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Dave Vader

Why be in a covers band?

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5 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Oasis made a good living as a covers band

They did and I would never disrespect them by playing one of their covers :D

 

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12 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Oasis made a good living as a covers band

Were they a band ?

 

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Covers bands are useful if you do originals - allows you to hone playing and stagecraft.

I would wager most good originals started as some form of covers

Edited by Cuzzie
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One of the key joys of playing live is connecting with your audience. 

Great originals bands will fill out a stadium. 

A half decent originals band can regularly play to an empty venue, often for no money. Must be soul destroying if it never goes anywhere?

A half decent covers band will bring in custom and fill out a pub, or help a wedding couple celebrate (hopefully!) one of happiest days of their lives and get paid handsomely for the privelege. 

Writing a song is a wonderful creative process. A lot of original material by your average originals band is at best meh, which is why they play to empty venues. 

If you write a great song, you'll touch people's souls. Audiences will want to hear it time again and other musicians will pay you the ultimate tribute by covering it. 

There's room for both. A harder road awaits the one with the prospect of amazing uplands, but few manage to scale those dizzy heights. For the rest of us, there is a lot of fun to be had making great music to appreciative audiences for a decent pay day. That works for me. 

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1 hour ago, Cuzzie said:

I would wager most good originals started as some form of covers

I would agree with you there. All the bands i've been into over the years started off doing covers and some even did cover song albums.

Rush - Feeback album

Bowie - Pin-ups

Cab bet when all those famous rock . prog bands started off with guys learning cover songs.

Dave

Edited by dmccombe7

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1 minute ago, Al Krow said:

One of the key joys of playing live is connecting with your audience. 

This is where my main motivation comes from. Maybe not for others, but then I ask "why do it?".

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Years ago, when i was in an originals band we had a bass player that was also in a covers band. He was very good but we looked down on him. Couldn’t understand why he had sold out any such a young age (30 IIR). We were young and back then lol.

Now I love playing covers. None of the songs ive ever written are anywhere near as enjoyable as playing the songs i play now. I get to learn many different styles (and end up dumbing them down to my level lol). I get paid to make people dance, and at the end of the night we get thanked for giving them a good time. 

In a way, for me its like hearting my fav bands/tracks being played by a live band, and I’m up there with that band. 

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4 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

One of the key joys of playing live is connecting with your audience. 

Great originals bands will fill out a stadium. 

A half decent originals band can regularly play to an empty venue, often for no money. Must be soul destroying if it never goes anywhere?

A half decent covers band will bring in custom and fill out a pub, or help a wedding couple celebrate (hopefully!) one of happiest days of their lives and get paid handsomely for the privelege. 

Writing a song is a wonderful creative process. A lot of original material by your average originals band is at best meh, which is why they play to empty venues. 

If you write a great song, you'll touch people's souls. Audiences will want to hear it time again and other musicians will pay you the ultimate tribute by covering it. 

There's room for both. A harder road awaits the one with the prospect of amazing uplands, but few manage to scale those dizzy heights. For the rest of us, there is a lot of fun to be had making great music to appreciative audiences for a decent pay day. That works for me. 

Nicely put, sir - a beautifully balanced and rational post.

 

 

 

So the meds are working, Baz?

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18 hours ago, PJ-Bassist said:

I read your Weekens Rockstars novel and thoroughly enjoyed it, though it did put me off joining a serious covers band or buying that Candy Red Nate Mendel Precision bass :).

I am sorry, that was never my intention. You could have made a few quid.

I hear good things about those Nate Mendels

3 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I'll respect anyone's decision to vote how they want, bow down to whatever god they want, eat what they want, consensually sleep with whoever they want, or even play in cover bands. 

That said, I've never seen the appeal in playing other people's songs and have have been subjected to too many Creme Brulee's over the years that have shaped this opinion.  Too many coordinated outfits, too many guitarists pulling a w*nk face playing someone else's solos (badly), too many bassists gurning their way through anything from Chelsea Dagger or Boogie Wonderland all the while acting like they actually wrote those lines.

Nah, not for me, so am I going to get a kicking? :)

 

Never call my bluff, or you will see a man running away screaming like a small girl.

 

Back in the day most bands started out doing covers with a few originals thrown in, that way you get the following easier, so by the time you're doing all originals you're not playing to empty rooms. See the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin if you don't believe me.

The terribly earnest approach to only playing original music that began to pervade in the 90s made for a lot of very boring gigs with no songs you could sing along to.

I'm currently spending my time at open mic nights playing singalong pop music on an acoustic guitar - Madonna, Gaga, Britney, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys, and I've never had such a good reaction to anything I've ever done. Then I chuck a song I wrote in the middle and it seems to go down better. Seems obvious.

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3 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I know it's each for their own, but most of the people I've played with in the 30 year journey have little or no time for playing other people's material.  I'm not saying there's no art to it, but isn't it just like a painter copying the Mona Lisa and thinking he's a great artist?  He didn't paint it, he copied it.  Paint me something original.

I get what you mean, but most of us playing in covers bands don't think we are great because we can copy the greats, we just have a great time doing it. 

I play in a covers band. We do play Sex on Fire which makes me wince every time. But we also play covers that I've never heard any other band attempt and yet people sing and dance along. 

I've seen too many singer sing writers where "and here's a fourth song about the girl who wouldn't even touch me by accident at the youth club but I still love her now and I'm 43" and the whole place empties. I could tar all singer song writers with that brush, but that would be unfair. 

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19 minutes ago, Dave Vader said:

I am sorry, that was never my intention. You could have made a few quid.

 

 

No need to apologise.  It's nothing to do with the concept of a covers band, I have no problems with cover or tribute bands.  I've enjoyed many an evening watching them, I had one at my wedding and to be honest a Jazz Quartet playing standards is nothing more than a fancy covers band anyway :)

I was simply reading the book around the same time my own covers band was picking up a few gigs - I was starting to experience the giving up whole weekend days to travel to events, set up then wait around for a number of hours until time for us to play, then tear down late at night.  I have a young family with 4 kids aged 10 - 2.  It wasnt a source of income I needed and so playing in a busy covers band quickly lost it's appeal to me when it meant missing out on being there for my family.  IIRC that is somewhat similar to how the character in the book was feeling as the Artful Badgers picked up more function gigs and weddings, I just remember reading it and thinking jeez, this is the truth about playing in this type of band and actually right now this is not what I want.

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1 hour ago, BlueMoon said:

This is where my main motivation comes from. Maybe not for others, but then I ask "why do it?".

Because they have different motivations to you.

 

3 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I know it's each for their own, but most of the people I've played with in the 30 year journey have little or no time for playing other people's material.  I'm not saying there's no art to it, but isn't it just like a painter copying the Mona Lisa and thinking he's a great artist?  He didn't paint it, he copied it.  Paint me something original.

 

And if you got to the galleries you will find only a small number of pictures compared to the millions of original pictures that have been painted, to which again you could say 'Paint me something actually original and good'.

Edited by Woodinblack

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@PJ-Bassist   And once the kids have grown up and left the nest you'll be straight back into gigging i bet same as the rest of us. :laugh1:

Edited by dmccombe7
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I'm in a covers band because I can't write music for toffee and I enjoy performing.  I couldn't give a sheet if some gobs***e prat doesn't like it.

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3 hours ago, Delberthot said:

I wouldn't mind at all if one of the other bands did Sex On Fire, Dakota or Valerie. Not one bit - in fact I would encourage it 😀

Exactly, because it’s not about playing what you like, it’s about playing what your audience wants.

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I have been in both originals and covers bands - but mostly the latter.

Although I enjoyed creating my own bass lines in the originals bands, what I didn’t get along with was all the boring, non-musical stuff that creeps in such as promoting the band, long gaps between gigs and paying to play far-away venues in a vain attempt to raise the band’s profile because no-one local books originals bands.

So playing other people’s music is where it’s firmly at for me.  And it’s just bass in my case, as I don’t do vocals; which allows me the undiluted pleasure of fully immersing myself in the huge and superb range of bass-lines that so many much more talented people than me have created.  What’s not to like?

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when i was younger i enjoyed the band writing its own songs and seeing a positive reaction from your audience made it worthwhile.

As someone earlier mentioned our bands back in the 70's / 80's would play a mix of covers with some originals thrown in. As the band got more recognition the covers were slowly rolled out and you end up with an originals band doing the occasional cover song. At that point its a nice feeling.

As i've aged my  enthusiasm to play originals and put the additional work, effort and time in is more than i want and covers just suit where i am in life.

Youthful exuberance for writing and playing originals does eventually fade away unless you have a decent success with it.

I had some local success with a few bands but the bands folded before it was taken to the next level. I also had a full time job i really enjoyed and paid extremely well and i wasn't prepared to walk away from financial stability for a maybe with a band.

My choice of early retirement at 55  has shown i made the correct decision. I have a great life now and bands are so much more fun. I've never enjoyed playing in bands as much as now.

Dave

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23 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I'm not saying there's no art to it, but isn't it just like a painter copying the Mona Lisa and thinking he's a great artist?  He didn't paint it, he copied it.  Paint me something original.

If you start with a blank canvas, you still need to be a bloody good artist to end up with a decent copy of the Mona Lisa.

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My band found the perfect compromise.  We played other people's stuff, but always with our own take - and I have to dimple prettily and say actually that take (driven by our talented BL) was usually pretty good.  So the audience got to listen to familiar pieces, while we didn't have to write stuff while getting some satisfaction from being innovative. 

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Joy, fun, connections to heroes and occasionally enough money to buy (or justify) new gear? My best times were playing in bands for sheer fun and not worrying about “making it”!

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23 hours ago, PJ-Bassist said:

No need to apologise.  It's nothing to do with the concept of a covers band, I have no problems with cover or tribute bands.  I've enjoyed many an evening watching them, I had one at my wedding and to be honest a Jazz Quartet playing standards is nothing more than a fancy covers band anyway :)

I was simply reading the book around the same time my own covers band was picking up a few gigs - I was starting to experience the giving up whole weekend days to travel to events, set up then wait around for a number of hours until time for us to play, then tear down late at night.  I have a young family with 4 kids aged 10 - 2.  It wasnt a source of income I needed and so playing in a busy covers band quickly lost it's appeal to me when it meant missing out on being there for my family.  IIRC that is somewhat similar to how the character in the book was feeling as the Artful Badgers picked up more function gigs and weddings, I just remember reading it and thinking jeez, this is the truth about playing in this type of band and actually right now this is not what I want.

Fair enough, that actually was my intention. Life's too short to pander to dickheads every weekend when you've got better things to do.

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@NancyJohnson just wondering - do you only ever eat new dishes at restaurants, or occasionally do you order something you've previously enjoyed a lot? What about when you have mates round, nouveau cuisine each time? But even then are you "covering" someone else's recipes, or creating your own from scratch?

How long does a band play its own original material time and again, before it effectively becomes a tribute act to its former creative self? 

Originality has it's place, of course it does! Otherwise we would all still be listening to Gregorian plain chant. 

But things don't have to be new to be stuff that we and in the case of music, our audiences, love. 

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