EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
THE ORIGINAL BANDS vs THE TRIBUTE BANDS
It’s one thing when a singer or a band do a cover version of any bands’ songs, this is an industry standard and can result in some amazing interpretations that hold their own level of popularity.
But bands like Led Zepagain, Which One’s Pink?, Wild Child, The Fab Faux, The Whodlums, and the whole growing industry of Tribute bands take it to an entirely legitimately-questionable level.
Not satisfied with covering one song, these bands make a career by impersonating the Original bands and performing for the eager-to-pay masses who never saw the Originals.
There was a time when local and regional bands that emulated famous bands called themselves Cover Bands – they acknowledged who they were and what they were doing.
Then one day some bright manager/handler labeled his Cover Band a “Tribute Band” and quickly legitimized a whole new industry by appropriating not only the Original Bands songs and music but even their personas, hairstyles and mode of dress.
Now in the grand scheme of things this is no big deal; people have been making careers off others’ talents and songs for decades. This first reached notoriety with the Elvis impersonator industry. But now if the Originals no longer tour or perform live shows then it’s fair game for “Tribute” bands to fill the void and that seems to be acceptable to the masses. Groovy.
However, there seems to be an underlying highly-offensive revisionist trend taking place.
00individual had a somewhat-heated conversation with one of his son’s former girlfriend’s dad (an engineer) about this topic because he was claiming that the Tribute bands he saw were better than the Originals. He never saw the Originals, so his argument was a moot point, but even if we ignore the absurdity that anyone could touch the original genius, talent and personalities of the musicians’, composers’ and singers’ that created Rock History, this crazy humor escalates when stated by a Conservative who never even dipped his big toe in Counter Culture activities of the ’60s and ’70s – but is now a self-appointed authority on the Counter Culture and Rock History.
How far widespread is this deluded and warped thinking? Is the desire for those who “missed out” so strong that it’s caused an unhealthy appreciation for bands who are not the Originals – just so they can feel that they “own” a piece of the history they missed out on via these Tribute bands?
00individual understands to a point and would never deprive anyone of the enjoyment of live music – the inexperienced are happy to hear songs performed live by mimic bands and that’s great for them – but to claim that they are better than the Originals? Really? C’mon, that’s just twisted wishful thinking, wrong on all accounts, and in reality, pathetic.
It can be said that even the Originals at different phases in their careers had revolving-door band members, and were no longer truly “the Originals” – but in whatever form the band was in, Rock History was made by them, in their time.
And while many living Original members commend their Tribute Band counterparts, let’s be real and recognize this for what it is; replacement entertainment – as these impersonators are just that.
Soon the established “Tribute Bands” will hear the footsteps of younger, hungrier Tribute Bands that are poised to take their places.
. . . and ultimately, when all of the True Originals transcend to Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven, and the Tribute Bands too, will there be anyone left who will know the difference, or care?
. . .“Will they marvel at the miracles I did perform and the heights I did aspire,
or will they tear out the pages of the book, to light a fire.”
– Johnny Cash / Charlie Daniels, “the Folk Singer” 1968
Let’s hope the Truth contained in the Original Bands’ recordings will somehow prevail – because no matter how technically good the Tribute Bands are, they are not, and never will be, the Originals.
. . . . . . .
“How about that Beatles Tribute Band, they sound and look just like the Beatles!
And they’re just as good, maybe even better!”
00individual will leave you with the Man, Todd Rundgren
and his truly uncanny cover of The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
00individual thanks Agent Tomas for the inspiration of this post’s stimulating subject matter.
VITALLY IMPORTANT COMMENT
Heritage gives culture its value, revisionists are diluting our culture by perverting its history. Revisionists are claiming that America was founded as a Christian nation, that Reagan was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the Civil War was not about slavery and that the 60’s counterculture is responsible for the rise of Nixon, the country’s eventual shift to the right, 80’s greed and that it was the cause of today’s widespread abuse of drugs.
The counterculture represented less than .10% of the population of the U.S. and was less than 1% of the 76 million Baby Boomers. The counterculture itself was influential but not enough to cause a sea change in finance, politics and personal habits. Uninformed voters, the media, corporatism, institutional corruption, special interest influences and corrupt politicians shoulder the blame for most of the country’s ills.
As with the millions of straight people who lived during the 60’s and who did not understand what was happening within the counterculture, most people today have no idea how sacred the music of that era was and what the contemporary influences were which enabled the artists to create it.
Without the original people setting precedents, major accomplishments would never happen.
Before the four minute mile was run, it was a barrier that many runners tried and failed to break. After Roger Bannister ran the four minute mile in 1954 it became common for runners to do it. When Jimi Hendrix came on the scene he was startlingly original and nobody at that time could play like him. Today there are 13 year old girls who can emulate his style of playing and do it note for note!
To ignore how special it is when a talented person, who was uniquely capable of seeing what nobody else at the time could see, is to ignore the essence of what makes our species so unique. Despite their accomplishments, great people never fail to pay homage to their influences. Great societies of the past respected their elders and their innovators as the source of greatness in their culture.
Because some people are too arrogant and lazy to investigate the things which gave rise to the advances in all areas of life, we are fast becoming a society that is devoid of culture.
It’s easy to copy something once the blueprint has been established but without the original, the copy wouldn’t exist. Can someone improve on an original, yes, especially through the advances in technology. But I’d choose the original, warts and all, over any digitized clone!
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