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If aband is (admittedly or not) heavily indebted to another bands sound and style....does that make them less 'valid' ( couldn't think of a better word, sorry) musically? The beatles 'clone' orhawkwind'clone' etc... etc.... (not explicit tribute acts!) What do people think?

If lots of groups do it, is it just new musical tradition or (sub) genre?

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It depends on the genre I guess.

It's hard (if not impossible) to play some styles without being indebted to artists that came before you. Blues and Rockabilly come to mind here.

Also, any act that features a fretless bass guitar will struggle to avoid Jaco Pastorius influences. His style defined the instrument for ever :)

Another thought - Marillion were so like Genesis at a time before tribute bands existed. Were they in fact the first tribute act?

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nothing new under the sun. everything is a tribute. well... save for Johnny Cash and Tom Waits. :)

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