Archive for February, 2009

Tribute: A Rocumentary

by on Feb.06, 2009, under Cover Bands and Tribute Artists

It should come as no surprise that I love tribute artists and bands. Ever since I saw my first Elvis impersonator I’ve held a strange fascination for these artists. I’ve seen more than my fair share of acts, more than a well-adjusted, grounded, all-around great person like myself should admit to.

The biggest kick I get from attending these shows is talking to members of the bands. Pretend Jim Morrison played the part onstage, and off and acted like a pretentious, spaced out acid head. He was a make-believe hippy poet! There stands the difference between cover bands and tribute acts, cover bands play the music – tribute acts metamorph into the artist in varying degrees. For some its only onstage, for others it begins take over their lives. The latter are the ones I love.

So, I was pretty happy when I stumbled across the old tv documentary “Tribute: A Rockumentary.” This follows four different acts; KISS, The Monkees, Queen and Judas Priest, over the period of about two years. The movie was kind of hacked together, and the storylines were jumbled and hard to follow at times, but overall it was worth the watch. I was expecting it to follow these people around and show how ridiculous their lives were and have a good laugh, but it went deeper and showed how much work goes into putting together a good tribute act, the trials and tribulations of faux stardom, mental illness, delusions, success, primadonnas…and how ridiculous they are.

The oddest part for me were the interviews with ‘Superfan,’ the self described biggest Queen fan in the world. Superfan is so infatuated with the Queen tribute act ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ that he gets so nervous he can’t eat on the days when this band is playing. When the lead singer moves to Germany, the guys world falls apart around him.

All of the bands were pretty good, but my favorite had to have been the guy who played Mike Nesmith in the Monkee’s tribute act, ‘The Missing Links.’ Apparently he started this band with another guy who screwed him over. The band had a bad break up, and he quit playing music for a year. During one interview he explained how during that time if he picked up his guitar he’d just cry. Finally he got together with a couple of former bandmates, found a new Davey Jones, and put together a new act which lasted two or three rehearsals. The entire time, cursing The Missing Links. The hatred brewing in this guy was unreal, every sentence seemed to end with, ‘…Not like the Fucking Missing Links!” It freaked out the new fake Davey Jones enough to send him packing.

It could have been better, but who cares. If you like this sort of thing you’ll like this movie.

I don’t know where you can find a copy, but here are two great clips to check out.
The first is KISS tribute Larger Than Life auditioning for a new Gene Simmons. The second clip shows former members of The Missing Links rehearsing for the first time with their new outfit : Head.

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