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I've been practicing the vocal part to a particular rock band that I really like, with the aim of either joining or starting a tribute band. However, there is already a tribute band for that group playing in my city; although they don't seem to be hugely active (playing approx. 1 gig every month or two, it seems).

So, I'm wondering whether I should try to contact them first and see if they could use another singer, or whether I should just advertise and try to start a new tribute band with some fresh people?

I'm a little concerned that, if I approach them, it might come across as if I'm trying to 'muscle in' on their gig or push out their incumbent singer. However, if I just ignore them and start a new band, could that come across as a bit rude, if they might have been interested in looking at another singer (in case their current one can't make a gig, for example)?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking this a bit, but I lack experience of the tribute band 'scene' and would appreciate some advice.

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    Well, you ARE attempting to 'muscle in' to either the existing singer's or the whole band's field, aren't you! You might be able to do this amicably, but don't be too surprised if it turns into a bit of a turf war. – Laurence Payne Jul 6 '18 at 1:30
  • @Laurence Payne I was hoping we can just all be friends! Lol .. – Time4Tea Jul 6 '18 at 2:08
  • If they're only getting one gig a month, I doubt they'll be content that 'there's enough work for both of us'. – Laurence Payne Jul 6 '18 at 2:31
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    They're not going to like it either way. And if you joined as dep. singer, you may get a couple of gigs a year - if it went well. They might be happier with you, who knows? Better forming your own band. They might hear you - and nick your guitarist... – Tim Jul 6 '18 at 6:39
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    There is nothing more rival-like than two tribute bands playing the same music in the same area. I've seen it happen before with Queen tributes, they really don't seem to like eachother because you're practically cutting the demand for both of the bands in half, so I think your concerns are accurate. I don't think a stage manager would be thrilled to book two tribute bands of the same artist in a short timespan. That being said, I think you should be able to do whatever you want. Put up your fists, though. – Rick van Osta Jul 6 '18 at 7:44
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I think maybe one of the most professional ways to handle this is to try out for their band, like you said, but if they decline you, then it would be acceptable to start a competing band. The existing band will see that you didn't really have a choice, and no one should be able to be angered by you doing what you enjoy doing. Do try to avoid antagonizing them beyond necessary, however.

  • Thanks. I will at least scout them out, but it might be hard to actually try out for them, if they haven't got an opening. I do agree though, that I should be able to play the music I want to play somehow. – Time4Tea Jul 7 '18 at 9:50
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I'm going to post a possible solution as an answer to my own question. From some of the comments, it sounds like I was right to be concerned that there might be some 'friction', if I was to try to start a tribute band when there is already another one in my area.

I guess I'm not really afraid of a 'turf war', if it comes to that. I feel really driven to do this, and I think I could do a good job of it. Although, my main motivations are to have some fun; perhaps make some friends and maybe even entertain some people, not to piss other people off. So, I would rather avoid friction, if possible.

Perhaps a good first step would be to go and see the other band perform. That way, I can see what they are like and get a feel for the audience and the 'scene' for that tribute. Perhaps I can also talk to some band members and get a better idea of why they aren't gigging more regularly and what the demand level is like. If there is more local demand than they can meet, then things might not feel so claustrophobic with two tributes on the scene.

Otherwise, I guess it's not going to hurt to advertise for some other musicians and start practicing. Some of them might have some more experience of the local rock gig scene and might be able to give some advice. Another idea is that perhaps we could start out as a more 'general' covers band that just happens to lean heavily towards that artist's style and their music could form a good slice of the set. That way, I can get some experience of the local scene and test the water, without it coming across as a direct, frontal assault on their turf?

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