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Cover Band Drawing More People

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Gearhead17, Apr 8, 2009.


  1. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Alright guys, I am in a cover band and I have been trying to find a way to get more random people to shows. We have a mailing list of 500 people, a myspace page, unique business cards, awesome quality band posters for fliers at the venue, but what else can we do?

    Unfortunately, are biggest draw as a band lies in Chicago. So when we perform in the suburbs around Chicago, we generally get family and friends to show up and possibly some random people who frequent the bar. In the end though, we don't expand our fan base much out in the suburbs nor do we make a great impression to the booking agents that put us out there. The bars/venues in the suburbs are where we want to be and where our competition plays frequently.

    So the question is easily stated - "how do you get new/random people to come out and see your band if your friends can't come through?"

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You may already do this but.... Get the crowd INVOLVED in the show. Drag people up on stage. Put a mic in their face and let them murder a line or two. Make a big deal out of birthdays and other parties being celebrated there. Don't go out back and smoke during set breaks. Walk around and allow yourself to be talked to. And most of all, play songs that THEY LIKE. If you do all these things, the AUDIENCE (which is why you are there) will have a blast (and pictures of themselves on stage to show all their friends)and be talking about you the next day. And the next time you are playing, they will insist that their friends come check you out. Plus, if you get to know a few people at some of the clubs, send them a PERSONAL e-mail when you are going to be there. That will make them feel special and THEY will do your groung work for you. Also, tell them in the message to come up and say hey at some point during the show (during a break). I know some of these things sound pretty cheezy. But my market is pretty dry for live music and these things helped me make it work for over 22 years! (BTW, we didn't have e-mail 22 years ago so I actually wrote down phone #'s and called a few people for each show.) Good luck!
     
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Twofingers - thanks

    Any show that has a birthday in the audience gets announced between songs and we all make sure to hang around the fans as much as possible in between sets.

    Pictures with band members during the breaks would be really cool. Posting them on myspace and having people look at them would get them involved with our site, then with shows and so on...Definitely bringing this up to the band!
     
  4. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    it's not easy. Lots of cover bands out there. You have to have a gimmick. That's the answer. And that's what I see in cover bands more popular than others. SOMETHING different about you (and not just the music -- doing too obscure covers usually doesn't work). It can be in the way you interact with the audience, or how you dress, or doing games, or whatever.

    Ours is definitely our lead singer. He gets people involved. People seem to watch us to see what will happen next!

    I once saw a cover band that knew something like 100 songs. THey had them on a big wheel and someone from the crowd would come up, spin the thing, and wherever it landed, that's what song they would play. People liked that!

    Having a chick singer (if she's cute) ALWAYS helps. Having good looking guys helps too -- the younger, the better. Sad but true!

    Myspace doesn't work. Flyers don't work. Gimmicks and playing out a lot at the same venues is now you build a following
     
  5. Vakmere

    Vakmere

    Sep 6, 2007
    Philly
    Get a gimick.....hire a pole dancer and give away tee shirts;).........
     
  6. Knifedge

    Knifedge

    Jan 24, 2009
    I usually like to check out other cover bands in the area to see why they are such a draw. See what songs the people are digging. Much of the crowd that goes to a bar goes to drink a little, dance a little, and get laid, so the best songs to achieve that are the songs that appeal to the women in the crowd. Get them up dancing, the guys will follow with booze in their hands. Eventually, word spreads that they had a good time, and will go to your next show.

    Most important thing is to try to keep the crowd. They don't want to hear your renditions of "A Change of Seasons" by Dream Theater.. they will more likely to dance to the baggers like John Cougar, AC/DC, Van Morrison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc. Unfortunately, this means you may not get to play the songs you want, but if you want to keep getting hired, you should play the songs that keep the crowds from running to the other bar down the street.

    What was already mentioned was crowd interaction. Very important. If the singer is not talking to the crowd, crowd loses interest, you may as well be a live jukebox. I also find that a crowd will get into the band more if the band moves around and having fun on stage rather than just stay still the whole night.

    I really like the "spin the wheel" for a song idea.. pretty slick. :)
     
  7. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    I agree with this one 100%.

    Our band's gimmick happens to be nothing but 90s rock covers, and after a while, word of mouth got us to a really good point. I play every Wednesday night to a big crowd at the same bar, at the same time, and mostly the same songs. We have a sponsor that cuts a check now in addition to the money from the door and bar sales. It's pretty sweet. I think it's all because of the gimmick. (and my singer's incredible voice)
     
  8. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Thanks guys! The cool thing about my band is that we are all in our 20's, minus the guitarist (he still looks young though). We are all good looking and we have been doing our share of rock star poses and goofing around on stage to get people into it. My singer usually lets a few girls close to the stage sing a few lines on the mic and his moves on stage have been getting people very much involved with our music.

    A big thing we take pride in is our diverse song selection - punk, acoustic, rock, 80's, 90's and so on. We go up there for the music and don't do comedy routines or theatrical stuff on stage (like a singer pretending to drink whiskey then starts singing better..). I think a lot of people like us because we go up there purely for the music. Our moving around on stage and the diversity of music is what keeps people there.

    Fliers - from what we have seen, work well at the place you are playing and don't work well anywhere else.

    Keep the ideas coming!
     
  9. jarrod cunningham

    jarrod cunningham

    Apr 24, 2007
    sylacauga alabama
    spector basses
    before i can help in any way other than the normal posts , i would need to see some video or pics and also hear a demo ....
     
  10. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    The website is under my signature. The press kit is viewable and our songs are on there along with our schedule.
     
  11. jarrod cunningham

    jarrod cunningham

    Apr 24, 2007
    sylacauga alabama
    spector basses
    yeah , that link is wrong , but i typed it in right ....

    if i had to be honest and from a constructive side , you need a new PRO demo ... and your singer just isnt good .... not trying to be a goob , but if you want to know why , there it is .... its your front guy .... check out some of your competitions demos and also demos on your local agents websites ....
     
  12. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    If you click on the link it goes right to our page. New singer? Sorry dude, I don't agree with that statement. I have seen/heard the competition and I don't think we have much to worry about in any category.

    FYI, we just upgraded our demo and press kits recently. We just grabbed 5 festivals, are in contact with one damn good entertainment agency, and are looking to get 2 more festivals, plus way more festivals! Still waiting for other booking agencies and festivals to contact us.

    The whole point of this thread is generate a few more ways to get people out to shows where we have not played before. Basically, drawing out of our territory. I don't want to go to a new venue and have our fans not come out to see us because it is too far away. So, this is a backup plan to our usual fans.
     
  13. MrBasseyPants

    MrBasseyPants

    Jan 27, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I think you guys are right on...it's tough playing in the Chicago 'burbs. We've had a couple of good shows with well over 100 people...and we've had a few with 30. I guess that is just how it goes. Also, since the VAST majority of the burbs is "owned" by one talent agency (or so it seems).....you've got to play by the "rules" or get creative getting gigs. We're looking for our niche too. It will come with time I think.

    jc
     
  14. crijan

    crijan Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    Endorsing: JH Audio IEMs
    In time, the people that live in the city will get old, get married, have kids, and move to the burbs. So keep kicking butt in the city and eventually the burbs will develop as your demographic ages.
     
  15. crijan

    crijan Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    Endorsing: JH Audio IEMs
    Also, maybe hold out on booking the suburbs till you can get gigs at places that are always packed no matter who's playing.
     
  16. The specific things that get people out to cover band shows vary greatly from locale to locale. It would be impossible to advise you unless I was familiar with the specific cover band scene if the specific area you are trying to break into. What would work in some places won't work in others. And then there are those places where there really is nothing much you can do, because it's not so much the specific bands that draw the crowds, it's more of the fact that there simply is a cover band at a venue and that the venue is considered a hip place to be.
     
  17. jarrod cunningham

    jarrod cunningham

    Apr 24, 2007
    sylacauga alabama
    spector basses
    if you are doing well dont ask for advice .... you singer wouldnt cut it around the south east .......


    anyway , for marketing purposes ....


    get some small stickers with your web address and give them out at the shows .. also take them to the r.a. at some college dorms and the chair at frat houses .....

    get some napkins made with set lists and web info

    condoms with your band name on the wrapper ...

    so maybe that will help

    and if you really want to get out there get on a local radio st and do a early morn promo
     
  18. I don't see a problem with the singer, at least he's on key which is more than i can say for a lot of singers. Tunes sound pretty tight, if a little underproduced but hey whatever, it's not what's keeping you from getting fans. It might be what's keeping you from getting gigs though- do you send out press kits to the bars? If so you might consider re-recording your songs in better quality. At least do a re-mix and add some verb to the vox. A crappy demo says you don't care enough to make a good sounding demo, so your band probably doesn't care enough to perform well. Might not be the case, but that's what it says to a club or promoter.

    Don't expect overnight success. It will build slowly, the key is to make sure it is actually building at all times and not leveling off. If places are asking you back that's good- they like you because you're bringing in people. The more you play the same places the more you'll build your fanbase and following at those places. Play at a lot of places and play them regularly, and always be on the lookout for new places. Then trade up- drop gigs at places with smaller crowds and play ones with bigger crowds.

    I don't usually think of a cover band creating a buzz or following like a band playing originals, unless they cross over to a full on tribute band.
     
  19. jarrod cunningham

    jarrod cunningham

    Apr 24, 2007
    sylacauga alabama
    spector basses
    exactly ! needs some production ... vocal tuning , better quality recording and better mix down and master .....

    but in my world , the singer is the most important part of the band ...... we have serious competition down here and a lot of it . bad demo = no shows ......


    like i said im not trying to be a goob ... but i let 4 other firemen here at the station hear your demo on your myspace profile and it was all the same thing .... singer problem .... also , all of them said that that singer wouldnt cut it around here . it wasnt just ME being a d!ck . it was me and 4 others being subjective and honest .












     
  20. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    I hear what all of you are saying and I can agree that the recordings could be improved, but at this point, those songs combined with our professional looking press kit has gotten the break we have been waiting for. We are crazily adding shows to our schedule and the offers should keep going through May. We currently play a bar in Chicago twice a month and we just got offered 8 more gigs with them through August. It's one of Chicago's best too....

    My singer is from Kentucky and definitely has a twang which really comes out on our recordings. Live though, he sounds pretty damn good and his best display of talent is staying on key/pitch. He always told me that he did not want to sound like the person he is covering - he just wants to sing it cleanly and when he can - adds a little bit to the performance to capture the original feel of the song.

    Too many other cover bands around here have terrible singers - they constantly talk through songs, punk style singing as often as possible, or just fake their way through it. There are some really good ones too - people who have a great voice and use it to the maximum potential.

    Regardless, I am too eager to get people to our shows and we have been waiting for this break for a long time - I don't want to blow it!

    Thanks for the replies.
     

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