Cover vs Original Bands observed

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by noname_dragon, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

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    I've only ever been in original bands where I'm writing the songs. I was never a good enough player to copy other songs. We would do usually one or two covers per set, but they were carefully chosen and played in our band's own style.

    I tried to be in a Creedence cover band once, but it only lasted one practice, just couldn't pull it off.

    The drummer in one of my old bands was in a U2 tribute band and the money they raked in was mind-blowing.
     
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  2. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    BRAVO!!!!

    It's like the people who rank on classical pianists who can't improvise, usually the same people who can't read a note of music themselves.

    Most people's originals just aren't very good and there are few bands that can write an entire set or two of engaging originals.
     
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  3. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    For me it’s quite simple (ish!). There is so much music out there that even being creative inevitably results in the evolution of something that’s been done before. The degree of creativity depends on how finished’ the piece was when you lifted it. A basic 1 4 5 or a recorded track. Like you, I’ve spent most of my music life in covers bands. In the end got thoroughly fed up copying someone else, listening over and over to get the chords, rhythm or whatever. Tribute bands take this to the extreme. What I now do in the band I formed a couple or three years ago is what I refer to as ‘cartoon covers’. Take a number and put our / my stamp on it whilst making it recognizable to the audience as the original. Tge thing is, if you do a 60’s number for an audience who are likely to remember it, what they remember is a bright, new, top ten recording. Play it exactly the same as the original today and it’ll sound dated. What I try to do is freshen it up to the point the punters hear it as they remember it. Providing you leave the hooks alone and basic melody line, it seems to work.
    The other thing I love doing is putting a number into a different style. I Can See Clearly Now works great as a swing number.
    This approach gives us the chance to be creative playing in a covers band.
     
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  4. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Holic

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    I've been in a couple. And I don't disagree with you about creating original music scratching a different itch. My current band started as a cover band (albeit with an attempt to give the covers unique arrangements). I've been writing and recording songs at home since I was a teenager. Early on, I would bring demos in for the band and the band basically treated it like a cover. There was nothing magic about it. When it got fun is when they started embellishing their parts, improving on the bass line or the melody--all the stuff you are talking about. Now we try to get together at least once a month to write new songs together. I'd much rather work on our own music than play covers. That process--writing and arranging original songs--isn't really what I was talking about though. My point is, once that work is done, which I find rewarding in a different way than learning other people's music, and you are on stage playing the music (which is yet another skill set), I don't find the experience of playing a song I wrote vs a song some else wrote, to be all that different. It's easier for me to remember the songs I wrote, and I enjoy seeing people get into songs I wrote, but after playing it 20 times, it starts to feel like a cover too.

    Edited to add:
    And I'm okay with that. I just like playing music. And playing with others in front of others is even better.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  5. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    His name is Tuffy. Good guy.
     
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  6. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Intriguing. When you initially brought ideas to the band, were you bringing basically a complete song (drums, bass, other guitars, etc.) already recorded? That's different that my experience and I could see guys viewing that as a different kind of cover, in a sense.
     
  7. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    The best players I know do covers. They also do other projects, but their main thing is covers and tribute bands.
    I liked playing original stuff and did mostly that. Those guys make money, we never did make much more than enough to pay for recording.
     
  8. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Holic

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    Yes. On my own, I tend to write and record at the same time. Occasionally the songs wouldn't have vocals or lyrics (that's the hardest part for me), but were otherwise fully arranged.
     
  9. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer originals. But the reality is that's not what audiences want. So it's really not worth my time and effort to try get an audience with my own stuff.

    I don't have much time or patience for either, nowadays. I enjoy playing my buddy's songs live, which is a rare occurrence, and which I'm ok with. The rest of the time I'm noodling or working on amps/pedals. I haven't written a complete song in quite some time. Last song of my own I recorded was a year ago, and it was more of a parody than anything else. I keep saying I'm gonna get out and play live more, but I keep not doing it. Oh well. It's clear to me at this point that if I really wanted to be gigging regularly (cover or original), I'd be doing it.

    I don't even go to many shows now. It's rare to find locally either original or cover band that doesn't sound like every other original or cover band in the area. Maybe I'm just jaded? Whatever. If anyone needs me, I'll just be in my basement noodling with my tele and amps.
     
  10. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    When I was booking the bar, here and there I would come across people that had a negative attitude about guys that played covers, but hands down often the best musicians that came in were the guys that had spent 30+ years banging it out night after night in bars, more often than not playing in cover bands. Covers or originals aside - I don't think you get that level of comfort, muscle memory, and just general command of an instrument without that level of repetition in a live setting, and the most common way to get that is in a working cover band. These guys often also had the ability to hop in and out of bands for gigs sometimes without practicing with them prior, or learning new songs right on the spot and pulling them off effortlessly.
     
  11. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of good points made here regarding original vs cover bands. I understand how extensive work performing covers can do very much toward developing so many different skills.

    It's all original music for me; I've never had any interest in playing others' music.

    BUT, I have no motivation to try to get gigs, find an audience, nor to monetize my music. I create and play music purely for the joy of creation. I'm actually compelled to create, to the point that I suffer terribly at developing the ideas that I have created. It satisfies me, though, so I'm content with that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  12. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    I've written and recorded original music, and I've played covers. I've done much more of the latter. My 2 cents: Anybody can write a song. Few people can write a good song, even fewer can write a great song. Songwriting is much more about creativity and inspiration than skill, and people with rudimentary skills have written great songs (and lousy songs). Performance is different. Only a skilled musician can perform a song well, regardless of who wrote it. Like Chrissie Hynde, for example:
     
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