Friday, May 4, 2007

Facsimile Discussions

Finally! Legislation is being put into place to help curb the disease of crappy tribute bands pilfering every major American city of fans that should be watching bands that play original music.

In my early 20's, I used to have a no-cover rule. My philosophy was, and in 90% of cases still is, "Why spend the time learning someone else's song when you can write one that's even better?" There are so many talented musicians out there that can make their mark with a little bit of original material!

For the remaining 10%, here's where I think it's okay to pull a few covers:

  1. You "originalize" the song and "make it your own". The band that does this to a great extent has been Smashing Pumpkins. They reinterpret their own radio hits into new arrangements, instrumentation, and melodies. I also like what Rage Against the Machine did with their "covers" record where they took the original lyrics and rewrote/remixed the underlying music to make something new.

  2. You cover it so well, it sounds like the original. When doing a cover, the public has heard that song 40,000 times, and have become accustomed to that version. If you can live up their expectations, by all means, cover it.

  3. You play b-side covers. In my teens, I was in one band that did that very well. We played a lot of alt-rock b-sides because we typically liked those better than the radio hits. Plus, it gives off the air you're doing something a bit more original

  4. You're playing at an open mic. Now, most people go to an open mic to hear original, folksy music. So, I like to throw in a cover to get people off their rockers . Yes, I can be a little mischievous at times...

  5. You want to get paid regularly playing music. Yes, I know, I am being a hypocrite for lambasting tribute bands who get paid well for their all-cover sets. I also know that unfortunately real live music in most cities doesn't go over well with paying audiences. Drunk yuppie mofos want to hear that great cover of Margaritaville or Jesse's Girl (pretty much go to any karaoke bar and see what songs drunk chicks scream for and pick those ) to sing along with. It packs the club when a band is playing it. So, sometimes artistic integrity has to be sacrificed on order to feed your face and avoid living under a bridge (no pun intended) .

I know regardless of what legislation goes into effect, tribute bands will continue. Wait...hold on...let me get my phone...
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"...what? A Pumpkins tribute? Hmmm...sure...let me finish up this blog"
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YOU HEARD NOTHING!
Currently listening :
A Gothic-Industrial Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins
By Various Artists
Release date: 23 January, 2001

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