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  1. #1
    Good Enough Cabo Kid's Avatar
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    08.27.15 @ 02:07 AM
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    Donor

    OK, from the outset, this may seem like a no-brainer. But talk me off the ledge here.

    Do you think guys who play in "tribute bands", like Bart Walsh and the countless KISS Armies of the world, are actually talented musicians?

    I know, you're thinking "well DUH! Of course they're talented musicians!! They've got to learn the songs and they have to learn how to play their respective instruments."

    OK.

    But, when you hear Bart doing his version of "Eruption" and "Panama", is he doing himself any favors by copying Ed note for note, sound for sound and grin for grin? I know tribute bands are supposed to sound, look and act like the bands their paying homage to, but I wonder in the big world of top guitar players if Bart is truly a gifted & talented shredder or just a smart mimic.

    What are your thoughts?
    "Once the final BAN has been completed I will ban myself." -OLO, March 21, 2002
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  2. #2
    Eye suffacozza YEWW! Goo's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 12:07 AM
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    ultimately I guess he's simply doing what he's paid to do, and as such you would never really know if the guy had any more talent than what he's showing.

    Kinda similar to perhaps the local science teacher could actually be qualified as a rocket scientist. But he's just paid to teach science, so thats what he does.

    Then again, maybe being a science teacher is the limit of his abilities.

    Does that make any sense?
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  3. #3
    Beloved Glenn's Avatar
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    02.13.15 @ 08:56 AM
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    Donor

    There's always a million stories behind how musicians wound up hooking up with one another. I would guess that a guy like Bart is probably thinking that he's happy to have a paying gig playing Eddie's material, but he's always hoping that there'll be an opportunity to get into the recording studio with Dave and put down an album full of his own riffs and solos.

    Maybe it's just because I suck as a guitar player, but I have to think that anyone that can play guitar (even cover material) as well as Bart can must be a talented musician. Therefore I would guess he has something to offer outside of playing EVH riffs, it's just a matter of timing to see if he ever gets a chance to showcase Bart Walsh as Bart Walsh.

  4. #4
    Good Enough Cabo Kid's Avatar
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    08.27.15 @ 02:07 AM
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    Donor

    Good analogies, both of you. I guess it's kinda like the "teacher" of any particular topic in college.

    They seem to know all about HOW to do "X" yet they're not out in the real world DOING "X".

    Sure, Bart had to practice hours and hours to learn the guitar, but it seems like someone of his caliber ought to be able to spread his wings and become his own persona.
    "Once the final BAN has been completed I will ban myself." -OLO, March 21, 2002
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  5. #5
    Eruption
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    05.18.12 @ 09:24 AM
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    I'm not a guitar player or a musician, but I think there's more to it than copying someone elses stuff.

    Bart may be a able guitar player, but he's no where near the musician Eddie Van Halen is(was?). Eddie created music. Bart copies it.

    As for what he and others like him do in cover bands, I agree he's just doing what he's paid to do.

    Personally I don't think Bart does it well enough. I remember at the concert I saw in Minnesota 2001 when Mean Street started and I didn't even know what song it was. It wasn't until the drums kicked in etc that I recognized it. Bart was playing way too fast (perhaps trying to prove he can do it better?) and it didn't sound anything like Eddie's intro. If you're supposed to sound like Eddie, then sound like him. Don't freelance on his songs. It just makes you look worse.

  6. #6
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    I think Bart Walsh has played in a lot of different bands, not just a Van Halen cover band and then DLR's lates', greates' sidekick. I think in '01 he was layin' it down heavier, puttin' his own touch on the tunes while copying the master's "framework."

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Playing cover songs note for note is a fucking bitch and if you think that it's easy then try it some time. There was a guy down in LA in the late seventies who's band was big on cover songs but he couldn't always play them the way that they were on the record so he changed them around so that he could play them. Does that mean that he wasn't as good as the guys who could play stuff note for note? No. Where some of the guys who played cover songs better? Technically yes. They could site read and usually had good paying gigs at Disneyland or studio work and played clubs for fun on the side.

    The irony is that in a few years those same guys would be covering that other kid's music and his style because that other kid was Eddie Van Halen. Ed would play Cream note for note. Did that make him some kind of hack?

    Fuck no.

    Look, Bart Walsh is a top-notch guitarist who gets to play stuff that he loves, much like Randy Hanson did with Hendrix back in the day. Let's face it, if popular music didn't suck so bad Bart would probably have his own band and play his own stuff. I mean, what's a guitarist who knows his ass from a hole in the ground supposed to do these days?
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  8. #8
    Good Enough Cabo Kid's Avatar
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    08.27.15 @ 02:07 AM
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    Donor

    I think that was my point right there, Axxman, when I started this thread.

    Technically you HAVE to give these guys some credit for playing songs note for note in cover bands. That kind of thing and talent just doesn't happen overnight. I was just wondering how guys like Bart were perceived outside in the mainstream world. When they make their claim to fame as being an Eddie Van Halen clone, do their real talents often go overlooked?

    I think the answer is obviously "yes".

  9. #9
    Good Enough Cabo Kid's Avatar
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    08.27.15 @ 02:07 AM
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    Donor

    By the way, with all the hootnanny about Brian Young possibly being the new DLR Band guitarist, how do BY and BW stack up against each other?
    "Once the final BAN has been completed I will ban myself." -OLO, March 21, 2002
    "The price of the steak sandwich over there is ridiculous!!" -Glenn, March 3, 2003
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  10. #10
    Master Bluesman Elwood P.'s Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 01:01 PM
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    Saw Bart with the Punks twice in '94 and '97. Also saw him with Dave in '99. He's a great guitarist but if forced to choose between the two, I might have to go with Brian. Not anything I can explain really, that's just my feeling. I think that alot of folks who have seen both would probably go with Brian too. I just don't know how people would take this whole deal, Dave going again to the Punks for his guitarist. Hey who knows, maybe if Brian gets the Dave gig, then Bart could come back to the Punks and do some shows with them.

  11. #11
    Hang 'Em High Stuff No More's Avatar
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    01.08.05 @ 11:08 AM
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    I wonder about this very topic sometimes. Take a guy like Vic from the WaboRitas. Sammy pays the man to play whatever Sammy writes. Okay, so maybe Vic might have a little say in things, but pick up a Sammy album and 95% or more of the songs just list Sammy as the writer.

    So you wonder, does somebody like him ever think, "Shouldn't I go out and find my own music?" Yeah, we just crossed into the realm of the movie Rock Star, but it raises a good point. Playing someone else's material, be it covers in a tribute band or as the highered guitarist in a solo band, assures you a paycheck. Going out on your own might make you a lot of money or might make you none.

    It's like in business. They say you never get rich working for someone else.

    But really, musicians are like businessmen. Some are big into going out, starting their own "business," and taking the risk for the glory. Vai really stands out to me as someone more like that - he wasn't satisfied being Dave's trained monkey. Some are just content being an employee, having the job security, knowing that paycheck and health insurance will always be there for them when they need it.

    Maybe Bart just doesn't want to go out on his own. He might just be satisfied knowing he has a steady gig and can pay the bills when he needs to.
    "Just once I'd like to do the right thing and not get punished for it."

  12. #12
    Little Dreamer
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Originally posted by Stuff No More:
    I wonder about this very topic sometimes. Take a guy like Vic from the WaboRitas. Sammy pays the man to play whatever Sammy writes. Okay, so maybe Vic might have a little say in things, but pick up a Sammy album and 95% or more of the songs just list Sammy as the writer.

    So you wonder, does somebody like him ever think, "Shouldn't I go out and find my own music?" Yeah, we just crossed into the realm of the movie Rock Star, but it raises a good point. Playing someone else's material, be it covers in a tribute band or as the highered guitarist in a solo band, assures you a paycheck. Going out on your own might make you a lot of money or might make you none.

    It's like in business. They say you never get rich working for someone else.

    But really, musicians are like businessmen. Some are big into going out, starting their own "business," and taking the risk for the glory. Vai really stands out to me as someone more like that - he wasn't satisfied being Dave's trained monkey. Some are just content being an employee, having the job security, knowing that paycheck and health insurance will always be there for them when they need it.

    Maybe Bart just doesn't want to go out on his own. He might just be satisfied knowing he has a steady gig and can pay the bills when he needs to.
    Excellent post, and probably the closest to the actual truth.

    Music is a VERY tough business to make a living at, folks. Even if your band has all the talent in the world, the odds are still heavily against you making a steady living at it, let alone REALLY "making it". This is why so many musicians end up having to supplement their income by teaching (although there's certainly nothing wrong with that), having a second job or some other steady source of income (use your imagination). Two viable alternatives offering at least some degree of financial comfort are session work, which really only pays well if you live somewhere like LA, Austin, Nashville or New York, and playing in "tribute bands", where many of the more talented acts like the 'Punks or some of the more popular KISS tribute bands like Strutter are quite in demand and can actually make some pretty decent money.

    In the end, we can pontificate about "integrity" 'til the cows come home, but sadly, integrity alone doesn't pay the mortgage, car note, insurance, cable bill, chronic fund, etc., this is just a fact of life. These things may not be all that important when you're an immortal 20 year-old with time to burn and ideals out the ass (they weren't to me then, at least!), but when you start to close in on that 30 mark, once the illusion of immortality has been shattered, shit like having a nice place to live, a car to drive, food to eat, a family and some security starts to count for more and more. I actually have some respect for guys like Walsh who clearly have talent, and have stuck it out long enough to find a way to have a steady gig that actually manages to make music pay the bills. Heck, I still play every day and enjoy the hell out of sitting in with friends' bands from time to time, but I don't know if I could do it for a living any more.

    I say more power to the brotha...

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  13. #13
    Little Dreamer
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    AMEN BRO! I THOUGHT PLAYING MUSIC WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THAT ASPECT OF IT? I AGREE, IF YOU ARE NOT PLAYING FOR A REGULAR GIGGING TYPE BAND (MAKING MONEY) BY 30, YOU REALLY START TO THINK ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE SUCH AS HAVING A FAMILY, SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR KIDS, WORKING TOWARD RETIREMENT SOMEDAY ETC... AT LEAST I DO.

  14. #14
    Sinner's Swing!
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    01.10.09 @ 01:07 PM
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    It's like this either you are out there playing in ORIGINAL BANDS writing your own stuff....playing original songs...and making no money with the possibility it could pay off; and the satisfaction of expressing yourself.

    OR you are one of those guys that play in cover bands or tribute bands making money and having fun. But you are simply playing someone else's stuf albeit it may be difficult at times to learn how to play other peoples material note for note.

    I think the people that are writing recording and performing their own stuff have it in them and do it because they have to(the true hardcore people that is)...

    The reasons why others choose the wedding band cover band tributee band life are varied...insecurity about writing; the need to make money; lack of drive to pursue the artistic route; etc etc...

    talent is a difficult thing to define and shows itself in many forms...and is something that is defined by the opinion of the listener and the creator....of the music...

    Do I think Bart is talented?? Yes he obviously is quite talented...

  15. #15
    On Fire
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    I find playing in a cover band you are always under very heavy criticism, just as Bart is in this thread. Myself, I don't have the time to learn 50+ songs note for note, and it is my feeling if it is expected to be played exactly as the CD, then stick the CD in the player and I'll enjoy a cold one with everyone else. Is that bad? I am not really sure, but when we play a gig I get my money at the end of the night, and usually have a good time as well. Fact is, no matter the amount of talent you will never play the music exactly as the writer. I will also add a little note here that when playing gigs the worst critics are always other musicions in the audience, and the reason for that is they want to be on stage.

    Also having an origonal band I can say there is much more personal satisfaction in playing origonal music. It at times can be self indulgence as well.
    Life is something that happens when your planning something else.

 

 

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