Identity crisis

I was hacked again this week, which gives me a wonderful opportunity to elaborate on an earlier post on the subject.

computer-1500929__340 One nice thing about having your email accounts hacked from time to time is hearing back from old friends and business colleagues around the world whom you haven't been in touch with for years.

In my case I can't say that everyone on my spammed contact list was entirely pleased to hear from me—or who they thought was me—but their responses have got me thinking. Hundreds of folks are now wondering how I've been able to start so many multi-million-dollar home businesses this year AND successfully sell cheap meds on the side (while maintaining a consulting practice & blog and re-launching my music career).

Well I've decided to exploit this opportunity and share my trade secrets in a new book, How You Can Make Millions From Getting Hacked & Spammed In Your Spare Time. (The first step will be "Don't give up that AOL account.") Subtitle: Business Lessons From Viagra.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve been thinking about different kinds of identity theft. One kind has been going on in the music world for decades: bands doing reunion tours with only one member (or NO members) of the original band.

In some cases, previous band members are unaware it's happening (a kind of artistic hacking) and in other cases one of the performers legally purchases the rights to the name from the management of the band. In either case, audience members are cheated, whether they recognize the duplicity of it or are just confused that the band doesn’t quite sound like—or as good as—the original group!

The best example of this is The Beach Boys. This bogus touring band only includes one of the five founding members, Mike Love. Not included are: Brian Wilson, the leader of the band, who was a lead vocalist, bassist, and songwriter/arranger of their greatest hits; Al Jardine, a lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist; and two of Brian’s brothers, lead guitarist Carl and drummer Denny, who are deceased. (Keyboardist Bruce Johnston, who replaced Brian after he stopped touring with the band in the early days, also sings with Mike Love in the pseudo Beach Boys.)

Four years ago when Brian, Al, Mike, and Bruce toured together, it looked and sounded like the real deal. Audiences (including yours truly) got their money’s worth—and a rare chance to see Brian Wilson on stage with the surviving members of his original band, including Al Jardine. But Mike Love, who for some reason owns the rights to the band name, discontinued that tour and chose to go back to fronting the Bogus Boys. And they're still touring as "The Beach Boys"!

There were also completely fraudulent acts who toured under the name of famous artists, including the fake Zombies, Fleetwood Mac, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Box Tops, and even Buddy Miles! (Feel free to tell me of others you've heard of.)

Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it's harder to get conned. Just like it's useful to check out who's really sending you that mysterious document or link, it's useful to check out who's really going to appear on that concert stage.

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  1. Hi John,
    Karen was watching "The View" sometime last week or so, (um, I guess I was too), and they had on the Mike Love Beach Boys. They were awful. No matter how much the cast got excited, and the audience stirrer uppers stirred, they were still awful. Maybe they have an ABC/Disney tie in. But, they suck.


    1. Did they do their B list tunes like "409"?

      When I saw them four years ago (with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine), doing their prime stuff, like "Don't Worry Baby, " "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and "God Only Knows," I thought the doors of heaven had opened.

  2. I saw The Drifters last year, featuring precisely no original members at all. But we knew that in advance and we went because we like the songs. Also, it's good to see them done by the band that own the rights and want to preserve and do justice to the legacy.

    This is the way rock will go. We don't stop going to hear Mozart's 40th just because the man isn't sitting somewhere in the orchestra and we don't deny people the right to hear The Glen Miller Orchestra playing his great tunes.

    Rock's in this no-man's land where because some of the originals are still with us, we think there's something not right about other folks playing the songs. But the logical extension of this is that if none of the originals are around to or able to or even want to play the music, no-one can - so the music will just die out. As rock ages, we'll have to accept that the older songs will be played by a younger generation who quite possibly had nothing to do with the originals. They just like it (hopefully).

    1. I always appreciate your contrarian view, Mark. (I genuinely do.)

      Ok, I think it's GREAT for bands to play Beach Boys' (and other bands') songs. But most fans who go to see the Beach Boys probably think they're seeing, well, the Beach Boys. Instead they're seeing one Beach Boy, who wasn't the chief talent. (Not to mention the fact that he sang lead on some of their dumbest car songs, but I digress.)

      Now, if they even hinted that it was Mike Love singing old Beach Boy tunes—like "Mike Love & the Beach Boys"—most of us would understand the code and realize that Mike was the only original. I think bands who are performing with one original member should be more upfront about it.

      Personally, I'm not that interested in seeing reunion bands with "precisely no original members at all" but I get your point about bands purchasing the rights and wanting to preserve their legacy—IF they really care about it.

      Btw, with Mozart it's not his performing that mattered but his composing. Although legend has it that he could shred a piano solo.

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