In all likelihood your favorite rock band or artist got their wee start doing someone else’s material. It remains the sort of natural path most musicians follow as they begin to hone their own sound. Some artists do go forth and produce new and original works while others may wish to rely on other’s material still, hence the staying power of the cover band proper. In the world of cover bands there happens to be a whole swath of styles, everything from the hardcore playing of all songs in any given single artist’s catalog to “wedding” bands who play very familiar material but from a spectrum of the well-known, like Steve Miller, the Rev. Al Green, and maybe some Hall & Oates or even Loverboy, for good measure. The latter are the bands everyone secretly loves because they tap into the collective social psyche as most everyone may relate to much of the material, though few would ever claim true fan status.
Finally, there’s what I’ve come to loosely define as the “meta” rock band. Meta, as you may know, can be defined as “referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.” There exists a fine line a cover band walks between being cover or meta, in my opinion. Why? Because cover is exactly that, but meta plays on a participant within the genre either going back to the good old days of when they sucked, perhaps playing a tune with a previous ensemble or just flat out paying homage to whomever.