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Cover band for cash? OR originals for broke?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bennito, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Bennito


    Sep 12, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I need advice.

    I'm in a band right now that is just in the midst of recording and personnel change. We haven't played in a couple months, and in that time the drummer and keyboard player have joined another band. They say their hearts are still in our band, but they're actions haven't exactly shown that.

    In the mean time, I've now been offered a gig as the bass player of a very hard working cover band. They are booked SOLID every single weekend from now until NEXT christmas. This includes casino gigs, hosting open jams, and the odd corporate function. Lots of money is involved, however no time to gig with my original band, thus essentially breaking up the band.

    My true dream is to be the front man of an original band that plays all my own songs in front of 20,000 people a night. As unrealistic as this may seem, I refuse to rule out the possibility. However, the cover band would finally get me to play music for a living, which is a much more realistic goal.

    One side may say that if I choose to go with the cover band, that could seal the deal on my fate. However, others might say to do the cover band for now, and if something else comes up, I could always quit.

    WHAT DO I DO???!!!???
  2. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Good question.

    I'd take the gig, pay my bills and buy groceries. But that's me.

    What do YOU want to do?

  3. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    NO choice there at all. Take the cover band, and don't look back.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    What will you do for a living if you don't take the cover band gig?
  5. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I almost always opt to gig rather than just rehearse. There is nothing wrong with doing multiple projects. That is good for you musically and practically as well.
  6. Bennito


    Sep 12, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    My only real concern is that at the moment, I'm the right age, I have the know-how, and I know quite a few of the right people, that if anything were to take off, it could quite possibly be in the next year. The cover band could get in the way of that.

    I've never considered myself strictly a bass player. If I take the gig, that's exactly what I'll be. That's not something I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm a singer. A songwriter. A performer. Or, am I just getting paranoid. Perhaps the fact is I have more than just this year for anything to happen. Perhaps I have closer to 5 years, in which case, a year to make cash is nothing and, in fact, quite worthwhile.

    Any other thoughts?
  7. I play in one of each. If you can swing it, that's a good arrangement since it fulfills different needs.

    If you have to choose, play the cover band. You can always write your own stuff on the side. Once you have 20+ good songs think about starting your own self-fronted band.
  8. Personally, I would take the coverband as a means to fuel $$$ the side you want to achieve. You don't have to stop being creative for the sake of a steady gig that'll bring you money. By saying booked every weekend, do you mean Saturday AND Sunday? If not, you're only talking a few hours a week, one day committed. That's 6 other days you have to work on your own material, barring rehearsals and whatnot.

    It's good to be diverse. Do it all, if you can swing it. "Timeframes" are a delusion.
  9. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Covers, it's usually not a stressful gig and money changes everything.
  10. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Since the future of your current band seems uncertain from your first post, the best thing to do is definitely to join that cover band!

    Like others have said, you can always keep on writing songs on the side, and when you are ready or if your cover band ever gets stagnant or stale, just find musicians to put on your brand new original band!

    Good luck.
  11. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    how often have you been gigging/playing up to now?
    There's nothing quite like gigging regularly for your musical health.
    I'd be tempted to take the reality over the dream, but I know it's a tough call.
    We do a little of both, which keeps me satisfied.
    Is there any room for originals in the cover band?
  12. Dude, you're almost 22. While that's plenty young, it would be good to be doing exactly what you want. If it doesn't work out you have time to recover.

    Sometimes things have a window that's only open so long. This is the time when you want to be out touring- staying up til' 6, drinking as much as you can handle, and get up and do it again the next day- no problem.

    When I was 22 I was in a hella band. We were good, we had great songs, a phenomenal front man, a fantastic draw and the time was right. This was my second real gigging band and guys I'd known since high school and before. When I left that band I thought it would be easy enough to recreate that magic with whomever I wanted- but it was gone. I've kept busy playing in original rock bands, but I don't have any illusions of becoming a big rock star- I just like getting together and and connecting to my buddies.

    If you happen to get your dreams crushed about making a living playing original music- you can always go the cover band route and play stuff you like, throw a few of your songs in the sets and make decent money. Follow what you really want.
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Ahhh... first I'd like to say thank you for the morning thread that I can sink my teeth into. Just ate breakfast hoping there was a thread here that I could spew my lungs and liver out on - and you hath given it to me.

    To NOT take the cover gig, IMhumbleO, would be nothing short of insanity. I'll start by saying that age means absolutely nothing and the quicker people realize that, the better off they'll be. Any one of us may very well be the first person to sell their first million CDs at the age of 50, 60, or even 70. There are no freaking rules, and the ones people think there are, are changing all the time. People will always be paving new ways and quite frankly the world can really use a new beatles. The next beatles may be a bunch of "old" men that broke down all the percieved barriers musicians and entertainers think they have. I am waaay older than most people think i am (only reason i dont tell is cuz of other people in my band that feel differently about this). We've recently been signed to a pretty decent indie label, we have a ton of fans who are less than half my age, and I just jumped on stage to play bass with another band that wasn't even born the first time I played CBGB - and nobody batted an eye. Being the right age is all in one's head.

    Secondly - as most people already know, regardless of how talented, exciting, unique, or whatever you are - the chances of having the success you speak of doing your own music are a gazillion to one. it's way easier to hit it playing lotto. I say this not to be negative, but i really believe if the sole intent is to get to play in front of thousands of people - one may be setting themselves up for a huge letdown. I once read that if that's your goal, you should get out now. If you're not playing for the pure love of doing what you're doing you'll never be able to sustain the blows you'll inevitably have to take along the way. I'm paraphrasing, but that's the general gyst of it, and after doing this for so long I finally understand. I can't tell you how many excellent reasons I've had over the past 10 years to pack it all in. Any sane person would have.

    Lastly, the cover band will give you all you need right now, and then some. First, you'll be playing in front of lots more people immediately than with a band that's just starting up. You'll also have lots and lots of shows which you won't have for a while with a new band. The experience gained from doing covers is priceless. I grew in leaps and bounds when I started doing cover gigs, it was one of the best things I ever did for my musicianship. Probably most importantly, if you're in this happening cover band, youl'll be able to network waaaaaaay better than in any kind of start up original band. You can get the respect of your community by being in a band that's popular, it'll help your ego and music self esteem, it'll lend to your reputation, you'll meet lots of people. You don't have to be married to anything either. By being visible and part of something happening you'll be given so many better opportunities to advance your music career, than by sitting in a rehearsal studio working your butt off to get 12 songs together that'll go over well in front of people who really couldn't care less about what you have to say. I don't mean that sarcastically, I mean that as truth from my expereinece seeing and playing with many talented, entertaining, groups that people just refused to bat an eye at.

    Regardless of how much time the cover band would take up, I still also think it would be possible to squeeze in an original project. Just might take a little longer to get it together, but once you did - you'd be able to drag along whatever fans and friends you've made with the cover gig to the original gig. And by the time the original gig was together, if the cover band wouldn't give you ONE night off (I'm sure they would if you had a wedding or something to go to) then I'd say hasta la vista - and you have what what you orginally wanted anyhow. And then some.

    The choice would be unbelievable clear if I were in your shoes, but I'm not.

    Ooops, almost forgot to mention that I'm sure you'll wind up singing some songs in the cover band. Maybe even becoming the front person. You never know whats gonna happen down the line.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I think Joe just stuck a big fork in this one... it's done;)
  15. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Yep, what Joe said. No matter how good your band is, original music is a thankless job with tons of work, and no returns. Unless like Joe said, you hit the lotto.

    Your offer is exactly what I have been looking for......for over a year now. Those spots just don't open too often, and when they do there are a line of guys waiting to get in it.

    I want to play music for a living, and I don't care who wrote the material.
  16. Age has a lot to do with things. First, Bennito, are you settled into a job and financial responsibilities with a wife/significant other? Kids? What will you lose if you chase your dream? I'd much rather be irresponsible to myself than to those I should be responsible for. Right now I've got 15 years seniority on my job- I don't want to quit my job for something that may flop then to get back to the same point I'm at now when I'm 50?

    Secondly, for an original act to succeed, image and marketing is every bit a part of the product as the music itself (moreso, some may say). A 22 year old is more apt to identify, both as an artist and as a fan with someone in their own age group. I've heard it's not all that uncommon for acts to fudge their bios to make them "younger." Regardless of who 'could' get their big break at 50, your chances are better in your late 20's.

    As far as the chances of it happening- yeah, the chances are infinitesimal, but you'd say, don't bother trying? I'd say at least take a shot to prove what you've got before you lay down broken and defeated and "settle" for life in a cover band.

    Plenty of bands have had to slug it out in clubs for years, and have nothing but memories to show for it. (but I'll bet most of those guys wouldn't trade those memories for anything) Other bands, like the Goo Goo Dolls did it for years, and were on the verge of quitting before they made the big time. The day and age of hitting the big time by breaking in as a cover band are done, his dream is to be a rock star, not just a bar star.

  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    So he should stick with this "band"?


    This is hardly any different than dreaming about being a pro athlete or movie star... there are only a handful of each. That's not to say anyone shouldn't strive for that. In the meantime there are lots of positives as Joe already pointed out to the working band thing, especially if he'd rather play music than work a 9 to 5.
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Feel the need to say that I (obviously) couldn't disagree more with everything golden boy had to say. We're on very different pages and I'm sure lead very different lives. That's cool. Just didn't want to not address the things said as though I was convinced or something. :)
  19. Hey Brad!

    It may not be this band, but some band... Look at Queens Of the Stone Age- a revolving door on membership there- the constant is the frontman. My point is, if you're going to do it, now is the time. It's been well established by many here how well looked upon failed rockstars are when they work at music stores.

    The analogy of the pro athlete is not quite applicable. While they're both a nearly unattainable goal, in sports there's a farm system and scouting and such to find these prospects and observe them doing what they do. A&R guys aren't exactly combing the horde of Cheap Trick tribute bands looking for the next big thing- thinking "I'll bet that Tom Petersson guy has got some great ideas floating in his head- although he's playing other people's music."
  20. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    Nice looking web site. I'll assume you are talking about Cavern.
    Some question's did you release the second album your Bio talks about?
    Can you get the two of four members who left to return? Or will you be trying to meld a new group?
    When you talk about your dream, do you mean that you want the band to only play songs that you have written?
    Yes for popular music age can matter. As well as looks. Ability seems to have very little to do with it at times.
    As for my opinion... I would try both. The origionals band seems to be in a state of flux. If you add new members you'll probably want to take time to practice and meld.
    The covers band can improve many of the skills you have to a fine edge.
    From the looks of the shows list, you are used to playing the types of venues the covers band does.
    And face it money always seems to help. Even if it's just used to put out another album of origionals. :)