Rocks Off is not generally a fan of tribute bands, and even less so of Creed. We did have one guy hear who was a fan, but we left his body in the lobby as a warning to others who would embrace Stapp and Co. with arms wide open.
But judging from the turnout at last Saturday's concert, there are plenty of people in the Houston area who do. So it wasn't all that surprising to find a listing for someone wanting to start a Creed tribute act on Craigslist this week.
What was surprising was just how sensible an act that now seems after sitting down to talk with the project's founder, Codi Rowe.
Codi Rowe: First off, I would like to thank you for giving me the chance to explain myself a little and for helping drive some interest for me.
Rocks Off: No problem. Why do Creed covers instead of original music heavily influenced by Creed?
CR: Many of us musicians do not have access to tons of money (notice I didn't say "have tons of money"), which is what you need to break out onto the national scene. Radio stations like The Buzz aren't really interested in playing music from local up-and-coming-bands.
I know, I know...they have the Texas Buzz, but you have to be at least on the regional radar before you'll get airplay with those guys. You have to have an agent that's willing to throw some money to them to play your music. They're a terrible station for anyone trying to make a living making music in this town. They offer minimal support for local music.
These big-time radio stations owned by media conglomerates like Clear Channel get paid by the big record labels to play that record label's music. Every second of airtime on those radio stations is some form of an advertisement. The songs are advertisements for the record labels that released them just as much as the commercials promising you an extra inch of girth and an extra three inches of length you-know-where. It's all about the dollar.
Now, if I went to that station and told them I would pay them every time they spun my track, they might pass the idea up the ranks and have their regional director shoot it down because Warner probably pays them an ungodly amount of money that makes him just laugh at my offer. Look at the iheartradio app.
That's a lot of stations that these record labels get their tracks to all across America for what seems like an unfathomable amount of money to me, but is a drop in the bucket compared to the other promotion expenses these labels incur. Why would Clear Channel be interested in the little bit of money I might offer - maybe $50 [per] time, if everybody in the band was throwing in money for promotions - a radio station every time they play my song?
That was the first reason. The second reason is that Houstonians as a whole are not interested in original music that they haven't heard already. They don't want to pay the $5 cover and have the chance of not liking what the band on stage will put out. What those people don't understand is that the bars listen to demos of the bands or call other bar managers for references before they let them onstage.
They aren't going to take a gig from the Kentucky Travelers without hearing their music first and hearing a good review. You'll never see a bar owner horrified when the band gets on stage at a rock club because one guy is playing a washtub bass, another is playing a banjo and you got a fellow up there playing the spoons. That bar manager has heard that band's recording and believed it would be a good fit for his target clientele.
But the too-cheap-to-pay-the-$5-cover-without-knowing-what-he's-hearing-guy doesn't realize this, and doesn't realize he just might like it. The bar owners/manager also recognize this, so it can be difficult to get in without knowing someone on the inside.
Since I've only been in town for a year and have just finally established myself, I haven't had much of a social life, so I don't know many people - so original music is out of the question until I hit the Mega Millions jackpot.
RO: If Creed never toured again, do you think their music would have the staying power to support a full-time touring tribute band?
CR: Absolutely - and here is why I believe this. I grew up in a college town in South Georgia, Statesboro to be exact - yes, the town from the song "Statesboro Blues" made famous by the Allman Brothers Band. As an artist in that town, I most certainly "had them Statesboro Blues" on a rather frequent basis.
That area was really friendly for up-and-coming country music artists. Billy Currington came from Effingham County (which bordered Bulloch County, which Statesboro is the seat of), and played in and around Statesboro and Savannah quite a bit. The same can be said about Luke Bryan. Luke was from Leesburg, Ga,. but went to college at Georgia Southern in Statesboro for a little while, which explains his tie to the area. Brantley Gilbert is another one that came through often. Jason Aldeen came through numerous times before "She's Country" ran wild.
Other than that, though, it was all cover bands and tribute bands. Many bands like Fly-By Radio ('80s/current various artists), Velcro Pygmies ('80s/current various artists), U.S. (80s/current various artists), Wrong Way (Sublime tribute), Dave Matthews Tribute Band (take a guess at who they cover), and Frontiers (Journey tribute) made and most likely still makes their livings touring.
I'd be willing to argue that Creed was just as popular or even more popular than Sublime, Journey or Dave Matthews, at their respective heights of fame. As long as a band could play their music near perfectly and put on an amazing show, then they should be able to make a living with a little luck. No one in the music industry got where they are today without at least a little bit of luck.
My Own Prison sold over 6 million copies, Human Clay sold over 11 million copies, and Weathered sold over 6 million copies as well. Then they broke up. All of the guys except Scott Stapp did Alter Bridge (a very underrated band) for a while and reunited and recorded Full Circle, which flopped according to their previous sales figures (350,000 copies) selling one-third of the total sales in the first week.
People know Creed's music and enough have enjoyed it to sell 23 million copies of their original releases, plus 2 million copies of their Greatest Hits album. Yes, I believe the right band would be able to do this.
RO: We saw the many good reasons you posted for wanting to form the band, can you think of a good reason not to form the band?
CR: I deeply admire Mark Tremonti's guitar work. He's a huge influence of mine. I just can't play anywhere near as good, so I plan on doing the singing. I was able to sing their songs well at their show in The Woodlands last Saturday, so I feel confident about that. I met Tremonti in 2008 after a show in Atlanta when Alter Bridge opened for Sevendust (another very underrated band).
He signed my guitar and told me not to play crappy covers with it. I sure don't want to let him down [chuckle]. If I were to make it with this band I'm trying to put together, and were able to do this as my full-time job, I'm sure we'd have a few naysayers, but as long as I'm able to book shows, I'll keep doing it.
You just have to have a couple people laugh at you and laugh with them all the way to the bank. It's also hell actually putting the band together, rounding up five guys that have a common interest and then working out schedules so you're all available at the same time - and then finally getting together.
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You might have two of the originals left over by the end of the year just because someone committed time they didn't have to commit, or this guy just lost his job and had his car repossessed and can't make it to the practices or shows, or another guy was just a pain in the ass and nobody in the band could work with him, or this guy lost his amp when he couldn't pay back the pawn broker for the loan he took to pay his rent last month, or this guy is broke and can't afford to chip in money to help promote the band, or to help pay the rent for the practice studio, or buy equipment (PAs, lights, etc) that everyone in the band uses.
Then you have to constantly post ads praying somebody will respond before everybody else loses interest. Forming a band is a headache. Once that foundation is built, I wouldn't have any reason in the world to not do this, unless Mark Tremonti told me I was playing crappy covers - just kidding; I'd keep playing crappy covers until I couldn't book shows playing those crappy covers.
RO: Could you tell us some good Creed tribute band names you've thought of?
CR: Many band-specific tribute bands name themselves after a song by whatever band it is they are paying acclaim to. Some possible names - One Last Breath, Torn, Full Circle, What If, Are You Ready?, Higher - to name a few. One Last Breath really sticks out as my favorite.