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Ripped off.

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At what point is the line drawn between taking influence from bands and ripping them off?

This is a question I’m constantly asking myself with our music. At what point do we draw from Led Zeppelin or The Who as influences and when do we borderline rip off? This question is really quite relative. Last night our drummer was arguing the point that he thinks creativity has sunken in the band and we’ve become a Zep rehash. However, I am comforted by people who will watch a show and say things like “you remind me of this band or that band”. In fact, I can count the number of times on 1 hand that I’ve heard a direct referrence to Zep. We get everything from Chicago to The Doors to The Jam. Some people hear our punk rock roots. At shows, the comments are all over the place.

And that’s cool. That’s how it should be. We don’t want to be anybody’s rip off. Especially great bands like Zep. There was only one Zep and we by far are not it. Thank God for that.

I think what scares us about being a rip off of something is the fact that all around us we see tons of crap bands doing covers of Superman or Puddle of Mudd songs. That’s the last thing we want to be.

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About Andy

  • And isn’t any symphoney orchestra a cover band?

  • hhhmmm…an afterthought. OK, this Sunday here in Seattle I am promoting a show from a great band from the area who gained popularity in the psychedelic 60s. They are know as THE DAILY FLASH. They sure are masters at the high art of interpretation. You may have heard the song before, but not with the Flash treatment.

    I saw them play (Barry Curtis on guitar-you know, Kingsmen, Louie, Louie)last weekend. My god, there is nothing wrong with doing a cover. These Daily Flash guys, even though they are all almost as old as the Rolling Stones, are amazing.

    Point being, covers can be the coolest thing, as long as you can show your own stuff.

  • Considering how many musicians make a decent living working in “tribute” bands (some of them quite large, do you know what the dudes who play in Mozart and Beethoven bands make?) I think the correct question should be, are you doing what you want to do, and are you being successful at it?

    Not every good musician is a good songwriter or composer, and many songwriters and composers are poor performers. Instead of angsting about derivation, do what you do best.

  • John

    It’s kind of ironic because Zeppelin kind of stole/copied/rehashed/was heavily influenced by/from many artists before them. But they are amazingly talented, and I love them.

  • Rip off or influence, that is the question. Who cares? Only those looking to slam someone else for actually striving for virtuosity.

    We all had stuff we were ‘into’. It is a rip off when the musicians sit around and say they have to sound like Zeppelin (or who ever). Then it is not when, say, writing a song and the writers discover it would work best with a ‘Zepplin feel to it’.

    What I always like bands to do in my management and promotion career is to cover a song they like of a band they are into. Do it their own way. Don’t listen to the record, just read the charts and go for it. The truth will stand out.

    Here in Seattle the band Heart I remember being total Zeppelin freaks. Cool. Click on my name at the top of this post, it will take you to my URL, sample songs. We were totally raised on Zeppelin.

    Get the difference between rip off and influence? Gee, aren’t alot of guitar players Mel Bay rip off’s?

  • JR

    Kingdom Come was hammered for being a Zep clone. I’d say that they are at least one possible benchmark to use.

    I agree. That first Kingdom Come album rocked! If you can make an album that good, I’ll buy it.

  • Kingdom Come was hammered for being a Zep clone. I’d say that they are at least one possible benchmark to use.