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Anyone in rock cover bands play something "different"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by alexssandro, Feb 27, 2003.

  1. I'm putting together a band that's going to be a rock cover band for now. We want to play covers, but, with the exception of a few songs, we want to avoid the really mainstream stuff on the radio. We're looking to play Zepplin, The Who, some older Chili Peppers to name a few, and I'm going to try to push for some Primus and Infectuous Grooves.

    For those who play in cover bands, do your setlists follow the radio, or do you go for something a little more experimental? What are the reactions of the crowd and the barstaff?
  2. After several months when your band truly becomes rhythmically tight and starts to gel...

    Try a Steely Dan tune (first set). But only if you can nail it, because dissin the 'dan ain't cool.

    Reaction from the crowd & barstaff? Usually
    :eek: (clap clap whistle whistle)

  3. dave_clark69

    dave_clark69 Guest

    Jan 17, 2003
    Im not neccesarily in a cover band but we mainly do cover songs because we are NAFF at writtin songs and makin crazy bass solos but i havent been playin for half a year yet but anyway. We as our band generally like the older 70's music like led zeppelin and black sabbath because the music is simply better. For instance they didn't use thousands of pounds worth of fx and synthesisers (however u spell it) and they all hav a good setup in the song. All bands really now dont do that apart from red hot chilis but thats most likely the only exception. Now u r probably thinking that its just another old fart who is living in the past and was smokin too much wacky backy but i am only 13 years old.

    older music is better to do covers of because it gives us bass players a wider range to play in
  4. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Most important part in cover band, I think, is to be able to deliver a party. The music doesen't matter that much, as long as the crowd is pleased with it.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I dunno...
    FME, the people hiring cover bands will expect to hear cover tunes they are already familiar with & have already heard & digested a 1000 times over.
    Cover band & "experimental" doesn't usually mix.
    Fact is, I would guess 9 outta 10 cover bands stick to "the script" & avoid being too "different". Needless to say, the 1 outta 10 cover band will usually get my attention.
    Bear in mind, I'm talking about what's expected here in SE VA! ;)

    So, if a cover band is doing obscure covers-
    ...people may think you're doing "original" material(?).
    And that's not a bad thing as long as the audience is cool & has an open mind.

    Right now I'm looking into starting something with some guys-
    The 'format' will be originals, revamped/funkified Jazz tunes, & somewhat obscure Soul/R&B tunes from yesteryear.
    Sounds good to me, though, I already know the amount of clubs we will be able to play in is quite low.
  6. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    one of the 'tricks' to running a covers band is to have a huge repetoire of songs from rock and roll to chart or top 40. There are a number of ways to do this and a very good reason for doing so.

    A good friend runs a covers band. They do corporate/wedding/party stuff and some of it very high profile. They also do lower paid pub/club gigs as warm ups/testing new inclusions to the set and to pay off overheads.

    My friend told me that they were booked to do a wedding that was 75% younger people. They did the 'modern' stuff and nobody responded. They changed tack and did a Beatles song, all the wrinklies got up and danced. They changed the set and did 50's/60's all night.

    They have at least 100 songs on the 'ready to go' list
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I'm not in a cover band, but we do lots of covers that aren't in the same genre of what we do. At our last gig, we did a cover of "Billie Jean". We've done covers ranging from "War Pigs" and "Paraniod" to "Is This The End?" (an old ballad by New Edition) and a punked out version of a Lauren Hill song. Anytime we do songs outside the norm, the crowd usually goes nuts.
  8. I guess my band covers old "Top 40" classics...

    Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
    Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way
    BTO - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
    Bowie - Suffragette City
    Santana - Smooth
    Nugent - Stranglehold
    Thin Lizzy - Boys Are Back In Town
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You have to walk a really fine line there. I played in a cover band for a long time.

    You have to play stuff that they recognize to keep them interested. But at the same, time it is nice to throw one in they they haven't heard in a long time.

    The best advice has already been given. Learn a bunch of songs and be prepared to change your game plan on the fly.

  10. Yeah, I have to say that usually when I walk into a bar and see a cover band play, I usually see pretty generic, stale impersonations of the overplayed songs I hear on the radio. A lot of them nail the originals quite well. But if I'm going to play, cover or originals, either way, I want our band to have personality and an original sound. There's an area here in Houston with lots of bars where cover bands play, but I've even heard that a band got "boycotted" from a certain bar because they decided to play a Rage Against the Machine song. Well, we'll see how it goes. We're still looking for a singer anyhow.
  11. The trick then, seems to be a song they know and think is cool, but don't hear much, or is obviously impressive for a mere bar band to be playing.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
  13. boilerbass


    Feb 14, 2003
    Hudson, OH
    I play in a cover band that is pretty much a party rock band. We've found that when we play songs that we love but aren't radio songs, a lot of the crowd doesn't like it as much as the radio hits. We've had a lot better luck playing hard rocking or funky versions of songs they wouldn't expect a rock band to play (i.e. Britney Spears or Neil Diamond).
  14. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'm in a rock cover band that plays frat parties. We try to cater our music to what frat guys and people that go to these parties like to hear. So basically we play stuff from when we (20 year olds) were in seventh grade. That means Weezer, Sublime, Green Day, Weezer, 311, STP, Live, and Weezer. These songs go over really well with college kids, but I don't know how well they would go over with an older (or younger) crowd. I have found that classic rock goes down well with just about any crowd. Songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Brown Eyed Girl" get the best receptions. IMO, it's pretty easy to come up with a good setlist that doesn't include any of the newer mainstream radio stuff as long as you cater to what your audience likes.
  15. BigTopBruno

    BigTopBruno Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    NJ, USA
    We play 90's hard rock, and the b-sides, to boot.
    It's what we like, and as long as it rocks, it goes over well.


    RHCP - Stone Cold Bush
    STP - Army Ants
    Nirvana - Anuerysm
    Rage - Sleep now in the fire

    Certainly not for everyone, but it's what we like, so it's what we play the best!


  16. Monkey


    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    One of the most fun bands I ever played in did mostly old Motown-type stuff. I didn't know if that kind of stuff would go over, but that band got the most consistently positive response of any I've played in. Young or old, black or white, hippy or conservative; it just seemed that everybody loved that stuff. I kind of miss that band.....:bawl:
  17. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    We try to keep part of our set current with the radio, but when we feel a song is being beat to death we wont play it for awhile. The other part of our set is tunes that people know, but the radio hasnt played for awhile.

    Some of my fav's to play are:

    Life of My Own - 3 Doors Down
    Bad Day - Fuel
    Anybody Listening? - Queensryche
    Deny - Default
    Revelations - Iron Maiden
    Keep Pushin' - REO Speedwagon
  18. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    We did mostly originals, kind of what you would have gotten if Stevie Ray Vaughan had joined Pink Floyd, but we had a few covers on our list that we often brought out if the mood hit.

    Guaranteed winners included:

    Pink Floyd; Wish You Were Here, On The Turning Away, Learning To Fly
    Rush; Trees, La Villa Strangiato, YYZ, Limelight, Tom Sawyer, Spirit of the Radio
    Allman Brothers; Melissa, Dreams, Jessica, Whipping Post, Statesboro Blues
    Steely Dan; Kid Charlemagne, Peg
    The Band; The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
    and a bunch of old motown, Beatles and Stones stuff, and things I can't remember well...Hmmm I never THOUGHT we did that many covers, but that list looks like a lot.

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