cover philosophies...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by B-NoteCowboy, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. When working up cover material, do you (and your bands) try to copy the original tune down to every nuance, tone, tempo and key?

    Or do you more typically try to put your stamp on it? Different key, uptempo, blues it up, different tone, etc....

    Combo of the two? Neither of my bands does much current top 40ish type of covers, so I don't know what the line of thought on that would be. I would think covers of older and more mature songs would lend themselves to a little more freelance restyling than doing newer stuff.
  2. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    The only philosophy that I espouse is that classic covers must be done in their original keys. Anything else is up for grabs. In my classic rock/blues band we play lots of songs that have keyboards, but we do not. So, in keeping the tunes recognizable, we try and keep them in the same key.
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I think it shows real talent and ability if you can take a cover and make it your own, but still be faithful to the original. Just copying a song with every nuance, every note, every rhythm, thats boring. If I want to see that, I will see that band in concert, or buy the CD. If I am seeing a band play, I want to see that band play, not immitate someone else's playing.
  4. bluntman_bass


    Jul 13, 2004
    Wilcox, NE
    its good to put your own style and creations in a cover song but some songs should just be kept the same like folmiester and nick gann said before, except i dont think its boring as long as u just keep the best classics the same, but put your own style in the rest
  5. I agree with you guys. Some songs just aren't the same song if you change the key or tone, but I think a lot of times guys get so caught up in producing an exact copy of someone's song that the result just doesn't have much soul.

    I love hearing good cover tunes that have their own stamp on them. Aerosmith's "Baby Please Don't Go" for example. And Government Mule did some fantastic covers of "Dazed and Confused," "Simple Man" and "I Put a Spell on You."

    Which brings me to another point, you don't see a lot of covers of some great bands like Zepplin because it's so hard for a singer to sound remotely like Plant. Stuff like that is perfect for putting your own spin on it. Changing the key, vocal register or whatever. I think some of those songs sound great when someone covers them well and doesn't try to sound like Robert Plant. Same for Sabbath, AC/DC and other tough to cover vocalists.
  6. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I never wanna be a human jukebox. ;) If I'm gonna do a cover, it's gonna get messed with a little.
  7. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I've wondered about this to.

    My philosophy is to basically do it like the original, especially the signature parts, but I improvise or do things my own way when it doesn't change the feel of the song.
  8. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    We always learn the song note for note but after we play it live a few times the song naturaly "changes" to are own style. Are gear/sound/groove is different than the original and things just happen on stage. I thought we played the songs just like the CD untill we hired two new members. We told them to learn just like the recording but when they came to practice there was a lot of adjustment to be made. After the band has played together awhile, songs become the bands own. I do belive its important to know the song before you change it though. Makes it easier to change the song with "taste".
  9. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    That works only if your singer can sing comfortably in that key.
  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Oh, yes, I agree! When that comes up I usually push for doing tunes that can be done in their original key. My philosophy comes from too many cover groups where all of the material ends up in one key. In my last country project, almost every tune was transposed into C. Most people didn't care, but enough commented that all of the songs seemed to sound the same. Only signature lyric lines clued people in to the fact that we were doing a song they liked. Original keys seem to trigger more rapid recognition and enthusiasm in the audience. I also got frustrated with having to constantly put songs off during rehearsal so that all the appropriate players could work out the transposition.
  11. I once played in a cover band with a femal lead singer. After she left the band we all decided to cover her parts ourselves. Since we didnt' have the same range she had we decided to alter the keys in order to pull it off. I don't think anyone really noticed.

    Nowadays I'm playing in an original band that does covers here and there. We would never dream of doing a cover song verbatim, although there are parts that I do note for note just because the bass line is such a distinct part of the song. I liken or approach more as an "interpretation" rather than a song cover.