What do you do when your favorite legendary rock band breaks up or the members start dying off? Easy - you start a tribute band! A tribute band is a musical group dedicated to performing the music of one particular group, usually a very famous one. Sometimes, the band so honored is no longer performing, but some are still on the road.
One band that has spawned dozens of tribute bands is The Beatles. With the Broadway musical Beatlemania and other shows like 1964, imitating The Beatles is big business. It is also inspired by a love affair with the music.
Some Beatles tribute bands just sing the songs. Other bands use wigs and make-up to create the illusion of the original Fab Four and hire members based on how much they sound like John, Paul, George or Ringo. Being able to keep up with The Beatles as a musician is also very important in some Beatles tribute bands.
Another popular tribute band pays homage to the 1970s rock band KISS. These guys dress up as the original members, theatrical make-up and all, and rock out to "Dr. Love" and "I Was Made for Lovin' You," while spitting fire from the stage in best Gene Simmons fashion. Other bands that have a tribute band traveling somewhere include Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, the Monkees and even the Osmond Brothers!
Most of what brings musicians together to form a tribute band is a collective love of one band's music. Many bands start with this simple beginning and go on to be successful. Whether it truly constitutes a band is a topic for another article, but Elvis Presley impersonators are certainly a unique genre of tribute band.
It is also a good idea for a tribute band to get a good attorney on board, for the sole reason of securing performance rights to the songs they love. An attorney can help the band wade through the legal quagmire of music copyrights, so that their performances are legal and will not cause problems for any venues where they play. Available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, class reunions and occasionally, gigs in real stadiums, the tribute band is a modern variation on the venerable garage rock band.