• Chris P James

A Brief Look At The Recent History Of The Burrito Brothers

In 2009 Del Taylor, a record man from England, told my brother, Fred James, who he knew as a Nashville producer, that he’d like to put out a new Burrito Brothers album. He’d learned that Burrito DeLuxe had called it quits. His take was that there always came another Burrito Brothers out of ashes of the last. Fred got the cool idea that he’d call the closest to original members still alive. That meant Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Rick Roberts, Al Perkins and Gene Parsons. They each told Fred that they’d do it if Chris Hillman did.

After Hillman declined, Taylor was still interested, “if not them who is the best choice?” His requirements were for the group to trademark the name and make a good album for a deal to go forth.

To trademark a band name, the government requires showing usage. The rights would not have been granted to me back in 2009 if there hadn’t been a working band. It’s pretty specific. You can’t just “own” the name in trademarks. There are other “owners” who use the same name in businesses such as restaurants and anything else that isn’t a musical group. That isn’t seen as conflicting.

Chris Hillman registered the logo: “The Flying Burrito Bros.” in a certain font. He chose not to prove he had a working group of musicians. After declining to be involved, Hillman didn’t object to us using the name as long as it didn’t include the word “flying”. He had been offered complete leadership. The band would’ve been run by him, his choice as to who was hired or fired. He said it was more than he wished to deal with. Critics might be a drag. Trying to recapture something could be easier said than done. All that baggage. If he was to “go back” it’d be The Byrds. They had huge hits. He’s happy with his career the way it is. And the “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” 50th anniversary tour proved he was right.

These current Burrito Brothers are different. We’re still hungry. This is the best it’s ever felt for me. I’m a different Chris, but we are the BBs. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord.

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