Canadian Musician


Jeff Salem


Jeff Salem AJ

Early in my career I had the opportunity to play in two incredible tribute bands. One was a tribute to Alice Cooper “Just Alice” and the other a tribute to the band Heart called “All Heart”.

Both bands were very successful in North America. The singers in both acts resembled the original singers image wise and their vocal ability was strong. My role was to play the parts as they were recorded. My visual image wasn’t so important as both these bands were really well known for their lead singers.

Mind you if you were to play in a Kiss or Beatles tribute it would be important to look and sound like either Ringo Starr or Peter Criss. Playing and looking like them would be very important to the tribute act.

AJ promo picture

Today I have the drum seat in an incredible tribute to the band Journey called “Absolute Journey”.

The most memorable singer from Journey, Steve Perry had an incredible vocal ability and a unique look that audiences remembered. Also, we can’t forget the catchy guitar riffs, unique keyboard sounds and incredible hit songs the band wrote.

“Absolute Journey” features the talented vocalist Riccardo Curzi who nails Steve Perry’s parts vocally and visually as well his mannerism on stage.
Absolute Journey promo video.
(promo video)


Here are some tips for you drummers out there if asked to play in a tribute band.

1. Note all the tempos from the studio recordings to live recordings. Find the tempo that locks the band in a pocket during rehearsals and mark them on your set list and strive for that same vibe live.

2. Learn all the signature parts. For example when we play the song “Separate Ways”, I see many fans in the audience air drumming the cool fills in the tune. I can’t improvise this. I must execute it verbatim.

3. Memorize your parts. Remember you are putting on a concert, perform at a high energy level rather than have your head buried in a music stand.

4. Check out many different live videos of the original artist on You Tube for intro’s, endings and song arrangements.

5. Equipment is important. For example, If you are playing in a Rush tribute, you might have a difficult time nailing all of Neal Pearts licks on a 4-piece kit. I am not saying you have to buy every piece of equipment he owns, but try and cover most of the drum and cymbal sounds.

6. Strive for consistency every night, smile, respect your fellow musicians, have fun and enjoy the Journey!

Catch you all next time

Jeff Salem A.K.A Noise Organizer

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