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Playing songs in a covers band you dont always like.?


bubinga5

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Ive been asked to play for a local cover band. They gave me set list and it is really varied. Some songs are great and some im not a fan of. How many of you guys are in a cover band and are in this situation and what are your thoughts. Im thinking i may learn from the stuff i dont particularly like musically. It varies from AHA to Prince, to Bob Marley to Abba etc. Just wanted anyones thoughts really. 

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What I enjoy playing and what I enjoy listening to don't have to be the same.

 

Certainly for my brief(ish) stint in a covers band there were some songs that I wouldn't normally give the time of day to from a listening PoV that I really enjoyed playing. Unfortunately there are several songs that I used to like, but can now no longer stand listening to, as a result of having to over-analyse them in order to learn how to play them.

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I don't like working but the money I get in return stops the bank people complaining at me about not paying the mortgage (they were quite clear they expect all of that money back), so I put up with it and get on with it. Apply the same principal to being in a cover band and you'll be grand. It's how I handled it on the rare occasions I helped a mate out with his cover band when they lost members at short notice. Learning things you find unpleasant can open you up to new things you wouldn't normally encounter if you were just in your usual sonic area.

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For me it's always been looking at the set as a whole and whether on balance there is (a lot) more that I like/don't mind than ones I can't stand, and if the standard of playing in the band is high enough.  There have been occasions when I've replied to a promising looking ad only to find the set list is pretty much all material I wouldn't want to play at all.

Edited by inthedoghouse
typo
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Have you actually tried learning any of the stuff you don't like?

I've learnt loads of stuff that didn't float my boat musically, but they have been fantastic learning experiences and some really great bass lines.

I doubt there are many cover bands where every member is happy with every song.

AHA, Prince, Abba and Marley sounds great to me.

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I've worked in covers bands since the dawn of time. Well, nearly.

 

You can get something out of most songs if you try hard enough. My personal exception to this is Let me Entertain You, but we all have our pet hates.

 

And if you really can't extract any joy from a song, just enjoy watching the crowd enjoying themselves as the band plays, and smile.  😊

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The only songs I never really liked much when I was in covers bands were songs that the audience seemed to love so I kept quiet as 1 or 2 songs from 40 odd didn’t seem too bad. 

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It very much depends on the reason you're in a band. If it's financial, then I'd just get on with it. If it's just for fun and playing the songs is not fun. Then I'd reuse to play them. This was a constant bone of contention in my last band. I flatly refused to play anything by Oasis, or as the guitarist at the time was insisting, The Shadows. There has to be some kind of compromise, but there are certain songs and artists that I can't stand, and I wouldn't be willing to budge on that, unless there was money involved. Then it's just a job. 

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I find there's a distinct difference in playing songs to listening to them.

 

I'm not sure there's anything in our setlist I would choose to listen to normally, but playing them to a receptive audience is an enjoyable experience.

Edited by Graham
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15 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

It very much depends on the reason you're in a band. If it's financial, then I'd just get on with it. If it's just for fun and playing the songs is not fun. Then I'd reuse to play them. This was a constant bone of contention in my last band. I flatly refused to play anything by Oasis, or as the guitarist at the time was insisting, The Shadows. There has to be some kind of compromise, but there are certain songs and artists that I can't stand, and I wouldn't be willing to budge on that, unless there was money involved. Then it's just a job. 

 

How utterly depressing.

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43 minutes ago, musicbassman said:

And if you really can't extract any joy from a song, just enjoy watching the crowd enjoying themselves as the band plays, and smile.  😊

I love this! When I play live it's the energy from the crowd that pushes the experience over the top and makes the set up / tear down and playing the same songs all the time worth it. 

 

As much as I enjoy playing and creating music with my friends it the live energy that keeps me coming back. 

 

Definitely missed it the last few years. 

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9 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

 

How utterly depressing.

 

I agree. I can't imagine anything more depressing than being forced to play something you hate, when you're in a band to make music for enjoyment. Why would anyone do something they don't enjoy as a hobby? 

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4 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

 

I agree. I can't imagine anything more depressing than being forced to play something you hate, when you're in a band to make music for enjoyment. Why would anyone do something they don't enjoy as a hobby? 

Hmm my opinion on this is a little bit different. 

 

There's always a price to pay to do the things you want to do. To play a few songs you don't like in order to get all the rewards of playing live for me is always worth it. 

 

It's a bit like I don't particularly like photo shoots / filming videos but I understand it's something I have to do in order to function as an originals band. So if I want to play good gigs, get decent festival slots etc I need to do the necessary evils. 

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Rehearsing songs you don’t like is a PITA and not enjoyable. However, having ‘been there done that’, those songs are often quite fun to play live, as the audience usually love those songs. My own, personal, bête noire was Madonna’s Holiday, hated it, punters loved it and I channeled their enjoyment into my playing.

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55 minutes ago, Crawford13 said:

Hmm my opinion on this is a little bit different. 

 

There's always a price to pay to do the things you want to do. To play a few songs you don't like in order to get all the rewards of playing live for me is always worth it. 

 

It's a bit like I don't particularly like photo shoots / filming videos but I understand it's something I have to do in order to function as an originals band. So if I want to play good gigs, get decent festival slots etc I need to do the necessary evils. 

Same with me, part & parcel of it but they were def my least favoured aspects of my last band.

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This is a common issue no matter what genre of music you're involved in. I've sung a lot in choirs. Some of the stuff that puts bums on seats in the audience choirs often don't particularly enjoy. My personal dislike is the Armed Man (Jenkins). It's utterly tedious to sing, but audiences love it...  

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I had an, admittedly, tongue in cheek row with the guitarist in my band about this. He flat out accused me of not liking most of the songs we play in our covers band. I told him he was wrong; I don't like ANY of the songs we play. I was only half joking as we seem to play a lot more mid tempo soft rock than we ever did and I'd prefer something a bit more hard edged. But the audience seems to like it so who am I to object? And I like the band and showing off on stage so it's not a bad life really. 

 

But if anyone knows of a shoegaze/ My Bloody Valentine covers band needing a bassist, I'll drop this lot like a shot. 

Edited by AdrianP
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1 hour ago, Crawford13 said:

There's always a price to pay to do the things you want to do. To play a few songs you don't like in order to get all the rewards of playing live for me is always worth it. 

This. I did this a lot in my brief (5 years) stint as a member of a covers band. We varied between a 3- and 6-piece over that time, depending upon who was in town. This was not, I hasten to add, a pro band, but a weekend warrior thing in a remote part of the world. So there was a lot of input from the band members into what we played. I hated much of the stuff we played but I did it anyway because (some of) the others liked it and the fans liked it. I'm sure they indulged me as well. We did a lot of good stuff.

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You definitely want only a smaller proportion of those songs. But try to find something in them you like, it might not even be your part but if the drummer does something you like just wait for that bit and let that give you energy to smile through it. Or put your own twist to the song if the circumstances allow. But being in a cover band that plays songs you like... Well, you won't like them after a year or so of playing them!

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3 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

But being in a cover band that plays songs you like... Well, you won't like them after a year or so of playing them!

I'd respectfully disagree with this. There are many songs I like just as much after playing them live for years.

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