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Well, the reason I ask is, this is my first time out. I've had people tell me we should, or we have to, and others who say we don't have to do covers. I'd like some intake from people who have been out there and done that, as the people i've spoken to haven't been there. My aspirations would be to do all originals as we write our own songs, but if we have to play covers to get things kicked off we will. Any advice?:confused-smiley-010
 

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We all do what we gotta do...

Rattlesnake said:
Well, the reason I ask is, this is my first time out. I've had people tell me we should, or we have to, and others who say we don't have to do covers. I'd like some intake from people who have been out there and done that, as the people i've spoken to haven't been there. My aspirations would be to do all originals as we write our own songs, but if we have to play covers to get things kicked off we will. Any advice?:confused-smiley-010
Whatever gets you a gig!

There's always seemed to be more gigs available for cover bands than for those doing originals. The downside is that doing covers caps your growth. You can only go so far as a cover band, unless you manage to become a well-paid tribute band.

A cover band is a "juke box". You're providing the music for the party! You can do that in a bar with originals as well, of course but most bar owners I know won't likely book an unknown band playing originals, at least not for any money. You need to either have a rep already established or an agent who either has a good rep of his own or a great line of BS, or both!

It's all about money. The club owner needs to have confidence that you'll sell enough beer to make it worth his while. You won't get great money offering covers but you seem less of a risk to please the crowd on a Saturday night. After you've proven yourselves to be a good draw you can then start to add in some original material and use those gigs to learn what works with the crowd and what doesn't.

Would you take a chance on losing money with a band that does unknown material? You'd want to see some history.

That being said, being an old guy I've sat through a LOT of sets of bands doing covers and something I learned when I started out still seems true today. Namely, DON'T GET ALL ANAL ABOUT DOING A PERFECT COVER!

The reason I say that is it always seems that the guitarist has a battery of processors, A3's, Line 6's and Pod's and strains his guts out to sound exactly like the original. Why is something I just can't understand. If I wanted to hear it like the original I could have stayed home and listened to the CD.

What makes a version more interesting is if it's NOT like the original! You shouldn't be afraid to offer a different arrangement, maybe with a different lead or a different instrument doing one part or another. When Pat Travers covered "Boom, Boom. Out Go the Lights!" it soounded completely different from the original the way John Lee Hooker did it. I love them both!

I've listened to many players that were obviously extremely skilled and talented and yet I wound up bailing out early.

Just my opinion...
 

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Rattlesnake, here's my humble perspective on that: you don't have to. But playing covers might get you some money, it'll get you playing, might even get you gigs and the more you play and more gigs you do, the tighter you'll get. If you introduce original songs throughout, you get to experiment, see how they feel live, get the crowd's feedback etc and your evening is not entirely focussed on only three or five originals (EDIT: sharing an evening with other bands). Until you establish a following with people who absolutely adore your own songs, I think that covers may have a place in a developping band. YMMV. :rockon:
 

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I couldnt agree with you more Martin.This is my humble advise,When just starting out,do whatever you have to to get on stage.You can jam non stop but with out stage experience you suck.Most musicians want to be known for their song writing skills however,you need to get tight and I mean super duper tight on stage before you start trying to showcase your own songs.I know when I was starting to gig we had a member in the band that only wanted to do big shows,and no opening acts!To keep the peace we went along with him,big mistake,when we finally got to open for a bigger band we where all struck with nerves,and couldnt get our shit together enough to get through the set.

So play anything,remember when starting out the preformance is for your benifit,it's not gonna make you guy's rawk god's.We used to play just for gas $ and if I could have afforded it I would have gladly played for nothing,just stage time.Ofcourse in the progression of thing this will change when there is demand for your band,but this sometimes takes years,5 years of sleeping on peoples couches in my case.
Take care
Aaron
 

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Wild Bill,

You stated:

"Whatever gets you a gig!

There's always seemed to be more gigs available for cover bands than for those doing originals. The downside is that doing covers caps your growth. You can only go so far as a cover band, unless you manage to become a well-paid tribute band."

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Perhaps you mean caps your financial grow? Learning covers is in my opinion, a very effective way to develop as a musician.

It develops your ears, your chops and your understanding of arrangments and songwriting.

Too often the guys who claim only hacks and lounge acts should do covers say so because they simply lack the skills to do so.

I'm not saying that's always the case but check out Gilby Clark trying to do covers on Rock Star Supernova. The house band's guitarist is ten times the player.

Funny how in rock music there's a stigma to playing covers, but in blues, jazz and classical it's pretty much standard.



I do originals as well as covers. There are gigs where all we do are originals from the album. There are also gigs where we do a mix.

It's good to be able to do both in my opinion.
 

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I thought Wild Bill,s post was right on the money. At most gigs you are there to sell beer and get people to dance whether with covers or originals. Covers can also be fun to play and help you progress musically as Milkman stated. Also they never have to be exactly like the original....as long as folks recognise the tune.
 

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The same only different...

Milkman said:
Wild Bill,

Perhaps you mean caps your financial grow? Learning covers is in my opinion, a very effective way to develop as a musician.

I'm not saying that's always the case but check out Gilby Clark trying to do covers on Rock Star Supernova. The house band's guitarist is ten times the player.
Yep, that's exactly what I meant, Mr. Milk! I fully agree with both your points. especially the last..
 

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Yep and I agree with both Bill and Martin. Getting gigs is important to work on your sound and presentation in a live atmosphere. But by throwing in a original here and there most audiences are pretty receptive and it gives you a chance to test some of your stuff. After you got people liking the original stuff you can keep introducing it. But you got to get out and play to get your act together....:rockon:
 

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Can't disagree with anyone so far. Get gigs as a cover band and start sneaking originals in while you guys get tighter and tighter and start to get a reputation as a fun band to see.
 

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great topic so I'll jump in with my 2 cents worth from an old fart whose "been there done that"

I allways loved changing covered songs to make them our own. Change the tempo, add a solo , USE VOLUME DYNAMICS ( nobody does that anymore...shame). Sometimes, coming up with a great new arrangement of an old song takes more work and talent then writing a new one.

About originals....poping in an original here and there is a great idea as allready mentioned. Nothing better then audience immediate reaction to let you know if your on the right track. IF the original isnt up to par, dont kid yourself. Change it and make it better untill its as good as everything else you play.

OK thats it for now.
 

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The basic answer is, no you don't have to do covers.
It really depends on what you want to do, that's up to you to decide. Do you want to be a part of a scene where original music is prevelent or just another cover bar band? Cover bands usually play the whole night while bands who do originals usually split the night and rely on each other's fans. Its a fun way to develop a fanbase and network with other bands who have the same goals as you.

Personally I've never played in a band that did a lot of covers. reason being is that I came up in the punk rock scene where doing your own material was expected and required. So it's just the way I've done things since I was 14. However, I do like to do a couple of fun covers every now and then.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Dats It!!

Well, i'd like to thank all the above for their views, in which some interesting points have been made. I definately have the answers that I needed!!:food-smiley-004:

So what our band will do is play covers (our own style), and slide in our originals here and there as a starting point. If that don't work then we'll try playing all originals to see what works for us. Once again, thanks to all responses! :food-smiley-015:
 

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hoser said:
The basic answer is, no you don't have to do covers.
It really depends on what you want to do, that's up to you to decide. Do you want to be a part of a scene where original music is prevelent or just another cover bar band? Cover bands usually play the whole night while bands who do originals usually split the night and rely on each other's fans. Its a fun way to develop a fanbase and network with other bands who have the same goals as you.

Personally I've never played in a band that did a lot of covers. reason being is that I came up in the punk rock scene where doing your own material was expected and required. So it's just the way I've done things since I was 14. However, I do like to do a couple of fun covers every now and then.


"just another cover band"?


LMAO. Again, the subtle yet obvious attitude of condescension. Coming up in the punk rock scene implies that technique would be a secondary factor. That in itself would make it difficult to play covers that would be recognizable.
 

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Milkman said:
"just another cover band"?


LMAO. Again, the subtle yet obvious attitude of condescension. Coming up in the punk rock scene implies that technique would be a secondary factor. That in itself would make it difficult to play covers that would be recognizable.
blah blah blah.
don't put words in my mouth...err...post.

not being condescending at all, the point is this: there are thousands of cover bands out there all playing the same songs. it's very easy to get lost in the shuffle. there are thousands of cover bands out there who try to slip in an original here and there and never follow through on going for it with their originals because doing covers is their bread and butter and the cash that comes with being in a cover band is more important than personal art and fulfillment. I've seen it many times over and seen talent wasted because of it.

For the record I don't have a problem with anyone being in a cover band IF THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. How's that, clear enough for you now?
The whole of my post was about making a decision regarding what kind of environment you want to play in and what's more important to the musician, not this bullshit you're nitpicking about.

As for "technique would be a secondary factor", early on my focus was on songwriting, but I can hold my own with anyone thank you very much..
 

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hoser said:
blah blah blah.
don't put words in my mouth...err...post.

not being condescending at all, the point is this: there are thousands of cover bands out there all playing the same songs. it's very easy to get lost in the shuffle. there are thousands of cover bands out there who try to slip in an original here and there and never follow through on going for it with their originals because doing covers is their bread and butter and the cash that comes with being in a cover band is more important than personal art and fulfillment. I've seen it many times over and seen talent wasted because of it.

For the record I don't have a problem with anyone being in a cover band IF THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. How's that, clear enough for you now?
The whole of my post was about making a decision regarding what kind of environment you want to play in and what's more important to the musician, not this bullshit you're nitpicking about.

As for "technique would be a secondary factor", early on my focus was on songwriting, but I can hold my own with anyone thank you very much..

LOL, struck a nerve I guess eh?



Look, I'v eheard the same crap for thirty years, mostly from guys who couldn't lift a part or play a recognizable cover to save their souls. How convenient that they also don't want to. Can you say "cop out"?


I admire guys who go out and do only originals. I do the same at appropriate gigs, but I can put my money where my mouth is and play technically difficult covers as well.
 

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I saw an interview with Joey Ramone (it was old he's still dead).

He said " We started doing origional stuff because the covers we tried were too hard to play for us" (paraphrased).

This thread is deja vu, from many places.:rolleyes:
 

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...i plan to add a more detailed post of my thought re covers vs originals but, for now, i'll pass on a very valuable lesson, from experience:

if you are going to sneak in originals amongst the covers, NEVER, EVER announce that they are originals. i'm sure many here will back me up on this, and perhasps even list the reasons why.

-dh
 

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"Well here is a song you don't know ". That makes a lot of sense. A good song will stand on it's own, without an excuse.

People want to hear what they know usually.

It really depends on the venue though.

I do go to my friends son's gigs. "Shoot the Moon" they are all young folks and local bands. Some good and some not so good. They have a following. The Arcade of Fire are from around here and used to play the same small clubs.
 

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Milkman said:
LOL, struck a nerve I guess eh?

Look, I'v eheard the same crap for thirty years, mostly from guys who couldn't lift a part or play a recognizable cover to save their souls. How convenient that they also don't want to. Can you say "cop out"?
Not really, I just don't appreciate anyone attempting to discredit me because I'm coming from a different way of doing things. I really don't see what this has to do with my post.

I admire guys who go out and do only originals. I do the same at appropriate gigs, but I can put my money where my mouth is and play technically difficult covers as well.
Did you miss this part of my original post?

"However, I do like to do a couple of fun covers every now and then."

It's not like I'm saying I'm above doing covers. They can be fun. Like I said, I came up in a scene where writing your own material was a given, and there's nothing wrong with that, doesn't mean that I didn't learn covers or learn from my favorite players.

How narrow minded for anyone on this thread to think that because someone does mostly original material that they can't play. It's absurd. Thankfully none of the great bands of our time thought that way or they wouldn't have even tried.
 

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my take is if the originals are good they will speak for themselves....
If the audience likes them ... go with them, nothing wrong with trying to be original... it's getting dam hard any more...:rockon:
 
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