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“THE BANDS AND ARTISTS THAT HISTORY FORGOT” (Pt 8)

 

71)”KING”:
“King” is an all female tribute to the English rock group “Queen” founded in San Francisco Castro district by Marge Labia. Labia, a former champion bodybuilder and classically trained opera singer had a strange story to tell for the origins of “King”:

“We always loved Queen, their music, and Freddie, but I always resented that a group of men would call themselves “Queen”—so I found some like minded women and we decided to form our own version of Queen, but call it “King”—you know—to make things fair.”

While the band are comprised of all classically trained musicians and does excellent covers of Queen songs, they are more known for their lead singers rambunctious attitude and her attire.

In fact, one of the most popular parts of their shows is called “The King’s Challenge”. During this event, Lead singer “Large Marge” puts on a large crown and robe and “challenges men in the audience” to “come on stage and fight.”

This all takes place while the band performs “We Will Rock You”

(The lyric is changed to “I Will Beat you”—-This song is performed until the fight is over.)

Once “Large Marge ” vanquishes her opponent(To my knowledge, no man has ever beaten her) the band then precedes into the song “We Are The Champions”, but with the main lyric changed to “I am the Champion”.

As of this writing, the band only has a cult following, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of them.

72) “THE ANCHORMEN”:

“The Anchormen” were a a tribute to the Talking Heads formed in the late 70’s by a group of famous anchors and co hosts from various mainstream news outlets.

Their goal: “To cover Talking heads music and to also create pop music based on the stories they covered in the news.”

Despite their overall lack of experience, “The Anchormen” were supposedly one of the best kept secrets, performing only at corporate parties and events. Unfortunately because of the private nature of these events, it has been impossible for this researcher to determine exactly WHICH “News anchors” were in this group, or what songs they performed by the Talking Heads.

But recently, I WAS lucky enough to obtain an old set list and some notes made by the band members from one of my “sources” who had attended one of their gigs, and these few tantalizing notes have helped me get at least an idea of who some of these “Anchormen” were.
For example, in the song “Once in a Life time” we see a note saying:

“Have Walter say the line “Same as it ever was”——-I think its safe to assume that “Walter” was probably the famous Walter Cronkite.

(For all you youngsters out there, Cronkite was famous for ending his broadcasts by saying “And that’s the way it was”.)

We also have a note saying:

“Don’t let Barbara sing Take me to the River anymore”—Could this have been a reference to Barbara Walters?

Sadly, these tantalizing references are all we have to this mysterious group—but I have hopes that as time goes on ,more about this mysterious group will be revealed.

73)”THE BUSES”:

A group of “Climate Scientists” brought together by their love of the Cars music and their desire to save the environment, Lead singer Alfie Compost decided to make a statement by starting a tribute band to the Cars, but to name it “The Buses”.

Alfie explained:

“We feel that in this day and age of Climate Change it is no longer viable for people to drive Cars as much as they do. Americans rely far too heavily on the automobile, and thus we decided to name our tribute “The Buses”. We want to send a message to people that public transportation is important, and we make our environmentalism a big part of our shows”

Sadly, despite their excellent renditions of Cars songs, Alfie’s long lectures between the song about “Climate change” and his constant berating about “the evils of the automobile’ and “The dangers of carbon emissions” was not what the “Car’s loving audience” wanted to hear and the Buses had a very short lived career.

74)”THE VIAGRA MASTERS”

More of a novelty act than a real band, “The Viagra Masters” are a group of retirees who live in Palm Beach, Florida who were united by their love for 70’s punk(Most notably, The Sex Pistols)  and their love of Viagra.

“We just love the raw sexual nature of The Sex Pistols” said lead singer Johnny Oldschool,”And , we feel that with the invention of Viagra, we felt the sudden urge to recreate their music and live that lifestyle again—you know, like when we were young and still had hope”

When asked if he felt that there might be some dangers for people in his age group to perform music like this as well as to be consuming such large amounts of Viagra(Oldschool claims he “Eats em like candy”) Johnny told me:

“Hey, we only a few years left anyways, right? We might as well enjoy em! ”

Well no one can argue with that logic.

75)”THE CHEERLEADERS”:

“The Cheerleaders” was a tribute to the 80’s band “The Go-Go’s” formed by former Dallas Cheerleader Jo Jo Pom Pom. Jo Jo recruited the rest of the band from other cheerleaders from pro football teams, and their shows, while not technically proficient draw large crowds(Almost entirely male ,of course.)

When asked if she felt their lack of musical experience/or their inability to play their instruments held the band back, Jo Jo’s response was quite revealing:

“Actually? I think that the Go-Go’s showed everyone that you didn’t have to know how to play music? To be in a band? So naturally not being a musician myself, they were the perfect band to do a tribute to? I love the Go’Go’s! WHooo Hooo! Goooooo GO-GO’s!”

76) “LORD GOO-GOO”:

Notorious London Drag queen Lord Gordon Puffball found a way to take his love for outrageous outfits onto the stage by doing his now famous tribute to pop diva “Lady Ga-Ga”. His claim of “I’m the real queen of pop” didn’t earn him many fans in England, and his first shows there were met with derision and scorn.  Placards like “Goo-Goo is a wanker” and “Go home you Sodden idiot” were so commonly displayed at his shows that Goo-Goo contemplated retiring.

He was then contacted by Lady Gaga(who was reportedly a big fan) who helped him get started in the USA. He was first introduced in “The Village” in New York and later at “The Castro District” in San Francisco, and became one of her main opening acts during her recent tours, where he has been well received.

He still resides in London,(Altho he refuses to perform in Britain) and refuses to give any interviews.

77)”30 PIECES OF SILVER”:

A tribute to the Metal band Judas Priest,”30 pieces of Silver” has a reverence for the British band bordering on the fanatical. In fact, one of the main stipulations of their contracts is that no matter how small or big the audience, the band must always be paid in “30 pieces of silver.”

When asked about this and the possible difficulties in getting such unique payment for their performances,lead guitarist Buzz Chainsaw was reported to have said:

“When Judas betrayed Jesus, he was paid 30 pieces of silver. Also,Silver is metal, and we’re a metal band. We play metal and we want to paid in metal. Metal is our lives. PRIEST RULES!”

Reportedly, the band has had numerous run ins with the law, mostly resulting from the times when promoters/club owners have tried to pay the band in other forms of currency other than the silver.

Club Owner Geoff Handler had a few choice words for “30 pieces of silver”:

(In best cockney accent)

“Dese blokes are outta dere sodden minds! They played at our place and packed the rwoom—-we offered to split da take wid em——it was well over a tousand pounds it was—–but dis buzz chaaaainsaw wankaa tells me:

“No mate—we want our silvaaaa”

“Silvaaa he says! Now where in the bloody ell am I supposed to get 30 pieces of silvaa?” Geoff continued “I told em—-look mate, what I’m offerin ya is waaaaay moah than 30 pieces of silvaa! But he wouldn’t heah of it——and den he and his mates trashed my stage and me baaah! ”

When I asked him if the band was any good, he scoffed and said” Well —SHOAH they’re good—but who bloody cahs? Their out of their sodden MINDS they are!!”

Well, we can only hope that “Buzz” will grow up a little and focus more on the music and less on “the payment method.”

78)”THE IRON GRANDMAS”

Another “metal tribute” from England(Iron Maiden) this band has a far different approach than most tribute bands——-mainly because of their relationship to the band itself.

“We’re the grandmothers of the boys in the band” Said Lead singer Greta Birch. “In fact,we raised them and watched them become the world famous band they are today, and being musicians ourselves, we decided to do a tribute to the boys”

Now before you laugh and think “This can’t possibly be a real band”, let me tell you that “The Iron Grandmas” are all great musicians, and they do incredibly accurate renderings of some of the most difficult maiden songs.

When I asked Greta how they learned these songs so well, she laughed and said:

“Who do you think taught these boys those songs? Those are OUR songs. The boys merely played them. Now that they’re retired, we decided that we could let that secret out. We decided that the world should see who the real Iron Maidens are”

79)”DAROLD ARROW”

One of the most eclectic of all artists, Darold Arrow is an “Off Grid survivalist” who claims that HE is “the original David Bowie”

“When I saw that guy” he said” I thought man what a rip off! He’s stealing my act!”

Of course, his act is nothing like David Bowie, but don’t tell Darold Arrow that!!

“I mean, look at his name” he screamed as I attempted to interview him ” David Bowie? Darold Arrow? Eh? EHHH? You don’t see the coincidence?”

While Darold’s assumption that David Bowie was imitating him/stealing his name and identity are absolutely unfounded, his show IS worth seeing. His emphasis on outdoor motifs in his songs and folky eclectic style are very individual and have earned him a small but devoted following in the Ozarks.

80) “THE IMMIGRANTS”
This band has one of the most unusual stories of any of the bands I have researched. Founded in Pakistan,Bashir Ahchoo was always a huge fan of American and British pop and rock bands, but was never able to pursue his passion due to Sharia law.

Finally after years of applying for citizen ship, Bashir was allowed to come to America in 2000, where he promptly formed the band “Immigrant”.

“My first year in America was very good” Bashir told me “I was finally getting to play all the music I loved, and I finally felt safe—but then—9/11 happened, and I and my band were deported”

As of this writing, Bashir has not been allowed to return to the USA, but he claims that he and his band are still hopeful, and perform wherever they can to anyone—even groups of animals!

“You’d be amazed at how camels respond to rock n roll” he told me “They especially love 80’s music”

If I may get a bit serious at the end here:

To me,the plight of Bashir and “Immigrant” are just one more reason why this whole “War on Terror” needs to end. How sad that this talented man has been reduced to performing for camels.

What it comes down to is that musical talent knows no religion or national boundaries——it can appear anywhere, and I know that I just like Bashir, long for the day when artificial barriers like this do not exist, and people of all nationalities and creeds can “play the rock and roll they believe in”

That is all.

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