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Tribute vs. Cover band?

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
32,072
5,397
Portland, OR
What is the difference?

Last night, I had the pleasure of checking out Drop Dead Legs at the Washington County fair. They are a Van Halen Tribute band, but the female lead singer looked a lot more like Sammy Hagar than David Lee Roth.

Based on the experience, here is my conclusion:

Tribute band = fans that suck
Cover band = Sounds close to the real thing

Never have I heard such awful attempts at Van Halen. I never thought Hot for Teach was overly hard (although awesome), but they proved otherwise. I have seen Super Diamond and they are awesome. They used to be billed as a cover band.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,185
17
TN
Oh, by the way, Im pretty sure a cover band just plays songs that aren't their own, but may not be dedicated to one band. Might play songs from alot of bands in one set.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
32,072
5,397
Portland, OR
There is a local band called "The Boys Next Door" that play on Fridays at the bar that is like that. They have talent, but they can't write songs.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,650
42
behind the viewfinder
best tribute band ever was Beautiful Happiness (or was it Wonderful Subdivision?), a Drunks with Guns tribute band comprising a Lou Barlow-less Sebadoh fronted by Conrad Capistran.
 

cannondalejunky

ease dropper
Jun 19, 2005
2,928
2
Arkansas
there's a local band called Phase 1 that has their own songs...but they also do a lot of tribute shows...last time i saw them they did a greenday and sublime show that was pretty cool....they've also done a pink floyd show a couple times, and i've heard that those shows were awesome
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
I remember an argument I had about covers. I heard a version of Spanish Castle Magic by the Spin Doctors which I liked. One of my friends railed me because, 1. The Spin Doctors suck, but 2. they played the song exactly like the Jimi Hendrix Experience did.

PM Dawn did a very interesting version of You Got Me Floating on that same Hendrix tribute album, and even The Cure did an off the wall cover of Hey Joe.
 

Echo

crooked smile
Jul 10, 2002
11,818
1
Slacking at work
I have seen some really good tributes, such as "The Waiting Room" (Genesis) and "Dark Side of the Moon" (Floyd). I also heard "Kiss Army" was really good.

A few weeks ago I saw the worst tribute band ever, "Girls Girls Girls", which was an all-female Crue tribute. About the only similarity to the real Crue was that the guitar player chick actually looked like Mick Mars. They were terrible.

Cover bands are pretty much the same deal, there are some really good ones and really bad ones.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
32,072
5,397
Portland, OR
I remember an argument I had about covers. I heard a version of Spanish Castle Magic by the Spin Doctors which I liked. One of my friends railed me because, 1. The Spin Doctors suck, but 2. they played the song exactly like the Jimi Hendrix Experience did.

PM Dawn did a very interesting version of You Got Me Floating on that same Hendrix tribute album, and even The Cure did an off the wall cover of Hey Joe.
Social D's version of Ring of Fire is one of my all time favorite covers. But then again, Johny Cash's version of Hurt is so bad ass, that it defies classification.

But to date, Drop Dead Legs version of Hot for Teacher was an all out abomination.
 

JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,769
820
Front Range, dude...
But how do you differentiate between cover and tribute?
A tribute band dresses and tries to act like the real band, while a cover band does mainly, well, covers of everybody.
But then again, SRV did Little Wing as a tribute, he was not a Hendrix cover guy. Too much original stuff. Social Ds Ring of Fire is also more of a tribute, not trying to sound like Cash, just say "Yeah, this guy was an influence on us..."
 

ska todd

Turbo Monkey
Oct 10, 2001
1,777
0
Lawnguyland, New F'in Yawk
I've always wanted to form a tribute band called Skani Difranco and just play ska versions of her songs.

I like covers but am not huge on tribute bands. But heck, I think we all tend to have fun and sing along to a band like Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, especially if it's songs we grew up around. A guilty pleasure of sorts.

A funny story on that note, so several years ago (2000?) I went to an afternoon "battle of the bands" type show at a local bar/club. One of the bands were high school age kids playing REALLY crappy songs, mostly covers. When they played "Me and Julio" the ditzy blond behind me states "oh my gawd they're covering the Gimme Gimmes. I sooooo hate cover bands." Classic!

-ska todd
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
32,072
5,397
Portland, OR
Social Ds Ring of Fire is also more of a tribute, not trying to sound like Cash, just say "Yeah, this guy was an influence on us..."
Good point. So a personal rendition, if not a cover, is what? I mean, Gary Hoey does a cool version of Lowrider, but it's clearly not a "cover".

So what is it?
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
But how do you differentiate between cover and tribute?
A tribute band dresses and tries to act like the real band, while a cover band does mainly, well, covers of everybody.
But then again, SRV did Little Wing as a tribute, he was not a Hendrix cover guy. Too much original stuff. Social Ds Ring of Fire is also more of a tribute, not trying to sound like Cash, just say "Yeah, this guy was an influence on us..."
I think it is has to do with how cheesy you are willing to be and how much money you want to make.

There are some idiots who won't go to a real concert and think seeing a 4th rate band at the County Fair dressed up in lycra jumpsuits is a wonderful experience (see http://www.ridemonkey.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206492).

I've known real musicians who just for fun play covers. One set of friends pick 80's bands like the Cars or Cheap Trick to cover each summer.

Another is just 2 guys and a tiny amp and they play parties. It's funny as hell to see them play War Pigs.

Slightly related is a karoke show at Dante's in Portland, except they have a live band and a pool of talented singers doing covers.
 

fed tom

Chimp
Jun 23, 2008
52
0
leeds
whole lotta led were awesome when i saw them, they were a zepp specific cover band. maybe a tribute band i dont think it matters that much.
 

Cru Jones

Turbo Monkey
Sep 2, 2006
3,032
2
Hell Track
Tribute and cover bands = suck and suck

Good bands covering a song by a good band as a tribute = radness
 
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stevew

unique white person
Sep 21, 2001
34,911
5,002
swervedriver: excellent cover of the who's "magic bus"
swervedriver: their version of marc bolan's "chateau in virgina waters" is better than the original.