The Allman Brothers Band

Newsletter – Peach-O-Gram 05-18-2006

Hey there sweet family,

The following appeared on NorthJersey.com earlier this week. The Allman Brothers Band related content is about 3/4 of the way down:

“Invasion of the band snatchers
Monday, May 15, 2006

By SCOTT FALLON
STAFF WRITER

Todd Rundgren should have known better.

A veteran in front of the mike and behind the control panel, the singer-turned-producer has been in the business long enough to spot a bad gig.

Yet a few months ago, there was Rundgren announcing he would replace Ric Ocasek as the frontman for the New Cars.

This is just the latest in a succession of watered-down bands “reuniting” with an incomplete roster. The prospects of making loads of money aside, such ventures are often risky propositions that turn off old fans, fail to make new ones and sully legacies.

In the case of the New Cars, all you’re losing is the principal songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and pop icon of the ’80s.

Ocasek was the Cars. He wrote some of the era’s best pop songs — “Good Times Roll,” “Just What I Needed,” “Magic.” And despite his cadaverous complexion, scarecrow build and perpetually bloodshot eyes, he was one of the coolest rock stars of his time. In fact, it was his geeky makeup that made him so damn cool.

Rundgren has none of that charisma. (Decide yourself: the New Cars along with Blondie are at PNC Bank Arts Center June 10.)

Other reformed bands have been just as depleted.

Some are complete facsimiles, the equivalent of a tribute band. Others have gone forward without key members either by choice or tragedy. None were able to duplicate the original.

Here are a few that tried:

The Doors

It’s not easy replacing a Lizard King these days. The Geico gecko has a high-profile gig, and Godzilla’s vocal range has never been the same since Mothra took him to town.

So eventually you’re left with Ian Astbury. Yes, the man who helped define goth rock with The Cult took the helm of the Doors in 2004, 33 years after Jim Morrison died.

Criticize Morrison for a lot of things, but he had one of the strongest voices in rock. Astbury? Well, he was the lead singer of The Cult. If you’ve heard of The Cult, there is no need for further explanation. If you haven’t … lock yourself in your bedroom, curl up in a fetal position and press “repeat” on your worn copy of “L.A. Woman.”

The Temptations

And then there was one.

Of the 21 men who have called themselves Temptations for the past 45 years, only Otis Williams is an original.

These days a revolving lineup makes the rounds, chiming out hits like “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination.”

Perhaps the audiences the group sings to don’t remember the originals. Perhaps they don’t even care if one velvety-throated singer is replaced by another velvety-throated singer.

Beach Boys

There is something called the Beach Boys that you might have heard is touring these days.

Except there is no Dennis, Carl or Brian Wilson. No Al Jardine either.

But there is always Mike Love. Yes, everyone’s favorite pop malcontent tours with a few backup singers who croon the band’s hits.

Brian was the genius; Dennis and Carl the soul. Love was a fantastic singer, but even he can’t sing his way out of the oldies circuit.

Guns N’ Roses

“Eccentric” might be the perfect word for someone who dons a top hat and makes sure his face is forever covered by hair.

But even Slash gets trumped by a guy who wears a KFC bucket on his head, a featureless white mask, and a yellow raincoat.

Buckethead was easily the most ridiculous newcomer in Axl Rose’s ill-fated 2002 version of Guns N’ Roses. Gone were Slash, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum. In came a freak show that could never match the intensity of the original lineup but helped sell a lot of chicken.

Alas, Buckethead left the group in 2004 and will not appear in a few GNR shows at Hammerstein Ballroom this month. Vegetarians, rejoice.

Queen

Few in rock had pipes quite like Freddie Mercury’s. And few could wear mascara as well.

Though Paul Rodgers has a decent voice from his Bad Company days, he didn’t have the range to carry a Queen tune when he fronted the band in 2005. And the showmanship was nowhere near the level of mid-’70s Mercury.

At least we can credit the band for referring to itself as “Queen + Paul Rodgers.” It was a simple yet classy move to show everybody that it’s not the same old band.

Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen has a little George Steinbrenner in him.

Hire David Lee Roth. Fire David Lee Roth.

Hire Sammy Hagar. Fire Sammy Hagar.

Rehire David Lee Roth. Refire David Lee Roth.

Hire Gary Cherone.

Hagar might have been able to hold his own post-Roth, but Cherone … well, never count on a rock star with the first name Gary.

The Allman Brothers

Tragedy and stupidity forced Southern rock’s greatest band to change lineups often. Duane Allman and Berry Oakley died in motorcycle crashes in the early ’70s.

Greg Allman went all Hollywood, marrying Cher and becoming addicted to cocaine and heroin. Chuck Leavell and Lamar Williams left and never came back.

Today the group is a hodgepodge of session musicians and (much like the Temptations) tours like an oldies act.

Genesis

Whoa: Peter Gabriel was in Genesis?

You have to excuse Gen-Xers for thinking Genesis began and ended with Phil Collins crooning “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight.”

Gabriel left long before the group abandoned progressive rock in favor of the synthesizer ballads we all know and despise. It was a sign of things to come with Collins.

Gabriel went on to have more fun, wear skinny black ties and hang with robotic dancing models.

The Ramones

In the beginning there were Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone.

Then Tommy begat Marky, who begat Richie, who was eventually shafted and begat Marky again. And let’s not forget C.J., who replaced Dee Dee when the latter launched a rap career.

But you could always count on Joey and Johnny. They were the most important pieces of the band, even if each wanted to blitzkrieg the other’s face. “

###

Sisters and Brothers, if you disagree with Fallon’s assessment of the Allman Brothers Band, please email, call, or snail mail your heartfelt thoughts to any of the contact points listed below.

*Scott Fallon’s email:

fallon@northjersey.com

*General phone number for NorthJersey.com

NorthJersey.Com 201-646-4293

* Editor, NorthJersey.com – Frank Scandale

* Letters to the Editor
Phone: (201) 678-3925, ext. 2
Fax: (201) 646-4749
letterstotheeditor@northjersey.com

* Parent Company Of NorthJersey.Com:

New Jersey Media Group
150 River Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601-7172
Phone: (201) 646-4000
Corporate Fax: (201) 646-4310
E-mail: njmg@northjersey.com

Fallon also teaches basic news writing and an enterprise reporting course at Syracuse University. He hopes that he can “help students develop a sense of today’s newsroom environment.”

“The difference between myself and other professors here is that one week before class started, I was at the paper reporting,” he says. “The others are more research-oriented…or they’ve been out of the newsroom for many years.”

Another difference between Fallon and other professors there is that he’s about to experience the power of the peachful.

Scott Fallon should have known better. He called down the thunder … now here it comes.

Take care and know that you, and your efforts on behalf of the Allman Brothers Band, are loved,

Lana and Rowland

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