By: Heidi Hopf

It is no secret that I have a strong passion for local, original music. It’s something I try and promote and often discuss in my time here with BScene and as well as attempting to bring it back to the forefront with a few Mellow Maniac shows that I hope can continue once the chaos has settled down. I have however noticed that I have gotten away from promoting our beloved local cover bands.

Cover bands are a great thing in their own right. We all love going out and dancing the night away to songs we grew up with and new songs that reignite a fire in us from time to time. There is no better feeling than dancing beside your best friend and even singing familiar lyrics a bit too loudly after maybe a few too many. Moments like these even have a way of bringing the room of strangers together in a sense of harmony.

Most of us know the joys of going out to see a cover band, but not all of us know what makes being a musician enjoy being in a cover band.

Spaceeagle consists of Tyler Merrill (Bass), Adrian Marcella (Vocals), Callum Clark (Vocals), Jeff Love (Guitar), Kyle Love (Drums), and Rob Eddy (Guitar). All of which had been jamming with each other at some point over the past twenty years in various bands. After jumping through the hoops and hurdles of the original music scene for years they decided it was time to let loose and enjoy the simplicities of performing in a hard rock cover band together.

Adrian Marcella and Tyler Merrill sat down with me and explained why they have decided to get away from playing original music and ease into the fun of growing within a cover band.

What are the perks of playing in a cover band?

Merrill: “It takes a lot less time to learn someone else’s songs than to write your own of course. I think a lot of us got disillusioned with the original format because, my band, for example, were in a position where we were supposed to go on tour through the states supporting a pretty big band and it went sour. The other guys that had bands were doing the same but getting screwed over by the promoter. With cover bands it’s just way easier. You show up you play songs you get paid. When I was in Prototype, we used to play Brandos on a Wednesday night and do well. Whereas when you’re in an original band half the time you’re paying to play!”

Marcella: “I enjoy it because everything’s set there. There’s a big difference between being in a cover band than in an original. A cover band is… I hate to say it… but it’s more like live karaoke. Everything’s set there for me to do. It’s very easy.”

That’s not to be confused with a lack of talent. To play songs that everyone knows takes both talent and bravery. Especially when everyone is a critic. People want to hear the songs they know but they also want to hear them played right. They want the songs to deliver that same passion that they feel when they hear them played on the radio.

How do you choose the songs you are going to cover?

Merrill: “I enjoy cover bands if they are playing songs I like. I’ll respect any musicians that are decent and playing. I think that’s why we pick the songs we do because mostly cover bands are playing the same songs from the same bands that’s what kinda bothers me about it.”

Marcella: “I think we are a little unique in a sense. I don’t know anyone around here playing the songs we play.”

Merrill: “We play songs we wanna play. We don’t really play songs we think other people wanna hear. [laughs] But we might be changing that, we’ll see. People at shows pay more attention to cover bands if they recognize the songs, which is sad. But… we live in a cover band dominated city.”

Spaceeagle does bring some variety to the scene by covering songs by bands such as Rage Against The Machine, At The Drive-In and Glass Jaw. Although I have noticed a slight influx in harder rock returning to the original local scene we haven’t seen much in the way of this sort of thing in a while.

Playing in a cover band may seem to some as a cop-out or senseless but I say nay to that. We all love it, admit it. I had to.

I can only imagine how much fun it must be to get together with fellow musicians and play the songs you love from past and present. Especially the times when you get the opportunity to make great songs on your own with a new arrangement or a bit of flare. It’s still work, it’s still challenging and it still deserves a bunch of credit. So thank you to Spaceeagle for keeping that vibe going, and thank you to all of the over cover bands in our area for making us all sing a little too loud and dance our cares away.