Although musical tributes play a significant role within contemporary culture and despite their relative longevity as a form of entertainment, little serious research has been published on the subject. Send in the Clones makes an important contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon of the tribute band by linking it to other types of imitative entertainment such as ‘ghost’, cover and parody bands. It also demonstrates the impact of a changing cultural Zeitgeist on the evolution of popular music tributes, showing how music tributes can be related to other examples of retrospection. These influences are linked to the impact of new technology in making the art of paying tribute possible, showing how certain developments have created the musical equipment and apparatus for self-promotion, marketing and communication with fans.
Whilst critical opinion on this type of entertainment remains divided, the author challenges negative responses through an interrogation of critiques of imitative cultural practices within a broader historical and cultural framework. The diversity of the homage industry is highlighted and the book avoids concentrating solely on well-known tributes, looking too, at the work of those operating in the ‘alternative’ tribute scene. The book explores the working life of musicians involved in the ‘bargain basement’ end of the live music industry, using interviews and first hand observations to show the trials and tribulations of paying homage. Finally, through an examination of the audience at tribute events, fandom and associated social and psychological aspects of participation are explored.