Articles from the Boston Compass, Music



The music industry is notorious for its shysters, charlatans and silver-tongued devils. While rock ‘n’ roll had been around for over a decade during the late ‘60s, the business was still very much in its infancy, and its doings were more akin to the Wild West than anything on the straight and narrow. “Unruly” band members were often given the boot by management and replaced. Original work and songs were often credited to others, such as Dorene Love’s singing on “He’s A Rebel,” attributed to the Crystals. The Sixties, remember, didn’t have the internet or social media, and those attending rock shows frequently had no idea what the band actually looked like before they arrived.

This helped pave the way for the ”shadow touring economy,” where sketchy promoters shoddily put together bands impersonating the real deal. In 1969, The Zombies were ripe to become victims of such a scheme. The Zombies, having been broken up for close to two years, had a surprise smash hit, the now legendary “Time of the Season,” when their label released it as a single in a last ditch effort to recoup some costs.

Enter Delta Promotions, a music management and promotional group out of Bay City, Michigan. Owners Bill Kahoe and Jim Atherton saw an opportunity for exploiting and decided to launch not one, but two Zombies imposter bands. One of those bands was based out of Texas and included ZZ Top members Frank Beard and Dusty Hill. While neither Hill nor Beard have commented directly about their involvement (a promotional picture does exist of them as the ‘Zombies’) it seems that it was nothing more than a chance to make a little money gigging and traveling around.

Eventually the shady business dealings caught up with Delta, perhaps in an Icarus-like moment. They decided to start up a fake Archies band, no doubt thinking The Archies would be the perfect band to imposter since they were cartoons. However they underestimated their creator, Don Kirshner, owner of Kirshner Productions, who was no small potato. Kirshner created the TV band, The Monkees, then fired them after they wanted creative freedom, which prompted him to form The Archies, a cartoon band. They were like his musical robots or dolls that he could control—a cartoon wasn’t going to talk back to him and cost him money. When Kirshner found out about the fake Archies, he threatened legal action in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, and two weeks later Delta Productions folded. Needless to say, the music industry has always been a wretched place.

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