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Classic rock tribute band ideas

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Zephrant, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    My county cover band is doing fine, but I do get some venues that tell me they do classic rock only, including my favorite ski hill bars. I don't want to start yet another classic rock cover band, but I would be interested in doing a solid tribute band. I'd even do the period gear and garb.

    I have a great drummer and lead guitarist, and my adequate bass skills already lined up. I just made contact with a classically trained female vocalist that would be available and I think I can scare up a keyboardist if needed.

    My first ideas was the Steve Miller Band (this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/threads/steve-miller-tribute-band.1132545/ ) but I'm open to other ideas.

    I'm not much of a shredder, so VanHalen and similar are beyond my skills. I also don't want to compete against already established tribute bands in the area, although the only ones I've found locally are VanHalen and the Beattles, both of which are reported to be pretty sad.

    My goal is to put together a two hour set of songs, and pitch that to private events or split a night with another tribute band at the local concert event every 2-3 months.

    So any great tribute band ideas that would fly in the Pacific NW?
  2. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    How about a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers tribute band?
    Zephrant likes this.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I think it would be a blast to play in a CCR tribute band. The vast majority of "classic rock" bores me these days, but somehow I never get tired of CR tunes.

    Other advantages are that (1) they have tons of danceable tunes that everyone knows and can sing along with -- great crowd pleasers -- and (2) the songs are easy to learn and not technically difficult, so it wouldn't take long to get such a band up to speed and sounding great.
  4. That's a great idea for a tribute, just "Don't Come Around Here No More" here in New England. We've got that scene covered.

  5. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Instead of doing only one band, perhaps you could focus on a sub-genre of what is otherwise just "classic rock". For example, you could focus on psychadelic sixties (Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, et. al.) or British Invasion (Beatles, Stones, Animals, Yardbirds, et. al.), Southern Rock, Prog Rock, etc. This would give you a lot more flexibility in song choices, but still allow you to distinguish yourselves from all the other classic rock cover bands.

    Not quite the same thing, but I have a friend that was in a '80's hair band "tribute". The costumes worked across many bands, and they weren't limited to just a single band's music.
    Zephrant and Hamish MacCleod like this.
  6. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    Instead of a tribute band, what about a One Hit Wonders band? Only play hits by bands that had just one hit. That'd be broad musically, and not something you see very often.
    P.S. Just don't call yourselves the Oneders [Wonders].
    Zephrant likes this.
  7. BazzTard

    BazzTard Inactive

    You can't do a Steve Miller band tribute, what, play one song? OK three songs?

    Tribute bands need to be of huge acts, to cover 3 sets worth of material. Or just do a coverband, like everyone else, but with a connecting theme, either style, period or sound.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Why does a tribute band need to cover 3 sets worth of material?
    bolophonic likes this.
  9. We played a gig last night that had three sets. Luckily Tom Petty has a very deep catalog.
  10. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    That's cool, but I wasn't suggesting that a tribute band couldn't have three sets worth of material; I was only questioning whether it was necessary. For example, OP suggested he might want to split bills with another band. It also seems to me that for many gigs that require three sets, it might be cool to follow two tribute-band sets with a third set of different stuff to mix it up.
  11. snarebear


    Apr 19, 2012
    I think a tribute band that plays 2 or 3 sets as 2 or 3 bands with costume changes would be cool.
    Zephrant and Lobster11 like this.
  12. Realistically a tribute needs enough material to play a classic long theatre set - which here in the UK means 2 x 60 minutes. This is the longest we consider, with 2 x45 being much more commonly asked for. For the corporate stuff, it's perhaps a single 60 or 45, or maybe two 30s, or these sorts of combinations. The big trouble is with an act that just doesn't have that quantity of material, and some really don't. Sure - you can play the filler stuff from albums but if nobody knows the stuff apart from the aficionados what's the point? Apart from being in one, I see loads of other tributes, and by far the most interesting ones are when they split the years - so for the first set they do the early years in the appropriate clothes, then they move to the later years and in the second spot, have 'aged'.

    This also helps the age gap in the audience.

    One tribute I got to now well did Queen, but then started an ELO tribute - they often do a half and half, and it seems to work pretty well. The only snag seems to be how far do you take it? Some have the attitude that they are a tribute to excellent music, and they are not, for example attempting to be Freddie Mercury, while others, like one truly awful one we worked with had a lead singer who insisted on being called Axel - and was a real tosser, who seemed to be hated by the band too - however, he did sing like him, but was sadly, a joke!

    If you merge in multiple bands, then it's not really a tribute, just a kind of 'homage' to the period, and tricky to make good on the advertising.
    blindrabbit and Zephrant like this.
  13. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    Not true.Steve Miller has plenty of Greatest hits material.
    Good idea. I saw a band that did this for 80s spandex rock. It lets you expand the song pool.
    Tanner5382 likes this.
  14. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    Zephrant likes this.
  15. Since you think you have a trained female lead, how about a "Women In Rock" theme?
    blindrabbit and Zephrant like this.
  16. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Are you serious?

    I'm actually a big fan of Michael Anthony, but VanHalen bass parts are about as easy as it gets. They're almost masterpieces of simplicity and underplaying. I mean... Running With The Devil?
  17. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    A few more ideas

    A ZZ Top tribute band
    A Guess Who / Bachman-Turner Overdrive tribute band
    A Foreigner tribute band
    zontar and Zephrant like this.
  18. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA

    Ooh, Foreigner is a good idea.
  19. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    I love VanHalen, I just don't think I could pull off the whole tribute look I guess. Maybe I need to look at them closer though. I'd love to do the entire 1984 album, but I'd certainly need a good keyboardist.

    Some great ideas- I like the one hit wonders, might only be a set on them though.

    I'm reluctant to do a band based around only the female vocalist, as I don't know her well yet. I don't want to set her up as a new Diva...

    I've not looked in to some of those bands yet but I like the ideas, I'll add them to my comparison list I'm building.

    Thanks a lot all-
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  20. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Not Fragile is fun to play on bass--I play the main riff almost every time I pick up a bass.
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