I've recently begun a project with a keyboardist and a sort of "Brian Eno" guy who'll be providing sequencing and "ambience." We have a drummer, a very talented young man who's much younger than us who has sort of "disappeared" of late, but I digress. Our genre could loosely be described as an amalgamation of Fusion, "Old School" Progressive Rock and straight-ahead Bebop. We would mostly be writing, recording and (hopefully) recording our own material. However, I want to "cover" some material that would fit will with our original stuff, mostly out of great love for the songs. An example would be Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog," or Genesis' "The Carpet Crawlers." Unlike the tribute band approach (which I find rather boring), these would be our own arrangements. Two of the three of us come from a Jazz background and we understand the concept of "standards." This is the approach we'd take. One of our number has raised the objection to this, claiming that we can't record or perform others' songs with paying EXTENSIVE royalties for the privilege. Now, I understand payment of royalties but I seem to recall this is not a big deal, a sort of standard payment, not terribly onerous, to ASCAP, eg. But since I don't really know much about this business, could someone here please explain what we'd have to do to be able to record and perform our versions of others' songs?