1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TalkBass iphone/android app is NOT WORKING currently. We're working on it. Tapatalk IS working, so if you need to use an app, use Tapatalk. Try using your browser though - TalkBass is now 100% responsive to your phone/tablet screen size ;)

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Can a Tribute Band succeed without the costumes?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mrpackerguy, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've seen a few, shall we say, "community performing art center" level tribute performances...Beatles, Hank Williams, Queen.

    In all instances, the band not only did a good job sounding like the band or artist, but they sort of played the part with mannerisms and costuming.

    My question is whether a tribute band could be successful covering the music as convincingly as possible, without the band dressing up, acting like, and having instruments similar to, the original artist? I think a band like a Steely Dan Tribute band could get away with this more easily than a Kiss Tribute band, for example.

    I've been wondering about something like "An Evening of the Music of Elvis" where perhaps the music is played faithfully as possible, the singer imitates Elvis exceptionally well, but without the jumpsuits, etc. The band could dress say, in jeans and rolled up white t-shirts and wayfarer sunglasses, and maybe in bell bottoms or something 70s looking for a 2nd set. And maybe there'd be sort of stage-set type items like a jukebox or something corny. Maybe even use those 50's looking stage microphones. Is the Elvis costuming so extremely vital to the tribute aspect for the lead singer, that it couldn't really be done any other way?
  2. bobm2112

    bobm2112 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I doubt these guys worry about dressing up

  3. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd say for your Elvis thing you'd be okay. The guy would need to get his moves down and sound like him, but as for the costumes there's already too many Elvis impersonators as it is. I think it would go over really well.

    And you're right, it depends on the band. A Kiss one without costumes or pyro probably wouldn't go too well.
  4. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Likes Received:
    0
    Beatles -no KISS-no The Police-yes Cream-yes
  5. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Only one I'd have to disagree with is The Beatles. We've taken the Fab Faux's approach & carved out a pretty nice niche for ourselves.
  6. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Likes Received:
    0
    I love it you're right I love the music I don't care how it's performed I will take back the Beatles sir.
  7. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    4
    I think it depends how authentic you want to be.

    Me? I'm all for playing the music and dressing however I want.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Depends on the band. If the band is defined by a look I think you have to invest in that part of the production.

    Blue
  9. Factor88

    Factor88

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
  10. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think I'm hearing it could be done. I'm thinking there would have to be some sort of show element to it, if the band is not going to go all out authentic costume-wise. But some sort of historical retrospective, or one of the guys being sort of the Emcee. Like a decade by decade sort of thing.
  11. darren1970

    darren1970

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm in the process of putting together a Motley Crue tribute band ( yeah, I know :) ) and to me the costumes/stage image is pretty important.
  12. the yeti

    the yeti

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    in my opinion the costumes are the single biggest "fail" element of the tribute equation.
  13. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is all so subjective. Anything that even has a whiff of Las Vegas about it turns me off, but they get what, about a cajillion visitors a year? They must be doing something right...
  14. ajpaul59

    ajpaul59

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    We don't do the costume thing but have had pretty good success in the Philly, South Jersey area.

    Attached Files:

  15. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    A few months ago, I saw a Van Halen tribute band. Except for the bassist, all members wore outfits similar to what you might have seen VH wearing. I found him distracting. I think at the very least, all members of a tribute band should agree on the costume issue.
  16. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    0
    You got the instruments though!
  17. ajpaul59

    ajpaul59

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, and we try to play and sing the music note for note. We switch vocal parts dependant on which voice can carry the song best (often switch parts mid song) to get as close as possible. As has been discussed in other threads, we have no John, Paul, George, or Ringo and we're not what would be called a "wig" or lookalike band but we get as much work as we want and always play to a full house locally.
  18. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is it more of a show type atmosphere, or are you playing clubs, and how many sets do you do/total hours?
  19. JoeVictim

    JoeVictim

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you are a cover band, no costumes needed. If you are a tribute band, at least wear era appropriate clothing.

    Would a KISS trib go on looking like dudes off the street, or looking like KISS?
  20. nicoli

    nicoli

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think the costumes are a 'must', but I do think they add to the overall show if they're done well. I think it also depends on what type of venues you're looking to play. If you're just playing the local pub or something then nailing the music is likely all you need to do. If you're trying to play large clubs or theatres, I'd expect costumes and stage sets.

    For that Elvis example, maybe you don't nail the look perfectly but at least you have a cohesive image on stage. That's important no matter what the band is.

Share This Page