Kay wants fans to know song a clone
London Free Press
Photo: Lynn Goldsmith
John Kay of Steppenwolf showed how inherently cool he still is at age 60 as he leapt on stage at Roy Thomson Hall on Wednesday night, during the televised Canada Walk of Fame ceremony, to finish singing his band’s signature tune, Born to Be Wild, alongside guitarist Colin James. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he too was disturbed to hear Born to Be Wild on last week’s FOX-TV reality show The Simple Life, starring blond socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie driving across country in a pink truck with a trailer hitched to the back.
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on motorcycles in Easy Rider, they so aren’t.
“That’s not us,” Kay said earlier this week, leading up to getting his star on the Walk. “I wouldn’t have signed off on that. They came to me and I said no. There are certain things even a rock ‘n’ roller will not stoop to and this is one of them.”
Turns out, it is Steppenwolf sound-alikes on the song written by Mars Bonfire.
“Here’s how it works,” said Kay. “Bette Midler, who has bigger testicles than most men, took the Ford Motor Company all the way to the Supreme Court, years ago, and won a landmark case that had to do with sound-alike recordings. Consequently, (FOX) went and did a very dangerous close sound-alike (of Born to Be Wild). They sent me an MP3 file and I listened to it and I thought, ‘Well, you know, if we’re standing in court, depending on whether you have a jury or a judge, and they’re tone-deaf or whatever, it’s going to be so borderline.’ And at this point in my life, I pick my battles very carefully. So I’d rather inform the public that, if they care one way or the other about that, it’s not us.”