At one time or other, we have all wondered just what it would feel like to be a famous musician, touring around the world performing the music we love, with a crowd of people singing right there along with us. I personally, have put on a show or two for a huge crowd of fans (albeit, imaginary) in the comfort of my own living room, hairbrush in hand, and enough confidence to make you think I do it for a living.
However, though many of us dream about it, few ever actually get to experience that feeling. That is, unless you are a part of a tribute band.
I have to say, I was pretty unfamiliar with this world, but I've discovered that people love tribute bands.
Some things you may be surprised to learn:
- They aren't trying to deceive anyone. In fact, a majority do this as a side gig and are just having a lot of fun.
- They have a huge prominence in markets like Seattle, Portland, and the scene in LA has actually been called oversaturated!
- They have their own festivals such as Harefest, The Great Cover Up and The Big Fake Festival.
- Some of the real artists even end up performing at some time or other with their tribute bands.
- Many up-and-coming musicians start out in tribute bands before launching their careers.
- Replacements for the real band members have been found within tribute bands!
Some of the reasons why people start tribute bands in the first place:
- Bring the music to places that don’t have a big music scene (which the crowd appreciates!)
- Express a deep love for the music and/or pay homage to the bands they grew up listening to.
- They were a real-life doppelgänger and thought "Hey, why not!"
- Revive the culture, community and camaraderie that's felt at the real band's shows.
- Art. Replicating a band or artist as well as they do is seriously astounding to me.
- And, because well, nostalgia.
I could continue sharing all that I've uncovered about tribute bands (which has been quite an interesting exploration), but instead, I'll introduce you to Greg West, the 'first Jason Aldean tribute artist in America.' Turns out, the Florida native dreamed of making music in Nashville, and when he finally made the move, he was often mistaken for Jason Aldean (seriously, it's remarkable how much he looks like him). Because West already loved Aldean's music so much, he thought he'd give the tribute act a whirl, and now tours nationally playing casinos, fairs, festivals and more on The Ultimate Aldean Tribute experience. It may never be you and me, but I suppose some do get just a little closer than the rest of us.
When the lights come on and everybody's screamin'
Lighters in the sky yeah everybody's singin'
Every word to every song
To the girl they're takin' home tonight