Popdose Roundtable: Over-Merchandised Artists

Mike Duquette: I just got back from a lovely vacation at Universal Orlando™, and when not gorging myself on Harry Potter butterbeers, I thought of another great discussion topic for the gang. One of the many overpriced restaurants on property is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, the crown jewel in Buffett’s insane island merchandise-empire. I have no idea how Buffett turned himself from silly, inoffensive musician to the Sarlacc of dollars and cents, but he has to be one of the most over-merchandised artists in rock history.

What other egregious examples of such artists can you think of? KISS is certainly one – aren’t they about to open a Koffeehouse or something?

Brian Boone: Kiss’s coffeehouse is a personal favorite punching bag of mine. The Kiss Koffeehouse is in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in a tourist trap. All the drinks have Kiss-ish names, or employ rock-puns, like the Karamel Rockiato. It’s supposed to be a franchise, but so far, nobody has opened a second location.

Buffett’s also got Cheeseburger in Paradise. And, of course, Stevie Nicks’ Fajita Roundup.

Jeff Giles: Smokey Robinson’s frozen jambalaya always makes me laugh.

Dw. Dunphy: The Beatles are heavily merchandised, but it is different than Gene Simmons’ prodigious ho’ing.

Oh, and I apologize in advance to the Deadheads, but a committed Deadhead will buy ANYTHING Dead-related, even a crappy cover band version of their favorite jammers.

Scott Malchus: We all know Sammy Hagar has a tequila company. I think he makes so much off
of it that he shouldn’t have to work anymore, which really must piss off
Eddie Van Halen.

Jeff: Yeah, but that isn’t “Sammy Hagar Tequila.”

Dave Lifton: I don’t know why Hagar hasn’t started his own line of radar detectors yet.

Boone: Brilliant, Lifton.

Dunphy: For party police: Cabo Wabo Breathalyzers.

Boone: To make sure your little ones don’t drink your Cabo Wabo, put it in your Sammy Hagar Three Lock Box.

Dunphy: Sammy’s three-lock juice box.

Boone: There’s only one way to wok.

Lifton: You win the Internet, Boone.

Jon Cummings: Well, you guys know about Sammy’s Cabo Wabo Cantina on the strip in Vegas, correct? I was in there last summer, late evening on a Friday, and the place had an empty bar/stage area with nobody onstage and next to nobody in the room. There were some folks on the outside balcony, and the service was atrocious and the drinks just as bad.

Lifton: Can we get into a discussion about where Diamond Dave would have a better themed restaurant?

Chris Holmes: There’s a clever comparison to be made there with his music, but it escapes me at the moment.

Annie Logue: I have no Van Halen references.

Years ago, when I lived in SF, one of the shops on Haight Street sold a Chia head that looked like Jerry Garcia. Jerry Gar-Chia, or, the Grateful Head. I sent one to my brother, who was a student at Ohio University at the time. Ohio University, where fun resides until it goes to the University of Chicago to die.

Do you want to include Hot Topic in this discussion? And the millions of suburban high school students in Ramones t-shirts? That’s another band that may have made more off of t-shirts than music.

Finally, I’ll add this: my nieces are/were on a competitive high school dance team. To help pay for the fees, my SIL and BIL have worked the concession stands at the Tweeter Center (or whatever it became) in beautful Tinley Park, IL. When Jimmy Buffett played there, the concession stands sold his Land Shark beer. And my BIL made some nice scratch selling the Land Shark beer banners after the concert to some fans with a lot of money but not much sense or sobriety.

Dan Wiencek: Are we confining the discussion to rock? ‘Cuz there’s this place I’ve heard of called Dollywood … (Truth is I really admire Dolly P. for her business savvy and her forthrightness. But I’d never set foot in Dollywood.)

Jeff: Or the saddest of them all — Chubby Checker Snacks?

Jason Hare: Speaking of, how have we not mentioned Kenny Rogers?

Dunphy: Wow. I genuinely feel sorry for Chubby (and slightly embarrassed) over that one. “*The Last Twist, Inc* was founded in the late 1990’s but has been Chubby’s vision for much longer”… since the diabetes took out his regular vision.

Holmes: Dude, Chubby Checker does ads for fucking Social Security. You cannot get less rock and roll than that.

Matt Springer: I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention the exceptional Hamm & Buble restaurant:.

Jeff: OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, the Kenny Rogers of the 21st century.

Dunphy: Super. Chicken as greasy as his songwriting.

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  • Anonymous

    What about Chicago?

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the “Chicago Projection Pen”:


    How about the Chicago water / sports bottle?

    No again?

    OK.. Only “true fans” of this legendary band that has sold more than 120 million greatest hits records have the Official Chicago Executive Chair:

    Gosh, I remember when they used to be a pretty good rock band. Now they just bastardize their own name and perform the same 14 classic hits over and over.

    At least they have another Christmas CD coming out soon..

    I’m sure we’ll hear it on Mellowmas sooner or later.

  • Culture Brats

    Was just at the Kiss Coffeehouse last weekend. Took a lot of pics, but didn’t give ‘em any of my money.

    BTW, I know he’s not a musical artist, but can we add Kevin Smith to this list? He’s easily the Kiss of the movie world.

  • jefito

    Oh, absolutely. Especially the Dolly Parton duet.

  • Anonymous

    Oh no.. you wouldn’t..
    Wait.. It’s Mellowmas. You would!

  • SB

    I wish my mall had a Roy Orbison Prescription Sunglass Hut. Where they always have cleareyes in stock so you can hide the fact that you’ve been cryyyying behind your prescription sunglasses.

  • toomuchjoy

    I picture a Go-Go’s “Beauty & The Beat” salon or maybe Guns n’ Roses “Appetite For Dinner” frozen dinners. Actually, maybe that would work better for ZZ Top. Then again, a ZZ Top “Eliminator” fiber supplement would go over well, given the average age of their audiences these days.