Thursday, January 17, 2013

ATL artists and promoters talk cover band fantasies

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 12:45 AM

The Machine, the Pink Floyd cover band, conquered Variety Playhouse on Sunday night. To celebrate the arrival and inspiration of a band that "focuses on making every show an authentic Floydian experience for their fans," a handful of Atlanta musicians and show promoters weighed in what tribute bands they would start and why. No matter how long or short their answer, their enthusiasm is endless. My dream band is real and it's two dudes playing Coldplay's Clocks on hydraulophones. I wish my tears of joy could be the water.

Grace Bellury, Del Venicci: "No question, I'd start a Foreigner tribute band. I love Foreigner. I love singing "Jukebox Hero" in my car. I love singing "Cold As Ice" in the shower. I love singing "Head Games" to my opponents in the middle of chess battles. I love Foreigner. I'd plan a big "Waiting For A Girl Like You" medley that's mashed up with Rihanna songs and then Rihanna and Beyonce would come out and dance and be like, "You've all been waiting for girls like us!" And then we'd all take a bow together. That's how much I love Foreigner."

George Pettis, Wowser Bowser: "I had some friends in Greensboro, NC who started a Kraftwerk cover band. I thought that was a pretty awesome choice. I think the best part about seeing cover bands is watching them try to recreate all the theatrics and eccentricities of the original bands. So, if I was going to form a cover band I'd probably go with someone like Bowie. Frankly, I'm a huge fan of putting on costumes and doing sensual hip gyrations so, yeah, Bowie. Second choice would be Lou Reed, just because of how fucked up we could be onstage and still do the songs justice. I saw Lou Reed play one time and he had this huge ATM-sized Teleprompter thing right in front of him onstage, just feeding him his own lyrics. Not that it really helped anything. He annunciates about as well as the grown-ups on Peanuts cartoons."

Chris Brooker, deadCAT: "I think I'd personally start a Can cover band because as long as you know the riffs you wouldn't ever have to practice and you could play whatever the fuck you wanted. Find a homeless dude off the street, give 'em a mic, turn on the amps, and watch the magic happen. Everybody loves krautrock! Who's coming with me?...."

Kylee Kimbrough, Dasher: "I hate most cover bands. I think they're weird and would probably never play in a cover band. I'm sure people do it often, because it's a good way to make some money on the fly. Either way, If I had to choose a tribute band to play in or to go see, it would have to be Wire (first few records). That band kills me because they created some of the most amazing riffs and ways of putting them together. Everything was so minimalist. I believe I was listening to Wire when I had an epiphany to write my own music. I always assumed that there was all this sacred music knowledge or whatever you would need to be a composer. Wire smashed that for me. They held one single note over several measures in their songs. It dawned on me that I could do this, and anyone else who wants to could do this too. It was exciting to realize that composing music is the same as everything else. A philosophical Truth: simple is better. Less is more. A Wire tribute band would rule as long as they played the good shit from Pink Flag and 154 and kept any excess bullshit theatrics or other annoying antics that artist sometimes do off the stage!"

Sean Zeafoss, Small Reactions: "Small Reactions has wanted to do a Wire tribute for a long time. We'd play Pink Flag in its entirety - all 21 songs in 36 minutes. The album is fast, dissonant, angular, and catchy as hell - it was fully rooted in punk, but was so forward thinking it's ridiculous. The album cuts superficiality and gets to the core of what punk rock - and perhaps music in general - should shoot for. Beyond anything else, Pink Flag is a perfect pop record, which makes us most want to do it. For the tribute, we'd try to think like Wire as much as possible. We'd walk on stage, play the album start to finish without saying a word (other than necessary lyrics, of course), leave the stage, and go home to drink tea or something. If, during the show, anyone asked for Wire songs past what's on Pink Flag, we'd tell them 'We don't take requests,' just like Wire. Let's do this in 2013."

Branon Boyle, Speak Easy Promotions: "I would like to see the Ruination and friends perform Can's Tago Mago in dub."

Nirvana Kelly, Little Tybee: "I would be thrilled about a Beethoven cover band. String players could assemble in groups of four and play covers of some of his greatest string quartets. Beethoven already stands alone as a composer who wrote some of the best music ever, so the performance would already be outstanding. But it would be adorable if everyone wore powdered wigs, including the audience."

Evan Fillon, the Dandyls: "The boys and I could pull off a pretty wicked Sensational Alex Harvey Band tribute. They were a Scottish rock group who put on these highly-involved, balls-to-the wall live shows in the '70s complete with choreographed dances and fights and centered on some convoluted comic-book narrative. I'm pretty sure Victor already has a blue codpiece ... The only details that might be tough are the puffy hairstyles and my Scottish accent which currently sounds too Jamaican for comfort. It'd be nice to resurrect these guys' act, which never really got much attention in the states. Lightning Round: The Jackson 5 except everybody's an Elvis impersonator, Gospel Elvis vs. James Brown, start an Oompa band that re-enacts less-than remarkable Grateful Dead shows note-for-note, play accurate Nirvana covers but dress up like GWAR.

Kyle Withrow, Dude City Productions: "I'd probably go with the Replacements. Seven studio LPs worth of material with just as many B-sides and unreleased gems (despite some '80s production). Deep cuts like "Nowhere is My Home" or the Alex Chilton helmed demo of "Can't Hardly Wait" hold up against "Shiftless When Idle" and "Bastards of Young" any day of the week. Nothing wrong with a drunken impromptu cover of The Only Ones or Big Star either.

Casey Hood, Lily and the Tigers: "Lily and the Tigers would form a Hank Williams tribute band. We'd roll in an old honky-tonk upright piano to go along with our instruments, light a bonfire on stage and pass around some moonshine to everyone who would sing along with us.

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