Who wouldn’t want to be treated like a rock star? People are thrilled to see you, they ask for autographs, they buy you beer or more. The lure of rock stardom is so great that many people try to skip the whole tedious learning music part and aim straight for the top of the charts by borrowing the identity of someone already famous. Here are some real life pop star pretenders. Some are funny, some are sad, and a couple are downright creepy.
1. Faux Bono Poses for Selfies with Dreamforce Attendees
It was a beautiful day for the up-and-comers at the 2013 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco when one of the world’s most famous rock stars, Bono of U2, stopped to greet passers by and pose for pictures. “He was INCREDIBLY nice,” wrote Scott Anderson whose picture you can see by following the link. “Asked him if I could take a photo. He smiles and takes my phone from me and takes two selfies of us together. One was even cool and arty and he took time with it. Then complimented my shirt … What a guy.” He was a cool dude. He just wasn’t Bono. The conference goers who wanted pictures with a rock star still haven’t found what they were looking for.
2. Will You See Rod Stewart on a Downtown Train?
Probably not, but you might see this guy. He is the impostor known as Rockaway Rod who gets free drinks and dinners from people who love the song “Maggie May.” Or then again, maybe it’s not. The man who claims to be the New York fixture says this is not him and that the guy in the picture is an impostor impostor.
Incidentally, have you seen the clip of the Mike Meyers comedy where a bagpipe player at a Scottish wedding does a version of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
3. Is that Lady Gaga or Just a Simulation?
A security firm claimed it was not trying to trick anyone into thinking Gaga was shopping in a Miami mall in 2011 when it sent in look-alike mega church singer Amy Evans surrounded by a team of bodyguards. “If you’ve got a team of guys standing around someone, obviously someone is going to think that they are somebody (famous),” a representative for the security firm told the Miami New Times. “Are we directly trying to achieve a crowd response to what we do? No. But if a crowd does happen to appear, then that’s great. That’s what these students have to be aware of when they become bodyguards.”
4. One of My 30 Aliases is a Member of Creed
Career criminal and con man Kevin Eckenrod (pictured left) decided he might find it easier to run a bar tab as Mark Tremonti of Creed than as an alcoholic drifter with a long rap sheet. Indeed it was, and he charged $160 in drinks to a hotel room he did not occupy. He also received medical care in a hospital as Tremonti and was invited into the home of a fan and helped himself to her credit card. He was arrested and sentenced to 25 months in jail for his rock star act.
5. You Can’t Be Everywhere At Once, Unless You’re MF Doom
If it worked for Milli Vanilli. Oh, wait. The masked rapper MF Doom apparently figured no one would notice if he sent actors to lip sync at performances in his place. When disgruntled fans called him out on it he explained to Rolling Stone that it was really their problem if they didn’t understand conceptual art. “Everything that we do is villain style,” he said. “Everybody has the right to get it or not get it..I tell you one thing: when you come to a Doom show, come expecting to hear music, don’t come expecting to see.” Egotripland compiled a series of videos that they believe are DOOM impostors.
6. It’s Easier to Fake Someone Who’s Never Shown His Face
Drummer Peter Criss (the one who was painted up like a cat) had left Kiss in 1980 before the band took off their trademark makeup (and then put it back on again). So few people could spot a fake Kiss Criss. A decade later the tabloid The Star reported that he was homeless panhandler living underneath a pier in Los Angeles. The down-and-out figure in the tabloid story was actually a homeless man named Chris Dickenson who’d been claiming to be Criss for years. The Star had paid him $500 for his story. The real Peter Criss, not Chris, sued the Star and appeared on The Phil Donahue Show to set the record straight.
7. Frankie Comes from Alabama
A few years ago the 80s pop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, known for their banned-by-the-BBC hit “Relax” made a comeback and with a slightly altered line up toured the U.S. under the name The New Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The slight alterations to the lineup included putting together an entirely new group of Alabama musicians with no connection to the original artists whatsoever. Details. Details.
8. Do Pop Stars Get Free Medical?
Apparently, as this is the second story in our list featuring an anonymous person who posed as a famous musician for the health plan. John Reutcke in 1992 plead guilty to theft after obtaining $18,000 worth of medical care at an Oxnard, California hospital by saying he was pop singer Christopher Cross.
9. The Most Disturbing Case on This List
One of these guys is Harry Styles of One Dimension. The other is a creepy pedophile who wanted to get teenaged girls to send him pornographic photos and videos online by pretending to be Harry Styles.
10. If You’re Ever Arrested, Just Say You’re a Rock Star
I can’t blame the Oakland, Ontario police for thinking this guy was David Lee Roth. Ontario-born David Kuntz described as a “failed musician” and “scam artist” does bear a striking resemblance to the Van Halen frontman. When Kuntz was pulled over for driving recklessly he explained to the officer on duty that he was suffering from a nut allergy, and by the way he was a rock star. He was taken to the hospital, met some nurses there, and invited them to a club where he performed a Van Halen song with a local band. The police eventually did discover their mistake and, oh yeah, that Kuntz had been involved in a murder investigation in the past.
11. If You’re Ever Arrested, Just Say You’re a Rock Star Part II
Jason Michael Hurley had played in a Stone Temple Pilots cover band. (Apparently there is such a thing.) So when he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and shoplifting razors he did some quick thinking and claimed to be Scott Weiland, lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots. The Beverly Hills police sent out a press release announcing a “celebrity arrest.” When the real Weiland read about his supposed incarceration he contacted the media to deny the story. The police initially denied they’d made an error. They said they had done a “physical check” and it was “definitely” him. They continued to hold this position until they actually finger printed the guy in the cell. “Where ya going with that mask I found?”
12. All About the Bass (No Henley)
The moral of Lewis Peter Morgan’s story is: you can get away with impersonating a rock star longer if you pretend to be the bass player. Morgan enjoyed the attention and drinks he got when he regaled people with behind the scenes stories of recording “Hotel California.” For a while he claimed to be Don Henley, but Henley was just a bit too recognizable, especially after he launched a solo career. So Morgan claimed the identity of Randy Meisner
, a bass player who had left The Eagles in 1977. As Meisner he got comped at casinos and was given free musical instruments. As Morgan, he was arrested for fraud in 1998.
13. Nobody Knows Who R.E.O. Speedwagon’s Guitarist Is
A man who claimed to be R.E.O. Speegwagon guitarist Rob Valenti conned a pair of real estate agents and some friends they met at a restaurant out of dinner at a restaurant, an expensive hotel and $300. It was only the next day, when they could not reach their supposed client, that the agents decided to Google R.E.O. Speedwagon and realized that the band didn’t have a member named Rob Valenti. The impostor? He was under the gun so he took it on the run.
14. Auditioning for a Career as a Full Time Psy Impersonator
Dennis Carre (left) made international headlines after he dressed up as the South Korean pop star Psy (right) and rubbed elbows with real life movie stars at the Cannes film festival. He was not trying to get people to buy him drinks or dinner. He just wanted headlines, he told GQ
. It was all a marketing ploy. Now Carre works as a full-time Psy impersonator.
15. The Most Adorable Reason to Pretend to be in a Boy Band
Yes this one is a bit of a cheat, but I wanted to end on something uplifting. In the video below an Australian guy named Dean confesses to his American girlfriend Lauren that he has a secret identity as a member of a boy band
called Fancy. You can see Fancy’s hit song “Abacus” at around the 1:30 mark in this video. Yes, it is a boy band wedding proposal and not only that, “Fancy” uploaded their track to ITunes and sold the recording to raise a bit of cash for the wedding.
If you have enjoyed this list of people who pretended to be rock stars, perhaps you would enjoy the novel Identity Theft
, a fictional account of a pop impostor. One Amazon reviewer described Identity Theft
“We know the dangers posed by people we “meet” on the Internet–they are lurking with the sole intent of siphoning off our life savings. But these threats all focus on what we could lose by trusting strangers. What happens when that unknown gives back something so wonderful it becomes someone’s whole life–and is based on fraud? This is the story of Candi Tavris. She’s bright, educated, attractive, and embarrassed by her own life. She’s deeply aware that she “should” be doing more with herself than living in a trailer park, working as a minor cog in a large company, and wallowing in debt. So when she believes that the rock star she idolizes has responded personally to her fan message, she thinks she has finally found something good in life. Unfortunately for Candi, her correspondence is not with the famous Blast but with a minor employee in his home office–an employee who allows the deception to continue because, ironically, he has come to appreciate all of Candi’s best qualities, despite the fact that their interactions are strictly electronic.”