Guitarist-vocalist Adam Gimbel has been performing under the name Cover Me Badd since 1995 and uses the name as an umbrella “brand” for his tributes to pop groups Depeche Mode, Oasis, and Weezer, along with his karaoke and music-trivia nights at local venues.
A Google search of Cover Me Badd gets several hits of tribute acts with the same name from around the world. “Cover Me Badd is a great name,” Gimbel says, “and if I were one of the guys that thought of it one night, I’d think, ‘This is awesome. Let’s see if anyone has that name.’ Oops. Ten other bands already have that name. What they’ve all said is, ‘Eh, they’re in San Diego and we’re in London or New York. No one is going to care.’ ”
After diving into the tribute subculture with his rotating groups — Blasphemous Guitars (a guitar-based tribute to Depeche Mode), the Fookin’ Wankers (Oasis), and Geezer, where Gimbel and his bandmates dress as cantankerous old men and perform Weezer tunes — Gimbel says the world of tribute acts is a strange but lucrative scene filled with musicians trying to get famous pretending to be other people.
Gimbel said he gained some insight to the tribute mindset when Blasphemous Guitars shared a bill with a U2 tribute band named Joshua Tree.
“We were going to have a girl do this burlesque thing, and Joshua Tree’s manager told us, ‘I can’t have her near my Bono because his girlfriend gets really jealous.’ Just hearing the manager refer to the singer as my Bono was good enough for me! Then the band comes out and they’re so serious. You can’t even look for more than a minute because it’s so creepy how much they’re into it.”
But despite the name controversies and dealings with rock-star imposters, Gimbel is publicly announcing his next Cover Me Badd tribute project.
“I’ve always wanted to do the entire Specials record and call it .38 Special Education.”
The group, featuring members of Buck-O-Nine and Cash’d Out, are scheduled to open for the English Beat at the Belly Up in February.