Editor’s note: In anticipation of the upcoming Carole King and James Taylor tribute band performance by the Troubadours in Klamath Falls, the H&N’s Steve Rosen provides this music industry look at the bands who recreate the sounds of yesteryear for today’s audiences. The concert is being presented by the H&N and Wynne Broadcasting.
There’s confusion across the country, including Klamath Falls, as to the differences between a cover band, a tribute band, and an original band.
Here is an easy way to understand the differences:
n Cover Bands are normally part-time musicians who enjoy playing music from many other artists. Some have original material, some do not. Most normally play small events, night clubs, and special occasions.
Like most anything in life there are various levels of cover bands ranging from “garage bands with a following” to career musicians who perfect their overall sound and presentation but still focus on numerous musical genres and artists. The best tour nationally.
n Tribute Bands may also include part-time musicians who may have their own material, but normally this is more of a focused business entity than a part-time job for extra cash.
They focus on one artist or one group and do their best to duplicate the instrumental and vocal qualities of the original band. They may or may not look like the original band, but they sound very close to the original artists. Tickets to performances by these bands can range from $20 to $100 based on where your seats are, VIP experiences, and more. Other things that drive their fee are longevity, demand and popularity of the original artist.
Tribute bands sometime fall short of their goal by trying to be too gimmicky with wigs, pre-recorded backtracks and an over-exaggeration of on-stage presence. The ones who “get it” are well marketed and put on a phenomenal show.
n The term “original band” doesn’t mean all of the original band members, if any, will be performing in front of you. Some “original” bands simply have the rights to use the name, however have no original members. Blood Sweat & Tears is an exceptional example of this. No originals left, but the music is presented by the band, “Blood, Sweat & Tears”.
In most original bands there are anywhere between 20% and 80% of the original band members, but not 100%. Even acts such as Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Chicago are not touring with their original band members. So, in essence, their “replacement parts” are “high-end tribute artists.” But, because of the ability to use the brand name, they can demand anywhere from $50 to $500 per ticket and up. Folks who want to see the Rolling Stones are going to pay more than folks who want to see Loverboy and so forth. Just because of the name, and not necessarily because of the talent.
Given this dynamic, communities such as Klamath Falls and similar-sized towns and cities rely on finding quality tribute bands who can sound very close to, if not better than the currently touring original bands so that ticket prices are acceptable, the show is well-produced, and the audience is entertained.
At the Herald and News, we book or put our names on only the most talented and well-respected tribute bands from around the country so that your concert experience is always highly enjoyable and of great quality. Not sure about who you should see and who not to? It’s very easy to do a search on Google or YouTube for videos of the tribute artists in concert. If you’re not finding a quality video, website, or audio track, they’re most likely a lower to mid-level tribute artist.