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


bubinga5

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Could be worse, could be in an originals band where even the audience don't like the songs. 😁

I've seen that a few times. 

 

Also have played in an originals band where the audience keep asking for the band to play something they can dance to, or when a crowded pub has emptied when the band started*. That's a very long night.

 

*although to be fair it was after a big football match with a charity raffle draw at the end. But very demoralising when you think you have a big ready made crowd.  

Edited by TimR
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8 minutes ago, TimR said:

a crowded pub has emptied when the band started*. That's a very long night.

 

 

We played in a bar on the Island of Mull. We had been booked for a bunch of students who were on the island for some reason or other. The owner put on a huge pot of chilli for them. The pub was heaving and we struggled to set up in the throng. We got set up and with five minutes until we started they all flipped off!

Ungrateful twatts left and went somewhere else. We played the whole night to 5 or 6 people.

Edited by ubit
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In a covers band I'll play songs I am ambivalent about, will play songs I don't like but refuse to play songs I hate - that crosses a line as far as I am concerned.  Don't care if the rest of the band, the punters, the Queen or the Pope love it - if I hate it I won't play it.  I play for fun, because I enjoy it, and for me it isn't fun to play a song I loathe with a passion.  There are quite literally thousands of songs to choose from and it seems completely unreasonable for a band to try to pressurise a member into doing something they hate when there is so much choice.  It is something I feel pretty strongly about, actually.

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2 minutes ago, Paul S said:

In a covers band I'll play songs I am ambivalent about, will play songs I don't like but refuse to play songs I hate - that crosses a line as far as I am concerned.  Don't care if the rest of the band, the punters, the Queen or the Pope love it - if I hate it I won't play it.  I play for fun, because I enjoy it, and for me it isn't fun to play a song I loathe with a passion.  There are quite literally thousands of songs to choose from and it seems completely unreasonable for a band to try to pressurise a member into doing something they hate when there is so much choice.  It is something I feel pretty strongly about, actually.

 

 

I find this quite a strange attitude, certainly up this way the young ones who go out drinking all seem to like this traditional Scottish music but rocked up. I hate this kind of music but we had to play it because that's what got people in and dancing. If we played music I liked the pub would empty.

I hated most of our set but loved to see and hear people enjoying themselves. If we got a massive cheer at the end it was a great buzz.

 

I was told when we first started that you have to play what the public wants. We said nah, we will play what we want. We didn't get many gigs until we changed and played music that got people dancing. Certainly up this way you have to be a musical prostitute.

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My attitude depends on the other members of the band.....
There are plenty of songs/bands that I am not keen on (and would never listen to, given the choice), but have been established parts of sets of bands I have joined, so have got on and learned/played them (U2 and The Jam, to name two)

I am also willing to play stuff I am not a fan of, if the band really want to do it, or it is likely to be a crowd pleaser.....

I am also willing to accept that others might not like my choices, but if they then actively sabotage, that is when I start to get irked.......in my last band (which I formed with a guitarist friend I'd previously played with), a set list was drawn up, with all members having input/vetoes (so no Billy Idol or Sex on Fire.....!), the singer/guitard then started to 'forget' to learn songs (then come up with a load of others (like ubit said....)), or claim he 'couldn't play them' (how you can play 'Rain' by The Cult, but then claim 'Lil Devil' is 'too hard' is beyond me......!)

He and the drummer also flatly refused to play a song (then admitted that neither of them had actually listened to it......'but they didn't like it')
It was at this point that I thought 'If I have any qualms about anything they suggest, I'm not doing it......' (if buthe co-founding guitarist suggested anything, I would, but then he was more willing to compromise.....and was enduring having to play Oasis......(drummer's choice, not mine.....!))

Mind you that is all academic now.....the drummer quit just before our first gig.......then mysteriously our singer quit 'as it wasn't what he signed up for' (having helped write the set list....), lo and behold, about a week later I see a post on FB that the drummer's old band (which he had kept reminding us, several times, every practice, had been going for 15yrs, played 100's of gigs, been really successful, for 15yrs, playing 100's of gigs.....) were reforming......having found 'a new singer/guitarist'........!

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12 hours ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

 

It's a good job you're not playing for money then as you'd get your marching orders fairly swiftly for refusing to play songs by a particular artist. I really don't understand this 'hate' of certain music. I can understand not liking artists; I think a few would agree that Liam is a bit of an acquired taste, but refusing to play any Oasis? The songs of theirs that I have played always go down very well indeed. Happy punters = happy hackenbacker. I've not played any Shadows material, but I'd to. I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm not a fan of Marc Almond, but I've played several Soft Cell songs over the years. There might be the odd occasion where I would argue the inclusion of a song wouldn't work with the band configuration or fit in with the existing set, but a refusal because you don't like it vs. everyone else being up for it? You've just got to put your big boy pants on IMHO.

 

As I said. It very much depends on why you're in a band. If I was in a paid, gigging band then I'd play absolutely anything. If you're playing for enjoyment, then why play something you don't enjoy? There are literally millions of songs. Even in a five or six piece band, there has to be plenty of songs that everyone likes, or at least don't care about one way or the other, without having to play something you can't stand. I play purely for enjoyment. I don't play things I don't enjoy listening to. Or by artists I can't stand the sight or sound of. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nobody is forcing me to play, and no one ever will. Either way it's irrelevant as I don't play covers anymore anyway, and have no desire to do so. 

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If you’re playing for enjoyment, rather than treating it as a job, and you don’t like what you’re playing, then don’t do it. If it’s a job, then you’ll likely have to compromise. If there’s just a percentage of what you’re playing that you don’t like, then it’s up to you (and you alone) to weigh up whether or not you are happy to make those compromises. 
 

Personally I’m not really interested in playing covers, which is why I’ve never been in a full covers band in 40 years of playing, but that’s another story. 😉

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1 hour ago, Paul S said:

In a covers band I'll play songs I am ambivalent about, will play songs I don't like but refuse to play songs I hate - that crosses a line as far as I am concerned.  Don't care if the rest of the band, the punters, the Queen or the Pope love it - if I hate it I won't play it.  I play for fun, because I enjoy it, and for me it isn't fun to play a song I loathe with a passion.  There are quite literally thousands of songs to choose from and it seems completely unreasonable for a band to try to pressurise a member into doing something they hate when there is so much choice.  It is something I feel pretty strongly about, actually.

@hiram.k.hackenbacker not sure how 'laughing is an appropriate response tbh.  Please explain what is so funny?

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1 hour ago, ubit said:

We didn't get many gigs until we changed and played music that got people dancing. Certainly up this way you have to be a musical prostitute.

 

I'm about as far from Sunny Ob'n as you can get but trust me ... it's exactly the same Darn Sarf.

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As usual, there seems to be a lot of not understanding that people play for different reasons going on here. 
 

Some play for the buzz, the roar of the crowd, all that stuff. Some play for their own enjoyment. Some just enjoy the act of playing, for its own sake. Some need to play things they like, to feel like they can relate to what they’re playing. Some play for the money. For many -but not all - it may be a mixture of these things. Just because it might not match your personal outlook doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 
 

Speaking personally, I like creating and playing original music. It’s the creativity part that interests me most. If I’m playing live, obviously it’s nice if the audience enjoys it, and in my current band they seem to far more often than not. But that’s not why I play. If they didn’t like it, it makes no difference to me, other than that it would then become more difficult to get gigs. But then gigging isn’t the be all and end all either for me. As long as I’m writing songs, recording and playing (which could just as easily simply be rehearsing) I’d be happy. The only person I’m actively trying to please is me. Of course YMMV, and that’s fine too. 
 

If I was playing in a covers band I would hope to reach an agreement as to what songs we were happy playing. If I couldn’t do so, I’d probably find another band where I could, or indeed form one with like-minded people. As others have said, there are millions of popular songs out there. Surely you can choose enough songs that are both popular and that you like to make up a set? Of course in a scenario where you’re joining someone else’s cover band and having to fit in with them that may not be feasible, but that’s your choice to accept that or not. 

Edited by 4000
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I wonder if there's a complementary thread going on over at OrchestraChat where the double bass player threatens to walk out if the conductor puts any more Mahler on the set list? "Ok, you can have your blooming Shostakovich if you want but I'm walking if I don't get my Bruckner's 9th in Dm".

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Just now, AdrianP said:

I wonder if there's a complementary thread going on over at OrchestraChat where the double bass player threatens to walk out if the conductor puts any more Mahler on the set list? "Ok, you can have your blooming Shostakovich if you want but I'm walking if I don't get my Bruckner's 9th in Dm".

But if they did want to walk out, it’s their prerogative isn’t it? You don’t have to play anything you don’t want to, as long as you understand what the consequences of that might be. 

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8 minutes ago, 4000 said:

As usual, there seems to be a lot of not understanding that people play for different reasons going on here.

 

 

It's not just for different reasons. Its down to geographical areas too. Up here there isn't the amount of people to form a scene where bands could get a following doing originals. It's not like in cities where there is a scene for that kind of thing. You have bands that throw in a couple of their own but they usually get told to "play something we know".

 

If you want to be in a band where I come from you are more or less forced into the cover band area. I wish I had the talent to write decent original music but I don't. I also don't jam with people who come up with decent original material. If our guitarist was able to write superb original music I would be delighted to do it. These days with social media you can showcase your own music so at least reach people that way.

 

As I say, the flavour at the moment is this Scottish trad. with a rock edge. The kids love it up here. I detest it but had to play it  if I wanted to be in a gigging band.

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19 minutes ago, 4000 said:

As usual, there seems to be a lot of not understanding that people play for different reasons going on here. 
 

Some play for the buzz, the roar of the crowd, all that stuff. Some play for their own enjoyment. Some just enjoy the act of playing, for its own sake. Some need to play things they like, to feel like they can relate to what they’re playing. Some play for the money. For many -but not all - it may be a mixture of these things. Just because it might not match your personal outlook doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 

 

I think the problem in every band is that whatever your reason for playing you have to take into account the reasons your band mates have for playing. 

 

Which is all perfectly reasonable.

 

Until they don't reciprocate. 

 

I've seen many originals bands who are rubbish and only play for their own enjoyment. But this is because they just don't understand that you can't just string a melody and words along to make a song. Neither can you spend hours refining a rubbish song that no one enjoys listening to and magic some engagement from it (I've been in that band, and it gets confusing trying to remember all the minute changes that have been made). I even know artists who've taken their work to producers ro get feedback and complained the producer wanted to change it too much and it ended up being too commercial. You can't have it both ways, you can't have a noncommercial song being popular. 

 

Music should be easy and fun to play. Otherwise it's work. You can enjoy your work and have fun, it's not mutually exclusive, but there comes a point when hard work is simply just hard work. 

Edited by TimR
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1 minute ago, ubit said:

 

 

It's not just for different reasons. Its down to geographical areas too. Up here there isn't the amount of people to form a scene where bands could get a following doing originals. It's not like in cities where there is a scene for that kind of thing. You have bands that throw in a couple of their own but they usually get told to "play something we know".

 

If you want to be in a band where I come from you are more or less forced into the cover band area. I wish I had the talent to write decent original music but I don't. I also don't jam with people who come up with decent original material. If our guitarist was able to write superb original music I would be delighted to do it. These days with social media you can showcase your own music so at least reach people that way.

 

As I say, the flavour at the moment is this Scottish trad. with a rock edge. The kids love it up here. I detest it but had to play it  if I wanted to be in a gigging band.


I’m not in a city. And I’ve had the same problem with past originals bands as anyone in the provinces or any other musical backwater. For us, we simply happened to come across a band format that people seem to like, whilst writing songs that people also seem to like. We’ve been gigging regularly - and occasionally but not often in cities - since 2012 and have never once been told to “play something we know” (although someone did once ask if we knew any Johnny Cash - we didn’t 😂). Usually people are surprised that the material we’re playing was actually written by us.😉
 

FWIW, everyone I’ve ever played with has been involved in writing to a greater or lesser degree, and I’ve written since the day I started playing (it never occurred to me that I couldn’t!), so maybe I’m lucky in that respect. 

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Have enjoyed in the past playing in a commitments type soul covers band and a blues covers band even though I don't especially care for either type of music (being more of a rock/metal guy). Thing is you get gems in every genre that make it worthwhile - I enjoy playing Tears of a Clown as much as I enjoy playing Enter Sandman. RE the original post, would jump at the change to play Dancing Queen for example - what a fantastic bass line.

Edited by bassman7755
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Disliking someone else's choice of song doesn't go away in an original band. What does Jared Followill think when he sees Sex On Fire in the set, again!!!

 

Compromises are part of playing an instrument with other musicians. Embrace differences, be positive, it's the only way to stay sane as a musician.

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24 minutes ago, 4000 said:

As usual, there seems to be a lot of not understanding that people play for different reasons going on here. 
 

Some play for the buzz, the roar of the crowd, all that stuff. Some play for their own enjoyment. Some just enjoy the act of playing, for its own sake. Some need to play things they like, to feel like they can relate to what they’re playing. Some play for the money. For many -but not all - it may be a mixture of these things. Just because it might not match your personal outlook doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 
 

Speaking personally, I like creating and playing original music. It’s the creativity part that interests me most. If I’m playing live, obviously it’s nice if the audience enjoys it, and in my current band they seem to far more often than not. But that’s not why I play. If they didn’t like it, it makes no difference to me, other than that it would then become more difficult to get gigs. But then gigging isn’t the be all and end all either for me. As long as I’m writing songs, recording and playing (which could just as easily simply be rehearsing) I’d be happy. The only person I’m actively trying to please is me. Of course YMMV, and that’s fine too. 
 

If I was playing in a covers band I would hope to reach an agreement as to what songs we were happy playing. If I couldn’t do so, I’d probably find another band where I could, or indeed form one with like-minded people. As others have said, there are millions of popular songs out there. Surely you can choose enough songs that are both popular and that you like to make up a set? Of course in a scenario where you’re joining someone else’s cover band and having to fit in with them that may not be feasible, but that’s your choice to accept that or not. 

 

Exactly this. 

 

I'm not in it for the money, which is lucky because I'd starve. I'm not even into it for the gigging. I really couldn't care less. It's kind of just a necessary evil that makes being in a band make sense. It's purely the creative aspect, and hanging around with like minded friends doing something we all enjoy. Playing Sex on Fire or any of the other cheesy crap a load of drunken idiots want to listen to doesn't factor into the equation at all for me. The final straw in my previous band was Rocking in the Free World. I decided there and then I'd never play another song I couldn't stand. Nothing wrong with it if that's your bag, but I'd rather sit in front of the telly. 

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17 minutes ago, TimR said:

I think the problem in every band is that whatever your reason for playing you have to take into account the reasons your band mates have for playing. 

 

This so much. Having everyone in a band with the same motivation is a massive plus, mixing people who play purely for fun and people who have to play to pay the rent, or for originals bands mixing hobbyists with "pros" who want to make it, is a recipe for discontent and ultimately failure.

Edited by bassman7755
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9 minutes ago, TimR said:

 

I think the problem in every band is that whatever your reason for playing you have to take into account the reasons your band mates have for playing. 

 

Which is all perfectly reasonable.

 

Until they don't reciprocate. 

 

I've seen many originals bands who are rubbish and only play for their own enjoyment. But this is because they just don't understand that you can't just string a melody and words along to make a song. Neither can you spend hours refining a rubbish song that no one enjoys listening to and magic some engagement from it (I've been in that band, and it gets confusing trying to remember all the minute changes that have been made). I even know artists who've taken their work to producers ro get feedback and complained the producer wanted to change it too much and it ended up being too commercial. You can't have it both ways, you can't have a noncommercial song being popular. 

 

Music should be easy and fun to play. Otherwise it's work. You can enjoy your work and have fun, it's not mutually exclusive, but there comes a point when hard work is simply just hard work. 


Oh of course you have to. But the trick is to be on the same page as much as possible, which may not be possible for ever, hence why bands split up. But surely you’d at least try to start on the same page?

 

And yes, of course a lot of people writing original material aren’t necessarily good, or don’t write accessible material. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to write original material that’s good or accessible. But the point is, if someone’s writing what they like and that’s making them happy, even if it isn’t either good or accessible, then that’s up to them. Of course they may have to suffer the consequences of that, which is probably struggling to get gigs, but again, that’s up to them. 😉

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1 minute ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

The final straw in my previous band was Rocking in the Free World. I decided there and then I'd never play another song I couldn't stand. Nothing wrong with it if that's your bag, but I'd rather sit in front of the telly. 

 

Haha hate that song with a vengeance too.

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2 hours ago, Paul S said:

@hiram.k.hackenbacker not sure how 'laughing is an appropriate response tbh.  Please explain what is so funny?

 

hah!  Another one of my posts has elicited a laugh!  I had no idea I was so funny.  Maybe I should have pursued a career in stand up.

 

🥴

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