10 Jul 2010

Tribute - How Not To Make It in the Rock Star Business

Meet Tribute from Norrköping, Sweden. Arguably one of the most talented bands ever to come out of Sweden, and sadly they did not really get much further. They had some exposure in Germany too, but now there's not even a Wikipedia page anywhere as far as I can tell.

Tribute were like a turbo-charged Mike Oldfield act. They were so good Mike's former percussionist Pierre Moerlen temporarily gave up his own band Gong, moved to Sweden and joined them as their drummer. But starting out towards the mid-80's, I guess everything about them was already commercially wrong:

* Their songs tended to be rather longer than 3 minutes — like, 28 in the complete version of the above.

* The front men did not really act as front men but rather as part of the team.

* They emphasized content and musical performance over style.

* They had no lyrics and the two girls in the band were percussionists, not dancers.

Very little in the form of videos have survived, and none with particularly good sound quality. (I saw them live once, and they had the best front-of-house sound mix I have ever heard, period.)

Here's a small sample. From this and some Joe Jackson gigs from the same era comes my firm belief that every live band should have a minimum of two percussionists!


  1. I remember them... now that you mention them... But then of course it was most likely from you I heard about them in the first place, back in the 80s. /Sis

  2. as far as i am concerend all bands should have 2 or more percussionist. I am not a rock fan since i am 65 years old. but I love drums, if I had been born in a different age i would have been a drummer. percussion is my favorite thing in any music.

  3. I am a rock fan, and have seen quite a few live bands. Though my husband and I are seniors, we love Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc. But I've never heard of this band. The reasons you give for this band fading away, as Neil Young would say, are not ALL bad, especially the content over style.

  4. P.S. - Joe Jackson rocks!! I especially like some of his older stuff, and used to have his first album.