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Cover Band annoyance

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by baceface, May 10, 2015.

  1. baceface


    Dec 28, 2014
    I saw a cover band the other night and they had me curious about many things and wondered if others do what they are doing. I was never in a full blown cover band and rarely see them play but when I do, ive come across some really good acts.

    Overall the band was good.. great vocals, gear etc... but I noticed that every single song they played... they were using a backing track? I get it if you're playing "We are Family" and dont have a piano player but it honestly sounded more like karaoke to me. The bass player looked like he was just popping on rootnotes because the bass was coming through the track. No stage presence, not much any convo between songs and they had stands with sheet music.

    Probably the first time I saw a band with good musicians where I truly didnt give a crap and left early. Is running a backing track normal for any of you folks here?
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Very normal these days. In addition to cover bands, one should expect to see it used by Worship bands at churches in major metropolitan areas as well.
  3. BazzTard

    BazzTard Banned



    so much mediocrity

    why would a coverband use backing tracks? what are they there for?
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've NEVER used a backing track. I prefer live music to "perfect" music. We do Don't Stop Believing without keys. One guitar plays the keyboard line. My other band has a flute to cover organ lines.
  5. baceface


    Dec 28, 2014
    I can see where that specific band would be great for a wedding... honestly, they didnt need a bass player though from what it sounded like.
  6. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Horn parts, background vocals, strings, lots of stuff. Backing tracks also don't necessarily mean mediocrity, and many arena level live acts use them.
  7. BazzTard

    BazzTard Banned

    that I get, I thought you were talking about all the music pre recorded and the band just playing frills over the top.

    Arena acts have musicians backstage playing their parts,I've seen the Earth Wind and Fire clip, outrageous.
    Matthew_84 and Billy C. like this.
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Most tracks I hear myself are the above mentioned horns, pads, background vocals, and assorted percussion things, and most of the time don't include all of that. Churches have loops, pads, keyboard parts, sometimes lead or rhythm guitar parts, and percussion. All this stuff is played with a click track, which keeps everyone in line and on time.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    No sir, I don't like it and wouldn't be in a band that does it. In my current 4-piece cover band, though, we have a synth guitarist who does a great job with sax, B-3, horns, piano, etc. I was leery at first, but it really adds to the sound. We tell the audience what's up with that.
  10. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I don't care for tracks at all. I have heard bands who use lots of tracks and it sounds like a karaoke band but the crowd doesn't care. For me, they're not much fun to listen to when they are not creating the music themselves. We have three songs in our repertoire that we use tracks for, but not all the time depending on the situation. If everyone is solid with their parts, covers the critical "signature" hooks, you can play pretty much anything and make it sound good. I enjoy it when a band makes the song their own and, for example, covers the horn lines with an accordion. It can be pretty cool. I'm amazed at how much our fiddle player can make a song pop just by covering a second guitar line or horn line. It doesn't take much to sound good without all the canned support. I've seen it make a band lazy.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  11. It may be sacrilege to some people, but in my band we re-arrange (even transpose up/down) songs to suit the number of instruments we have and our singers vocal range. So, although we might not be faithful to the original song, at least we are playing an honest variation to the best of our abilities.
  12. I Need a six...

    I Need a six...

    Feb 4, 2015
    That's, wow. I'm I a cover band and we work hard to make the songs unique and note note for note covers. This seems really dumb to me, like we shouldn't do so much work, if people like this kind of stuff. But hey, this cover group won't last that long anyway, as I strongly prefer to play in a original act
  13. At one of our regular venues, I recently saw a very accomplished band: guitar, bass, drums, singer..and was gob-smacked when the crappy phantom keyboard part wafted through...
    1) They sounded great without the fakery
    2) The "extra" harmony vocals were totally unnecessary, the live voices worked just fine!
    My question is, why, when they can clearly make the grade live, do they persist with the backing?
    Is it a question of confidence? The more sound is better mentality?
    OR am I a live music should be LIVE snob?
    cchorney, denton57, Lee Moses and 2 others like this.
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It's like when I saw the Beach Boys. They had over a dozen musicians on stage. I'd rather hear a band play they a huge group trying to do a note for note cover of the studio mix. One of the reasons I love Live at Leeds or 11/17/70.
  15. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Unfortunately, I've seen some pretty good cover bands that use back tracks. The crowd doesn't care, and if it's a trio and they know how to work a crowd, I'm quite sure no one notices.

    Last one I saw used back tracks for drums and bass. Then they can mess around and solo etc. and have a solid foundation that doesn't change. People love it, if its done well.
    alaskaleftybass and jimfist like this.
  16. the_stoot64


    Mar 8, 2015
    Doing something like Baba O'Riley I wouldn't mind a backing track, anything else would irk me.

    I also don't enjoy hearing bands using keyboards to recreate saxophones and trumpets. Synth strings sound okay, electric piano I can cope with, and I have a Hammond plug in on my PC that sounds convincing to everyone but organ players. I guess wind instruments rely to much on breathing dynamics that can't be synthesized.
  17. You were responding to my post? It's OK, I left my idealism behind a long time ago. Thankfully, I gained a lot of friends in the process.
    Gabbs likes this.
  18. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I'm going to make a generalization: Backing tracks are lame.

    I understand major pop acts using them for arena shows because music isn't the main focus a lot of the time. It's a production with music, dancing, lights...

    But a cover band at a bar using backing tracks? I think that's weak. Might as well just have a jukebox.
  19. I Need a six...

    I Need a six...

    Feb 4, 2015
    No i was responding to o.ps post. What are you getting at? I can't tell if this is a snark or a moment of respectful disagreement?
  20. cheapimitation


    Mar 23, 2007
    I play in a cover band, and we use tracks about 10% of the time (i.e. one song out of ten). It's a different sound, and the audience seems to like both approaches. Like many cover bands, our only goals are to please the audience and make as much money as possible. We do enjoy playing, but choices of songs and arrangements are strictly based on what works for our clients.

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