Friday, August 28, 2015

The Drifter Wars (Process Of Elimination)

Spurred on by recent events with the declaration by ABCs The View during a broadcast where it was claimed that Drifters Legend Charlie Thomas was the only original Drifter alive. Subsequently casting a shadow on the legitimacy of any other bonified member in the brand's history who is still alive today, has brought into play some questions about whether the custodians of the Drifters name care about the historical accuracy in such a statement by a media company who's broadcast are far-reaching and have the potential of damaging not only other legitimate members in the marketplace,
but there own immediate interest. This also fits into the pattern of the continuing Drifter Wars process of elimination. Already the former 3rd golden age members have been locked out of the  marketplace on both sides of the Atlantic. Drifters Legends Rick Sheppard has recently felt the pinch due to the latest broadcast in the media. Meanwhile, the pirates continue to fill the void. In reality, who's interest does all of this serve? No one but those who hijack The Drifters name for their own self-gain. It's also apparent that Mr Thomas and his handlers clearly are not concerned about the historical accuracy of their claims and it also apparent that the name will suffer further damage from the distortion of the historical truth and the lack by those who have legitimate concerns to mount resources towards correcting and join those who have the right interest at heart.

Corner Talk Report (Butch Leake)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rebuttal To The View..(Jukebox)

In rebuttal to your recent screening on the View of Drifters 
Legend Charlie Thomas aired on 7/27/2015. It has been claimed that Mr. Thomas distinctly holds the title as the only original Drifter alive today and subsequently all who may have legitimate claim to some form of the history are phonies. The fact is not taken away from Mr. Thomas credential as one of the Legends of The Drifters It is impossible for him being the only original member as all of the originals have passed on. 
The last being Bill Pinkney who passed away July 4, 2007). Charlie Thomas does hold the distinction of being the last of the original Crowns group who were brought in to replace the original Drifters at the Apollo theater in 1958 when then owner and manager of the Drifters George Treadwell fired the group and replace them with the Crowns. They then became the classic group of the 60s. This has been declared one of the principal golden ages of the Drifters. Yet in reality there were three golden ages of Drifters and Drifter songs. Starting with Clyde McPhatter back in 1953, Ben E. king who also was a member of the Crowns along with Mr. Thomas who some called this period Ben E. King and The Drifters 1958-64. Though Mr. King for the most part did not perform with the group on tour. His voice was used for many of the classic Drifter songs of the period along with Rudy Lewis and Johnny Moore. Another recording member who sang with Mr. Thomas and was brought in to replace Rudy Lewis in 1966 by then manager George Treadwell is Rick Sheppard and is alive and performing in his own review.Rick currently holds a Canadian trademark for the Drifters name.Then there is the third golden age of Drifters and Drifter songs after the Atlantic record period now the Bell Arista Record period who managed to produce 13 Billboard hits from 1972 till the late 80s headed by Johnny Moore, Butch Leake Bill Fredricks Grant Kitchings, Joe Blunt and Clyde Brown. Three lineup members are still alive from this period. The fact is the Drifters have had more than 60 members who have come through its lineup since 1953. The claim to an original member can only be designated to the period that a member served in the three golden song periods. Yes all the members mentioned are recording members of the Legendary brand.The trademark to the Drifters brand is still owned by theTreadwell family and licensed worldwide by PMG Music UK.For historical references on the Drifters log into
or write to:
Read the latest comments over at The Drifters Legends Clubhouse

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

D Legends Universe Magazine (Third Golden Music Era)

Coming Soon D Legends Universe International Fan Club Magazine Issue No 4
by Butch Leake
The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake
This is a historical magazine dedicated to the body of work that has been left and the men who came through the ranks of the brand during different periods of its tumultuous history. Here you will find all that is authentic in the history of The Legends, the people and organizations that spawned the formation of this musical dynasty that has lasted over 6 decades. This issue focuses on in part
The Third Golden Age period of Drifter music, The Atlantic Golden Age Music Writers, Drifters Legend Rudy and much more.

Monday, May 25, 2015

D Legends Universe Magazine (Only In America)

Coming Soon D Legends Universe International Fan Club Magazine Issue No 3
by Butch Leake
The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake
This is a historical magazine dedicated to the body of work that has been left and the men who came through the ranks of the brand during different periods of its tumultuous history. Here you will find all that is authentic in the history of The Legends, the people and organizations that spawned the formation of this musical dynasty that has lasted over 6 decades.
Visit The Book Store at


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

D Legends Universe (Fan Club Magazine)

Coming Sept 1, 2015 D Legends Universe International Fan Club Magazine Issue No 2
by Butch Leake
The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake 
This is a historical magazine dedicated to the body of work that has been left and the men who came through the ranks of the brand during different periods of its tumultuous history. Here you will find all that is authentic in the history of The Legends, the people and organizations that spawned the formation of this musical dynasty that has lasted over 6 decades.


Monday, April 27, 2015

D Legends Universe Magazine

The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake
The International Fan Club Magazine... 
This is a historical magazine dedicated to the body of work that has been left and the men who came through the ranks of the brand during different periods of its tumultuous history. Here you will find all that is authentic in the history of The Legends, the people and organizations that spawned the formation of this musical dynasty that has lasted over 6 decades.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Drifter Wars "Dark Forces"

The entertainment industry has many abnormalities as pertaining to some of the practices that abide within. Though Nothing more unscrupulous than some the players in this high stake game for money and power. The ongoing Drifter Wars continue to reveal the lengths at which people will go for the treasures that are at stake for the winners. Currently, the global proliferation of Drifter shows has risen to a feverous level of participants from every quarter. The rise in tribute acts and outright pirate operation has for the most part completely swamped the legitimate acts in the marketplace. Who would even believe that the lengths that some of these acts and their handlers would even extend to The US White house Yes! the white house and the then President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton were entertained at their inaugural ball by these fraudulent operations. Recently a new promotional video showed up on youtube advertising the 2015 US tour of the Drifters. It reports legitimate members are back in the saddle with a series of clips showing past shows including that of performances to the US President, all by bogus Drifter groups with a couple of legitimate member clips thrown in between. This video seems to be in direct response to the Treadwell / PMG video advertising the 2015 Drifter rebranding tour which was just launch in the UK. This charade of bold declaration and use of the trademark name hovers with the order of Dark Forces behind the scene of front men and smoke and mirrors to disguise the culprits. We will be monitoring this recent development and report the findings as they surface.


For all the latest information log into The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Anthology" The Drifters Legends

Coming Soon!!
A Drifters Legends Clubhouse Publication....
Anthology The Drifters Legends
The Drifters Legends History, Music and Photographic Legacy by Butch Leake


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Piracy! Its Effect On Music Industry Landscape

Though legal sales of recorded music continue to suffer from widespread music piracy, the popularity of live music appears to be enjoying an unprecedented boom. Licensing and live music are now the principal sources of revenue for musicians, not recorded music sales. Superstars through their 360 deals with their recording labels can generate 95% of the performance income from touring. It is hard to ignore that ticket prices have increased, particularly among superstar performers though opinion is divided on why. There are many questions that arise from seeing how the relationship between live music and recorded music has changed, where undoubtedly it seems that recorded music now drives sales of live music and not the other way around. This is something worth examining in detail, especially in how it relates to music piracy. in one study it has been observed that exposure to recorded music (whether acquired legally or illegally) motivates concert attendance. Yes! piracy has a negative effect on certain parts of the music industry but has its benefits when it comes to live music.It can be said that there is a direct relationship to the increase in ticket sales due to piracy in that the industry makes up for its losses in recorded music sales. The other variable is in ticket scalping which has had a great effect on the cost of seeing your favorite artist.  This secondary ticket market, largely facilitated by the internet, exploits fans' desire to see their favourite artists and the fact there are only limited tickets available for any given performance.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Piracy "The Legal Framework"

A practical view of intellectual property piracy!

The term “intellectual property piracy” may be defined as the unauthorized use, distribution, and/or sale, for commercial gain, of material or works in which the Intellectual Property rights belong to another. The phrase “intellectual property rights” generally refers to the proprietary rights which benefit the creator or authorized owner of a trademark, copyright, patent and/or an industrial design.

"Piracy" includes the reproduction and distribution of copies of copyright-protected material, or the communication to the public and making available of such material on on-line communication networks, without the authorization of the right owner(s) where such authorisation is required by law. Piracy concerns different types of works, including music, literature, films, software, video games, broadcasting programs and signals.

"Piracy" is the popular term used to describe the phenomenon. However, national copyright legislations generally do not include a legal definition. Today, the only international legal instrument in the copyright arena which provides a definition of "piracy" is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights  (TRIPS Agreement):

"Pirated copyright goods shall mean any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorised by the rightsholder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation".

Traditionally, piracy concerned the unauthorised reproduction and distribution of physical copies of protected works, on a commercial scale or with a commercial purpose. However, the rapid development of the Internet and the massive unauthorised on-line use of protected content, where the "commercial" element is often missing, have given rise to a lively debate. The question whether such use constitutes "piracy" and should be treated in the same way as traditional piracy is at the heart of the current copyright debate.  Different, and often diverging, points of view are being put forward and the answer to the question differs from one country to another.

Apart from its traditional definition, piracy also refers to copyright violations. Committed both in the United States and abroad, this form of piracy includes the unauthorized storage, reproduction, distribution, or sale of intellectual property—for example, music CDs, movie videocassettes, and even fashion designs. The term has been applied, in particular, to the piracy of computer software, which is highly susceptible to theft because of its ease of duplication. Estimates of the cost to copyright holders ranges in the billions of dollars annually. U.S. law protects copyright holders under the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C.S. § 109 [1993]), and a 1992 federal law makes software piracy a felony (Pub. L. No. 102-561, 106 Stat. 4233, codified at 18 U.S.C.A. § 2319 [1988 & 1992 Supp.]). Since the 1990s, a number of international treaties and conventions, as well as diplomatic initiatives, have sought to forge greater cooperation among nations to combat such piracy.


Sunday, March 8, 2015


Within the entertainment industry, there is a growing market for tribute acts. This expanding phenomena is growing by leaps and bounds on both sides of the Atlantic and has in many ways become the prime source of revenue for many agent, promoters, and upstart artist. The question one might ask is where do these acts cross the line when it becomes obvious an invasion of copyright and trademark rights is apparent. According to wiki Pedia A tribute act is a music group, singer, or musician who specifically plays the music of a well-known music act - sometimes one which has disbanded, ceased touring or is deceased. Probably the largest class of tributes acts is Elvis impersonators, individual performers who mimic the songs and style of Elvis Presley. However, most tribute acts are groups (tribute band or tribute group) and are tributes to a group. For example, The Iron Maidens are an all-female band that pays tribute to Iron Maiden. A tribute band does not include members of the original band whose music is being honored. If a member is included in a band performing the music of their original group, the band is seen as a spin-off band rather than a tribute band. However, guest appearances do occur. Many tribute bands, in addition to playing the music of an artist or group, also try to emulate the vocal styles and overall appearance of that group, to make as close an approximation as possible. However, in some cases the tribute act consciously introduces a twist on the original act. For example, Dread Zeppelin plays Led Zeppelin songs in a reggae style with a lead singer dressed up as Elvis Presley while Gabba performs the songs of ABBA in the style of The Ramones. Then there are the pirate outfits who maliciously take the name of original groups and unsuspecting to much of the public past themselves as the real article claiming to have members that have served in a given period with the group. This growing scourge has become lately a serious problem for many of the great acts who have come out of the early years such as the 50s 60s and 70s. You might call it and outright looting of the fortunes that should have gone to the real members of these acts, yet help none other but the looters themselves. Try and picture musical groups such as The Drifters who over the years have had as many as 60 members or more. Out of this, a number of spinoff groups have emerged. From this scores of hybrid acts from which the only claim is they worked with an original member or had some association. They now tote the title Tribute yet Tribute is in small letters and The Drifters is posted boldly on their promotional material. Then there are the outright pirates who with no regards for trademark rights and false claims being that of one or more of the members within the historical line of the act hoodwinks the public into thinking they have legitimacy.This is nothing but piracy.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Drifter Wars "Battle For Supremacy"

Call it what you may! But the Drifter wars have been going on for as long as the name Drifters have been in existence. Not long after 1958, Bill Pinkney was having much displeasure with the Treadwell management with disputes over money issues. The disputes eventually would lead to a breakup and formation of splinter groups which have plagued the organization ever since. The Drifters for the most part became one of the  most unstable outfits in showbiz history. Yet this change of personnel over the years became somewhat the hallmark of success but sadly has been destructive to it's members through in fighting for supremacy for the top group in the marketplace. It has also created a host of hybrid, pirate and tribute acts which have lent to the erosion of the brand as we have known it. Pinkney as road manager had a better grasp of the financial situation than any other member of the group, and was always fighting with management for more money for the singers. As soon as the old drifters were fired by Treadwell at the Apollo Theatre he wasted no time forming a new group composed of original members Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher and Little David Baughan who would replace Clyde McPhatter who at the time was busy with a solo career. They would call themselves The Original Drifters. Looking at the facts! though Treadwell had now formed a new group of Drifters from the Crowns. Bill Pinkneys Original Drifters who had recorded such songs as "Honey Bee" and "Know Sweet lovin" in 1955, musically had more right to the name, though the Crowns were the legal group using it. Pinkney in 1978 finally officially won his right to the use of the name The original Drifters after a succession of singers over the years. Sadly Bill Pinkney, last of the original Drifters and first of the Original Drifters, passed away on July 4, 2007 at age 81.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Common Exploitation

Can it be a wonder why I am so disturbed over what I'm seeing in the marketplace when it come to the proliferation of Drifters acts around the world and particularly in what I'm seeing in the UK today. Never really thought the problem would develop there as it has developed in other parts of the world particularly the United States. Then there is the use of our names by acts who have really never had any association with the original member's but hoodwink the fan base as if that was the case. Let me be clear! When I say original members I mean recording members of The Drifters or that of any act that is going through the same exploitation. I constantly hear the excuse that we are keeping the music alive as if the music is dead. Give me a break! As I have said on many occasions, this exploitation has become a cottage industry for many out there to include promoters, agents and artist. In all honesty, the problems that are so prominent now began with the original handlers when they created the employee status of hire and fire which caused members to form new acts around themselves. The problem with this was the members of these acts who never were part of the original lineups formed hybrid act which continued to morph. Now it's out of control with everyone trying to sue each other for a use of a name. Yet those who should benefit from any of this sit on the sidelines watching the madness. In the United states legislation has tried to come up with a fix to all of this under The Truth In music doctrine which states, there should be at least one original member that is recording member in the act to have any legitimacy. Though it works to a certain degree it hasn't stopped the proliferation of so-called dubious tribute acts and name poachers. the other grey area is trade names wholly owned by corporate entities who can stick anyone in there who they please circumventing the whole legislation.


Monday, February 9, 2015

D Legends Resurrection
E-mail us at thedrifterslegendsclubhouse

So what has happened to the Drifters Legends? A very interesting question due to all the would be Drifter outfits out in the market place trading on the name and the work of the original members who some at this very day and time can't earn a living in what they do best. It seems that there is a general consensus among many of the fans that there are know more original members out there anymore! so the market place has been filled with would be pirate acts, tribute bands etc.
The fact is much of the generation in this day an time have never seen or heard the men who were the pioneers of the music that they have grown to love and just except things as they are without checking on the authenticity of the acts they go to see. In many cases thinking they are seeing the original article. True many of the recording members are gone now but there are a handful who still exist among us and are still capable of carrying on the true tradition of the music as it was noted for.
Currently, D Legends is revving up for a return to stage in the next year or so. The members include half of the original Bell Arista Recording members who gave you such songs as There Goes My First Love, Love Games, Kissing In The Back Row Of The Movies, Down on The Beach Tonight and Your More Than A Number In My Little Red Book. Plus many more of the great hits that you know and grew to love. Then there are the Atlantic group members who continue to perform in this day and time Charlie Thomas, Bobby Hendricks, Rick Sheppard and the Legendary Ben E King all of which are also the recording members from the Atlantic years. So if you are looking for authenticity stay tuned to what will be coming out from The Drifters Legends Clubhouse. You can log into the Clubhouse website for on going national, world events and all that is happening in the Legends Universe. The Address there is You can also email us at