[Dixielandjazz] Tribute Bands - A Parallel Universe?

Rob McCallum rakmccallum at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 30 18:28:00 PDT 2003

Hi Steve, Tom and everyone

I read that article this morning as well.  Over at the Beach Grill we still
currently have 2 bands playing even though it's now the off season.  We have
a 4 piece, mostly classic rock cover band on Thursday nights made up of guys
in their fifties who still have long hair and drink a lot of coffee.  Their
repetoire is everything from late 50's and early Beatles, Stones through the
70's and a couple recent covers.  They just come in and play their tunes and
only get paid $300 altogether to play 4 hours.  They're not bad for a "bar"
band but I think they've probably been taken advantage of by management
(they were only getting 300 in mid-summer as well), but they also don't do
anything special or interesting to draw people in - they play for the crowd
that already shows up to be part of the Beach Grill scene.

By contrast, on Friday nights, there's an 80's cover band called the Mega
80's who've promoted the hell out of themselves, light shows, slick press
kit, costumes, wigs (they do a "mullet medley") and they've developed a
following.  Our club pays them $3000 to play from 10 p.m. to 1:45a.m.  Same
club!  I'll add that people really eat up the "fun" of the Mega 80's (and
musically they're competent and the covers sound like the originals) but
it's the whole schtick that makes the difference.  That's a big difference
in pay for being a bit more creative with the promotions and the show and
makes all the difference in drawing in people.  In the summertime they'd
draw well over 1000 people who were paying $10 cover plus ridiculous drink

There's a lot of money in these so called "tribute" groups if it's
approached right.  I think it's a good thing because it keeps live bands
working.  I guarantee that if the 80s band didn't get booked for Fridays,
the club would have definitely gone with a club dj.


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