Tribute Bands

I don’t get tribute bands. I don’t get them on any level whatsoever. On Saturday, I was compiling a “Perfect Albums” post on my blog for Led Zeppelin’s first album, when I came across a Zeppelin tribute band, Led Zeppelin Story.

YouTube was lousy with this band’s videos. The casual observer might mistake the tribute band for the real thing were it not for the HD quality of their videos. Found at YouTube from AgatteR.

As you can see from the video, this band is a pitch perfect replica of the legendary band.

But why? Why would a musician spend all their hard-earned skill and talent emulating a band you’ll never surpass in talent? Why spend so much time and energy playing music for which you’ll receive only refracted recognition?

I love Led Zeppelin. They are one of my favorite bands, but as a musician, however much I admire their work, I’d much rather put what skill and talent I have to use on behalf of my own songs.

I can’t imagine spending a career as a musician doing covers only, especially covers of only one band. And there’s something very strange about adopting the identity of another band.

From a music-lover’s perspective, I guess I can understand the appeal of tribute bands to this extent: If you’ve never seen Led Zeppelin, tribute bands are likely to be the closest you’ll get.

But still, how satisfying is that pale imitation of the original. Am I missing something?