How to Start a Tribute Band: Lessons From Almost Elton John

Being in a tribute band—playing works of the artist you love for thousands of other fans who also love precisely the same music—can be extremely rewarding. But if you call yourself a tribute band, you have to live up to the mark. You have the huge responsibility of catering to the fans of the original artist and recreating their works as close to the original as possible.

But if the honor of being the top tribute band for your favorite artist is too alluring for you for any risks to deter you from this goal, here are some crucial lessons from Elton John’s no.1 tribute band; Almost Elton John.

Match Vocals as Closely as Possible

“I can’t stress this enough; you have to develop a timbre as close to the original artist’s voice as possible,” says Jerred Price, the lead vocalist of Almost Elton John. He explains that having an exceptional vocal is vital for any band, but it’s not enough to succeed as a tribute band. 

Whether or not you like it, the truth is that the lead singer’s voice is the first aspect people notice about a tribute band. How perfectly the drummer sustains the tempo or how accurately the lead guitarist bends the string is secondary. 

Matching the vocals means you have to train yourself to match the original lead singer’s timbre, their vocal range, and the way they sing in general. You have to note and teach yourself exactly when they switch from their chest voice to falsetto, how they accent notes in songs and try to match other vocal stunts they perform in their recordings and live shows.

Tribute Bands Are Not Cover Bands

“Tribute bands are not cover bands; you have to learn to appreciate the difference,” says Jerred Price. As the lead of the band and the one who plays Elton John in shows, Jerred Price matches not only Elton John’s outfit but also his demeanor, mannerism, and the way Elton John plays the piano.

Jerred explains that, unlike cover bands, a good tribute band tries its best to recreate the same aura as the original artist. Jerred has several pictures on his Facebook in which he’s dressed to match some of Elton John’s most iconic appearances.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Everything from fine-tuning your performances of different songs to better match the original artist’s recordings to figuring out the pedals and filters the original artist used in recordings takes practice—a lot of it. 

Jerred Price says, “Unlike other types of bands, you can’t get away with fixing your missed notes in post-production—most of your performances will be live. No amount of practice is too much.”

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