Music Opinion

Cancellations and legal battles try to bring the groove down

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(Left-right) John Fogerty, Groovin' the Moo, Don Henley (Screenshots via YouTube)

Amongst news of artists and festivals being dropped, the Eagles are taking memorabilia dealers to court over alleged theft of some of the band's history. David Kowalski delves into the latest drama in the music world.

John Fogerty withdrawn from Country Fest 2024

Just in (at the time of writing) is news that Country Fest in North Queensland has announced that John Fogerty, frontman and songwriter for legendary band Creedence Clearwater Revival has withdrawn from the lineup unexpectedly...

… or has he?

The official statement from Country Fest says that Fogerty won’t be attending due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. However, according to the legend himself, whatever these circumstances are, they’re news to him. He has put out a statement and a video on Instagram saying that he is ready and willing to play at the festival, and he has no idea what has happened.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Fogerty (@johnfogerty)

Since then, Country Fest has hit back, saying that negotiations between the organisers and Fogerty’s team broke down, communication ceased on 23 February 2024 and that the dispute is, for some unknown reason, due to be heard in the Queensland Supreme Court later in March.

Within all this “he said/we said” stuff is the truth and it will come out in a court near you sometime soon.

Groovin’ The Moo cancelled

While we’re on the subject of festivals, popular regional festival Groovin’ The Moo has been cancelled for 2024 in its entirety. Organisers blame slow initial sales, saying that “ticket sales have not been sufficient to deliver a regional festival of this kind”.

That’s an interesting position to take, in my view, considering that tickets were only on sale for a week.

By comparison, the 2023 event in the Sunshine Coast sold out in the first five days of going on sale, as reported in The Guardian. Is waiting three more days before pulling the pin sufficient?

The issue is not as straightforward as it seems. Even though in the last couple of weeks, we have seen major tours locally by Taylor Swift, Blink 182, Slash and Miles Kennedy, as well as Queens of the Stone Age — have gig-goers blown all their dough on the overseas visitors instead? Was the lineup too broad and varied? Perhaps there wasn’t enough money from all those initial ticket sales to grease all the wheels of the machine that runs such a large festival.

Some regional venues are expected to feel a major blow from this withdrawal, with Bendigo claiming that its local economy would miss out on a boost of upwards of $1 million. Let’s hope it can recover for future years.

Hotel California in the courts

Don Henley of the Eagles and the band’s long-standing manager, Irving Azoff, are in court this week as they sue three memorabilia dealers for trying to sell a series of “legal pads” — notebooks with handwritten sketches and notes that were rough drafts of some of the band’s most famous songs, including ‘Hotel California’.

Don Henley and the Eagles Recording Company are notoriously litigious and seem to go after anyone for misappropriating their intellectual property. Henley has admitted to paying up to 60 people a full-time wage to search the internet for what he calls “unlawful usage” of Eagles music. This case was always heading for trial.

The story goes that towards the end of the 1970s, Henley and his songwriting partner, Glenn Frey, gave author and member of counterculture folk band The FugsEd Sanders, access to these materials to assist him in writing a biography of the band.

In the end, Sanders’ book was never published and he never returned the materials to Henley. Sanders later sold them on to collectors for $50,000 and they were resold by Sotherby’s auctions for upwards of $90,000 about 20 years later — which is how the defendants got hold of them.

There are all sorts of accusations of conspiracies and cover-ups being thrown around, and this is a story I’ll be looking closely at. Warm up the popcorn, as nobody is going down without a fight.

Public Opinion Afro Orchestra — Shake That Off

It has been remiss of me not to have known that, in the first half of 2023, one of the coolest acts on the Melbourne funk and soul scene (yes, there actually is one!), the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, had released a new 12” single. The orchestra had been rather quiet of late – or so I thought – and as such, I missed this momentous event.

Its most recent release prior to this was the Naming and Blaming album in 2018.

The 12-piece group (or sometimes it can feature as many as 21 members on stage) trades in a mixture of heavy Fela Kuti-inspired African rhythms and funky grooves, with soul-infused horns and American hip-hop style vocals.

I still regard their 2011 single Mr Clean as one of the best Australian-produced singles of the entire last decade and this new track, ‘Shake That Off’, is nine minutes of utter fireball power to ignite a dancefloor right where you’re standing.

Until next time...

LISTEN TO THIS WEEK'S SPECIALLY CURATED PLAYLIST BELOW:

David Kowalski is a writer, musician, educator, sound engineer and podcaster. His podcasts 'The Sound and the Fury Podcast' and 'Audio Cumulus' can be heard exclusively here. You can follow David on Twitter @sound_fury_pod.

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