Many years ago I tried to take a new approach to first dates. Instead of dancing around the “getting to know you” questions, I tried to come up with some fun questions to just throw right out there. Full disclosure: these questions were only field-tested once in an actual “date” capacity, and it was a New-Coke-level failure. At the end of the evening she asked if she’d “passed my little test” in a tone that did not scream out “call me tomorrow, tee-hee, tee-hee.” Nevertheless, I stand by my questions! I’ve forgotten all of them at this point, but one. Fortunately, it is the greatest “getting to know you” question of all time. Yes, ever. For dates, social events, and even Questions of the Week.
The greatest question is this: If you were going to start a cover band, who would you cover and why?
Just ponder that for a moment. If you need to sit down, I understand. Take A moment. Ponder. Ponder. You see, no matter how you answer, it’s revealing.
The only qualifiers for the answer are: 1 – You can name a few ideas, but you must ultimately commit to one cover band. 2 – You do not have to come up with a name for the band, but if you do, you earn bonus points good for free drinks and muffins at Starbucks (just tell them about this post, and don’t take “what the hell are you talking about?” for an answer!).
Here are just a few reasons it’s so great –
- The whole “what kind of music do you like,” is, let’s face it, a total waste of a question. “Oh, lots of different kinds.” Yawn. Impossible to really answer, no one learns anything. The only way that question would tell you anything is if the respondent said something like, “Bruce Springsteen.” “Oh, you like sort of heartland, bluesy, folksy-rock?” “No, I didn’t say I like people like Bruce Springsteen; I like Bruce Springsteen. Period.” “Oh… so the E Street Band…” “Hate them. Only Bruce Springsteen.”
- The “why” element is crucial. Obviously, most people are simply going to answer that it’s because the band is great. Fair enough. But those who answer for other reasons are going to really tell you something. Maybe they choose Lynyrd Skynyrd because everyone would want to see it and it’d be fun. Maybe they choose Boston or Poison because it’d be hilarious and awesome. And it goes on and on (as could I).
- Lastly, the question prompts more questions. Some good (what would you do in this band? Would you dress up? What songs would you play?) and some bad (Did you get this question from The Byronic Man? And not give him credit? Because that’s intellectual theft.)
And if I want your answers (which I do), I suppose it’s only fair that I start things off: which band would I cover?
Well, thanks for asking.
There are a lot of tempting ones. Styx, for example, because how much fun would it be to perform some of those songs? Plus everyone likes Styx, and the people who don’t like Styx like them most of all. Or X, because they’re brilliant and cool and you could blow the doors off the bar you’re in, and you’d introduce some people to X.
But ultimately, perhaps, I’d have to go with… A Flock of Seagulls.
Yes, you heard me.
Why? Not because they’re one of the truly great overlooked rock bands (they’re not). Not because I love them so dearly (though I’ll confess to a period in my youth when I did). Not because it’d be kitschy (because that’d get old halfway through the first song).
No, it’s because, in part, they did have some songs that were quite good, but more so, songs that could be really cool with some revamping, adding some power and oomph. But ultimately, it would be because they need someone on their side. This would not be an ironic band, it would be a reimagining, a defense. They’ve become the go-to band for 80’s jokes. They were certainly not the only one-hit wonders, nor the only ones with dated clothes or hair. They became the butt of the jokes – I believe – because of the presence of the word “flock,” (and – to a lesser extent – “gull”) which is funny to say.
Flock. Flock flock flock.
So what does this reveal about me? Well, probably that I’m a bit of a crusader and idealist. Probably think too much. Also that my business sense is totally crap, because no one, except maybe me and Mike Score, would want to see a Flock of Seagulls tribute band. So there’d be absolutely no audience for this band anywhere. They only had a couple recognizable songs, so it wouldn’t be nostalgic, even, to the Gen X crowd. But there I’d be, slugging away. Noble? Quixotic? Byronic? Perhaps. It also reveals, I’d like to think, loyalty. The war may be long over, but damn it, there’s a battle to be won!
See? And now we’re just that little bit closer.
So, what about you?