The man who owns the rights to the Little River Band says the group’s founding trio Beeb Bertles, Glenn Shorrock and Graeham Goble will never play under the name again.
Steve Housden, who joined the band in 1981 – six years after it was formed by Bertles, Shorrock and Goble – has told the Seven Network the trio won’t play for The Little River Band “in this lifetime”.
Housden became the owner of the name after being the last shareholder in a corporate entity established by the band in 1987.
He also owns the exclusive right to the acronym LRB. He told current affair show Sunday Night, on which Shorrock and Bertles both appeared but in separate interviews, the trio abandoned LRB.
“I don’t think they have any rights – if you walk away from the band, you’re abandoning the band,” Housden said.
“I just stayed with the band.”
The US-based Little River Band performs up to 100 shows a year in America, where the group had half a dozen top 10 hits in the 70s and early 80s, and yet not one of the group is an original member.
Shorrock, 70, named the band after passing the town of Little River outside of Geelong, Victoria.
When asked what he hoped happens in the future, Shorrock replied: “That I get to America again. I haven’t got much time left.”
Birtles called LRB a “tribute band” and former manager Glenn Wheatley said fans who go to the shows should be told none of the group are Australian or original members.
The US-based LRB is fronted by American Wayne Nelson who joined the group as a base player in 1980.
He said LRB would not tour Australia because of death threats. “I am not in a tribute band,” Nelson said.
“Believe me, this is deeply emotional to me. “I still to this day get death threats (like), `Don’t come back to Australia because you have stolen this thing from us’.”
He said Bertles, Shorrock and Goble are entitled to talk about their history with the band but not perform under the name.
Bertles said the current Little River Band are a “joke”.
“They’ve gone from being a cover band to a tribute band,” he said.
“It’s a joke, musically.”
The acrimony behind the scenes has again made headlines because LRB was booked to appear on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show in January to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary.
Permission for any song written by Goble, Shorrock, Birtles or David Briggs, who wrote Lonesome Loser and co-wrote Happy Anniversary, was refused for the performance.
The performance was subsequently cancelled.