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“Many of our tribute acts look like the original artists in their hungry glory years,” says Brent Meyer, co-owner of Music Zirconia, “not the tired, uninspired versions that might have last toured, if the original act still exists at all.” The local agency includes a roster of around 60 tribute bands, around a third of those based in San Diego.

Meyer contends that his faux acts are often better than the real thing. “Tribute bands are more particular about sounding more like the recorded versions than the original artists, who may get bored and take liberties with arrangements.… Tributes generally adhere to what’s in the vinyl grooves.”

Founded in late 2008, musiczirconia.com includes around 45 video clips featuring agency acts such as Sweet and Tender Hooligans (Smiths/Morrissey), the Joshua Tree (U2), Blasphemous Rumours (Depeche Mode), Rio (Duran Duran), Gabba Gabba Heys (Ramones), Ghost in the Machine (Police/Sting), Dust N’ Bones (Guns N’ Roses), and the Cured (duh).

“Like cubic zirconia, we offer a replica of a high-valued product for a fraction of what it costs to buy the real thing,” says agency cofounder Michael Twombly, who specializes in booking multiple tribute acts on a single bill. “I haven’t witnessed too much competition among the bands. The rare exception is when there are two or more tributes to the same artist. There’s sometimes a rub there that can range from friendly and interested competition to bitter rivalry.”

According to Meyer, “Gigs may be drying up for original artists, but things are currently better than ever for tribute bands. We attribute that to a tighter economy and music fans wanting to get more bang for their buck.

“Tributes represent a snapshot in time, so that fans can feel as if they’ve seen rock-and-roll history. Like Hendrix at Woodstock or U2 at Live Aid. Only without the brown acid and skinheads.”

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pknieval March 12, 2010 @ 11:58 p.m.

Rio Duran Duran Tribute is playing its first Casbah show Sat March 20th with Still Ill, San Diego Smiths and Morrissey tribute. We're proud we were offered a first time slot on a Saturday night at the fabulous Casbah.

We haven't experienced a lot of rivalry or competition between tributes in San Diego. A lot of us actually work together and play shows together. We've played numerous shows with The Cured, Blasphemous Rumours (Depeche Mode Tribute from LA), and Still Ill, in LA and San Diego.

Rio is the only working Duran Duran Tribute in the US. We try to play with other 80s tributes, on complimentary bills. The other big LA and San Diego 80s tributes work together so much, so there's not that much actual competition. We tend to compliment each other more than compete with each other.

Rio definitely tries to dress and look like the members of Duran Duran, and emulate the feel of a mid 80's Duran Duran show from the Rio era, incorporating linen suits, and other appropriate instruments and apparel.

Tribute bands don't have to push a new album or single, so often play just what the fans would want to hear. The best tributes also play up on the expected and even the cliches of the tributed band.

Here's a link to our new promo video:

We recently have played sold out shows at Belly Up San Diego and San Diego House of Blues, and have played in many of the top venues in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County including the Coachhouse, House of Blues Anaheim, Knitting Factory, and Romano's Concert Lounge. We've played casinos as well, including Viejas, and Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio.

For more info please visit http://www.myspace.com/riodurantribute and http://www.facebook.com/durantribute

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