In the 80’s, Motley Crue was probably the most misogynistic band to come out of LA. How ironic that one of the better Motley Crue tribute bands would be an all-girl affair going by the name Girls, Girls, Girls. These women go all out just like Vince and boys did down on the Sunset Strip.
I saw this band open up for Tragedy at the Hard Rock Café in Boston. I was immediately blow away by their awesome stage wear. It was obvious that a lot of effort went into appearing as much like Vince, Nikki, Tommy and Mick as they could while still looking like hot chicks.
As with any great cover band, the look is only part of it. The music is what makes or breaks it. These ladies are about 75% of the way there. Granted, there might have been some problems with the mix at the Hard Rock. The low end was way too heavy and the guitar sounded like someone slashed the speaker cones with a switchblade, but not in a good way.
The real issue was with the musicianship. If you’re going to play the songs, you need to play them right, or you need to make them your own. Girls, Girls, Girls did neither. The singer was a bit pitchy and had a tough time hitting the high notes. The guitar player was serviceable on rhythm; however, her lead playing was not up to standard. The bass and drums were the high point of the band musically. They really held the tunes together although the bass player just stuck to the root notes. You could argue that’s all Nikki did too.
Here’s my point. There is no shame in taking lessons. I’ve been playing for 34 years and still take a couple of lessons a year to keep up the chops and pick up some new skills. All of the members of Girls, Girls, Girls should consider doing the same. It would really help them take the performance to the next level and turn a good cover band into a great one.
I recently saw a cover band at the Hard Rock Café in Boston that completely blew me away. The band was Tragedy, a heavy metal tribute to the Bee Gees. Let me repeat that, a heavy metal tribute to the Bee Gees. This band was awesome.
Now let’s get one thing straight. A tribute band, no matter how faithful to the original or how outlandish, is still a cover band. They're just playing the songs of one artist as opposed to a couple sets of top 40 hits.
Now that we’ve settled that, let’s get back to Tragedy. These guys took classics like Stayin’ Alive, How Deep is Your Love, Night Fever, More Than a Woman and, of course, Tragedy and played them in a most glorious and hilarious metal fashion. Talking about it doesn’t do it justice. You’ve got to see it.
Looking at it from the other side of the stage, you’ve got another great tribute band that has been around a while. Who you ask? Why Bjorn Again of course. Never heard of Bjorn Again? For shame. They are only THE best ABBA tribute band on the planet.
These folks not only sound like the original, they also look like them. Their execution of the ABBA catalog is near flawless. While the band members deliver a performance as close to the real thing as you’re ever going to see, they are an absolute blast to watch. ABBA you say. Trust me. You know every single one of their songs too.
So , there you have it. Whether rocking out as a loving parody or delivering the goods like the real thing, these two cover/tribute bands bring it in spades. If you can catch their shows, I highly recommend them.
Cover bands. You either love them or you loathe them. I happen to love them. There’s just something about going out to a bar or club and hearing a classic tune played live. Of course that joy can quickly turn into a complete tragedy when:
- The lead singer forgets the words
- The band isn’t in tune
- They can’t play in time
- The lead guitarist blows the solo
- The drummer just plain falls over
I’ve seen all of these things happen and more. Cover Band Confidential is for anyone that’s got an opinion on cover bands. Since I am a guitar player in the 80’s hair metal tribute band, Wildside, I’ll be sharing some of the hijinx that goes on in front of the stage, beside the stage, and of course, behind the stage. I’ll also share my thoughts on what it takes to play a song just like the record and how to put on a kick-ass show.
Now some might say “how lame is that…playing songs note for note…you’re just copying somebody else’s work…why don’t you create something new”. Well, I’m here to tell you, there’s no shame in playing the songs note for note since that’s what a cover band audience wants to hear. I look at is this way, fans come out for a good time and to get away from their troubles for while. They want to get the thrill of watching their favorite songs played live. No offense to musicians in original bands or players that like to improvise when playing covers, I’ve just found that people really go nuts when you play the tunes the way they remember.
Of course, there are some great cover bands that really get creative with the way they execute the songs they play. I’ll be discussing that in future posts as well. Feel free to enter the discussion. I’m interested in your opinions on cover bands. Do you like ‘em? Do you hate ‘em? Do wish more goods ones were playing in your part of town? If you want to write a guest article on Cover Band Confidential, just leave a comment and let me know.