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Dave Vader

Why be in a covers band?

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I was watching a video of Megadeth today, a band who has had many second guitarists and drummers over the years. Are they allowed to "pull faces" while they play if they do a song from a record before they joined? Does that make it a cover act? I'm not sure. 

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23 hours ago, BrunoBass said:

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

Why can’t the two be combined? 

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21 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Why can’t the two be combined? 

They can and I do (I consider myself fortunate).

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11 minutes ago, ezbass said:

They can and I do (I consider myself fortunate).

Yeah, same here. We target our songs list so its not specific to any genre that we don’t like. We cant all like everything we play, but we don’t play anywhere that would require us to play something we aren’t in to. 

And for the record, i love playing Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed girl, mainly because they are floor fillers and i liked them long before i had to play them anyway. 

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1 hour ago, dave_bass5 said:

Why can’t the two be combined? 

No reason why not, but I feel that the minute you start a paid gig you have a responsibility to entertain whoever is watching even if you’re not playing what you would personally listen to. If you’re playing stuff that entertains both audience and musician then it’s win/win 🙂
 

I quite like the stuff my band plays but it’s not really my thing. Goes down well in a pub on a Saturday night though!

Edited by BrunoBass

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On 15/02/2020 at 10:34, NancyJohnson said:

...too many bassists gurning their way through anything from Chelsea Dagger or Boogie Wonderland all the while acting like they actually wrote those lines.

I'm keen for this not to happen, can you tell me how it's done? Is it anything like gurning through originals that sound like dozens of other songs anyway?

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Cover band or Originals, the key is playing with good people. Not necessarily good musicians but good people.

I would bet most of us would rather play with a marginal musician that's a great guy then the local hot shot that's a jerk.

Blue

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13 minutes ago, Bluewine said:

I would bet most of us would rather play with a marginal musician that's a great guy then the local hot shot that's a jerk.

Both are better than a marginal musician that's a jerk. And thats not that uncommon.

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12 minutes ago, Bluewine said:

Cover band or Originals, the key is playing with good people. Not necessarily good musicians but good people.

I would bet most of us would rather play with a marginal musician that's a great guy then the local hot shot that's a jerk.

Blue

There's a line! 

No one wants to play with a d1ck, no matter how good they are. But then again, you don't want to give the gig to a nice guy who just isn't good enough because you don't want to have to sack him further down the line if he can't cut it. 

I agree that personality can be just as important as musical ability. 

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I'd rather play with best players. I can deal with idiots and Aholes but bad players, even nice ones, would kill me.

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12 hours ago, Muzz said:

I'm keen for this not to happen, can you tell me how it's done? Is it anything like gurning through originals that sound like dozens of other songs anyway?

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but I will still stand my ground as someone who has only ever been interested in playing original material.

If you're looking for a decent gurning bass-face, go and search for the beardy guy who currently seems to be the face of Tech21.  Just copy him.

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13 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but I will still stand my ground as someone who has only ever been interested in playing original material.

If you're looking for a decent gurning bass-face, go and search for the beardy guy who currently seems to be the face of Tech21.  Just copy him.

You are not alone, I much prefer originals.

If playing covers, I would mash up and change around, but it’s more of a performance practice thing. Picking and studying the right songs and seeing what others do helps with your own IMO

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I'd have liked to have been a true artist but I wasn't naturally inspired enough nor prepared to give much up to become so. Instead I became a pretty good craftsman , which I enjoyed being , so much so that others were prepared to pay for my time and skills.

There's your answer.

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12 minutes ago, Dr.Dave said:

I'd have liked to have been a true artist but I wasn't naturally inspired enough nor prepared to give much up to become so. Instead I became a pretty good craftsman , which I enjoyed being , so much so that others were prepared to pay for my time and skills.

There's your answer.

I love that! 

In work I often try to distinguish between being on a production line and being a craftsman. And it's a privelege to find ourselves getting off a production line, where circumstances permit. 

But I've never really focused on the difference between an artist and a craftsman/person. 

I guess that much of what we're saying is that we either don't have the talent to be a true artist (= successful / pro originals band), or would much prefer to be good craftsmen than a typically meh artist, which frankly most amateur original bands are!

Obviously you've gotta start somewhere with both. 

Edited by Al Krow

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3 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here  . . . . . . . .

This shouldn't even be a battle. It's all music. There is great music in all styles and genres.

Whatever the other guy is doing is cool as long as he's playing it the best way he can.

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I've played in originals bands most of my life - I took up playing guitar/bass/synthesisers because I wanted to write songs and being able to play some instruments seemed to be good way to achieve that. However I have also played in two covers bands and that's enough to know that it's not for me.

Yes, a large proportion of "originals" bands aren't particularly original, but as an audience member at a gig, I don't necessarily want original, but what I do want is to be entertained, and TBH there's a lot more to entertaining an audience than playing some songs they might enjoy. If that's your USP as a covers band the venues you play at would be better served by a DJ or a well selected playlist. There's nothing big or clever about being a musician per se. Like it or not it's all the other things that you do whilst playing the songs to your audience that will make your band entertaining or not, and for the most part the covers bands I've seen have not really been very entertaining to watch. That makes it difficult for me as an audience member because I rarely go and see covers bands unless one of the musicians is a friend of mine, and so any feedback has to be "diplomatic".

I've grown up with the idea that "rock" music should be mostly played by the people that wrote it. One of the bands that I really liked when I was discovering music was The Sweet who came in for a lot of stick because most of their hits were written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman whilst their contemporaries - Slade, T.Rex, Bowie - were writing their own material. Those attitudes meant than when I formed my first band in the mid-70s there was never any possibility that we were going to play covers, although our unconventional instrumentation and almost complete isolation from any local music scene meant that we were never aware that most bands started off by playing other people's music and if we had been we wouldn't have been able to play any in a recognisable form. In fact I'd been playing in bands for almost 10 years before I did my first cover song, and even then it was one picked deliberately to be a complete contrast to the type of material that the bands was writing at the time.

So it's probably no surprise that of the two covers bands I've played in the one that was most enjoyable was one that would probably be despised by most musicians on here in that all we kept of the original would be the lyrics and vocal melody. Occasionally we would include one of the other major musical themes, but only if we thought the song absolutely required it. Because I only had at best a passing knowledge of most of the songs we covered, I treated each one as if the singer had written it themselves and created a baseline that I thought worked with what they were singing.

By contrast the conventional cover band I was in was a much less enjoyable experience. It probably ruined the listening experience of a lot of songs that I learned, and I mostly felt that their audience would have been better served by a good DJ with an appropriate selection of records. I suppose it didn't help that the originals band band I was playing in at the same time, was doing more gigs, getting a better audience reaction and actually making more money once expenses had been taken into account, and overall a lot more fun.

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Always been a huge fan of Sweet. Altho their hits were mostly done by writers their B sides and live concerts included many of their own songs. They did sacrifice their originality for stardom tho but they were at least a very talented group of musicians who could rock with the best of the rock bands of that era.

Here's one of my favs

 

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4 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but I will still stand my ground as someone who has only ever been interested in playing original material.

If you're looking for a decent gurning bass-face, go and search for the beardy guy who currently seems to be the face of Tech21.  Just copy him.

You can stand your ground all you like, it's when you denigrate other people's views that you sound verrrrry defensive, for no real reason. As someone just said, it's not a battle. I'm in an originals band as well as other covers/function bands, and I'm not as precious as some about either. It's only rock n roll, but I like it...

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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

By contrast the conventional cover band I was in was a much less enjoyable experience. It probably ruined the listening experience of a lot of songs that I learned, and I mostly felt that their audience would have been better served by a good DJ with an appropriate selection of records

I totally get that, I really like the way you've expressed your post.

I can't listen to a lot of the songs I play in my covers band, if I do I realise I've been a bit off in my interpretation of the bassline! And also, I'm bored of most of them or I never liked the song anyway. There is something to be said on your DJ point, how many times we get requests we can't fulfil, but DJs with thousands of songs loaded on to a laptop can very easily. 

I will defend covers bands to the hilt because without them a lot of live music would die out. Where I grew up there were lots of live music venues but the only one with significant attendance was all tribute bands, me and my mates grew up despising tributes as soulless nonsense, but my opinion on that has softened a lot these days. I'd love to be able to play and write originals but the rest of my life doesn't permit the time, and there's sufficient enjoyment and internal politics in a covers band for me! 

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

This shouldn't even be a battle. It's all music. There is great music in all styles and genres.

Whatever the other guy is doing is cool as long as he's playing it the best way he can.

Unless he's acting like he wrote something when he didn't, apparently...

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Why be in a covers band? Instead of being locked away in a box room writing tunes n' stuff you can be watching re-runs of Top Gear on Dave or having a few sherberts at yer local instead.  And you still end up getting paid the same.

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19 hours ago, chris_b said:

I'd rather play with best players. I can deal with idiots and Aholes but bad players, even nice ones, would kill me.

Depends on what your looking for. For example, say you want to gig and you find your hot shot musician doesn't want to do this or that won't play here or there. 

I don't think there's an upside to playing with jerks or Aholes. In most cases they're going to deal with you before you deal with them.

Keep in mind I'm talking about local level pub/bar band opportunities. If I had the opportunity to tour the world with a major artist that's a jerk I'd take it in a heart beat.

Blue

 

Edited by Bluewine
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2 hours ago, Bluewine said:

. . . . . . . . if I had the opportunity to tour the world with a major artist that's a jerk I'd take it in a heart beat.

. . . . get in line!!!

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I was gonna say this is getting too deep for me but then my arrogant nature took over. My general introduction to people goes like this: I went to school for music and i've been cooking ever since. When I left school I couldn't bear the thought of playing "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" on a Saturday nite, and since the music I played had "No Commercial Potential", I wound up doing the OTHER thing I'm passionate about, cooking. They paid me well, when I was cooking other's recipes, and VERY well when I had my own restaurant. (and I had more GROUPIES than I ever had in any band...) But again, I wont do McDonald's. I'm happy playing my own music because it keeps me sane.

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@StickyDBRmf Sounds like a great life to me! 

You're clearly better at running a restaurant than many - me included: worked with a chef who was a great cook but had no idea how to manage a profit and loss account and wasn't willing to take advice until it was too late. It's an amazing way to burn through a pile of cash!

Serious amount of respect to you - not least for knowing what you're passionate about and following your dreams. You're in the top 0.001% for just doing that in my books. 

Took me until 48 to finally find what I'm passionate about i.e. bass and playing with great bandmates to appreciative audiences.

Oh and I'm still waiting for the groupies... 

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