What do you do if a bandmate keeps suggesting multiple covers by the same artist?

srblue5

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I've been with my current band for 7 years (we may be on our last legs together but who knows, the last 1.5 years have been touch and go). The bandleader often calls out for covers (sometimes mid-gig, which can be irritating to be blindsided but we usually muddle through an ad hoc on-the-spot arrangement) but he really loves covering Bob Dylan.

We've done practices where every song (or every other song) is yet another Bob Dylan cover. If he starts playing a new song, I'm correct 95% of the time if I guess the songwriter is Dylan.

Don't get me wrong, I like Dylan. Wouldn't say I'm a "fan" per se, but I do appreciate his songwriting and what he has brought to folk and popular music forms. I own a few albums and I've even had a few Dylan cover ideas of my own, although these seem to be from some of his less acclaimed/popular albums (Slow Train Coming, Infidels) so they don't end up being worked up much. I appreciate that his songs are open to many interpretations so it's not like we're stuck with imitating one sound/style. However, I'm starting to fear that we're just going to become a Dylan cover band if this keeps going unchecked (especially since some of us are into other non-Dylan singer-songwriters and are also writing our own material).

As a Paul Simon and Stones fan, I'm mindful of this too. I have suggested Simon and Stones covers to the band but when I introduce a new cover idea, it either becomes a replacement for another or one that can sub in and out. I particularly love Simon, but I don't want to be a Simon cover band. My attempts to do so would come up short (ok, ok, that was in poor taste).

Any idea of how to address this with my bandmate without upsetting him and his love of Dylan?
 

loudboy

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You could do a Dylan set, and then stick to other covers in the other two?

Tribute acts, or special shows where a band will do a whole album by an artist, are the only ones that seem to be doing knockout business anymore.

With Dylan, you wouldn't have to do the whole dress-up schtick - just pick some great tunes.
 

Chiogtr4x

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Work on, work up the covers.
Keep them if they are good; you don't have to play all of them on the same gig.

* also make sure they are appealing, to an audience.

( I know a bunch of Dead and Dylan covers that will probably never be played at my gigs- so I just play them at home- good practice...).
 

burtonfan

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To pivot off of loudboy...

As I have lived through this myself, here's how we've solved this "problem".

The Beatles seem to be our "go to" band for cover tunes. It was getting out of hand. To remedy this, one of the band members suggested we do a tribute to Rubber Soul. We learned the entire album and performed it live at a benefit.

It went over so well it was suggested we perform Sgt Pepper's. We pulled in a local choir, string and horn sections, we even had a harpist. Again, we performed it at a benefit and it went over quite well.

That was 2017.

Since then we've done tribute gigs to Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc., as well as the general set list of cover tunes... none of which include Beatles songs! Whew!

I haven't performed a Beatles song since 2017 and I couldn't be happier. My point is: get it out of the band's system. After giving Dylan's catalog uber attention, the suggestion of performing his songs may be put to rest for a while. If it persists, maybe it's time to move on.
 

KeithDavies 100

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To pivot off of loudboy...

As I have lived through this myself, here's how we've solved this "problem".

The Beatles seem to be our "go to" band for cover tunes. It was getting out of hand. To remedy this, one of the band members suggested we do a tribute to Rubber Soul. We learned the entire album and performed it live at a benefit.

It went over so well it was suggested we perform Sgt Pepper's. We pulled in a local choir, string and horn sections, we even had a harpist. Again, we performed it at a benefit and it went over quite well.

That was 2017.

Since then we've done tribute gigs to Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc., as well as the general set list of cover tunes... none of which include Beatles songs! Whew!

I haven't performed a Beatles song since 2017 and I couldn't be happier. My point is: get it out of the band's system. After giving Dylan's catalog uber attention, the suggestion of performing his songs may be put to rest for a while. If it persists, maybe it's time to move on.
Wow - loved this! Well done!
 

Fiesta Red

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I don’t like to play covers very much, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to cover the entire Stones “Let It Bleed” album and the entire ZZ Top album “Rio Grande Mud”

Right before the pandemic, we put together an entire set about rain…Texas Flood, an original called Rainy Tuesday Morn, The Sky is Crying, etc…it was kinda cool, but the gig we had to perform it got cancelled
 

Cheap Trills

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Maybe show up for the next show mumbling and dressed like Dylan with sunglasses and the harmonica neck thing. Then, when he calls out that Dylan cover, just walk up the mic, move the singer aside, and give it a good mumble-wah, mumble-wah, mumble-waaaaah... then follow it up with a repetitive harmonica solo, inhale 1, exhale 5, inhale 1 exhale 5.. or however harmonicas work. it won't really matter by that point
 

srblue5

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You could do a Dylan set, and then stick to other covers in the other two?

Tribute acts, or special shows where a band will do a whole album by an artist, are the only ones that seem to be doing knockout business anymore.
That's a good idea, actually.

My only concern with the Dylan fixation is that we're not getting a lot of gigs anymore. A few friends that have seen my band play have commented on the large number of Dylan covers. We're seeing a lot of other local bands getting more gigs with original material or more obscure cover songs, so it makes me wonder.

Of course, springing songs last minute and fumbling through them probably also doesn't help our cause and makes us look unprofessional. I've brought that one up before but seemingly on deaf ears.

Work on, work up the covers.
Keep them if they are good; you don't have to play all of them on the same gig.

* also make sure they are appealing, to an audience.

( I know a bunch of Dead and Dylan covers that will probably never be played at my gigs- so I just play them at home- good practice...).
Some of the covers are ok, but most are pretty weak. They're either very generic-sounding bluesy rockers or very rubato (which is especially an issue if it's sprung on us onstage at the last minute -- the arrangements the bandleader decides on aren't always straightforward).
To pivot off of loudboy...

As I have lived through this myself, here's how we've solved this "problem".

The Beatles seem to be our "go to" band for cover tunes. It was getting out of hand. To remedy this, one of the band members suggested we do a tribute to Rubber Soul. We learned the entire album and performed it live at a benefit.

It went over so well it was suggested we perform Sgt Pepper's. We pulled in a local choir, string and horn sections, we even had a harpist. Again, we performed it at a benefit and it went over quite well.

That was 2017.

Since then we've done tribute gigs to Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc., as well as the general set list of cover tunes... none of which include Beatles songs! Whew!

I haven't performed a Beatles song since 2017 and I couldn't be happier. My point is: get it out of the band's system. After giving Dylan's catalog uber attention, the suggestion of performing his songs may be put to rest for a while. If it persists, maybe it's time to move on.
I really like that idea. I might consider pitching that to the bandleader.

Rather hard to sing Dylan in original '60s keys. Is your singer that good?
The keys get changed to suit the singer. He's a good singer but as noted above, I'd still say the Dylan covers are kind of our weaker ones. I mean, they're okay once in a while or for warming up, but doing 3 or 4 of them at gig (consecutively or not) gets a bit much.
 

tanplastic

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HaWE

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To pivot off of loudboy...

As I have lived through this myself, here's how we've solved this "problem".

The Beatles seem to be our "go to" band for cover tunes. It was getting out of hand. To remedy this, one of the band members suggested we do a tribute to Rubber Soul. We learned the entire album and performed it live at a benefit.

It went over so well it was suggested we perform Sgt Pepper's. We pulled in a local choir, string and horn sections, we even had a harpist. Again, we performed it at a benefit and it went over quite well.

That was 2017.

Since then we've done tribute gigs to Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc., as well as the general set list of cover tunes... none of which include Beatles songs! Whew!

I haven't performed a Beatles song since 2017 and I couldn't be happier. My point is: get it out of the band's system. After giving Dylan's catalog uber attention, the suggestion of performing his songs may be put to rest for a while. If it persists, maybe it's time to move on.
Wow, you all must be very talented to cover all of these albums - and even with a choir , strings and horns ... I am impressed !!!
 

KeithDavies 100

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I don’t like to play covers very much, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to cover the entire Stones “Let It Bleed” album and the entire ZZ Top album “Rio Grande Mud”

Right before the pandemic, we put together an entire set about rain…Texas Flood, an original called Rainy Tuesday Morn, The Sky is Crying, etc…it was kinda cool, but the gig we had to perform it got cancelled
Rained off?!
 




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