Three indie-rock darlings enjoy a second life playing in cover bands

Tim Fletcher, Mike Small and Tyler Kyte each share how they went from being 'the next big thing’ to playing in cover bands.
Tyler Kyte of the band Dwayne Gretzky, formerly of the band Sweet Thing. (Anthony Tuccitto)

Originally published on Aug. 23, 2018

Back in the mid-2000s, the Stills were one of those indie-rock bands that a lot of people were calling the next Strokes or White Stripes. The Montreal group scored a big record deal with a hip label and were featured in all the major music magazines. They even opened for Paul McCartney at a massive show in Quebec City in front of 200,000 people. But then the band fell apart, and its members faced an uncertain future. 

The Stills, Being Here

It ended up giving the lead singer, Tim Fletcher, some time to reconnect with his love of music, free of any hype or pressure from the industry. He decided to join a cover band. 

Now, when you think of cover bands, you might imagine a group of guys knocking out sloppy versions of Sweet Child O' Mine at the local chicken-wing joint on the corner. There's a common perception that serious artists make original music — but that perception might be outdated. 

Fletcher and a couple of other indie-rock darlings joined us to talk about how they're enjoying a second life on the cover band circuit. What they've found is that playing in a cover band is not only a lot of fun, but it can be creatively fulfilling in its own way, not to mention way more lucrative.

This is the story of how three former "next big things" found themselves playing the same old song: Tim Fletcher (formerly of the Stills, and currently of the band Megative and the tribute band Tommy Youngsteen), Mike Small (formerly of The Meligrove Band, now with Good Enough Live Karaoke) and Tyler Kyte (formerly of Sweet Thing, now with Dwayne Gretzky).

Produced by Stuart Berman


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