Originals vs Covers - mellowinman edition!
OK, we've had endless conversations about originals vs covers. But let's do it in a highly personal way; let's look at my own musical trajectory, and gain one perspective, from my point of view.
We'll start simple.
That performance was at Ribfest, back in 1997, on the Nicolette Mall, in downtown Minneapolis. I was proud that we opened for the Little River Band, and had never played a single cover.
The music had a sort of fifties-makes-its-way-up-to-modern feel; and it was telling a very personal story about my life. The song got a lot of positive response. Did it fit the music of 1997? Not really.
It wasn't that it was the wrong music for the era. It wasn't that we weren't good enough. It was that it is very, very difficult to keep a band together, unless you are passionate and dedicated. Our band splintered, and it was due to some very personal dysfunction that we ended up giving it up.
At that point, I had written over 250 songs, along with my partner, the very talented Mike Ascher. We co-copyrighted them together, like we were Lennon and McCartney, regardless of who wrote what. We knew each other from High School, in 1977 or so, and had played together in one regard or another for almost 20 years.
When things went South, we became very antagonistic towards each other, and I continued on only as a songwriter for my own personal self; not to try and play out live, or to try and "make it." By this time, I was already nearly 40.
Here is an example of the type of songs I was doing on my own:
I joke sometimes on this forum about humility, etc. Let me be clear. I have no doubt in my mind that I have exceptional talent as a singer, songwriter, and musician.
Playing covers is better than not playing at all.
Now let's talk about covers. I had been married for a few years. My wife and I played a few acoustic shows. I did about half and half; some originals, some covers. I didn't much care for playing acoustic with her. She tended to pick acoustic versions of eighties hair metal songs, and I didn't think they lent themselves well to the format.
At some point, she decided to put one of her old bands, Forced Entry, back together, and I said I'd help out. My plan was to help run sound, maybe sing some backing vocals from back at the sound desk, and maybe do a guest performance now and again.
While she was putting the band together, I sat in as vocalist, just so they could rehearse the songs she wouldn't be singing on. In the process, I kind of got the bug, and decided to be in. That made the original drummer want out. Then the guitarist wanted out. So we auditioned guitar players and drummers, and that's when Arthur showed up on our door.
Arthur had more of a 70's sound than an 80's sound, and he liked jamming on Zeppelin, and Hendrix, and the Beatles. This got me very excited, as I didn't think I'd ever have the chance to play music like that.
Here we are doing Sweet Emotion back in 2010 at Vinnie's in Decatur, Indiana.
Our drummer wasn't very good; we hadn't really gelled as a band yet, but we did all right.
My experience is, playing your own music is far easier than copping the style of others. That experience will be different for other players.
One thing that surprised me, at the age of 47, was that due to singing a lot, I had found a little MORE range, at a time when you would expect to find less. There is a lot wrong with this version of Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Love, but I sure was proud of this video.
If you are going to be critical of Arthur playing the solo wrong when he comes back in, he had changed it to a live version, in an attempt to make it easier on our drummer, who missed his queue every single time doing it the more conventional way.
Arthur was far from the weak link on this performance. I thought he was fantastic!
So anyway, back when I was writing a lot of songs, my bread and butter was pretty simple, straightforward chord progressions; you know; I wrote a lot on the acoustic guitar, and that tends to make you write a certain way.
But I did have a love for kind of a jazz/r&b feel; and I did one that people said was like a mix of Steely Dan and the Allman Brothers.
Now, this video is EMBARRASSING. I was trying to get my groove on, but I had nowhere near enough confidence to pull it off. I was shooting in a public park, and you can see how self-conscious I am. I really should shoot another one, but this was an important moment in time, probably shot in 1995 or 1996:
You guys are supposed to be musicians, so quit laughing at the stupid video, and pay attention to the music. I was always real proud of this song. It's proof that I wasn't just writing G major and A minor 4/4 time straight up ballads.
James Walsh, the keyboard player of the legendary Minneapolis band Gypsy, helped me with the feel of this, and played keyboards on it. The reggae style rhythm guitar was a huge help, played by a guy named Ken Wilson; a session player in Minneapolis.
But they were inspired to play all this based on my demo, which was just me, a drum machine, and Mike Ascher on lead guitar.
Here was my take on kind of a blues thing, and the idea was, instead of blues about how sad I was about a lost love, it was about how happy I was to be rid of it.
The footage is mostly from a stupid TV show we used to make, and just stuff of us clowning around. Mike made the video. I always liked it.
and the polls are in!
you sir are clearly a carrot
i just watched the careless abandon video
congratulations on the poofy shirt
Check THIS out:
I doubt I was up to 130 pounds
(I'm more like 180 these days)
My first YouTube was a cover of Skeeter Davis' End of the World
Yes, I am sitting on a toilet.
And I'm not done with this yet!
In the eighties, and very early nineties, we used to record in Ascher's basement, using a 4-Track Fostex unit.
Here are three songs I did using that unit.
The first was a case of using a poem Mike had written as my lyrics, and just winging it:
Many, many overdubs, so plenty of tape hiss.
One night, I have to admit, I was very stoned, and it was about 3:00 in the morning. I was in that basement, and I was in a very scary place doing this song:
We had some really nice Neumann condensor mics, and I kept hearing this weird tapping sound on my recording, and it was driving me nuts trying to get rid of it. Finally, I took the headphones off, and I could still faintly hear it. It was a friend of mine tapping on the window. Really freaked me out, and scared me. Those mics were super powerful. I also wondered what this weird scratchy sound was, until I stopped rubbing my unshaven chin.
Anyway, it was a spooky song, recorded in a spooky basement, on a very spooky night.
Finally, a song of sheer emotion, based on the idea of being a young man, feeling alone in the world:
I don't know where there would be a market for songs such as these. This was a case of using music to express ourselves, more than trying to be a certain genre, or finding an audience.
So I feel I have really run the gamut, from sheer art and expression, to trying to make some money. And if you put a little effort into it, I believe you can always find some artistic integrity, whether playing covers, or anything.
Well, the poll is pretty equal, other than a majority thinking I am a better carrot.
I hope some of you can see this from an angle you didn't see it from before. When I was in Careless Abandon, I was proud that we never played a single cover. (we did some in rehearsal; "Hypnotized" by Fleetwood Mac, which I felt we didn't really do justice; "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult, which I always felt no band should play; and now and again our bass player would sing "Roadhouse Blues," but I was not involved in that-they would jump up on stage and do that at other bands' shows)
We opened for Little River Band without having played a single cover. I was, and am proud of the material I've written, and who knows, I may still write more.
But I was very surprised with the difficulty involved in learning cover material, and playing it WELL. I am just as proud of putting a quality product out there in a cover band as I ever was to be a singer/songwriter.
You know, I've kind of put myself out there for this. I've definitely opened up the floor for discussion, and presented some less than stellar examples of my work.
You can drag a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.
This is great! Let it all hang out there for the world - and the carrots are outstanding. Thing is, I couldn't write a decent song even if it would get the groupies to think I was the lead guitarist! So, anybody who does originals has my respect. But, there's a huge amount of joy in playing songs in your own style even if they were written by somebody else. Doing covers faithfully is tough, because you have to be somebody else, more or less. Carrots all the way, baby!
I like your vocals, and oh the lyrics! The music isn't bad but predictable. Firmly rooted in the blues rock cliché. If I tuned in on a radio station playing this, I wouldn't switch channels though. So that means something.
First, I applaud you for being you! You do what you do and don't give a rats arse about anyone's opinions. I voted Cover because I consider myself a certified cover band musician. Having said that, I have been in a few originals band (one of which had a lot of potential save for the horrible lead vocalist/BL) and I have also written quite a lot of music myself. As for me, I do what I want. I love covers. Below are a few samples of my original stuff.
Original song 1 https://soundcloud.com/dwalmz/soca-gruv-with-bass
Original song 2 https://soundcloud.com/dwalmz/afro-cuban-groove
Original song 3 (unfinished demo) https://soundcloud.com/dwalmz/cold-fusion-demo
I have craploads more on cassettes stored away somewhere.
|All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:20 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.12
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.