Great (and Not So Great) Cruise Ship Cover Bands

Before I became a solo Musician/Entertainer,  I was a SatCom Systems Test Engineer for over 35 years. My last job in that role was working in the field on the Royal Caribbean ships. When I was done for the day, I would sometimes head down to the faux English Pub (all the boats had them, usually with names like The Pig And Whistle or The Mare's Tooth or Ye Olde Mouldy Cheese) to hear some music.

The ships usually had 3 or 4 piece TropRock, Steel Drum or Reggae bands at poolside, Jazz bands on the main deck where the restaurants are, and big show bands (sometimes even small orchestras) in the auditoriums. But the little pubs were mostly the home of the solo performers. Some of them were outstanding, and some, well...

The best live music I ever heard during those days was a 4-piece Beatles cover band from the Phillipines. Although they nailed the harmonies and the British accents while playing, they spoke almost zero English when attempting to shmooze the audience between songs. That struck me as sorta funny, but it made me respect their dead perfect vocals even more.

The worst? I heard a solo guy playing Sultans Of Swing in one of those little pubs and noticed that during one of the many guitar solos, he slid up the fretboard to a note, yet the sound of the guitar I was hearing actually slid down. This seemed pretty strange, so I moved closer to the little stage to get a better look, and to my horror, I realized that he was just doing “Guitar-aoke”. Yep, he had turned his guitar's volume all the way down and was faking it.

He probably should've called himself “Liar Straits”. Or maybe “Mark NOT-fler”.