–THE KING OF THE TRIBUTE TO TRIBUTE BANDS-
-written by Michael Ubaldini
This is the story people of Jimmie Jones a Musician that couldn't quite cut it. He always had a massive ego & thought himself an undeniable presance.He grew up and was a teenager in the middle 1970's .The kinda guy who played air guitar and listened to Led Zep, & Sabbath but really migrated more towards Prog Rock, Rush etc..
He was aware of Down & Dirty Rock n roll Elvis, Little Richard etc... But somehow tied them in along with Buddy Holly & Chuck Berry with the cartoon 50's parody Sha Na Na–He just was never really hip enough to ‘Get it’. He also hated T-Rex, Lou Reed and Bowie
He smoked a lot of dope & drove a Ford Pinto& worked at a Pup N Taco. His girlfriend ‘RUBY VIOLA’ was a busty Rock Groupie into astrology & who only read Tolkien tales and pretended she lived in the medieval times... Jimmie wore a big feather earring in his left ear..(.cause the right ear meant something' ya didn't want to be back in them Daze)
Anyway Jimmie wore a brown leather suit vest with no shirt & Platform shoes& His long hair feathered back with a part in the middle. He was a little too late for Hippie Generation and was a little bit early for the Punk era .Unfortunately for Jimmie he was living in the time of Jacuzzi Limo California cocaine parties in the Watered down generation of Hotel California with former Laurel Canyon burn outs .
Yet Jimmie inside was secretly looking for that one –“original idea”.
Now don’t get me wrong this Jimmie was a hip guy in his daze... He had the records, he had the Explorer & Flying V guitars & the solid state Marshall half Stack. Heck he had all the pedals that simulated the real equipment... he claimed he dug the Blues (For credibility purposes) but like early rock n roll never really understood it. Somehow the magic of the hard arena rock he loved didn’t transfer from vinyl to his fingers. His band 'Dizzy Bitch' just never got past that 1:00 in the morning slot at the Starwood & besides that scene was now being taken over by The Punk Rock &Rockabilly bands.
Jimmie wound up getting a 9 to 5 job & playing in Top 40 bands after graduating high school on the weekends.
Jimmie wasn’t mad or bitter. After all he had a great job in an office and was making good money. He was really a nice guy but he still had this huge ego to feed. He repeatedly put down to anyone who would listen-‘The Rolling Stones’ saying they were sloppy.He said the same about Keith Moon’s drumming of ‘The Who’ one of the greatest bands ever. His pal & former Dizzy Bitch band mate (Now a real estate sales agent in Toledo Ohio who’s stage name ‘Dan the Zen Master’) said to Jimmie-'Buddy Rich said Keith Moon is the best Rock n Roll Drummer today.-"Jimmie promptly said –“Who is Buddy Rich?” He then turned up his Boston tape in his newly purchased walkman cassette player.
The Decades rolled on. Jimmie now had a couple of kids. His wife& his high school sweetheart now named ‘Ruby Viola Jones’ was always at the gym
.She had numerous ‘Hollywood plastic surgeries’ & drove a BMW. Jimmie was at the top realm of his field in building design. He even bought a Harley to ride on the weekends. He’d rap a bandanna on his head and be Peter Fonda at least for the weekend and on Sunday afternoons stop at a bar in an Orange County canyon to meet several of his lawyer friends all who also bought Harleys. They used to get mad when the real Bikers would come and take their parking spots. (And sometimes their cheating wives)
But what really made him and his top 40 band ‘SLIM CHANCE’ (Now called a cover band) angry was their friend who was an original artist &songwriter.- ‘Judy Diamond’ She lived her whole life for her music. She stayed dedicated since high school & whilst not famous she had a loyal following. But she griped on how she and her band could never get gigs cause of all these cover bands. But they all scoffed at Judy ( And she could be annoying). Jimmie didn’t scoff & he never felt guilty. He always thought Judy was great, &besides she babysat his kids for extra money.
As time went on something strange happened………...
Jimmies cover band wasn’t really getting booked anymore because all these ‘Tribute bands’ were popping up everywhere! ...Some of the real bands that the tribute bands paying tribute to were still touring &playing!.
It made no sense to Jimmie. Heck half of his friends were in them making money and they even thought the audiences packing the clubs were really clapping for & coming to see them.
In fact some started to "Act' like the singers they pretended to be. They (The Tribute bands)made fun of Elvis Presley impersonators... this was the final straw which made Jimmie realize they (all the tribute bands) were nothing more then ELVIS IMPERSNATORS no different. Who cares if it’s Styx, Heart, The Eagles or The Ramones they are tribute banding. ‘Hypocrites’ he thought’..
Then it happened... Jimmie finally got that 'Original idea’ he searched for all his life! He would start& form
‘A Tribute Band to The BEST Tribute Band’ -so if say for instance the best Tribute band was a tribute band of the group ‘Chicago’.. He would start a tribute to the tribute band of Chicago. The band he chose however was a tribute to the Journey tribute band. He called his tribute band to the Journey tribute. ‘Anyway you want it’- A TRIBUTE TO THE JOURNEY TRIBUTE BAND!” but that was confusing since there was a ‘Dave Clark Five’ Song of the same title ’’Anyway you want it.’(Where Journey nicked it of course ) and that started bringing in DC5 fans expecting a DAVE CLARK 5 Tribute band... so Jimmie changed the name to ‘Distance' A Tribute to the Journey Tribute band’. All of a sudden Things started going REALLY well.
It wasn’t’ easy…to be an expert Tribute to a tribute band. First you need to do everything like them –perfect with perfect imperfection.
Of Course they -Jimmies Tribute to a tribute band- had to expertly mock the slightly flat vocals of the tribute group. Some even wore wigs over wigs since some in the Journey tribute band wore wigs to cover their every day work day haircuts. It all must be perfectly imperfect!
The idea was selling tickets! The clubs were calling . Jimmie kept on going.. Why he formed a bunch of ‘Tribute Bands of Tribute bands’.. He monopolized the entire scene with bands like
“LUNG”A tribute to the tribute band for ‘Heart’ (Where Jimmie & Dan the Zen master dressed in full drag…Dan could hit the high notes almost as high as the Ann Wilson impersonator)
A Tribute band to the ROLLING STONES Tribute band became ‘THE FALLING ROCKS’ ‘
A tribute band to the RUSH Tribute band’ became- ‘WHATS YOUR HURRY’
A tribute band to the STYX tribute band Became ‘SAIL AWAY FROM THAT RIVER’’
A tribute band to the U2 tribute band became ‘NOT ME’
A tribute band to the BOSTON tribute band became ‘UTAH’
A tribute band to the EAGLES tribute band became ‘’PARROT’
A tribute band to the GUNS & ROSES tribute band became ‘SQUIRT GUN & TULIPS’
And a tribute band to the JANIS JOPLIN tribute band became LITTLE BROTHER & THE SHIPPING FACTORY’ ‘
The Tribute band to the DOORS Tribute band Became ‘KNOB’
A tribute band to the GRATETFUL DEAD tribute band became ‘UNGRATEFUL LIVING’ and finally
A tribute band to the CREAM tribute band became ‘HALF& HALF” (to keep things politically correct.)
He wanted to form Tributes to the Best BEATLE tribute Band but THE RUTLES were just way too good to try to imitate. He wanted to don Blackface &Be a Tribute band to the SLY & FAMILY STONE TRIBUTE BAND & call it ‘NOT SLICK & THE DISFUNCTIONAL PEBBLE’ but was afraid Inner city Thugs would kick his Ass,
He even formed “One Hit Wonder Tribute bands’ to open up for his Tribute to tribute bands
THE KNACK was’ KNICK KNACK PATTY WACK’,
MEN WITHOUT HATS were. You guessed it ‘Men with Hats
& AHA were ‘UH UH’
They had a 30 minute set where they would play the one Hit song ’over & over again.
Apart from the small lawsuit over his tribute to the ‘Woodstock festival’ where people started showing up dressed up as a yellow birds with white dogs in tow.
JIMMIE was finally a success.!!.
Now as you can imagine…This really Pissed off the Actual Tribute Bands.
They would get together with him and say’ “HEY JIMMIE MAN ..NOT COOL!
We are the real thing & We cant get booked …we used to fill the houses… but now no one wants ‘Tribute Bands’ …only ‘Tribute bands of the Best Tribute Bands’…. That is not good for the music scene”…..
Jimmie just counted his money & said finally stated his case & said:..
“Well I don’t know what’s good for the music scene …All I can tell you is you is this-
You weren’t mad when you the monopolized the clubs & took away gigs from Struggling Original creative bands and so many others’ by Being ‘impersonators’ yet calling it a tribute .At least Cover Bands Pay tribute, and do so as themselves. This gives them some form of integrity. Now you know how the Struggling songwriters like Judy Diamond must have felt. She is the Risk taker…. Don’t take it out on me because I came up with The Tribute to the Tribute band idea!”
…Jimmie went home to his two car garage home & layed in bed next to his wife& High school sweetheart the still busty Ruby Viola and stared at an old ‘Kansas Concert Poster framed on the wall from his high school days.
He kissed his wife goodnight & then checked on his Children who were fast asleep. He didn’t have to Dream anymore. For he is………
-Jimmie Jones- ‘King of the Tribute to Tribute Bands’-.
copyright Library of congress 2010- cant be used without permission whole part or in any form...
- ▼ July (5)