By: Kevin Turcovsky
Zack Ethridge takes up the part of multiple musicians in the same performance. This is because he plays bass for All Killer No Filler, a pop punk cover band. There are many tribute/cover bands that play in the area, with All Killer No Filler being one of them. What is the appeal of these bands? After a pandemic that left live music completely shut down and the population stuck in their homes for a year, we need live music now more than ever. Also, seeing a tribute/cover is an excellent way to see your favorite songs live without paying for the excessive price tag attached to concert tickets nowadays.
When I asked which pop punk bassist he is most similar to, Ethridge said, “hmm, that’s a great question. I will say I love when we play Green Day songs because Mike Dirnt’s parts are always so busy and fun. Of course I could say Mark Hoppus because he’s the man. Maybe Zack Merrick from All Time Low? Super tight and solid but known to sneak in a nasty bass line here and there.” Ethridge says the appeal of these types of bands is that “you get to hear a bunch of songs you know and love being played by a live band right in front of you. Songs you maybe won’t ever get to see performed live by the original artist due to various reasons.” Also, his take on why we need music now more than ever is that “it brings us all together for a few hours where we can forget about everything that’s been happening and only focus on having a great time.”
Ethridge works and spends most of his time in Pittsburgh. He started playing music around first grade and started a band around the 7th grade with a childhood friend who he grew up playing music with. All Killer No Filler came about because he had known Ryan, the vocalist for the project, and they had talked about starting a cover band for about eight of the thirteen years that they’ve known each other. The project had only played two shows before covid shut
them down, but they’re back and in full swing. What’s so exciting about this, live music coming back in general after the pandemic, is that “being in the crowd at a show feels like a second home to some people. Being away from that feeling for so long and not knowing when you’d get to experience it again was frustrating. Live music coming back feels like a huge sigh of relief knowing you can go back to that place of comfort and see all your favorite bands again.” According to Healthline, “music exerts a powerful influence on human beings. It can boost memory, build task endurance, lighten your mood, reduce anxiety and depression, stave off fatigue, and improve your response to pain. ”
Similar groups to All Killer No Filler include The Dude Ranch, a blink-182 tribute band who recently played a show at Crafthouse Bar & Grill, and Brit Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute band who make a point to make Pittsburgh a stop on their North American and world tours every year. As opposed to performing songs from multiple bands, like All Killer No Filler, The Dude Ranch and Brit Floyd performs songs exclusively from blink-182 and Pink Floyd respectively. Brit Floyd packs the Benedum Center every time they come to town with their intricate laser light shows and stage production. But with so many of these tribute and cover bands popping up, I pose the question again, what is their appeal?
Well for one, Brit Floyd as a specific example, when it comes to a band that doesn’t play live shows anymore, it can be the closest anyone can get to seeing the real thing. Pink Floyd played their last show in 1994, but Brit Floyd does an impeccable job at simulating what those shows were like. Another appeal is the cheaper price tag. To see famous bands such as blink-182 or Pink Floyd (when they were still performing) live in concert, it can cost a lot of money. With a tribute or cover band, the price of admission is usually only a fraction of what the cost would be to see the actual band in concert.
With the pandemic drawing to a close, live music is coming back. With that, though, comes exuberant ticket prices and reminders of bands and performers gone by. Through tribute and cover bands, however, people can see their favorite songs live even if the actual artists are too expensive to see or don’t even play live anymore. As someone who’s seen All Killer No Filler, The Dude Ranch, and Brit Floyd live, seeing a performance from a cover or tribute band is an exciting, worthwhile experience.
All Killer No Filler can be seen live on Saturday, November 13 at Brandy’s on Main in Irwin.