Friday, March 6, 2009

Wet t-shirt- excuse me, TRIBUTE NITE

So, looking in the A&E I notice that there are not one but TWO tribute nights coming up, one for Tom Petty and one for Tom Waits. Why so many Toms? And more importantly, where is the Tom Jones tribute show? This got me thinking, and more questions followed. Who sets up these tribute nights, and WHY THE HELL WAS I NOT ASKED TO BE INVOLVED?

Let me back up. I have only played in one tribute show, an Iggy Pop show, which was a benefit back in the day for the families of 9/11-fallen FDNY. It was awesome. We were a late add-on, so all the classic songs had been taken, so we ended up doing "Mask" off his then-current album, which mutated into an even harder hardcore song with a very sweet sax-led reggae bit in the middle. It was so much fun. The host/promoter of that show was the ubiquitous DJ Gregarious, and when I talked to him later, it was going to be the first of several tribute nights, such as George Harrison and Cheap Trick. He mentioned that tribute nights are... well, tricky and not cheap, but very popular.

I can see certain difficulties immediately. Many many bands, which means more bodies that aren't paying to get in, more risks and hassle for the venue. The music rights aspect- I mean, it isn't like cover band night at the local watering hole. In the age of teh Intarweb it's even easier. If Roger Water's IP lawyer has a few idle minutes to spare, he can just google 'Pink Floyd tribute nite,' give ASCAP a call, and start shuttin' doors. Is that how it works? I'm actually very curious. As wikipedia would say, "This article requires the attention of an expert."

Here's the thing, though. I can think of some awesome tributes, boom, off the top of my head: Joy Division, The Who, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Morrissey, etc. These are just some of my favorite artists, but you can see what I mean. I'd love to play at any of those, and I think Coeur Machant would be up to the task. So set up some tribute nights already, people, and count me in. I'll help out!

And I won't tell Roger Waters.


Speaking of both DJ Greg and Tom Jones, we simultaneously attended his show in the summer of '95. These were the Papaccino's days when he was a barista and I was a patron. Anyway, you of course know that TJ is famous for having women throw their panties on stage during "What's New Pussycat." Well, during that song, DJ Greg (flanked of course by two fine-looking ladies) reached down into his pants and threw his boxers on stage.



Anonymous said...

Venues (clubs, theaters, stadiums, bars, etc.) pay their performance license fees to ASCAP and BMI. The licenses to the venues allow them to permit public performances of compositions -- whether by live bands or recorded music over the sound system. So everytime a Roger Waters composition is played at a tribute night, he gets paid by virtue of his assoication with ASCAP or BMI. Because he has (through ASCAP or BMI), licensed public performances of his compositions, his IP lawyers will not be sitting around trying to figure out how to stop something he's authorized!

Jess Gulbranson said...

But that assumes that a particular artist/their estate has approved it. Maybe that's why you never hear of some tribute nights despite the obvious potential awesomeness?

Thanks for the clarification!