Rickey Medlocke, one of the founding members of Blackfoot, re-formed the band a couple of years ago, but he did so using four young guys who had never had anything to do with Blackfoot before. Rickey’s not in the band. Also, he sent legal notices to Charlie Hargrett, original Blackfoot guitarist, and Greg T. Walker, original Blackfoot bassist, telling them to “cease and desist” from using the name Blackfoot. Rickey, Charlie, and Greg are the only 3 original members still living. Rickey’s making more money with Lynyrd Skynyrd, so he’s chosen not to tour with Blackfoot, so in essence, what right does he have to tell Charlie and Greg that they can’t use the name? Granted, Rickey did the biggest majority of the writing, and he kept the band going through the 80’s and 90’s, but once he threw Blackfoot aside, just for a bigger paycheck with Skynyrd, to me, he forfeits his say in the matter. Years ago, all four original members signed an agreement, saying they wouldn’t use the name Blackfoot, unless all four original members were there. When fans demanded a reunion in 2004, Greg, Charlie, and Jackson Spires (original drummer) contacted Rickey to see if he would be interested. Rickey passed on the offer, so Greg, Charlie, and Jackson called former member Bobby Barth to take Rickey’s place. That lineup was intact, until Jackson’s passing in 2005. Christoph Ullman, Mark McConnell, Michael Sollars, and Scott Craig were to follow on the drums, after Jackson. Aside from Bobby Barth’s emergency neck and shoulder operation in 2006, when Jay Johnson stepped in, the core lineup of Bobby, Greg, and Charlie remained. In 2010, Bobby Barth was sidelined for neck surgery. The band’s website claimed it was back surgery, but during an interview I conducted with Bobby in November of 2010, he told me it was really neck surgery. Due to the extensive touring Blackfoot does, Bobby made the decision to leave the band, to hopefully help his neck heal. Mike Estes, former member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was asked to step in. In 2011, Randy Peak replaced Charlie Hargrett, following Charlie’s “cease and desist”. Greg T. Walker was the last one to get the “cease and desist” from Medlocke, forcing the entire lineup to stop in 2012. Then, Rickey took over with an all new lineup, featuring no original or previous members. After watching live videos of the current “Blackfoot”, I noticed that these young guys are saying things like “We are Blackfoot.” and “This is from our Strikes album.” The album, Strikes, came out in 1979, mind you. The frontmen, of which there have been many since Medlocke put them on the road, even copies stage antics and rambling in-between songs, just like Rickey did in the 80’s. Essentially, Rickey Medlocke, in my eyes, is erasing the entire history of Blackfoot.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS announced plans to make a similar move, a few years ago.
The question I have to ask is: At what point will the fans speak up and say that enough is enough? At what point will the fans refuse to buy the records or go to the shows? We may never know. Sadly, until we, as fans and investors into these artists, wise-up, we’ll keep getting things handed to us that we don’t want, but eventually get convinced that we NEED. Rickey would like us to think we NEED a new Blackfoot. Gene and Paul would like us to think we NEED a new KISS, when they retire from the road. In reality, what we NEED is for the original members to bury all the hatchets they may have, and get back together at least one last time FOR THE FANS!
Here’s the Blackfoot lineup that I saw, with Bobby Barth and Scott Craig joining Charlie and Greg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_r8VsiNe2U
Here’s the new “Blackfoot” that Rickey put together with young hired guns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHI3NbCB7Yo