Stars shine and then they fade away, much like people do. Those who once made a mark on the music scene are destined, if lucky, to have their glimmer that once captivated appreciative crowds remembered.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then a cover band should be the greatest form of gratitude. I’ve noticed that cover bands often draw bigger crowds and receive significantly more compensation for a performance than original musicians. Does this mean that entertainment can be subject to habit and repetition? It’s human nature to become complacent, but does that mean people should remain content with hearing the same radio hits on repeat from the past decade? I asked a few musicians their thoughts on bands committed to playing covers.
Mr. Breakdowns bassist, Dave Reiss, says, “I’ve been in cover bands, and you should like the songs you play. Because if you don’t, you’ll hate yourself. You’ll get paid, but you don’t get the real pay.” He’s referring to the passion he experiences when playing his own music. No paycheck will ever fill your soul with inspiration.
When prompting Amanda Salemi, lead singer of Consuelo’s Revenge, with the same question she says, “They kill the music scene. At least write one original song. I fucking hate it.” Why does she play? Her demeanor changed. “Because it’s my life. It’s everything in my soul. Music is like breathing. If I don’t do it, I’ll die.”
Nigel Hall of Lettuce told me he plays “Because God put me here to do it. We are all vessels of His will.” When I questioned him about the cover band scene he said, “It’s ok if they do covers that can educate. If not, take the time and do your own shit.” I guess that sums it up pretty well. If you’re not using your talents for a purpose beyond filling your wallet, then how do you grow spiritually from the music you play?
I intended to delve further into the cover band world in this article, but I’ve done the cover band scene and I feel no need to go back. Cover bands are like photocopies of an old museum painting. Instead of spending time in the scene, pursue novel artistic creation. Original music will give you a new flavor and an original musical experience that can shape who you are.
When you want to enjoy the glimmering stars of the cosmos, you don’t look at a picture of the sky; you go outside and look up to the unknown. Enjoy the shine of our musical stars and seek the glimmer of something original before it fades away.