People can certainly be saddened by the music industry these days. I totally understand.
My first live concert was at the Fillmore East, an experience I still think about all the time. Music, both live and on vinyl, provided me with life-changing experiences that I draw upon to this day.
Back then, I had never heard of a tribute band. But like any business, things change, and you adapt.
Most of the original bands we book these days at the Mauch Chunk Opera House can thank tribute bands for the paying work, and also vice versa – because it’s all part of how the doors to our venue stay open, hence making it possible for people to support live music.
100% of the tribute band members that work here are also members of other bands, some tribute, some original. The players are all good – really good. It would be beautiful if all their original projects ended up rocking the world and getting them great-paying gigs, but, well, I probably won’t be wearing Yankee pinstripes either.
Nonetheless, like the bands we book, we keep trying for the big time. Until that happens, when I get up and march off to the day job, I wish I still didn’t have to do it, but I’m grateful for the work. For musicians, they’re simply glad to be able to perform live, and a paying gig, whether tribute or original, pays the bills as well as makes an audience happy.
Paying work is hardly a bad thing. We have a venue to keep open. Meanwhile, each weekend, our events help make it possible for restaurants to open, hotels to get booked, innumerable tradespeople to get work, and a small town in Pennsylvania to prosper. We all work in a big circle, each depending on the other.
The biggest thing for me personally is that it makes it possible to occupy a little piece of the music business. Presenting live music and seeing happy faces, both from audiences and bands – that’s what it’s all about.