I know this guy who plays in a couple of local tribute bands, one for Journey and one covering random 70’s soft pop. He makes scads more with them than his serious project.
In my observation, I’ve seen three primary motivators for starting or joining tribute bands. An overwhelming majority of the bands seem to be just slimy attempts to impress friends or score chicks. Sometimes they’re merely a way for decent musicians to make a little money (hopefully performing music they like). In other cases, however, tribute bands perform music by artists who have died or by bands that have broken up.
My friend, Ben, suggested this week’s theme: If I was in a ___________ tribute band, we would be called _______________ because of this song. After some thought, I think most of my tribute bands would fall under the third motive I proposed. Peter Gabriel and R.E.M. would hopefully make a little money (since they had hits), so the second motive would apply. In planning this week’s show, I’ve also gone as far as to think about who should be in some of these bands. Who knows, maybe one of these could someday materialize?
- “Shock the Monkey” – Peter Gabriel (Security/Charisma/1982)
- “Boulder to Birmingham” – Emmylou Harris (Pieces of the Sky/Reprise/1975)
- “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96” – DJ Shadow (Endtroducing…/MoWax/1996)
- “The One I Love” – R.E.M. (Document/I.R.S./1987)
- “Sleepless Dreamers” – Mark Heard (Fingerprint/Palmfrond Communications/1980)
- “Easy Money” – King Crimson (Larks’ Tongues in Aspic/EG/1973)