Speaking of cover songs, of which mind are you?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by blowtorch, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    1) Play one of those mostly unheard nuggets, and hip your audience to stuff they didn't know about, or

    2) Play something that like 85% of any given crowd would immediately recognize

    I used to be 1). Now I am 2) .
    I finally figured out that people want to hear stuff they know. The big goal is to hit that forgotten song, that everyone loves, so they get that surge of recognition and "wow, these guys are cool, they are playing THAT song, I'd forgotten all about it, and I love it!"

    Really if no one has heard it, it might as well be one of your originals, I figure
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    My MO is to try to do stuff I like, and stuff that works.
    I pick stuff that works by making sure it’s danceable.
    I remember stuff I like better than stuff I don’t, but I don’t balk at common requests.
    I’m usually gigging at the “pleasure” of everyone else.
    Anyways, I’m always learning new material.
    I still love it!
     
  3. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    We are pretty much in the #1 mode. Try to play stuff we like, that is not played a lot. But we mix in some things people know well. We also are careful to not play too much sad/down music. People dont go out to hear a full night of that. Play good grooves.
    It's a fine line though. Certain venues I'll put more well known stuff on the set list. (You have to play somewhere!)
    We are willing pass on the gigs that need all the vastly overplayed stuff.
     
  4. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My point is that you can do both, if you hit on those songs that everyone knows, but just for whatever reason didn't relatively get a lot of exposure. I think the trick here is not mistaking obscure songs for ones people are familiar with.
    Just for example

    I think folks are quite familiar with it, yet it's relatively underexposed
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  5. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    For years I played in bands that focused mainly on the second scenario. I get that and agree with it for the most part, “Brown Eyed Girl” not withstanding.

    The classic rock band I’ve been playing with focuses more on tunes we want to play. We try to pick stuff that we think will go over, but it’s often deeper cut stuff. If a song like B.E.G. beats somebody in the band to death (and it does), we won’t do it unless requested, hopefully with some compensation.

    I guess personally, I pretty much roll with whatever seems to work best. I get my choice tunes in here and there, but for the most part I guess I’m in the “please the audience camp”. I’ve already played “Freeway Jam” to an empty house.
     
  6. NEED4TWEED

    NEED4TWEED TDPRI Member

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    Play whatever WE want. No concern for "danceability" or the type of audience. It's always badass stuff that the cool cats can dig. The lames can learn or leave. :cool:

    EDIT: Based on the following comments, I can tell that I'd never fit into a traditional cover band. Most of you guys probably make sh*t for pay on these gigs and are playing stuff you don't even like. Where's the fun/point in that? That's a hard pass for me.

    I hope you've at least in your lives performed in a band that wrote originals and/or played covers that YOU actually loved. My experience was that if you were good, you had audiences come out (and pay) just to see you and they were into it as much or more than you describe (it was mosh pits and headbanging rather than traditional dancing for me). Nothing beats that - I'd do it for free and in front of a small, enthusiastic crowd, any day, over what you're doing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  7. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, 2. It's cool to slip maybe one or two of those others in, but making a night of it is just asking to not be re-booked. And likely to frustrate you when you get a 'meh' reaction.
    Kind of on Bill's train though - we play things we like that also happen to be popular and recognizable. Pretty much any of the three of us has veto power, because it's no fun to be forced into playing some song you absolutely hate.
     
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  8. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    We do a mixture of both, but it's always been my mind set that if we are playing bars, or festivals or something, we have to play stuff people will know or I might as well be playing my own songs that no one knows. I'd rather everyone in the room know the songs we are playing than 3 or 4 people.

    Granted, I also don't want to have to slave away rehearsing 30-40 songs all the time that I hate playing because I've heard them a billion times...

    So I'd say that generally 80% of the stuff we play are probably overplayed radio songs and the other 20% are songs of our choosing that we enjoy playing. Sometimes that 20% even blends in with the 80% and I'll choose a song I love that just happens to also be a "popular" song.
     
  9. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    My band plays covers of Grateful Dead covers. I guess that about covers it.
     
  10. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    As much as I love this approach, I like getting repeat gigs because the audience actually likes us.
     
  11. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    No Briwn Eyed Girl, Wagon Wheel, or Mustang Sally?
    You poor guy!;)
     
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  12. NEED4TWEED

    NEED4TWEED TDPRI Member

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    Sure, if gigging itself and audience appreciation is more important than how YOU feel about what you play, then go that route. I would just rather not gig at all and play for ourselves, rather than play sh*t I hate just to gig. My experience is that you'll find an audience if you blaze a trail and are good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  13. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Gimme Three Steps!
     
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  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    How bout a mashup? Gimme Three Brown-Eyed Sallys
     
  15. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    It depends...

    If you wanna get booked and paid you're pretty much going to have to be a jukebox. Brown Eyed Girl, Take It Easy, Born To Be Wild, etc....Whatever is going to fill the place with people who want to sing, dance, and buy rounds of drinks.

    Otherwise, play whatever you want. Don't get me wrong....realizing your personal jazz/punk/prog rock vision or playing deep Steely Dan cuts is a lot of fun, but don't expect to get those big street festival or beer bar gigs.
     
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  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    How about a version of Come On Eileen, where, at the part where it starts off slow and gradually speeds up (and the audience goes crazy), you just start slow and get slower. :lol:
     
  18. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

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    Never heard of that song. Who recorded it?
     
  19. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    this.

    part of what I bring to the party is having done years of music research and paying close attention to what people want to hear and why. I programmed very successful radio stations in two of the three most successful genres out there.

    women set the pace in venues - if they’re not having a good time, they move along until they are. If they’re not drinking and dancing, they leave and take the men with them.

    Women tell us over and over that they want sing along familiarity - in most cases she will not dance to a song that she doesn’t know. “She” doesn’t seek novelty pieces or extended solos, and “she” generally dislikes the unfamiliar music in a social setting.

    I’m not saying that a bar band can’t find work if it’s playing exclusively what they like...but you have to make the audience happy, they’re your end consumer, and the people that pay you to be there are paying close attention to them.

    Like most of us, I like to play what makes me happy - but my belief is that if I’m picking a set list for a working bar band, I’m not the one that needs to be the happiest guy in the bar - I have to pick what’s gonna get me paid and invited back to get paid again and again.

    YMMV and all of the usual disclaimers.
     
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  20. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    We did a doom/sludge metal version of Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year".
    I had the idea, but, I'd wanted to do a fast punk Ramones-ish version.

    We recorded both versions, I like my original idea best.

    I've always wanted to do a straight up honkytonk "Dance the Night Away"
     
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