The ‘Dead Musician Hologram’ Debate Rages On: Hologram Dennis Wilson Is a ‘Not Right Now,’ Hologram Freddie Mercury Is a ‘No’

Dr. Dre might have said he’s not taking Hologram Tupac on the road, but we all knew that wouldn’t be the end of the conversation. The Pandora’s Box has been opened; whatever horrors lie inside have forever been unleashed onto the world. TLC were actually the first to jump on the bandwagon: their upcoming tour will feature the apparition of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, whether we like it or not. And this approach for hologram usage –- reuniting a band with its deceased member –- would appear to be the logical first step for this brave new world of ghost concerts. First a bunch of acts that have lost a member get back together, so that we know definitively the unholy abomination that stands before us has at least been approved by people that were, at least at one point, close to the artist being resurrected. Second, faceless corporations get into the act and begin buying up posthumous live rights, and then manipulating the mass-less limbs of the digitized forms of our long-gone solo heroes – the Elvises, the Frank Sinatras, the Michael Jacksons — like so many maniacal puppeteers. So: Is everyone cool with that?

Billboard, admirably doing the nitty-gritty, has begun the process of querying the industry on the hot-button issue. Yesterday, we heard from the Beach Boys:

The 40-city [reunion] tour will take the band’s members to bigger venues than in recent years, including headlining performances at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. To honor Carl and Dennis Wilson’s contributions (Dennis died in 1983, [Carl in 1998]), the band will play alongside videos of the late founding Beach Boys during a tribute in the show. “We haven’t gotten the holograms together yet,” joked [David] Marks, referencing the hologram of late rapper Tupac Shakur that appeared at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival earlier in April. [Itals ours because, duh, come on].

Queen’s guitarist Roger Taylor also weighed in:

Taylor says he’ll never play alongside any similar image of the late Freddie Mercury. “I don’t think I want to,” Taylor told Billboard.com during a conference call with reporters to promote The Queen Extravaganza road show, which launches its eight-week run on May 26 in Quebec City. “Were somebody (else) to use a hologram of Freddie, I would have no objection… It just doesn’t sit too well with me. I don’t want to appear with a hologram of my dear friend. It’s the real one or no hologram for me.”

OK, every other musician in the music industry that has ever performed alongside a now-deceased person – what do you think?

Filed Under: Queen, Raising the Dead, Tupac

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad