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Internet Exploring

Why Are D-A-D Tribute Bands a Thing?

We called up one of them called DAD-Jam to find out.

The tribute band in question

Imagine waking up one morning and being like, "Alright, champ. Today's your day. You know how to hold a guitar. You know Jens, the beardy guy who sometimes buy you shots of Fisk at the bodega, owns a drumkit. You've been worshipping D-A-D, the only true incarnations of God and Wisdom on Earth, for decades. You're not going to focus on making your own music anymore. Fuck that shit. No, no, champ—what you're going to do is start the GREATEST D-A-D TRIBUTE BAND OF ALL TIME."


Recap: D-A-D - or Disneyland After Dark, which is what they were called before the D-man's coroporate mothership itself threatened to sue them - is that classic Danish rock band that everyone knows but nobody truly wants to listen to anymore. Like, it's the CD that your tipsy and slightly racist aunt - you know the one, we all have one - will probably whip out after Christmas dinner. She'll pop it into her much-loved CD player and start belting along to it while the rest of your family averts their eyes. This is the most appropriate contemporary context we're looking at for D-A-D, people. So, just take a second and imagine being in the mind of someone who decides to very seriously - he's not fucking around, here, he is SERIOUS - start a D-A-D tribute band. What bright goals could he have for his future? Why willingly throw himself to the lions, ready to rip into him with viscious, Reddit-fuelled enthusiasm for being just another shitty cover band?

We did not know the answers to these questions. We did not know what this person's mind would look like—but we thought we'd try to unearth the truth behind these mysteries when we discovered that there are a loooooot of people like this out there. To begin with, there's the sizable handful of tribute bands listed here and another other handful listed here. Who knows how many D-A-D tribute bands are still out there—and most importantly, why would anybody commit themselves to being in a tribute band? We called up Kasper Hansen, the lead singer aka man embodying Jesper Binzer, from Esbjerg-based DAD-Jam to find out. What we found is that there's a lot more to being in a tribute band than you would think—in both good and bad ways.


DAD-Jam just jamming. Photo via DAD-Jam

NOISEY: Hi, Kasper. Why did you guys start a D-A-D tribute band?
Kasper Hansen: First of all, they’re a great band. We love the music and love to play rock ‘n roll, so it was pretty obvious to us. We all play in other bands but for us it was kind of natural to gather and play a tribute for a band we love.

So your gig as a D-A-D tribute band is more part-time?
It’s more part-time for us. Sometimes we play a lot, but it’s mostly in the summer. Sometimes we have to wait for festivals to get back to us and let us know if they’ve got D-A-D to play or not. If they haven’t, they come back and say they want us instead.

As a tribute band, do you try to be as accurate to D-A-D’s sound as possible or do you put your own spin on it?
Well, our intention is to inspire people to love D-A-D as much as we love them. So we try to get their sound and their feeling as right as we can. We aren’t trying to pretend we are D-A-D. We aren’t trying to copy them, but we want some of our crowd members to leave and think, “That was cool! Maybe we’ll go see the real band next time.” Then our job is done.

What are your fans like?
Well, we’ve played small stages and bars and all that and we can see that the people who come know D-A-D. It’s only D-A-D fans who come see us. Sometimes, we see that the crowd is actually a bit older than we are because D-A-D have been on stage for 30 years or something. We end up being the young guys on the stage.


In terms of actual festivals, where do you play?
We only play in Denmark. We’ve been offered some gigs in Sweden before, though.

An intense performance by DAD-Jam. Photo via Facebook

Do you think the audience for tribute bands is growing, staying the same or falling?
Well, our bookers have come back to us lately and said that the interest for jam bands – not cover bands who play music by many different artists – is going up. People want jam bands. Most of the festivals we play in Denmark have a lot of jam bands: Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and all that.

Do you play for other jam bands too?
Yes and no. Some of us in the band play original music but some others play in more jam bands.

So how is it satisfying playing in a jam band compared to playing in a band with your own music?
We get that question a lot. It’s hard to say because we love D-A-D. I’ve been to something like 20 concerts with D-A-D—I’m a big, big fan. The first time we got on stage with this project was at a huge festival in Denmark and it was a great experience. We said to ourselves, ‘If we have to call ourselves a D-A-D jam band, we have to take it seriously.’ Then we started to get excited because festivals started to call us and we even played with D-A-D.

What do D-A-D actually think of you?
Well, we shot a commercial with them about a year ago. They were doing a beer commercial. The concept of the commercial was about support amateur music; they invited along some jam bands from Denmark including us and shot the commercial with us. So I think that means they’re okay with us.


Just some fans at a DAD-Jam show. Photo via Facebook

As a tribute band, what does the future look like for you?
Our goal as a tribute band is just to make other people like D-A-D as much as we do. We can’t go on big stages and we can’t get famous. Those aren’t our intentions. It’s cool to go out on stage and play concerts and get people to think it was a great concert and nearly felt like a D-A-D concert. Obviously we don’t play as well as D-A-D, but if we can inspire people to love D-A-D so much that they’d go see them, then we’re happy.

What are some of the best and worst things about being in a tribute band?
Well, it’s pretty easy to go out and play others’ music and get good experience doing that on stage. That’s a good thing. The worst thing is that sometimes people look down at tribute bands: their attitude’s like, “make your own music”. We really don’t care, though. That’s why we separate ourselves from cover bands—we don’t try to look like D-A-D. I don’t try to sing like him cause I can’t. So the worst thing is that people don’t get why we’re a tribute band and why we don’t just make our own music.

Do you ever use the success you experience as a tribute band to promote your own music?
Well, it would be very hard to go on stage as a D-A-D band and then all of a sudden introduce our own music. I’ve seen it done before with an AC/DC jam band and they ended up playing their own music—which sounded exactly like AC/DC. That’s not cool.

What makes a good tribute band?
Having a sense of respect for the real band. We aren’t D-A-D and need to make sure to tell people that so they treat our performance as a jam band, not as a cover band. I think that’s the great difference between tribute bands and cover bands.

Thanks, Kasper.