Although musical tributes play a significant role within contemporary culture and despite their relative longevity as a form of entertainment, little serious research has been published on the subject. This book makes an important contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon of the tribute band by linking it to other types of imitative entertainment such as ‘ghost’, cover and parody bands. It also demonstrates the impact of a changing cultural Zeitgeist on the evolution of popular music tributes, showing how music tributes can be related to other examples of retrospection. These influences are linked to the impact of new technology in making the art of paying tribute possible, showing how certain developments have created the musical equipment and apparatus for self-promotion, marketing and communication with fans. Whilst critical opinion on this type of entertainment remains divided, the author challenges negative responses through an interrogation of critiques of imitative cultural practices within a broader historical and cultural framework. The diversity of the homage industry is highlighted and the book avoids concentrating solely on well-known tributes, looking too, at the work of those operating in the ‘alternative’ tribute scene. The book explores the working life of musicians involved in the ‘bargain basement’ end of the live music industry, using interviews and first hand observations to show the trials and tribulations of paying homage. Finally, through an examination of the audience at tribute events, fandom and associated social and psychological aspects of participation are explored.
‘Some say the past is a foreign country; Georgina Gregory offers a exhaustive guidebook to the musical outlands where rocks back catalogue becomes reanimated Her spirited and insightful examination of tribute bands celebrates these critically overlooked ensembles as much more than just stand-ins for the real thing. The subtle typology she elaborates furthermore illustrates the diversity of goods in the semiotic supermarket: how a sound-like need not be a look-alike; and how a tribute group can cross not only genre but gender, too.’ –David Sanjek, Professor of Music, University of Salford
‘Georgina Gregory has shone a spotlight on the little-studied world of tribute bands and their fans. Her brightly-written book serves up a heady and original interdisciplinary potion, a mix of cultural studies, (firmly grounded) contemporary history, ethnography and other ingredients. She makes the importance of the phenomenon abundantly clear, while providing engaging portrayals of its eccentricities and explaining the difficulties encountered in bringing it in from the margins of popular music studies. Insights into the relationships between notions of the artist and the craft worker, the textual and the performative, the original and the reproduction, the artiste and the fan, heritage and memory, are transferable to related areas of cultural history and its ‘uses’. This splendid, enthusiastic, articulate book deserves to be widely read and discussed, within and beyond an extensive academic constituency.’ –John K. Walton, IKERBASQUE, Department of Contemporary History, University of the Basque Country, Leoia, Bilbao, Spain
About the Author
Georgina Gregory is a senior lecturer in Media and Film at the University of Central Lancashire where she teaches modules on popular music, youth and popular culture and cultural theory. She also works as a freelance music researcher for the UK Performing Rights Society. In addition to publications on popular music and youth culture, Georgina is co-author of The Essential Guide to Careers in Media and Film (Sage, 2007).