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Cantdosleepy

How good do you need to be to work in a cover band?

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Don't do it. PLay jazz for money instead, it's easy to do (playing crappy versions of standards like St Thomas, Autumn Leaves etc) and in my experience pays better (If you are in a trio, say, Sax, Keys, Bass/Upright, £200 or £250 splits better between 3 than 4 or 5) - Then create your own music in your spare time.

:)

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Thanks for all the amazing advice, guys!

To be honest, I think that the commitment would be too much at this point. I'm going to be doing three jobs in 2008 as it is. Loads of great advice, though.

Cheers!

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[quote name='King of Loss' post='115432' date='Jan 7 2008, 02:03 PM']Don't do it. PLay jazz for money instead, it's easy to do (playing crappy versions of standards like St Thomas, Autumn Leaves etc) and in my experience pays better (If you are in a trio, say, Sax, Keys, Bass/Upright, £200 or £250 splits better between 3 than 4 or 5) - Then create your own music in your spare time.

:)[/quote]

Fair comment, but I have to say that playing in a covers band has a huge benefit. There is nothing wrong with playing Jazz ina trio/quartet as you mention, and it may well bring its own invaluable experiences and some extra cash, but playing in a covers band will develop you as a player in various styles and situations. It teaches you another skillset and can expose you to some fantastic music you may not have heard previously.

I live by two steadfast rules for bass playing:

1 - whatever you do, it is improving on what you already have
2 - Whatever you do, do it like you mean it!

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Just going to add my thoughts to this.
Ive skimmed over most of the replies and tend to agree with most of them.
When i first started in the bands im in now i had not done this sort of thing before on bass. Used to play keys about 8 years before that and then more or less gave up music for a few years. I found that learning 40 songs over two months really helped my playing. It was hard work but once i had learnt the songs (the band was already formed) i was well up to speed again. Saying that i didnt learn them note for note. No point IMHO as we are a four piece, no
t keys or brass so we know its not going to sound like the record. We try to get the songs sounding good enough for people to enjoy but as we dont rehearse and so dont really arrange anything its only on the night you find out how well it sounds. We go down well and people do comment how goos it sounds. Personally i think we leave a lot to be desired as we arent slick or particularly entertaining to look at but after 4 years of this it shows that we dont have to be spot on and play without mistakes to get a good reaction.

Now as i said, my playing got to a good standard quickly but recently i have been feeling that its now going the other way. Playing the same songs week in week out im finding im not really putting much effort in. I put this down to the fact that we arent putting nearly enough new songs in the sets (and i dont like 70% of the ones we do now) so as i dont have to think about what im playing my mind wanders (normally thinking about the next day).
Having the band already formed was the best way i can think of doing it. They had a set of songs and asked me to learn them. We had a few rehearsals (i seemed to know them better than they did) and also did a demo quite quickly, sent that out and just waited for the gigs to come in.
I had contemplated doing covers for a while before that but didnt know where to start as regards to learning songs. Just didnt see any point learning songs that i might never play.

I play in two covers bands now and have given up originals as i work full time, have two kids at home so dont get much time to be creative.
As we are gigging most weekends we never rehearse as a band. I do spend an hours or so each night if i get the time, maybe twice a week unless i have songs to learn.

I play working mens clubs a lot (maybe 70% with one band, the other band is 100% weddings and function) and for those we dont do anything new and so i dont really pick the bass up during the week but if we are doing weddings there can be a first dance to learn plus requests that might be new songs or ones i haven't played for months (years).
But the money is good considering i have a proper wage coming in as well. For a WMC we take home around £85-£105 and for weddings at least double that.

sorry for the long winded post. Its lunchtime and im board looking out of the window.

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[quote name='OldGit' post='115420' date='Jan 7 2008, 01:47 PM']Yeah typo .. no bass player... geddit?[/quote]

Oddly enough, we do a cover of "A Little Respect"......without a keyboard player! (And it's not bad, even if I do say so myself.....bearing in mind I didn't even want to do it at all to start off with).

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[quote name='King of Loss' post='115432' date='Jan 7 2008, 02:03 PM']Don't do it. PLay jazz for money instead, it's easy to do (playing crappy versions of standards like St Thomas, Autumn Leaves etc) and in my experience pays better (If you are in a trio, say, Sax, Keys, Bass/Upright, £200 or £250 splits better between 3 than 4 or 5) - Then create your own music in your spare time.

:)[/quote]

Wow Where do you get those gigs?

I'd suggest that playing covers is easier than playing in a Jazz quartet where the other musicians and audience will expect a certain standard of playing and soloing.
Those standards are relatively easy for an experienced person but it's not as if a beginner can learn the bass line from a record and expect the band to play that version exactly (as per a covers band playing rock or pop)
You'd need all those Jazz gig skills too like holding the whole tune together for the solos, walking bass, doing 8's and wearing a black polo neck
:huh:

Edited by OldGit

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='115474' date='Jan 7 2008, 03:00 PM']Playing the same songs week in week out im finding im not really putting much effort in. I put this down to the fact that we arent putting nearly enough new songs in the sets (and i dont like 70% of the ones we do now) so as i dont have to think about what im playing my mind wanders (normally thinking about the next day).[/quote]

Good point Dave.

This was part of what I was saying earlier. I got into a habit of not practicing because of gigging regularly, and we weren't learning new stuff regularly either, so I just went stale.

I stopped doing covers on a regular basis for about 10 years.

With my current band, we're learning new stuff all the time, so I'm always learning. I mix learning covers, with just general practicing for fun, and I'm happier now as a bassist than I have been for years. I've got the love of playing back.

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[quote name='Thunderthumbs' post='115475' date='Jan 7 2008, 03:00 PM']Oddly enough, we do a cover of "A Little Respect"......without a keyboard player! (And it's not bad, even if I do say so myself.....bearing in mind I didn't even want to do it at all to start off with).[/quote]


I think a good tune will shine no matter what instruments it's played on ...

Point two is good though - you have to be laid back about playing stuff you don't like or are bored with if they fill the floor.

Also keep a note of every gig you play and how much you get paid and expenses, in case the tax man ever asks to see your records (financial, not musical :) ). It's easier to do that rather than try to prove you only earned expenses 18 months after the gig. They will always assume you earned a load and you have to prove you didn't rather than them having to prove you did.

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[quote name='queenofthedepths' post='115042' date='Jan 6 2008, 10:09 PM'][quote name='tauzero' post='115040' date='Jan 6 2008, 10:07 PM']
On the club circuit in the Midlands, we're on about £200 for a 4.5 piece.[/quote]
A 4.5 piece?? :) Is one of your members only half-human (the guitarist?)? Or just less than reliable?
[/quote]
If you look at [url="http://www.break-away.org.uk/index.html"]this lot[/url], you'll see the one in the middle is a chapess, who in fact plays the keyboards. As the keyboards aren't necessary for all of the songs, we economise by not having her standing on the stage when she's not playing.

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[quote name='MB1' post='115398' date='Jan 7 2008, 01:14 PM']Interesting!........ what tribute bands , might a crap bass player be able to get away with?????? :)[/quote]
U2.

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I think you just need to be versatile and fairly competent to do the covers thang, I've done covers and tribute and it can be a blast. Money is normally crap though, so if you get hung up about playing for a living you will probably end up being disapointed.
I'm also finding it hard to find a band with people who can actually play at the moment, so that aspect can do you head in as well.
Oh, and one final thing, don't just stand there looking bored and staring at the neck on the bass all night, it looks crap. :)

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I think any musician who isn't that great would probably stand out like a sore thumb in a band thats even half good...........but, sometimes, it's more about everyone having a good time, and if you're all mates, the better players might pull the poorer ones standards up to theirs??Having said that, I'm not sure I'd want to pay to see a band where some members were crap.I've knocked a couple of favourite bands off my 'must see' list in the last couple of years due to line-up changes which just didn't gel anymore.Not sure why really, something just didn't fit? There again, sometimes a line-up change breathes fresh air into an old bands lungs!??


(and if you're bored with playing to the extent that your mind wanders to tomorrows work, maybe it's time to sit down with your band mates and thrash out whats wrong:maybe some fresh songs;songs YOU enjoy playing....................or maybe just time to move on??)

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[quote name='Johngh' post='115553' date='Jan 7 2008, 03:53 PM']Oh, and one final thing, don't just stand there looking bored and staring at the neck on the bass all night, it looks crap. :huh:[/quote]

+1 - or your laces... but don't overdo it or you will upset the front person :)

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I joined my first covers band last January after nearly 15 years of only really doing originals. It was great, while it lasted. Granted the stuff we were doing is a bit different to your average pub rock covers (Steve Vai, Planet X, Dream Theater) but it's a completely different skill to working on original material. Gigs are generally pretty easy to come by, so if you're itching to get out and play live and your original bands aren;t that audience friendly or are having line-up hassles (our problem), then it can be an easy way to get your gigging fix. Lastly it can be quite the ego boost. Audiences often don't really pick up of the nuances of your playing with original material, but if you go out and cover a song with bass parts that your average punter concedes are pretty tricky, then you get loads of pats on the back. Great fun.

Still, nothing is more satisfying than original material.

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1) You have to at least be solid, well rehearsed and proficient in the basics of bass playing. Then you pitch your playing ability for the covers that you choose. Most of the modern pop rock which people love to hear is pretty easy to play. When you feel comfortable with your basic root-note plodding you can move on to the flashier stuff. Make sure that you put on a show and at least look like you are enjoying yourself on stage too, even if you happen to hate the song they've asked you to play :)

2) Covers bands won't pay my mortgage. Not by a long shot. It will keep me in strings, a few beers and rehearsal rooms and that's about it. After ploughing a fair percentage of my wages into originals bands it's nice to do something which is at least self sufficient. Do it for the fun, with the money as an added bonus.

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[quote name='narnia' post='115558' date='Jan 7 2008, 04:05 PM'](and if you're bored with playing to the extent that your mind wanders to tomorrows work, maybe it's time to sit down with your band mates and thrash out whats wrong:maybe some fresh songs;songs YOU enjoy playing....................or maybe just time to move on??)[/quote]

If thats aimed at me then i should explain that i meant when playing WMC's (those who do will understand).
I guess its the fact that we are playing to the same, half empty rooms full of people who dont really get up to dance untill almost closing time.
playing Mustang Sally or moondance for 5-7 mins takes no thought at all. my fingers know where to go without any help form the brain.

playing weddings and functions can be very rewarding though. Having a room full of peole who are up for a party makes a whole world of difference and we all enjoy those gigs. A room full of nice women, making money, good food, free bar in a castle on a Sat night. Nothing beats it IMO.

As far as getting songs done, it just aint gonna happen with my main band. Ive tried but no one is really in charge so no one can push the others too hard.
Its normally excuses that "i havent had time" or "when did you tell me about that song? etc etc.
We are all mates and so we work well together. We get to play some very nice places around the country and get paid. Its worth it to me and we have a lot of gigs. i cant be bothered to go looking for another local band who are busy (if indeed there is one). I dont drive so i leave most of my gear with my drummer and go to and from gigs with him. It works well.

We do the WMC's to fill our Sat nights and get paid more than for the love. We do have a laugh on and off stage but it can be difficult to enjoy playing to stoney faced people. We do get good compliments from them though at the end.

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='115842' date='Jan 7 2008, 10:10 PM']If thats aimed at me then i should explain that i meant when playing WMC's (those who do will understand).[/quote]

Yeah Dave, I understand fully.

I said pretty much the same. We do WMCs, as it's the bread and butter, and we're doing the best we can to get more and more weddings, corporate gigs, etc.

The trouble with an awful lot of WMCs is that the same people go in, and sit in the same seats, week in week out. We are there just as their entertainment for the night, and are of no more importance. They haven't come [b]specifically[/b] to see us.

At weddings and the like, the people are there already in celebratory mood. So, they're generally a lot more enjoyable to play at.

Some WMCs can be great, because some punters surprisingly [b]do[/b] care about the music, but some do almost try and challenge you, which is why I also sometimes wonder why I'm bothering with them.

One example.....a club in Liverpool where they didn't shut up, and virtually didn't clap all night. Then when we finished, we politely did one "false tab", and they brought the house down wanting us to do a second, just so they could stay and drink longer. Needless to say, I told the other guys in the band where to get off. I wasn't doing another under any circumstances.

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Yeah i agre, some of them do care and its normally the ones that sit in the darkness and clap after every song, then come up at the end as chat to us about how they are fed up with all the duo's and bands that use backing tracks etc and how refreshing we are.
But its people dancing that we like to see and although we have never done a WMC where we havent had them dancing it seems that its more at the end of the night or the third set. And boy, can they be long sets.
I would rather be out earning £90 than staying in with the GF watching Stictly come dancing/Pop idol etc on a Sat night though ;-)

Funny thing is though that after a few good paying covers gigs i felt i didnt want to go back and play pubs doing original songs for peanuts ever again.
It also feels safer doing WMC's, weddings etc. You still get the drunks at weddings but they are normally in a good mood. In over 300 gigs ive never seen any fights etc. totally different to what we used to see in the old days of playing any pub that would have us.

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[quote name='Thunderthumbs' post='115877' date='Jan 7 2008, 10:30 PM']Yeah Dave, I understand fully.

I said pretty much the same. We do WMCs, as it's the bread and butter, and we're doing the best we can to get more and more weddings, corporate gigs, etc.

The trouble with an awful lot of WMCs is that the same people go in, and sit in the same seats, week in week out. We are there just as their entertainment for the night, and are of no more importance. They haven't come [b]specifically[/b] to see us.

At weddings and the like, the people are there already in celebratory mood. So, they're generally a lot more enjoyable to play at.

Some WMCs can be great, because some punters surprisingly [b]do[/b] care about the music, but some do almost try and challenge you, which is why I also sometimes wonder why I'm bothering with them.

One example.....a club in Liverpool where they didn't shut up, and virtually didn't clap all night. Then when we finished, we politely did one "false tab", and they brought the house down wanting us to do a second, just so they could stay and drink longer. Needless to say, I told the other guys in the band where to get off. I wasn't doing another under any circumstances.[/quote]

Amen Brother ...

It's about managing the gigs you go for and understanding the needs of the different types of audience.
If you can sus the differences and respond to them you can do the best you can in the different scenarios.
Sometimes that will be financially rewarding but a pain to play and some will be a hoot but cost you money.
Fortunately there are many that fit down the middle and pay Ok with a pretty high enjoyment quotient.

Like the man said for most of us it's a hobby that finances itself.
But what a great hobby eh?


oh What's a "false tab"?

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[quote name='OldGit' post='115953' date='Jan 7 2008, 11:49 PM']oh What's a "false tab"?[/quote]

Probably a northern WMC saying......basically an "encore"......whether they really want one or not!

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[quote name='Thunderthumbs' post='115972' date='Jan 8 2008, 12:08 AM']Probably a northern WMC saying......basically an "encore"......whether they really want one or not![/quote]

It's a different world :)

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='115842' date='Jan 7 2008, 10:10 PM']If thats aimed at me then i should explain that i meant when playing WMC's (those who do will understand).
I guess its the fact that we are playing to the same, half empty rooms full of people who dont really get up to dance untill almost closing time.
playing Mustang Sally or moondance for 5-7 mins takes no thought at all. my fingers know where to go without any help form the brain.

playing weddings and functions can be very rewarding though. Having a room full of peole who are up for a party makes a whole world of difference and we all enjoy those gigs. A room full of nice women, making money, good food, free bar in a castle on a Sat night. Nothing beats it IMO.

As far as getting songs done, it just aint gonna happen with my main band. Ive tried but no one is really in charge so no one can push the others too hard.
Its normally excuses that "i havent had time" or "when did you tell me about that song? etc etc.
We are all mates and so we work well together. We get to play some very nice places around the country and get paid. Its worth it to me and we have a lot of gigs. i cant be bothered to go looking for another local band who are busy (if indeed there is one). I dont drive so i leave most of my gear with my drummer and go to and from gigs with him. It works well.

We do the WMC's to fill our Sat nights and get paid more than for the love. We do have a laugh on and off stage but it can be difficult to enjoy playing to stoney faced people. We do get good compliments from them though at the end.[/quote]




My apologies: I understand exactly where you are coming from now............hubby has spent years playing in various bands, and yes, the WMC's can be damn hard, boring work, so I can see why you'd be thinking of other things during some numbers!! And yes, MUCH better, much more fun, playing to an audience who are up for a party................his last band played to audiences like that most of the time, and it was much more satisfying! You really get off on the audience reaction/participation bit! Still think maybe you should suggest a change round of some numbers to your lot though..............no-one needs to be in charge to say 'what about us doing this, I think it'd be a great number for us' :)

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[quote name='wateroftyne' post='116054' date='Jan 8 2008, 08:17 AM']I'm not sure anyone does the WMC's for fun...[/quote]
Oh the thought of it ... **shudder**

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