Would you promote a Van Halen tour with original lead singer David Lee Roth by running radio ads featuring replacement singer Gary Cherone?
That’s what happened with the Bad Company show June 25 at the Del Mar Fair.
Local rock frontman Rik Pedro has fronted a number of bands in Boston and San Diego. He listens to KGB when he works as a painter by day. “I like KGB because Rock 105 plays the same old stuff over and over.... In the commercial, they played, like, two or three Bad Company songs from the Brian Howe era. I couldn’t believe they were advertising Bad Company with Paul Rodgers by using Brian Howe stuff. It blew me away.”
Paul Rodgers sang the leads on all of Bad Company’s biggest hits (“Can’t Get Enough,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Bad Company”), all of which came out in the band’s early years (1974–’75). Rodgers cofounded Bad Company in 1973 and left in 1982. Many published reports say that Rodgers was sought out by Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek of the Doors to replace Jim Morrison after his death.
Rodgers rejoined Bad Company cofounders, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke, five years ago, and the three have anchored Bad Company ever since.
Brian Howe fronted the band from 1984 through 1994. Pedro says he saw Howe’s Bad Company 20 years ago.
“I told Brian about this on Facebook,” says Pedro. “He asked me what station it was and if I could get a copy of that commercial.”
“We’ve had other calls on this,” says Steve Green, the Florida-based manager of Brian Howe. “Please see if you can get me a copy of that spot. I’ve heard about it, but I just never actually heard it. If it’s true, it’s completely wrong.”
Green admits that the deceptive ad may not have been the fault of the band. “It happens to us all the time. One of our shows may be billed by the promoter as ‘Bad Company with Brian Howe’ when we told them it should be ‘Brian Howe, formerly of Bad Company.’”
But there is friction between Howe and his former band.
“When Brian was with them, Bad Company had three gold albums and two platinum records. Plus, they had the most successful Bad Company tour ever. When they toured headlining with [Ted Nugent’s] Damn Yankees opening in ’91 and ’92, that tour was one of the top-five grossing tours in both 1991 and 1992, according to Pollstar.”
Green maintains that there are ’70s Bad Company fans who favor Rodgers and ’80s Bad Company fans who prefer Howe. “What I would like to see is at least one show where the two singers could play together. We have offered to do it and give 100 percent to charity. It would be nice if somebody from their side would show some decency and agree to this...maybe there is a reason [Rodgers] wouldn’t want to do this.”
Would that be because Howe would blow Rodgers away? “What other reason would there be? Please tell me.”
Could it be that the employee who makes commercials for KGB is too young to know that Bad Company with Paul Rodgers is not the same as Bad Company with Brian Howe?
Do the people who run KGB not listen to their commercials before they air?
A call to KGB program director Shauna Moran was not returned.