Minnesota bill targets 'impostor' bands

class=img_thumbleft>Last week, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of '70s greasers Sha Na Na testified before the Minnesota House Commerce and Labor Committee in favor of the Truth in Music Advertising Act (House File 1314, or hf1314; Senate File 1936, or sf1936), a bill calling "for imposter bands to disclose that they are impersonating original artists," according to the press release from sponsoring State Representative Joe Atkins. Similar laws, backed by Bauman's Pennsylvania-based Truth in Music Committee, have been proposed around the country, singling out "in-name-only" groups such as the Platters, the Drifters (more here), and the Coasters--the various versions of which contain zero original members. (Bauman, who's also pushing Congress to pass a federal law, was in '50s revivalists Sha Na Na from the '60s through the '80s, appearing with them at Woodstock, and in the 1978 movie Grease. Today, the band continues without him, with only three original members.)

Locals might recall that two different groups calling themselves the L.A. Guns confusingly played at different Twin Cities venues within weeks of each other last year. But the new legislation requires only that "at least one member of the performing group was a member of the recording group"--which would allow for both L.A. Guns to continue. (Can't they just pass a law against the L.A. Guns?) Otherwise, the proposed law allows for "legacy" or "tribute bands," so long as they advertise themselves as such. The Commerce Committee has passed the bill, which awaits introduction to the State House and Senate floors.