Top 5 Musicians Who Make Their Living Ripping Off Other Musicians
Posted on Oct 10, 2011

5. Godsmack

Lead vocalist Sully has one Hell of a Boston accent, but he sadly has not put it to use during his songs, preferring instead to take the path traveled by every band he liked growing up.  For the most part, Godsmack sounds like Alice In Chains, complete with the occasional dual vocal harmony, mixed with Metallica’s power and overall guitar sound.  Hell, even their name is a rip-off, as God Smack is an obscure AiC tune from 1992.

But wait, there’s more!  Sully is a Wiccan who’s very much into spiritual spookiness, so the band occasionally channels Tool and other mystical rock bands, with tunes like Voodoo, Spiral, and Sully’s entire solo album. But the Voodoo video did have a naked tribal woman in it, so they have that much going for them at least.

4. Wolfmother

Tons of garage bands out there take the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, among others, and make them their own.  Luckily, nobody hears them unless they literally walk past the garage at the wrong time.  Not so with Wolfmother, who have taken their fascination with the heavier side of classic rock to the umpteenth degree.

Literally every note out of their repertoire is lifted from a classic 70’s band, whether it be Led Zeppelin’s wailing vocals, Black Sabbath’s fascination with fantasy and the occult, or Deep Purple’s simple, yet irresistibly catchy lyrics.  Even their look (gigantic afros, psychedelic videos, trippy concert posters), is copied straight from bands that did it better thirty years ago.

Listening to Wolfmother’s Woman or New Moon Rising is only useful if you want to immerse yourself in the greatest bands of the ‘70s, but just don’t have the time to listen to them all.

3. Sum 41

Sum 41 is just amazing.  In just a few short years, they have managed to rip off not one, not two, but THREE completely different genres of music.  If that weren’t pathetic, they’d probably deserve some kind of medal.

When they first appeared, they gave us songs like Fat Lip and In Too Deep.  Here, they either copied the frat boy hip-hop of early Beastie Boys, or somehow managed to water down Blink 182’s pop-punk even more so than it already was.  Later on, they took a line from Fat Lip that mentioned how much they love bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and decided to rip off 80’s metal as well.  Each successive album got slightly more metal, and when the band tours, they are known to open up for themselves as an 80’s metal band called “Pain For Pleasure.”  They even “let” PFP record songs on Sum 41 records, which just goes to prove a point: if you’re going to rip off multiple bands over multiple genres, you might as well be clever and meta about the whole thing.

2. Lenny Kravitz

When you think “shameless rip-off artist,” one of the first names that come to mind is Lenny Kravitz.  From his debut in the late 80’s to, well, today, Kravitz has made a name for himself by doing basically what Jimi Hendrix did, only on a much, much smaller and far less interesting scale.  So naturally, Jimi checked out after four years, and Lenny has hung around for over twenty.

When he’s not creating entire songs like Are You Gonna Go My Way or Fly Away, which are entirely based on one slightly Hendrix-y riff that Hendrix would have almost certainly tossed out for being too boring, Lenny is also ripping off the very essence of Prince.  But no matter how many instruments Lenny plays by himself, or how often he attempts to create Prince-style sexy slow jams like You Belong To Me, and no matter how many girly shirts he wears even though they’re two sizes too tight, Lenny Kravitz is very not Prince.  Now, if he starts using more U’s, UR’s, and 2’s in his song titles, then he might have an argument.

1. Kid Rock

The ultimate rip-off artist, Kid Rock has been pretending to be every genre ever heard of since the late-90’s.  He alternates between being a poor man’s Bob Seger, a poor man’s Lynyrd Skynyrd, a poor man’s Johnny Cash, a poor man’s Metallica, and a poor man’s Grandmaster Flash, among countless others.  Bottom line, if you are a classic rock, southern rock, hard rock, or old-school hip-hop artist, Kid Rock probably sounded like you at one point or another.

Kid Rock’s magnum opus when it comes to ripping off artists more original than he would have to be 2008’s All Summer Long, where he sings about listening to Sweet Home Alabama, just in case we’ve forgotten what a good song sounds like.  He does this by ripping off that EXACT song in the chorus, while producing a completely Xeroxed copy of Warren Zevon’s Werewolves Of London and passing that off as his own.

For his crimes and outright plagiarism, Kid Rock received the ultimate punishment: one of the biggest hits of the year and millions of dollars in his bank account.  Life isn’t fair at all.


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