CARSON CITY — Jon Bauman, better known as Bowzer of Sha Na Na, took his quest to bring a bit of truth and honesty to oldies musical acts to the Assembly on Monday, asking lawmakers to pass a bill requiring groups to disclose if they have no real connection with a famous name.
Bauman, who now performs as Bowzer’s Rock ‘N Roll Party, testified in support of Senate Bill 53, called the “Truth in Music” bill.
The Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee heard testimony in favor of the bill but took no immediate action. The measure has already passed the Senate.
No one spoke in opposition.
Bauman called the inappropriate use of the names of famous acts from the 1950s and 1960s, including the Coasters, Platters and Drifters, a form of identity theft.
The bill would make it a deceptive trade practice for groups with no original members to pass themselves off as the famous groups unless they had the legal right to do so. Groups performing under a famous name would have to have at least one original member of the group, barring some other legitimate legal claim to the name.
The legislation would allow a performance violating the requirements to be shut down ahead of time, Bauman said.
He was joined in the capital by Sonny Turner, a member of the Platters, in asking for the legislation.
The bill is intended to both protect consumers, who may not know they are buying tickets to a fake 1950s group performance, as well as artists who only have their history as performers to rely on to make a living, Bauman said.
“It protects the consumer and it serves the purpose of creating a fair and level playing field for the authentic artist,” he said.
Bauman has been traveling around the country pushing similar bills in other states as chairman of the Truth in Music Committee of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Several states have adopted versions of the law.
Turner said imposter groups have caused financial harm to performers.
“We, as a group of entertainers, are not interested in putting our fellow entertainers out of work as they’ve done us,” he said. “But it is important that the consumer understand and know when they put their money down to see a show they are seeing the actual performer.”
Turner modified a line of the famous Platters song, “Only You,” when he sang to the panel: “Only you, can pass this bill for us.”
Also testifying from Las Vegas was 1950s music fan Donald Riggio, who said his love for the music has caused him to support the legislation.
“I take it has a personal affront to have these fakers heaped upon me and the other members of a sometimes unsuspecting audience without calling them what they are, a tribute band or review,” he said.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Joe Heck, R-Henderson, and Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, on behalf of the performers.2007