Glenn Gaines should be ashamed of himself. The now-self proclaimed- manager of the Wild Magnolias, after a falling out with the groups founder Bo Dollis over reportedly crooked financial dealings on Gaines part, has continued using the treasured Wild Mags namesake most recently on a west coast tour. Gaines booked a string of California shows for his so called “Wild Magnolias” which cost upwards of 20$ a ticket for a band of no-name NOCCA graduates and a random amalgamation of Mardi Gras Indians none of whom are or ever were part of Dollis’s tribe. What’s more is Gaines has apparently dooped west coast club promoters into believing they are paying for a genuine article of New Orleans culture when they are in fact getting a fabricated figment of Gaines’ own imagination.
I am a New Orleanian who now lives half the year in California. Having spent the last decade of Mardi Gras mornings on Second and Dryades the reader can sympathize with my dismay and anger upon paying 22$ for Gaines’ “Wild Magnolias” who proceeded to regale the crowd with played out versions of Hey-Pokey Way and Big Chief rather than the traditional musical fare one searches out at Sunday Indian practices. In fact the Indians Gaines employed did not even know the words to some of the Wild Mags tunes. So I left the show after about 30min of this contrived display disheartened and confused.
At first I thought I had been a victim of a music business practice, which dates back to the Doo-op groups of the 50’s and 60’s, in which a fake band was created for the specific purpose of touring places that the marquee musicians did not want to. This would have been bad enough for national representations of New Orleans music; however, when I found out that I had been the unwitting victim of Glenn no-talent Gaines ploy to co-opt Dollis’s Wild Magnolias I was disgusted. It is no wonder Monk Boudreaux left the Wild Mags in 2001 over his suspicions that Gaines was not paying the band fairly. Glenn Gaines is the worst kind of perpetrator, one who fills his own coffers by promoting contrived versions of New Orleans to a public too ignorant of the real culture-and too eager to join in that which they are ignorant of-to realize they are being bamboozled. Bo and Gerard Dollis should be heralded as the Wild Magnolias and Glenn Gaines should be called out for what he is: a wolf in feathers and beads.