Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I've got a question for you all today.
What's the deal with Elvis Presley impersonators and tribute bands, specifically the kind that try to look and sound exactly like the band they are imitating? Because I just don't get it.
The thing that brings this up is that this week is Elvis impersonator week on The David Letterman Show, although I'm also curious about this because I've been seeing ads for a week or two on local television for a band of Beatles imitators that are going to be coming through town soon. Neither one interests me in the least.
Now, I'll be honest here. I've always figured that I don't get the Elvis impersonator thing because I've never been an Elvis fan. I know that this puts me in a distinct minority, but there it is. The only Presley song I like even a little bit is "Heartbreak Hotel", and I think that's at least partly to do with the fact that it came out the year I was born. Other than that, I'm just "meh" about him - his singing, his performance style, his acting, the whole package. I understand that he was very influential on other performers, some of whom I like a lot, and that's fine. It doesn't mean I have to like his work.
But, then, I started to see Beatles impersonators. I'm a huge fan of The Beatles, which you've probably figured out if you read here much. But I have no desire to go see a show with people on stage trying to look and sound like them, which is the vibe I'm getting from the ads for the show that's coming to my town soon. From what I gather from that ad, these folks appear during different parts of the show in costume and hair from all through the time The Beatles were a band.
Really. I just don't see the point.
So, what I'm looking for from you, dear readers, is for you to explain this phenomenon to me. Because I know it isn't exclusive to Elvis and The Beatles. There are a raft of tribute bands, some of which I assume try to get the look and the sound exactly right, while others just play a band's or a singer's music because they like it so much. Apparently there is even a Led Zeppelin tribute band that plays the band's songs in reggae style, with a lead singer who is...wait for it...an Elvis impersonator.
I want to understand. I really do. And I just...don't.