phenomenon as it applied to the Thirties big bands.The Glenn Miller Orchestra was mentioned prominently.They still toured then-probably still do- even though their namesake was even then many years gone,and is now many more...... I suppose that if there's a market for a product,someone will produce and sell it. Time has now moved The Ventures into that territory. More than a tribute,because there's a legal and personal connection with the original,but The Ventures Live! is no more the twentysomething Don,Bob,Nokie,and Mel/Howie lineup than Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band is The Beatles. But if those guys can make a buck playing "Hawaii Five-Oh" or "Octopus' Garden",why not?

11

Clayton Moore (the original TV Lone Ranger) was sued by the movie company doing a remake to keep him from wearing the mask and doing appearances as the Lon Ranger. He got to wear it again after their movie flopped.

John Fogerty got sued by his old record company for sounding like himself. He won---judge must've been a CCR fan. He wouldn't play CCR tunes for years until someone mentioned that everyone thought that Tina Turner wrote "Proud Mary". Now, he's doing well playing his old tunes.

We've got myriad Elvis impersonators (and even Neal Diamond impersonators), and Beatles tribute groups galore. I've seen at least three iterations of The Animals. There are many musicians living on past laurels, and other folks looking to make a buck copying well know acts. Much of it all is disingenuous. By the same token, Supro amps aren't the same as they were 50 years ago, and Eastwood is making money copying others' designs from the past. Face it---nostalgia sells.

Thankfully, Gretsch is still owned by a Gretsch family member, and the guitars are still top notch.

12

If the gubmint allowed it, GM would reissue the '57 Bel Air and the '63 split-window Vette. And Ford would reissue the Deuce Coupe and '56 T-Bird.

13

Well it started with the Elvis impersonators, then Beatles. Beyond that the first real tribute acts I remember was in NJ 40 years ago with a Doors band starting out. For a while they were groups/performers that weren't around anymore but there have been tribute bands to Clapton, Stones, Springsteen - who are still around even tho they don't tour like in decades past.

14

So which is the real Pink Floyd? Roger Waters' band or David Gilmour's? Who has a greater CCR claim-John Fogerty or Stu Cook and Doug Clifford's Creedence Clearwater Revisited? They do have more CCR members than Fogerty's band. At least we can be thankful Roger Fisher didn't start a Heart tribute, or that Don Felder didn't round up his pal Bernie Leadon and start up an Eagles rival - with more Eagles than the Don Henley band. OTOH Firefall is still in business with Jock Bartley,who doesn't sing.No Rick Roberts or Larry Burnette. So is Queen still Queen with Paul Rogers singing lead? What if Stevie Nicks had joined The Heartbreakers after Tom passed away? In that kind of connection I heard that awhile back some promoter pulled Elvis Presley's TCB band together and had them play live to Elvis holograms.Before Paul Revere passed away I saw him and the then-current Raiders on a PBS thing.Wasn't the same without Mark Lindsey.

15

Clayton Moore (the original TV Lone Ranger) was sued by the movie company doing a remake to keep him from wearing the mask and doing appearances as the Lon Ranger. He got to wear it again after their movie flopped.

John Fogerty got sued by his old record company for sounding like himself. He won---judge must've been a CCR fan. He wouldn't play CCR tunes for years until someone mentioned that everyone thought that Tina Turner wrote "Proud Mary". Now, he's doing well playing his old tunes.

We've got myriad Elvis impersonators (and even Neal Diamond impersonators), and Beatles tribute groups galore. I've seen at least three iterations of The Animals. There are many musicians living on past laurels, and other folks looking to make a buck copying well know acts. Much of it all is disingenuous. By the same token, Supro amps aren't the same as they were 50 years ago, and Eastwood is making money copying others' designs from the past. Face it---nostalgia sells.

Thankfully, Gretsch is still owned by a Gretsch family member, and the guitars are still top notch.

– wabash slim

Supro amps aren't the same as they were 50 years ago, and Eastwood is making money copying others' designs from the past. Face it---nostalgia sells.

Gretsch guitars aren't even the same as they were 20 years ago.

16

If the gubmint allowed it, GM would reissue the '57 Bel Air and the '63 split-window Vette. And Ford would reissue the Deuce Coupe and '56 T-Bird.

– DaveH

Umm- Ford tried, with this...

It did not go all that well.

17

Worst thing I ever said on stage: “Next up is the Glenn Miller Orchestra. I understand Glenn had some plane trouble and couldn’t be here, but these guys can really play the charts.”

19

I have always liked dorky 1960s top 40. There was the mid 60s Chicago scene (Buckinghams, Shadows of Knight, Cryan Shames, New Colony Six, and maybe one other) So these bands are still around in some form and place locally out there in a package show.

Uusally there are one or two original members, sometimes with their sons in the group, etc. or young pros. At last one or two original members have died along the way. Mostly (to my dismay) they ''update' the sound with the usual Modern World guitar tones, etc. instead of playing it like 1966. But then the big 1960s pros also do that with their old songs-- like McCartney does.

So bands and band names go on.

– DCBirdMan

"The Buckinghams".............they were two blocks from where I lived in Chicago back then. Our neighborhood's best garage band.

Used to listen to them in the alley. Some nights the garage door was up, sometimes down. They knew how to draw a crowd early on.

Yep, neighborhood band made it big in the city, and then some.

What a time it was.

20

So which is the real Pink Floyd? Roger Waters' band or David Gilmour's? Who has a greater CCR claim-John Fogerty or Stu Cook and Doug Clifford's Creedence Clearwater Revisited?

I take it on a case-by-case basis. For Pink Floyd, both were equally valid. Gilmour was as important to the sound and vibe of classic-era Floyd as Waters - and either from spending so much time with Waters being Pink Floyd, natural inclination, or savvy business sense, the Gilmour-led incarnation sounded no different than Waters' Floyd work. Same relaxed, regal tempos, same hovering sense of impending doom, same aura of moral and/or psychological import, similar songwriting. I can hardly tell their voices apart - and for everything Roger Waters is, he's not a bassist whose groove or technique are elusive and hard to cover. So...which one is Pink?

CCR...is Fogerty. I'm sorry. The rest of the band may have laid down a competent choogle behind him, but the songs, voice, arrangement, and direction were all John. Imagine hearing the rest of Creedence, without John, playing those songs. Then imagine hearing John doing those songs, alone, strumming an acoustic guitar. Which one is Creedence?

Thankfully the matter hasn't come into play with the Eagles - I think because when it was over, the Eagles were every bit as sick of the Eagles as we were.

Seems clearly a different matter when there's one front man - and how absolutely vital to the band's sound, image, and presence that front man is - vs a band approach. Deep Purple kinda survived multiple singer transplants - and one guitar transplant. Jefferson Airplane/Starship always had two "lead singers" and multiple guitarists, and could carry on through changes in those positions with no loss of credibility solely on that account. (They grounded themselves in other ways.)


Yes without Jon Anderson...that's tough. It took me years to kinda accept 1980's uneven Drama, with Trevor Horn trying to sing, as Yes. Downes on keyboard didn't offend me (as long as he doesn't have to cover Wakeman parts); any of Yes's keyboardists have been fine with me. And I think both guitarists were legitimate creative partners in their times. I finally came to terms with Drama on the basis of Chris Squire's primacy in the soul of the band, and the good trio work with Howe and White. AND Drama was a waaay better album that the mess of Tormato which preceded it - Anderson and Wakeman's presence notwithstanding. (In fact, I have a hard time thinking of a band who descended further between consecutive albums than Yes between Going for the One and Tormato. But I digress.)

At the tail end of what I now think of as "real Yes," there were two albums with two different lead singers who weren't named Jon Anderson, and I've begrudgingly admitted those to the canon. One is actually a fine album, with good work from everyone involved, and Benoit David's voice (while clearly not Jon's) works. The other is a we're-burned-out who-has-some-songs phoned-in sad end to the band's creative output, even though replacement-Jon Jon Davison (who is excellent live) sounds like a clone of Anderson. (Sadly, his lyrics sound not like cloned-Anderson, but like wanna-be-Anderson. And, lyrically, I think it's pointless to want to be Anderson. It's only by some miracle of intent, sensibility, and native wit that Anderson's lyrics often - not always - survive their own goofiness.) But I digress.

(Who let me start talking about Yes?)

Actually, the current versions of Yes provide an interesting case in point. There were duelling Yesses prior to Chris Squire's death, with his Squire-Howe-Downes-White-Davison unit seeming on the reasonably-historical-member count (and Squire's unbroken de-facto possession of the name, agreed to by Anderson) to be most legit. But Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin (with hired drums-n-bass guns) were certainly capable of delivering the goods, and with three historically-legitimate members.

If I add up years of service to the band on the part of each of these combos, I get 129 years for Squire-Howe-White-Downes-Davison and only 59 years for Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin. (Which is misleading as it doesn’t distinguish between members’ importance to the identity of the band, or their creative contributions to significant recordings rather than just touring with the band.)

But upon Squire's death - though it was acknowledged that he had blessed his friend Billy Sherwood to play bass and carry the band on - his widow gave both groups permission to bill themselves as Yes. I think that was a gracious way for her to recognize Chris's and Jon's musical partnership and long friendship, as well as Wakeman's integral contributions over the decades.

Before his death, I saw the Squire Yes (with Davison and Downes), and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have not seen the current aggregation without Squire (Sherwood on bass), which must be effectively be led by Howe. But I have a hard time imagining Yes without either founder. (And Downes has never enthralled me.)

I also saw Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin, and was similarly satisfied. Certainly far more satisfied with vocals (as well as Jon Davison clones Anderson...he's not Anderson, with all that history) and keyboards. Lee Pomeroy nails Squire's bass parts - you can close your eyes and not miss him - but Pomeroy doesn't stomp around and chew up the scenery like Squire (nor should he). Actually, he probably executes the parts more cleanly and "professionally" than Squire - but, you know. He didn't WRITE the parts, and he doesn't radiate Chris's spirit. Lou Molino similarly gets the Alan White job done. (And, as I understand White - apparently tiring/weakening - is now reinforced by a touring-only drummer, I suspect Molino is a more powerful pounder.)

In the final analysis, Yes's heart had two chambers; with either Squire or Anderson missing, it's on life-support. It might rally, but it can't thrive. And with neither...feels like Yes is dead. I see Howe in denial, trying heroically to keep it alive - but he just can't carry the weight. Or maybe a fairer analogy is that Yes was a tricycle with three wheels: Squire, Anderson, and Howe. It's possible to ride it on two wheels, but not many guys can handle a unicycle.


Also, I think considerations of a band's creative period come into this subjective calculus of legitimacy. How much creative work, work which supported the band's original success or marked significant artistic "achievements," were current members present for? More painfully, is the current incarnation of the band capable of new creative work which both honors the band's heritage and pushes it forward?

No point to this ramble. Just that the internal chemistry which made each band work is different, as is the alchemy of their impression on public and fans. The math to calculate who's doing a craven tribute with tenuous-if-any connection to the real thing - and who rightfully carries the flame - is likely to be different in every situation, and in the eyes of every fan doing that math.

21

Mostly (to my dismay) they ''update' the sound with the usual Modern World guitar tones, etc. instead of playing it like 1966.

Ainit da troof. Sometime in the 90s or early 99s, I saw a reconstituted Turtles, with both Flo and Eddie present - and whoevers in the backup band. ALL THEY HAD TO DO was play it straight. But no, there was "Happy Together" cranked up in tempo, with the sacred trust of that subtle guitar hook delivered as metal riffery by a 20-something hired gun who took the song as his opportunity to prove he could shred. GAHH!


Yep, neighborhood band made it big in the city, and then some.

Did they have the horns when they were playing in the garage? I would have liked them without the horns.

22

It's one of those grey areas ( which kinda goes with the grey hair, when you think about it).

For myself, I put most every Elvis imitator, the guy called "Nearly Neil", the Abba phenom called "Arrival", and everyone else with no actual connection to the original group whose music they play as "tribute" bands, while bands which contain at least one member of the original lineup (preferably more than one) performing as the rightful originals.

It's a comfortable viewpoint that falls complete apart when taking into account the Beach Men (or as some called it- Mike Love vs the Rest), the Irish Rovers, many of the bands already listed above and even the Glenn Miller orchestra...

23

Mostly (to my dismay) they ''update' the sound with the usual Modern World guitar tones, etc. instead of playing it like 1966.

Ainit da troof. Sometime in the 90s or early 99s, I saw a reconstituted Turtles, with both Flo and Eddie present - and whoevers in the backup band. ALL THEY HAD TO DO was play it straight. But no, there was "Happy Together" cranked up in tempo, with the sacred trust of that subtle guitar hook delivered as metal riffery by a 20-something hired gun who took the song as his opportunity to prove he could shred. GAHH!


Yep, neighborhood band made it big in the city, and then some.

Did they have the horns when they were playing in the garage? I would have liked them without the horns.

– Proteus

No horns that I ever remember hearing or seeing.

24

Yes to everything Proteus said, especially about Fogerty and CCR. The last CCR album was called Mardi Gras, was without Tom Fogerty and featured several (way too many) songs by Cook and Clifford. It was so bad it has yet to be re-issued in any format. Not that the Fogerty songs were bad; in fact those were excellent: Someday Never Comes, Sweet Hitch-hiker, Mary Lou -- all excellent. But the rest were tragic. IIRC that album was known as "Fogerty's Revenge."

I got a chance to see one of my favorite '60's bands play locally a few years ago: The Yardbirds. Only Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty were originals but the "new" members were fantastic and to hear that music live was sublime. The last time I saw them, Dreja was gone but the band still sounded great and to hear Smokestack Lightning and Train Kept A'Rollin' booming across the beach was an incredible experience.

I think it all gets back to John Cage's admonition that music is something played live and to be experienced in the moment.

25

The last CCR album was called Pendulum, was without Tom Fogerty and featured several (way too many) songs by Cook and Clifford.

Reminds me of the Doors after Morrison. They carried on gamely with an album bearing the hopeful lemonade-from-lemons name Other Voices, and it’s not terrible. In fact it’s ok - it just isn’t the Doors. Another unique band formula: Morrison didn’t play an instrument, and I’ve never had the impression he dictated parts or directed the band. But without his sensibility and voice - his apparent role in centering and focusing the music - three very talented, creative, and agile musicians didn’t seem able to find the identity he had lent them.

They got another shot at the magic with Full Circle a year later, with even worse results. It’s a shame, because 3/4 of the band worked hard and consistently, generally behaved like responsible adults, and had played ALL the music - but their professional fate was in the hands of a self-destructive (if visionary and incandescent) madman.

I suppose it’s equally hard to imagine Zeppelin without Robert Plant, or The Who without Daltrey.


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