"Pat Benatar With Neil Giraldo" And The Practicality Of Fucking With Your Brand


First off, just let me say that I love Neil Giraldo.

Sure, these days, he's trying just a little too hard to look like Jesse James' bad-ass dad with all the tats, the wife beaters, and the hair grease, but otherwise the guy can do no wrong in my book.  Need I remind you that Giraldo was laying down some of the most iconic rock riffs of the eighties for singer Pat Benatar back when Katy Hudson and Stefani Germanotta were still only glimmers in their fathers' nut sacks.  That's him playing guitar such monster hits as "Heartbreaker", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "Treat Me Right", "Fire And Ice", and my personal favorite "Shadows Of The Night".

That's also him playing guitar on Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl".  How cool is that?

If that weren't enough, he also produced the sorely underrated John Waite solo album Ignition, which flopped despite great material, propulsive performances by a studio band that included Ivan Kral (Patti Smith, Iggy Pop), Donnie Nossov (bassist in Benatar's band), and ace drummer Frankie LaRocka (David Johansen, Scandal), and an AMAZING production job from Giraldo.

Okay, I guess I do have a bit of a gripe.

Back in 1991, with Benatar still at the top of her game and the band firing on all cylinders, Giraldo came up with the bright idea for Benatar, who was now his wife, to cut a jump blues/swing album.  Being the team player that she is, Benatar obliged and the resulting album, True Love, was a HUGE commercial flop that forever cratered her pop career.

Nice going, Neil.

Ever the trooper, Benatar stood by her man when many others would have kicked him to the curb. A lesser women would have never let him hear the end of it, too.

There's this other thing that kinda irks me.

Not in "Grrr, I hate you" sort of way, but as a fan of iconic brand development.  See, a few years ago, Pat (and Neil) began performing as "Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo".  While it's nice that Benatar wants to see the guitarist with whom she has shared the stage for over thirty years receive the credit she thinks he deserves (even after that whole True Love debacle), but...and this is a big but...nobody really gives a flying fuck about Neil Giraldo.  I don't mean that to sound nearly as cruel as it does.

It would be like Carrot Top performing all through the '80s and '90s under the name "Carrot Top", becoming a household name through a variety of movies, TV appearances, and comedy gigs over the years, and then deciding to start billing himself as "Carrot Top And His Trunk Of Props".  There's no fucking needs tro advertise the box of props.  Anybody familiar with Carrot Top knows that without the props, he's just a little red-headed freak.  Kinda goes without saying

But, hey, why stop there?  Why not just start performing as "Neil Giraldo with Pat Benatar"?  Hell, let him sing all the songs.

Neil, buddy, forgive me for putting it in such terms, but you've been banging one of the absolute hottest women in rock & roll for over thirty years. Plus, you get to be a fucking rock star for a living. Isn't that enough?


Benatar (and Giraldo) performing earlier this year in St. Charles, IL.
Putting on my "business" cap, billing the act as "Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo" when "Pat Benatar" is the brand - the household word, if you will - that everybody knows serves only to dilute brand recognition at a time when the fight for a larger share of the current concert market has never been more challenging.

I actually overheard people discuss  "Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo" in the local concert listings.
"What, is it an acoustic show?"  "Maybe he's the opening act?"  "Oh, maybe it's that hunky guy who sang 'Rico Suave'!". Actual conversation, no lie.

Anyhoo, "Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo" will be performing in the area at Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI (just 90 minutes north of Chicago) on August 8th and chances are you won't be hearing any "Rico Suave".  Tickets are available HERE.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

1 comment:

  1. Agree 100%. Granted this article is few years old now, but fast-forward to 2017 and now it's a TOTO tour, with Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo. Completely unnecessary.

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