Venue: Galaxy Theater
City: Costa Mesa / Santa Ana, CA
Set length: About an hour
Playing on the same night as The Atomic Punks (a tribute to early Van Halen), and 5150 (a Sammy Hagar era tribute to Van Halen) the Rock -n- Roll Junkies are a Motley Crue tribute. I know the singer is the son of Vince Neil and all but I didn’t see this band as much of a tribute, rather it was more like 4 guys playing the music of a band they liked. I’ve seen Motley Crue many times, have all their albums, and have been a fan for many years but the Rock -n- Roll Junkies were not even close. Perhaps it was this particular evening and it was the exception and not the rule but the vocals were mostly flat, the riffs weren’t quite right and the energy was just not there – sorry Mr. Wharton.
I have a theory about Tribute bands, which I really do love by the way… If they are trying to give the audience the audio and visual experience of the band they are covering then they should be spot-on in order to call themselves a tribute or at least have an interesting take on the group. If the band is not trying to look and sound like the group they are playing, then they are just celebrating the music and should be touted as such. I have no problem with either of these but when the lines get blurred it just confuses the audience and can come across as schlocky. An example is when the bands wear wigs to try and look like the band but then act nothing like the person they are imitating – it just doesn’t make sense and cheapens the experience for the audience. Or how about three guys (or girls) in a band just wearing whatever they typically wear while one member is head-to-toe in the look – it is an incomplete experience. This is sort of how I saw the Rock -n- Roll Junkies on this evening. Too many lines got blurred instead of just celebrating the music and owning up to the fact that they aren’t much like the band they are covering. There would be nothing wrong with that approach.
So, have I mentioned that I am a self-proclaimed music snob? Hah… Seriously though, go support these guys and make your own decision about them. Just because I don’t enjoy what these guys do it doesn’t mean you won’t.
I heard someone talking about why they do this, and if it is true, then keep going fellas! I heard that all proceeds from this project go to the Skylar Neil Project, which is pretty cool, especially at this level. Again, not sure if this is true as I couldn’t find anything about it online but if someone knows different then please let me know in the comments. Cheers!