Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cover bands — making money off those with talent

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

It should come as no surprise that I'm not a fan of cover and tribute bands — at least 99% of them — for a variety of reasons. You're not going to open Creative Loafing any time while I'm the music editor to see a big feature story written on a cover band.

First, they're taking money away from the bands that write original music. Drawing fans who want to hear the music they like live on stage instead of sitting home, listening to the radio and hearing the same thing.

Actually, they're also taking money away from the people who wrote the songs. I'm sure members of cover bands spend countless hours downloading music illegally, too.

If they had a lot of musical talent, they'd write their own stuff. Doing it because it pays the bills is a terrible excuse. How about having some musical integrity and making money off of something you created yourself?

Meanwhile, they all seem to have taglines. Liquid Pleasure is "America's #1 Party Band" while The Swinging Richards is the "Premium Party Band." The Maxx just hopes you "Do it to The Maxx."

And where's the truth in advertising? Who's Bad bills themselves as the "Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band." Why not say, "Who's Bad — Now that he's dead, we can make more money!" Appetite for Destruction is a Guns N Roses Tribute Band, but maybe they should say, "Appetite for Destruction — Making money off of Guns N Roses' talent for years." Perhaps Slippery When Wet the Bon Jovi Tribute could say "Slippery When Wet — Why be original?"

I will give cover bands a hint of credit for one thing — Lack of merchandise. No one wants to wear the t-shirt or buy the CD of a cover band. Why? Because you'd buy the original.

Now, I should also throw in a disclaimer. There are and have been cover bands that create their own style using music of the past.

Dread Zepplin had a singer that dressed like Elvis and sang a hybrid of Elvis and Zepplin songs.

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Richard Cheese performs lounge style versions of numerous hits.

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Singer Bess Rogers has a band called the Flux Capacitors that does country-fied versions of '80s songs.

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If you have talent, prove it. Write your own music and stop "stealing" from the pockets from those who do. Or take those lyrics/songs and make them completely your own after showing you have some kind of sense of originality.

Everyone starts somewhere — give a chance to the original bands. If club owners want a tribute band or cover band, they should just plug in an iPod instead, it's a lot cheaper.

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