Costumed Cover Bands: Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Odinbass, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Yay

  2. Nay

  3. Which one means yes?

  1. Odinbass


    Dec 6, 2006
    Cleveland, OH
    Around here a significant number of the top cover bands are 'costumed'. That is the band all wears some sort of themed getup. For instance, the franchised band The Spazmatics all wear nerd outfits. Others wear exaggerated stereotypes of the era/genre they are covering, such as hair metal dressing like hair metal (duh); and of course you have the obvious tribute bands dressing like their tributee.

    My gut reaction to these is that it is lame.

    When you play in a cover band you are already low on the ladder of respect. Once you put on a costume you are basically a rodeo clown. I can't help but think of Judge Reinhold in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, when he's working at the pirate restaurant. Yeah he's making money there but he looks like a doofus.

    And yet despite my personal dislike of it; these bands draw crowds and book the best gigs so some part of it must work. Obviously there's more to it than image (talent for instance) but the visual surely helps the marketing end. It can't hurt to be easily identifiable as 'that nerd band' or whatever. Better than being 'Band in Black Shirts #343'

    For me, I just don't think I'd be comfortable dressed up in a costume. Yeah it's cool at a big gig when everyone's into it, but what about a dead gig at a crap bar? Then you're the dude wearing a costume at the bar, drinking a Zima.

    What do you guys think?
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    No prob - they'll put on a show that folks want to see while you play to crickets ;) .
  3. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    If you're in a jazz group, if everyone is wearing nice suits of the same color, it's not a gimmick. Your probably doing covers of standards.
    When it's an actual gimmick, I do think it's lame
  4. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I don't wear a Wrangler pearl snap and cowboy boots to work, but I'll wear them on stage. Is that a costume?

    (Actually, I think my suit and tie are the real "costume")
    Jamvan, ImNotJoel, TheBear and 18 others like this.
  5. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    If it was something that I felt would draw a crowd, as well as not making me feel like I was stepping all over my personal ideals,
    then yeah, I'd do it for sure.

    My last gigging band didn't wear a costume, but we all did dress in black and red for the gigs. It wasn't the same black and red outfit,
    but we'd all be wearing something black and something red. It set the tone that we were a group.
    Oddly, McG, Matthew_84 and 1 other person like this.
  6. While it is not something I would do, I do not have an issue with bands that do.
    R Upsomegrub and BlueAliceOasis like this.
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Why not? There are people who love to dress up. If they get a band of like minded people I could see it working.
    bubbabasic likes this.
  8. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I listened to This American Life on NPR today, a story about a guy who was making up for loss in his life, and he dresses up like Superman every chance he gets and walks around town.
    Maybe he needs to join a band
    OOD likes this.
  9. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Doesn't bother me. Unless, if you see a band photo where one member looks extremely uncomfortable.

    We all wear a uniform to some degree in the world
    Kun2112, Groove Doctor and Oddly like this.
  10. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    You mean like this? A band I was in during the mid 60s. This would have been taken in the fall of 66 and I was playing drums then. One of the guitar players was obsessed with the Mothers of Invention.

    Attached Files:

  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If it works then it works. And cover bands are no lower in "respect" than any other musician. Unless you are the songwriter, or had a significant part in the creative process, you are playing someone else's music.
    Tbone76, Double E, marmadaddy and 7 others like this.
  12. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    there is a fine line between cool and coming off as joke. If you look like Devo- you better be able to kicka$$ musically. I personally wonder where the fashion sense has gone in music. Most bands look the same as the folks in the crowd now days.
  13. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Here's a few of our costumes.









    For all of our gigs we have a theme, or a color, or sometimes matching "uniforms". I even have a tux. We play a ton of corporate events, private parties, amusement parks, etc, high end stuff. I'm embarrassed to say how much money I'm paid. If you want to know, PM me. It's worth it. We look good. We sound good. The people have a great time. We play the music, we look the music, we give them a memorable time. A professional presentation goes a long way toward keeping our clients happy.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  14. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    If the gig warrants it dress up, but in matching thematic duds. I don't think so.

    Blue gig suit is herstory practically since everyone seems to dress like they are from Manhattan anyway(in black).

    I dress appropriately for someone who sweats a lot, keep a change of tees handy.
  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003

    Wait, wait. A six string, coffee table looking bass for a country band. You should be ashamed, you heathen.

  16. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    Nice!!Are some of those Shirts Scully's? How's the fit on those? I'd love one but I hate to order a $80 shirt not knowing if it fits (sizes are so variable now days)
  17. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Exactly. I think it works for bands that are doing something interesting musically like Devo. But if it's just some cover band, I think it would come off as lame and cheesy.

    Personally, I wouldn't consider matching wardrobes a costume per se. GWAR wears costumes. Rocket From The Crypt and The Hives wear matching stage outfits. Or is a costume and a stage outfit the same thing?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  18. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I find costumes to be "corny" and will never join a band that insists on wearing them. My former lead singer is in a 60's tribute band and they all wear white suits since many bands from that era were doing the same. He recently asked me to join and despite the fact that they are very good and have a lot of gigs, I refused, solely because of the insistence to were the same suits. I have always believed that most people really don't care what you look like as long as the songs are performed accurately.
  19. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I love Mac Sabbath's costumes
    S-Bigbottom, Flooflox, Veldar and 4 others like this.
  20. I would have a look for an original band rather than a cover band, but that's just me.
    AaronVonRock and Charlzm like this.