And Now for Something Completely Different: 10 of the Weirdest Tribute Bands in the Universe

[Current intern-in-residence Dorothy Lee has come up with another list for us. She gets an A+ for “strange.” – AC]

There are plenty of traditional cover bands out there, but these ten offer something a little bit different.

1) BEATALLICA

Beatallica is, according to their website and Facebook page, “the world’s first live mash-up or “bash-up” band”, combining the music of The Beatles and Metallica. They were formed in 2001 and are from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Their song titles and lyrics are a combination of material from both bands, with humorous original lyrics occasionally included. The band member’s names are also combinations of the members names from the Beatles and Metallica. The current members include Michael “Tinker” Tierney aka “Jaymz Lennfield” (vocals, lyrics, songwriting, rhythm guitar), Jeff Hamilton aka “Grg Hammetson III” (lead guitar), Paul Terrien aka “Kliff McBurtney” (bass), and Ryan Charles aka “Ringo Larz” (drums).

The melodies are often based on the music of The Beatles, however the music and vocals are predominantly in the style of metal, with some Metallica riffs and solos included. Since their debut album in 2001, they have released 3 albums, and 4 singles and EPs. They have reached headlining status for music festivals in both the United States and Europe, and have received praise from members of Metallica on more than one occasion:

“It was pretty amazing…I’m glad there’s people like that in the world.”

– James Hetfield, Metallica, Kerrang Magazine

“I think it’s cool when people do sh*t like that.  It’s not flattery, it’s just fun for me.”

– Kirk Hammett, Metallica, Bizarre Magazine

“Hey Dude”

 

2) KOI DIVISION

Koi Division is a Los Angeles-based fish-themed Joy Division parody cover band, and their website claims they are “The only Fish Goth Joy Division parody cover band that matters”. During performances, they wear plastic fish masks and black clothes. The band consists of Howard Hallis aka “Ian Clownfish” on vocals; Sam Hallis aka “Hook” on bass; DJ Dave IDK aka “Bernard Salmon” on guitar; and Logan Jenkins aka “Steve Moray” on drums.

For Howard, forming a Joy Division cover band was a dream come true as he has been a big fan since he was a child. However, he wanted to do something different as there were already plenty of traditional Joy Division cover bands.

Although they are a parody band, they have a deep respect for Joy Division. Despite the fish masks, they are dedicated to maintaining the appearance of Joy Division, even replicating original flyers and famous photos. And while their modified song titles and lyrics are full of puns, they also try to maintain Joy Division’s darkness in their modified lyrics. For example, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart is changed to Lures Will Catch Us a Carp; and the lyrics in Joy Division’s Dead Souls (“That keep calling me, They keep calling me, Keep on calling me, They keep calling me“) are changed to “and keep trawling me, They keep trawling me, Keep on trawling me, They keep trawling me” for Koi Division’s Dead Souls.

According to LA Weekly, Koi Division plan to make some music videos and would like to play at a festival or aquarium. Also, they would love to be guests on the American call-in talk show FishCenter Live on Adult Swim, where hosts narrate over footage of tropical fish swimming around in a fish tank.

“Whale in the Sand”

 

3) MAC SABBATH

Another parody cover band based out of Los Angeles is Black Sabbath cover band Mac Sabbath, delivering a taste of “Drive-Thru Metal”. Their website declares “Mac Sabbath is here, and it is time for a dinner rock revolution”. The band was formed in 2014 and consists of vocalist Ronald Osbourne, guitarist Slayer MacCheeze, bassist Grimalice and drummer The Cat Burglar.

As with Koi Division, they maintain the heaviness of the original music while combining a sense of fun and humour, performing while wearing McDonald’s-inspired costumes, and modifying the original songs into fast food metal. For example, “Supernaut” became “Supersize”, “Paranoid” became “Pair-a-Buns, and “Sweet Leaf” became “Sweet Beef”.

The band went viral in 2014, and have toured internationally. In 2015, they played the Download Festival in England which is a heavy metal festival; along with KISS, Slipknot, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Marilyn Manson. They also performed at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco that same year, which featured Elton John and Mumford & Sons as headliners.

Despite the McDonalds theme, Mac Sabbath manager Mike Odd explains that most of the band’s lyrics are about the evils of fast food. He adds that Black Sabbath’s music is often about evil also, and that “there’s a part of all of us that embraces evil and it can be a lot of fun. That seems to be a focal point of both bands”.

“Sweet Beef”

 

4) KRAMMPSTEIN

Krammpstein is a Krampus-themed cover band of the German industrial metal band Rammstein. The band performs dressed as creatures to embody the legend of Krampus, the beast that punishes children at Christmastime.

The band is from Austria and consists of vocalist Greg Reynard, guitarist William Smith, keyboardist (and lighting director) Samuel Pfannkuche, percussionist/singer Tamara Rettino, and bassist Anthony Albright. Surprisingly, Reynard doesn’t speak German but uses a German rhyming dictionary and Google Translate, and has German friends to help. He fell in love with parody at a young age as he grew up on Dr. Demento and Weird Al Yankovic.

As with the bands mentioned previously, Krammpstein modifies the original lyrics to match their Krampus theme, while adding in a certain level of absurd humour. For example, Rammstein’s “Rosenrot” is about a boyfriend who climbs a mountain to get a rose for his loved one and falls to his death. This was modified to a story about “the tragic life of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and how he was shunned and made fun of by his reindeer compatriots”, Reynard explained.

Krammpstein has attracted quite a following to their annual holiday shows since the band was formed in 2013, and were listed among the top 20 best tribute bands in the area by LA Weekly. They were also the supporting act for Mac Sabbath at Whisky A-Go-Go in Hollywood on Halloween in 2015.

“Du Hast”

 

5) MARILYN KRAMPSON

Another Krampus-themed cover band from Austria is Marilyn Krampson, who claim on their Facebook page to be “the world’s best Krampus-themed Marilyn Manson tribute band”. They have performed as the opening act with Krammpstein on a couple of occasions around Los Angeles.

“The Nobodies”

 

6) STEEL PANTHER

Steel Panther is a comedic glam metal band from Los Angeles founded in 1981. The band members are Ralph Saenz aka “Michael Starr” on vocals and guitar, Russ Parrish aka “Satchel” on lead guitar, Travis Haley aka “Lexxi Foxx” on bass guitar, and Darren Leader aka “Stix Zadinia” on drums.

The band gained popularity during the early 2000’s, playing weekly shows at the Viper Room under the name Metal Shop, which was changed to Metal Skool shortly after, then to Steel Panther.  Despite what many might guess, Micheal Starr has revealed in an interview that their band’s name was not inspired by Steel Dragon, the band that was featured in the 2001 movie ‘Rock Star’.

While some of the band’s lyrics are quite controversial, and seemingly overtly racist and sexist (check out “Fat Girls” and “Asian Hooker”), the band appears to get away with it because of their reputation as a self-aware parody band; and this is also the type of humour that they have built their career on. While the band had originally formed as a cover band, they don’t see themselves as a parody act however, they just like to sing about things that make them laugh says Starr. They signed with a division of Universal Music Group in 2008 and now write their own original music, and they have sold-out concerts in places such as Sweden, Australia and the U.K.

In December of 2011, Def Leppard invited Steel Panther to join them with co-headliners Motley Crue as “Special Guests” on their Mirrorball Tour. Just one week after the tour ended, Steel Panther opened for Guns N’ Roses in Los Angeles on December 21, 2011. They have also played on the main stage at Download Festival and have shared the stage with such bands as Aerosmith. Steel Panther will be touring with Stone Sour this fall, which includes a show at The Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on October 4th.

“Wasted Too Much Time” featuring Stone Sour

 

7) DR. COLOSSUS

Dr. Colossus is a Simpsons-themed doom rock band from Melbourne, Australia. The trio consists of Dr. Jon on vocals and guitar, Dr. Love on bass and backing vocals, and Dr. Johnston on drums. Their musical influences include Black Sabbath, offering listeners powerful guitar riffs with lyrics centred around The Simpsons.

The track “Stupid Sexy Flanders” has earned a great amount of international press and had over 10,000 streams on Youtube. The band also offers their EP’s through their Bandcamp page (https://drcolossustheband.bandcamp.com).

“Stupid Sexy Flanders”

 

8) OKILLY DOKILLY

Okilly Dokilly is a Ned Flanders-themed heavy metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, and according to their website, “the world’s only Nedal band”. Formed in 2015, the band members are Head Ned (vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, percussion), Bled Ned (drums), Stead Ned (guitar), Red Ned (synth and vocals) and Thread Ned (bass).

They became a viral phenomenon before they ever played their first show, after they released a 4-song demo and a few press photos. Their live shows are full of energy and combines comedy and brutality.

The song’s lyrics consist mostly of direct quotes from Ned, and all band members are dressed as Ned, with glasses and mustache included.

Okilly Dokilly’s debut album ‘Howdilly Doodilly’ was released on November 11, 2016 and is available on their Bandcamp page (https://okillydokilly.bandcamp.com/album/howdilly-doodilly).

“White Wine Spritzer” (Official Video):

 

9) STOVOKOR

 Stovokor is an American death metal band from Portland, Oregon formed in 2001. The band is based on the Klingon characters from the Star Trek franchise, and they claim to be Klingon warriors marooned on earth. Sto-vo-kor is the name for the Klingon afterlife, and the band members consist of: Bill Salfelder aka “pinLuH HoD” (vocals); Matt Stikker aka “kha’mLet” (lead guitar); Ward Young aka “KhR’ell” (rhythm guitar); Jason Lewis aka “KhRaa’Nik” (bass guitar); and Jason Johansen aka “Qui Pe” (drums).

During performances, the band dresses in Klingon costumes and most of their lyrics are written in Klingon language. Stovokor appeared in the documentary ‘Trekkies 2’, and have played notable shows in the company of Star Trek alumni, including a show at the top of Seattle, Washington’s Space Needle in September 2006, for the 40th anniversary of Star Trek.

“The Code”

 

10) WARP 11

Warp 11 is another Star Trek-themed rock band from Sacramento, California formed in 1999. They perform original songs mostly about Star Trek but also about sex and drugs. Their musical styles include alternative, classic rock, punk, country and blues. The band members consist of Captain Karl Miller on lead vocals and bass, Chief Engineer Brian Moore on guitar, Chief Science Officer Kiki Stockhammer on vocals, and Commander John “Number one” Merlino on drums. They have released seven albums since their debut album ‘Suck My Spock” in 2000, and were featured as the house band at the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention in San Francisco.

 “Everything I Do (I Do with William Shatner)”

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “And Now for Something Completely Different: 10 of the Weirdest Tribute Bands in the Universe

  • October 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    Your intern Dorothy Lee just copied and pasted the LA Weekly article about Koi Division. She gets an A+ in blatant plagiarism.

    Reply

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