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

Charlie Bernstein

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Tell him if he wants to be a tribute band, go all the way and impersonate Elvis.

I play with a guy who only likes playing Grateful Dead tunes and the hundreds of tunes the Dead covered. I'm an old Deadhead, too, but I don't try to inflict my taste on audiences!
 

Charlie Bernstein

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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.
Totally new concept!: A tribute band honoring bands with inscrutible names:

- Archie Bell and the Drells: What's a drell?
- Tommy James and the Shondells: What's a shondell?
- The Ronettes: Sounds like a set you'd furnish your Ronroom with.
- Toots and the Maytals: What's a Maytal?
- Question Mark and the Mysterions: Let's not ask.
- ZZ Top: Z z top top of what what?
- Abba: Uh-uh.
- Weezer: We zerposed to know what that means?
 

Quarter1969

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Start playing a new Petty tune every session. Maybe he'll get the hint after then 20th song. Running down a dream is a good one....
That's exactly how I persuaded my band to do the cover of People Get Ready (Stewart/Beck version). I was hooked (still am) and kept on playing the intro chords every time we were going to have a cig break or were coming from the break. Eventually someone picked it up and we included it into the main set. It took like 3 or 4 rehearsals before it clicked.

Other then that....beer's been known to facilitate such issues - just have a round y'all and put all your songs on the piece of paper, sorted by the author. Sometimes it just takes to show everyone that 3/4 of the list has a Dylan name attached to the song. Don't confront the leader - work with others so you get some support. This is an option if you don't wanna go the tribute band route (I'm not a fan of tribute bands but I understand people who are).
 

String Tree

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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?
Learn the tunes with the stipulation that you will never play all of them at a Gig.
Unless, they put Heaps of Dollers in yer Buckit.
YEP!!!
 

Skyhook

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Rather hard to sing Dylan in original '60s keys. Is your singer that good?
Peevish of me, I know, but is Dylan that good?! 😈

Don't get me wrong now... he's one of the great singer songwriters, but vocally he's not a Freddie Mercury, Devin Townsend,
Mike Patton or Bruce Dickinson by a long shot! He's not exactly the "Fourth Tenor" is what I'm saying.

Yes, I know many legendary musicians aren't that great as vocalists but nobody cares because they're generally awesome.
Like Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. I kinda have Dylan lumped in there too so this comment was a bit surprising to me.
 

blowtorch

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In my "lesser known hits of Gen X " coverband Summerschool Genius, we're currently learning our third Smithereens song.



Everyone is on board
 

srblue5

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This is going to sound crazy, but have you tried talking to the bandleader about this?
A few times. He indicates that he agrees in the moment, and then out comes another Dylan song mid-gig. He has developed this tendency to kick off a song at a gig without any warning or discussion and look at us like, “Omg, look at what my hands are doing, I guess we have to play this song now.” I’ve thought about just sitting out and not playing when he does that but I feel like it looks unprofessional of me.

I don’t mind covers but I do worry that the Dylan fixation is limiting our audience and therefore our bookings. Not to mention that I think our Dylan covers are among our weakest, in my opinion.

I guess I’m looking for suggestions for a more definitive intervention. Some good approaches have been suggested on this thread.
 

srblue5

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I mean, Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards are great songwriters but does one really need to pepper half their sets with numerous somewhat uninspired covers, especially of relatively weaker fare like “One After 909” or “Send It To Me”?
 

4 Cat Slim

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I can relate. I encountered this sort of thing in the last place I expected it,
which was in a praise/worship band. Our leader became sort of obsessed
with the music of a certain band. The only problem was, I would describe this band's music
as the Contemporary Christian music equivalent of stadium rock.
Every song was eight to twelve minutes in duration, usually with a lengthy (and frankly,
a little condescending) testimonial included in every song.
It didn't seem to work very well with a small congregation or older people,
who were our usual listeners. I wound up leaving.
 

teletail

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A few times. He indicates that he agrees in the moment, and then out comes another Dylan song mid-gig. He has developed this tendency to kick off a song at a gig without any warning or discussion and look at us like, “Omg, look at what my hands are doing, I guess we have to play this song now.” I’ve thought about just sitting out and not playing when he does that but I feel like it looks unprofessional of me.

I don’t mind covers but I do worry that the Dylan fixation is limiting our audience and therefore our bookings. Not to mention that I think our Dylan covers are among our weakest, in my opinion.

I guess I’m looking for suggestions for a more definitive intervention. Some good approaches have been suggested on this thread.
Your options hinge on whether or not the band is on your side. You could tell him that next time he launches into one of his impromptu whims, the band won’t be joining him. Be prepared, he will test you. Hang tough though and he’ll probably only do it once. If the band isn’t on your side though, your only options are go along or quit. I’ve played with **** heads like this and they don’t change willingly.
 




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