This week marks the arrival of Beginnings, a Chicago tribute band to the Keswick Theater. With that in mind, this article delves into the world of tribute bands and asks some burning questions. For those who wonder about tribute artists, and have ever pondered things like, why do tribute bands exist in the first place? What would it be like if you ever get to play with your heroes? This is the article for you. Now it’s time to delve into the world of tribute bands and discover the ins and outs of their world.
The Origin of Tribute Bands
The origins of tribute acts in popular music can trace their origins back to the 1960’s. Following the rise of the Beatles in the early 60’s came Liverpool’s finest tribute band The Buggs. They were credited as being the world’s first tribute band. Despite claiming to have the look and sound of the Liverpoolian quartet, the band actually hailed from New Jersey. They were notable for having Gary Wright on keyboards and vocals prior to his own career breakout. Upon the album’s release, the group had also become mismanaged by their record company. The record was released under the name The Beetle Beat instead of The Buggs and there were models used in place of the actual band members. No royalties to the group’s members were ever paid and the band ceased to exist in 1966. Despite only one record the group are considered the first tribute act and had an influence on Devo’s Mark Mothersburg, who thought that the album was an actual Beatles record.
What Exactly Is a Tribute Band?
Like Beginnings or Tusk, tribute acts are artists who emulate the style, sound and look of an artist. They often try to recreate the aesthetic and tone of the well-known artists that they are a fan of. The core concept of tribute bands is to try and be as close in all of those aforementioned elements as possible. This comes in the form of a fun night out for fans and derision from critics. For fans, this is a chance to relive their musical heyday. In a world populated by music not geared towards audiences who lived through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, tribute bands are a way to keep the spirit of those decades alive. With ticketing companies currently charging absurd prices for the actual artists, tribute acts are a way to hear your favorite music at an affordable rate.
Why Do Tribute Bands Exist?
For those wondering this exact question, there are multiple parts to this answer. First, people form tribute bands to foster a sense of nostalgia for bands of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Whether it is because the band had retired, broken up, or simply no longer heard on the radio, people who grew up listening to these acts today still wish to have seen them live. Part of the love of tribute acts comes from the fact that the artists themselves are fans of the band. While they can never truly be the act that they want to emulate, tribute bands give the fans exactly what they want from the band they are emulating. They help create a sense of familiarity by emulating the timeless look of the band, taking fans back to where they were when they first saw them.
Opportunities are Endless
The 2001 Mark Wahlberg movie Rockstar helps encapsulate the lifestyle and tribulations of tribute bands perfectly. Like Marky Marks character in the film, sometimes members of tribute bands get to join the Funky Bunch that is the artists they emulate. One famous example of a member of a tribute band making it big time is Tommy Thayer of KISS. Tommy Thayer has been KISS’ long term guitar player, serving in the band since 2002. Prior to that, he was in a KISS tribute band called Cold Gin. During his tenure in Cold Gin, he played the role of Ace Frehley and was recruited by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley to fill the Space Ace’s role following his departure. Tommy Thayer is currently on the road with KISS on their final tour, not bad for a man who spent his life covering others works.
So there you have it, a sense of nostalgia, affordability and a night of fun are why tribute acts exist. Now what are you doing here? Go order yourself some tickets for Beginnings: a tribute to Chicago by texting in to OldiesXL.com