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date: 05 April 2020

Tribute bandlocked

  • Deena Weinstein


Tribute bands ply their trade by faithfully imitating the music of one specific band, rather than writing or recording their own songs. Although the tribute is primarily to their chosen band’s music, tribute band members often adopt the clothing, hairstyles, type of instruments, stage moves, and makeup of the original band. Although tribute bands often salute groups that are no longer together, many tribute bands have formed to play the music of currently active groups. The most commercially successful bands typically inspire tribute bands; certain groups like Kiss, Rush, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin have inspired dozens of tribute bands. Tribute bands may not receive critical respect but they do land gigs that appeal to a ready-made fan base. It is no coincidence that tribute bands tend to name themselves after the original band’s widely known albums or songs.

Musicians in tribute bands are often talented, at times even better than members of the original band, and they rely on their skills to deliver a note-perfect imitation of original recordings. Joining a tribute band gives musicians both lucrative employment (which can move from a part-time hobby to a full-time pursuit) and the chance to indulge their passion in music making, often while they are trying to launch their own originals bands. Fans of tribute bands can experience the music of fallen idols performed live again, while getting the opportunity to interact with fellow fans. Tributes to currently active bands offer an inexpensive way for fans to see their favorite music live and up-close. Considering that long-in-the-tooth but massively popular bands often use backing tracks and other technological enhancers, sometimes feature new members, and play in giant arenas, tribute bands may sound and even look more like the originals in their prime....

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