#1
Hey guys, very quick question.


Starting up a tribute act to do a few shows to make some money, gain experience. Good idea or not?


I understand we would have to be very good and know the bands songs very very well.


I study at ICMP in London and our proffetional musician tutor said there can potentially be good money in a tribute act. But no garentees at all.
#2
There is a huge Market for tribute acts. In my area (east Lancs) we have a theatre that hosts a lot of huge shows, and whenever a tribute act is on they sell out within an hour or two.

Also, google Glastonbudget. FANTASTIC Idea if you ask me, really is.
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#4
SlackerBabbath is the person you should really talk to - as far as I know, he's lead singer in a Black Sabbath tribute, or at least has been so in the past.

It's not just a question of knowing the band's stuff really well - you truly have to be able to replicate their stage style, their tones (most tribute bands use identical gear to the actual band, at least once they're a bit established), their vocalist, and so on. Queen tribute band? If your guitarist and drummer can't do really good backing vocals, you're not going to impress too much. You also need to put on a great show every time - people are far more forgiving of the *actual* singer being too drunk to remember all the words than they are of your tribute act messing up.

That said, if you're up to it, tribute bands can be really quite well paid, doing major gigs in major venues, relatively quickly (definitely compared to an originals band). When I saw the Fillers (Killers tribute) live, apparently they got paid thousands of pounds for a 45-minute set, at an event with a fair few bands playing.
#5
Thanks for the info. Obviously this is not a perminant career idea, just some thing to do whilst I study. One of my tutors is in Counterfit Stones (Apparently the largest Rolling Stones tribute band).

If I could make some good money to support myself, gain some experience of playing live and the music world and learn a bit about band leading, getting gigs etc it could be very profitable.


What do you guys think of a tribute band for old school Skid Row? Do you think it would attract good attention?

There are plenty of tributes for bands like Rolling Stones, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Queen, AC/DC, and the like.
#6
There's money in tribute acts definitely.

There are some venues that will pretty much only put on big names or cover acts.
Hell I know one guy who makes a killing in a Rory Gallagher tribute band, despite there not being a huge fanbase for Rory Gallagher's music. I also know of a guy who used to make a living playing as a Rory Gallagher tribute artist, he doesn't anymore, economy and all that, but there's definitely money, even in the smaller nooks of music!

The only problem you'll get as a tribute act is that some musicians will frown upon you (but **** them, right? Money's money! ) and a lot of the fans will either, constantly compare you to the original and expect an exact copy, or complain that you're copying them too much.

There's a load of mixed opinions on tribute acts, that's for sure, but there's good money to go with it!
Hell, some tribute acts even get some alrght endorsements...from playing other people's music, it's insane!
#7
Yeah, what Samzawadi said.

Being in a tribute is great fun, because if you do it right, you get to travel a lot and play larger venues in front of very appreciative audiences, but very hard work because it's not just a gig but a recreation of a band/era that has to be as precise as possible. That means a hell of a lot more rehearsals than a band that just do what comes naturaly to them.
If you want to get anywhere with it, you have to put a hell of a lot of promotion in, just like any other act really. And although there's still a quite healthy market for it, the tribute genre isn't as popular as it was 10 years ago.

The down side is, you can get caught up in it. It really should be a temporary thing in your career because there's only so far you can go with a tribute act because you'll always be playing covers instead of your own material, and if, like my own tribute band, you are a tribute to a band that no longer regularly releases new material or plays gigs (tributes to current acts are generaly frowned upon and don't get very far) then you end up playing practicaly the same set over and over again to different audiences for a few years, which gets very boring indeed, and it's hard to move on to pastures new when you are constantly in demand by venues offering you relatively good wages.

Recently, I've put my foot down and refused to do any more Slack Babbath gigs unless it's either charitable or for a hell of a lot of money in a really good venue, mainly so that I can concentrate on other stuff because I was starting to get really depressed playing Slack Babbath gigs, infact, it got to the point where I was literaly dreading them, not out of stage fright or anything like that but more like a feeling of 'another day on a production line'. It actualy had the effect of putting me off playing any sort of gig with any band, so I'm currently taking a couple of years off music to concentrate on painting and building up portrait business.

So my advice to you would be to pick a well known band that isn't still releasing new stuff or gigging, try and find one that doesn't already have lots of tributes in your country, but make sure it's music that you really enjoy and are enthusiastic about playing, then just do it.
Make sure you do it well and enjoy yourself for a while. You'll learn a hell of a lot about live gigging and putting on a 'performace' and how to please a crowd and handle the business side of being in a working band, but once you've been doing it for a couple of years and made name for yourself, change your name, do a set full of original songs and advertise yourself as "Formaly.... (insert name of your tribute band). That way, you can use the tribute as a kind of springboard to another level of furthering your own original musical careers, which in turn can take you way past where you'll get in a tribute act and needn't get boring so long as you are writing new material.

Another good way of doing it is to have yourselves as an original band, support yourselves as the tribute band. Quite often you'll get approached to play larger venues, theatres and such, where the management will put a couple of support acts on the bill, who will invariably be getting quite a decent wage themselves. One of these bands may as well be you, promoting your own material and collecting another wage under a different name, so whenever such a gig comes up, put yourselves forward as a supporting act.

Just don't, whatever you do, end up hardly playing any gigs but the tribute gigs for 10 years solid like I did. It'll spoil it for you.

Hope this helps.
#8
I'm in a RATM tribute, after going to the finals in a local band competition, and only playing 3 shows total, we already got a headlining gig this coming may 5th (CINCO DE MAYO!!!) at one of the venues down near USC campus.

Your really have to recreate the respective bands image, style, and just presence about them. Just out of playing those few shows we managed to get 100+ after the first one. One of the radio personalties on the local rock station said on air that we were the best live show he has ever seen. Haven't had less than a 100 people since.

I think you definitely have the ability to start playing in a lot of places very quickly as apposed to an original band. A lot of events, bars, and venues will want you, especially if your good.

But as slacker said, it should be something fairly temporary, because it can get you some good gigs, but you pretty much hit the plateau really quickly. But hey it's great to get some experience. Get contacts (I have made more contacts in the past month than I have in 6 years of being a local musician, even met Black Label Society's drummer)

We still plan on doing some RATM shows even once we have more originals done and playing as an original band. Keep your options open that way. I know a lot of bands around my area that started off doing cover and tribute bands and then once they had a bunch of contacts started getting their original music out there.
#11
No, the venue pays a blanket fee to that country's Performing Rights Association (PRO), and the PRO sends money to the writers.

As far as a Skid Row tribute... good luck. When was the last time you heard them on the radio? I think I've heard them maybe twice on the radio in the last three years. Why? No demand.

You have to pick a band that has an established and wide-ranging appeal. As a general guideline, if you're going to do a tribute, the band you pick should:

-if they came to your city, play at a large hockey arena, stadium, etc. If the *actual* band comes to town and would only draw enough people to play a club, how many do you think will come out when a tribute plays the same club?

-be played on the radio pretty much every other day or so. Radio stations play stuff the most that carries the most demand. Like the Skid Row example, if there is only enough demand for them to play them twice in three years on the radio, how many people, really, do you think will come out to see a tribute?

-have at least 20 songs that are actual, genuine "hits." Figure that you're going to be playing anywhere from 60-120 minutes, but probably closer to 90 minutes for a headlining set. That's about 20 songs. Who the hell wants to hear a B-Side from Tom Petty? Hardly anyone. (and he has at least 20 actual "hits." Take a band like Skid Row. After you've played their 6 or 7 hits, that will leave you with over a dozen album cuts and B-Sides. People will go insane, but not in the way that you will hope they will.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
Quote by axemanchris
-have at least 20 songs that are actual, genuine "hits." Figure that you're going to be playing anywhere from 60-120 minutes, but probably closer to 90 minutes for a headlining set. That's about 20 songs. Who the hell wants to hear a B-Side from Tom Petty? Hardly anyone. (and he has at least 20 actual "hits." Take a band like Skid Row. After you've played their 6 or 7 hits, that will leave you with over a dozen album cuts and B-Sides. People will go insane, but not in the way that you will hope they will.

CT


Definitely ignore this dude - he doesn't even know enough to close his own brackets, never mind advise you about music. Pfffft...
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#14
Quote by Damascus
Definitely ignore this dude - he doesn't even know enough to close his own brackets, never mind advise you about music. Pfffft...




It would be interesting to make a list of non-common tribute bands that would draw a following. I'm in a Blues Brothers tribute band right now which goes ok, we make $600-$2000 per 3/4 hour gig depending on the venue/function. However the problem is that the blues brothers movie doesn't have that many songs, not enough to play for 3-4 hours. So the first set is really the "Blues Brothers" set, and the rest is cover songs from 20+ years ago. But we wear the suits and hats and stuff which is fun and looks good.

Otherwise I constantly see the same cover bands (Metallica, Guns and Roses etc). It would be good to see some alternate ones like Madonna, Pink, or Chris Isaak.

Even a Justin Bieber tribute band may be a good idea, if you could play in all-age venues.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
You'd need either a group with a pretty obsessive fanbase (NIN, Tool, Radiohead) where you can get away with playing some of their more obscure music, or a band with massive commercial popularity, really. Ideally, the band will have already broken up/won't ever be touring again, as that pushes demand up and helps you put on a more 'unique' show.
#16
Quote by Damascus
Definitely ignore this dude - he doesn't even know enough to close his own brackets, never mind advise you about music. Pfffft...




CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#18
There is of course another route you can go down with a tribute, you can play a particular band's hits in a completely different style, like Hayseed Dixie did when they played AC/DC songs in a hillbilly style, or Beatallica, who played Beatles songs in the style of Metallica, or Dread Zeppelin, who played Led Zeppelin songs in a reggae style fronted by an Elvis impersonator.

Y'see, as we'll already ascertained, there's little point in being a tribute to a band that never hit mega-stardom. If you're going to do it, it really has to be a band that were very famous and had lots of hits, and because most mega-star bands already have several accurate tributes, it makes sense to do something completely different with the songs in order to gain noteriety above all the other tributes.

Infact, if I could do it all over again, I think that would be how I would choose to do it.

Quote by Samzawadi
Ideally, the band will have already broken up/won't ever be touring again, as that pushes demand up and helps you put on a more 'unique' show.

This is true, infact, the whole genre of tribute bands actualy started in Australia back in the days when very few American and European bands would tour there because of the distance cost of transport.