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There Isn't Much Demand for The Pursuit of Happiness Tribute Bands These Days

by Kevin Rochester

There Isn't Much Demand for The Pursuit of Happiness Tribute Bands These Days
Kevin Rochester

When we put our band together 11 years ago in the summer of 1990, we made a decision-We were going to go against the norm. We were going to blaze our own trail. We were going to be a tribute band. I mean, not that there's really anything wrong with good old fashioned cover bands, but we wanted something a little bit different, a little bit on the edge, that would set us apart and get us more gigs in the highly competitive Windsor bar scene.

Thinking that they were going to be Canadian rock's next big thing, we decided to form a band devoted exclusively to playing the tunes of Edmonton's The Pursuit of Happiness. None of us were really what you'd call huge fans of the group, but for the betterment of our career, we thought it was the best 'pursuit.' After all, ya gotta have a gimmick, right?

We were going to call ourselves 'The Pursuit of Flabbiness', but we thought that would make us look like a joke, and we didn't want that. Besides, we determined that it would be disrespectful to the band that we were supposed to be honouring. So we wound up agreeing on 'We're Adults Now,' a pun on TPOH's (from now on, I'll just refer to them as such because it takes too long to type their name over and over again) first hit single, 1988's I'm an Adult Now, from their debut album Love Junk. This name not only told the world that we were the best in the business when it came to TPOH tribute acts, but it was also meant to signify our coming of age as musicians, as TPOH interpreters, and as a band.

The 1990-92 era was heady days for We're Adults Now. We were the biggest thing happening in Windsor. We played every event you could think of: county fairs, country fairs, K-Mart grand openings, high school dances, junior farmers night, club gigs, opening for April Wine, you name it, we did it.

Why, we even got to meet Moe Berg, the lead singer of The Pursuit of Happiness. It turns out that he was staying at the same hotel in London that we were playing a gig at one night, so he came down to the lounge to check us out for a couple of minutes. Moe's a very modest, low-key guy, not like your typical rock star-he seemed pretty flattered about the whole thing, although he did make kind of a funny face when I announced to the crowd that he was in the audience and I asked him to wave. It was kind of a drag that he was too shy to come up on stage and join in with us on our designated show stopper/encore, Two Girls in One, from the band's 1990 sophomore effort One Sided Story.

When we asked him if he thought we sounded like TPOH, he said "sure."

I guess it was around 1993 when things started to quiet down a bit for us-I had to go back to work at the cheese factory for a couple of years when the money started to run out. With each new TPOH album release such as 1993's The Downward Road or 1995's Where's The Bone, we'd anticipate a spike in bookings and publicity, but it never seemed to come through.

By '96, we were the only TPOH tribute act remaining in all of Southern Ontario. Five years previous, that would have been a good thing, as we would have the market cornered, but by this time, no such luck. Our manager dropped us, the phone stopped ringing, and we had to abandon our plans to go to the studio to record our favourite TPOH songs. We even had an awesome title picked out: We're so Young, which, of course, is a play on TPOH's 1989 hit single She's so Young.

The question we now get asked on a regular basis is: "Why don't you guys learn some other songs from other bands?

Don't think that the question hasn't crossed our minds. If only it were so easy.

However, you have to think of our credibility. We have branded ourselves as a band that pays tribute to The Pursuit of Happiness. We have professional integrity to uphold. What would people think if they went to see us play a show, thinking that they are going to get the best in TPOH-related entertainment, such as Cigarette Dangles or a killer acoustic version of Hard to Laugh, only to have us foist upon them dreck such as Brown-Eyed Girl or Purple Haze? The reaction, I can assure you, would not be pretty. Cover bands are a dime a dozen. What we're all about is called 'niche marketing.' I learned about it in a course I sent away for. (Not that I've thought about abandoning the dream and getting a 'real' suit and tie desk jockey job.)

It's been going on three years now since we last played a gig, unless you count that night we practiced at the bowling alley three months ago a show-(which is a debate that is tearing the band apart, I might add.) Up until the spring of this year, we were maintaining our rigourous practice schedule of five nights a week, but that's petered out ever since our practice space in Detroit was condemned and Billy got busted for possession, which can make border crossings rather precarious. Now we don't have a regular spot to jam, so I don't know what the future holds for We're Adults Now.

But if you know of a good and affordable practice spot anywhere in the Windsor or Detroit area that's accessible by public transit, or you hear of any shows coming up that are looking for a band that rocks, (we'll play anywhere, any show-and we're willing to chip in for gas money) just drop me a line.

Like I always say on stage, "we're the next best thing to seeing TPOH themselves."

Posted on August 10th, 2001


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