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What's with all the tribute bands these days?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by peteroberts, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. There's a million and a half tribute bands out these days...I never remember seeing this many. I mean, just here in the Bay Area, we have Stung (Police), AC/DShe (all female AC/DC tribute), Zoo Station (U2), and at the fair there is a Zep tribute and a Beatles tribute playing...I am even part of a Who tribute that is just starting up! (Fun)

    So, my question is, why all the tribute bands these days? There are tribute bands out there for bands that are still playing!!!
  2. I have sort of found myself in a tribute band that was originally put together to do one show. Now we are winding up with a lot of bookings and having some fun with it.

    My guess is that it's just a fun nostalgia act that appeals to a lot of people. Especially today when there is so much total sh!t being passed off as popular "radio" bands.

    Other than Metalica and maybe U2, who in the last 20 years has had the kind of impact of a Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath Who, or even the less cerebral but timelessly fun AC/DC and KISS? Who is the new icon? I can't think of much, and that's probably why people will go see tribute bands and they can stay busy.

    Any trib band folks want to weigh in on how profitable it is compared to other cover/original bands you've been in?
  3. Tribute bands are far more profitable in my experience... like about $1500 more per night on average than a cover band around here. I played in an AC/DC tribute for a couple shows... tons of fun. Super simple lines to allow for mega stage presence and a few hundred people who are drunk enough to treak us like we're the real band.

    The scene in Ottawa for tribute bands was huge here for the last year or two, but seems to be dying down a bit now finally as the talent pool is being diluted. The few good ones that started the boom got everyone into thinking they should start tributes and the quality has since been in steady decline.
  4. modflea


    Apr 26, 2004
    Lafayette, LA
    Three words why I think they stay busy..

    "concert ticket prices"

    It's a lot cheaper to see a tribute band than the real thing these days.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Original music finally died.
  6. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Yeah, a few years back I was in a cover band in Western Mass, and a guy in one of the hundreds of tribute bands told me that we'd never go anywhere until we decided what band we want to be a tribute band of.

    I don't mind being in a cover band, but tribute bands are just too much. Dressing up and pretending you're Bono is just lame. I guess it's cool if you just do it because you love the band, but don't pretend you ARE them, that's where it gets lame.

    That said, there are some amazing tribute bands around here in CT, but I couldn't be in one.
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    25K per show in some cases?
  8. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Agreed, seems like everywhere you go, someone's starting up a tribute band.

    I think part of the reason why they were so popular here is that Ottawa was too small to attract many major acts, so a band that played their full set was good enough.

    Now that the CMH has opened up, that seems to be changing somewhat. If it lasts of course. ;)
  9. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Music today sucks. Music back then was really good. Instead of being a modern cover band with crappy music, be a tribute band and play good music.
  10. daddyo


    Jun 9, 2004
    British Columbia
    Years ago in Vancouver there was a great tribute band that did a great Alice Cooper thing. I think they were called the Guy Jones Band. It was great fun for low $$ and they put on a great show with all the props, snakes, etc. Jones looked just like Alice.
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    $$$$$$$$$ !!!!!!

    I came in second out of 8 bassists from 4 different states that were brough in for bassist auditions for a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. The reason I mention that is because I only studied the Skynyrd stuff for about 2 weeks, not to polish my ego.

    The bassist they chose above me "specialized" in LS material, note-on.
    I played fill-in dates for them when the bassist had health problems on the road. They flew me into some dates because I knew the material and paid me $500 - $1000 a gig. The regular musicians make $500 - $1500 a gig, mostly depending on what the promoter/event provides, (e.g., sound system, contract riders, etc.)

    But to answer your question head-on, here's my answer - what's going on right now is, to some extent, a 3-pronged problem;

    > promoters are too greedy

    > the recording companies aren't investing in touring bands; the poor guys/girls shoulder the touring costs taken out of their contract money........as in "promotional costs"

    > the public is tired of the formualic crap that is being presented to them. For instance, when I see a hard rock band that is just a bunch of over-tatooed, over-pierced guys dressed in leather, whipping their ass-length hair around, playing over-amplified, incredibly simplistic, detuned chords/notes, I change the channel. EX - Iommi's solos with Sabbath are memorable to me ---- Zakk Wylde, to me, is just a speed wanker.
    They usually have names like "Satan's Sperm" and that is supposed to impress us. They're just incredibly boring, to me.......I'd rather watch paint dry.
  12. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Tribute bands get paid. ;)

    I play in a Zep Tribute, Together for 18 years, I also do a female fronted KISS cover band, No Make-up or any of the garb.
    Both bands do very well and support my original band which makes next to nothing and we even have paid to play.
  13. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I think many people here have nailed it, there isn't much compelling new music coming out nowadays. Combine that with the fact that people will go what they're familiar with (will I go see Satan's Sperm or will I check out this _____ cover band? I know what kind of tunes _____ plays and I've never heard of Satan's Sperm so let's go see the cover band) and you have tons of people at the tribute band shows, and empty bars where the original music is being played.
  14. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Dollar Bills.

    People enjoy living in the past.
  15. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA

    I live both sides Wil, Zero to Hero!!! ;)
  16. Boom!!

    I was thinking of starting a "new rock" tribute band. Would that count as a "tribute" band, only doing songs from 91-95?

    I was too busy being 'smug indie-rock guy' to enjoy that stuff at the time, now I hear it and it reminds me of good times. Sort of like too busy being 'smug classic rock listening guy' to bother enjoying some of that 80's stuff.
  17. I was in a Thin Lizzy Tribute band for a while . I was Phil Lynnott as you might of guessed, a white phil .It was fun and paid the bills. I was also in a Van Morrison Trib band , I was Van , played little jazz and blues clubs and made a **** load of money.
  18. that's pretty much the respons(es) I anticipated.
    who!?! where do I sign up???
  19. It's a similar situation here in Australia too. The tribute bands get paid well and can be doing 3 - 5 shows a week.

    In a list of Australia's highest paid entertainers for last year the ABBA tribute band, Bjorn Again, came in at No 7 earning $Aus 8.6 million. (approx $6 mil US).

    The only bands to earn more were AC/DC and the Wiggles!
  20. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002

    I need to rethink this....