Covers or Originals to be successful landing paid gigs??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I have an ad in the classifieds to get into a gigging band.

    Alot of the responses I am getting are for bands who are recording and writing original songs. I just want to go out and gig and not get involved in that other stuff.

    Which bands get more gigs, cover bands or originals?
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    It's different depending on the location, but generally you'll play a lot more and make more money in a cover band. Playing originals is a great thing, but most of the bands with "integrity" do things ass-backwards. They write a bunch of original music and then complain when 12 people show up at their gigs. The best thing to do is become a tight cover band, then begin performing original music when you have a following/name recognition.

    But as I said, a lot of the guys with all "integrity" and no business sense often fail to realize this.
  3. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    It depends on your location and the type of venues you are looking to play at.
    That said, "most" people go to listen to songs they know, and dance to music they know.
    As LM says it's best to play music you know and your audience knows and work your original stuff into the mix. That way if the originals flop, as a lot of them do, you'll have material you know well to fall back on.
    If they like the original material you can mainly play it since you'll have your name built up by then.

    Added: The fact that most of the responces you are getting is from "bands" doing original songs should tell you something. I've known a lot of original bands that are still working on getting the sound after years of playing together. Still haven't done the first gig. They just can't get the sound right man.
  4. ++1. :)
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You wrote "I just want to go out and gig", if you really mean that then you should only follow up with bands that have gigs. If they ARE gigging and often enough for you, then it doesn't matter what kind of material they are doing (as long as you like sense playing music you hate whether covers or originals).

    After 25 years of gigging, if the band has no work booked and the bandleader doesn't have a good track record in getting work I'm not even interested. I have no more time to waste sitting around in basements for hundreds of hours with no payoff.
  6. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003

    although 70/30 might be better.
  7. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    At least in this area, original bands "pay to play". Decent cover bands make decent money. Most of the original gigs are shared by 3-4 bands, all of whom must sell tickets to the show. The bands make NOTHING, only the promoter or bar does. I want NOTHING to do with this kind of show.

    I play in a cover band, am busy most weekends, and never walk on the stage for less than $100 per night (per band member). Sure it ain't great money, but it's fun, and it beats going out and spending money!
  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Pretty Identical situation here. I went to see a friends band a couple of weeks ago and the place had a 5$ cover, and they don't pay the bands! I refuse to pay a bar anything if they don't pay the band. It's dry around here, I've been looking for a good cover band for about six months and all I've had is fill ins. I knew a couple of players who are far better then me and their looking too. Cheeze we missed you yesterday, how was the Alman Bros. Show?
  9. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Hey Burk...was bummed to miss you guys too. The pics look like you all had a good time. The Allman's SMOKED. Otiel is a freak of nature, and the rest were great too.
  10. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Geez...Brianrost and Liquid said it all.
  11. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Many hours in basements with no payoff... I can totally see that happening and thats what I want to avoid.

    Its funny because when these bands get my reply that i dont want to get involved in their "projects" of writing and recording.. sometimes they give me real snide replies like "oh, i see. you just want it all. You just want to get into a gigging band right away with no work."

    What? Am i supposed to feel guilty b/c i dont be their bass b*tch while they write their songs for hours and hours?

    Besides, almost always, songs will have to be learned when you join a new band.

    Btw, i think originals are great. Dont mean to put them down.

    The thing with covers is that you can join a new band and just tranfer them over. Most times bands dont want to play another bands originals.
  12. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Covers. Be sure to sneak some originals in there, but play what people want to hear and people will buy the beer and your next paid gig will be near.
  13. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    So realistically, what are you bringing to the table? Would you be able to gig a full night next month, going into a cold startup situation today? Next week? You're looking to hook into a presently working band if I read this right, eh?

    One thing about original bands is that they seem to more often share bills, and therefore often only need one set of material to be able to gig. All the cover bands I see around here play 3-4 sets a night. Of course, if you play only one set, you get paid accordingly.

    To answer your question though, around here the cover bands get steadier gigs, make less money than the good original bands and more than the marginal ones.

    Best of luck!
  14. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Well, I have decided to start my own band. This way I have more control about whats going on and can lead the band in a direction I myself want to fully pursue and participate in. I know it will take more time on my part than just joining an already put together band, but i guess thats just the way it is if i want to achieve my humble goals.

    There are plenty of musicians in my area and I already know of a few that may be interested in what I hope to achieve. I dont think my goals are unrealistic. I think the hardest part is going to be finding a good lead singer.

    This is an excerpt from an email i sent to a possible lead guitarist i have played with before who is not only a great guitarist but also a super nice guy:

    I have a strong vision for this new band. The primary goal will be to play covers for paid gigs.
    Cover bands are much more successful at this. People want to hear what they know. The main objective is to enable people to enjoy themselves, which for a large part means they want to dance. In order to get people dancing the songs have to be upbeat and danceable. Here is my logic: women love to dance > play songs that they can dance to > men follow the women onto the dance floor > people having fun and getting thirsty are apt to drink lots of beer > bar owner sees lots of people on the dance floor, sees beer being consumed, thinks "this band is good.. I should hire them again." Band gets paid and has fun. What could be better than that?

    Here is the beginnings of the set list I am thinking of:

    One Awesome Inch - song list

    1.Break on Thru - doors

    2.mama let him play some rock and roll - bto

    3.i need a lover that wont drive me crazy - mellencamp ????????

    4.suffergette city - bowie

    5.saturdays alright for fighting - elton john

    6.back in the ussr - beatles

    7.tush - zz top

    8.sign of the gypsy queen - april wine

    9.gene genie - bowie

    10.with a rebel yell - billy idol

    11.up around the bend - ccr

    12.Middle of the road – pretenders

    13.Taking Care of Business - bto

    14.Boys don't Cry - the cure

    15. satisfaction - rolling stones

    16. all day and all of the night - kingsmen /kinks

    17. call me - blondie

    18. I love rock and roll - joan jet and the blackhearts

    20. move it on over - george thoroughgood

    21. she shook me all night long - ac/dc

    22. communication breakdown - led zeppelin

    23. next to you - the police

    24. two hearts beat as one - U2

    more to come

    van halen
    green day

    My vision for this band is to have two guitar players ( in my opinion two guitars sound awesome) bass and drums. Ideally the lead singer would play rythm guitar and the lead guitarist would do backup vocals.

    I would do most of the leg work of setting up gigs and band organization etc. We would do a three song demo cd and get a promo pack together to use as a "resume" to land gigs.

    And there you have it folks. If you can share with me how i can do this better I am all ears.
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    It sounds like you have a very realistic and well thought out vision. The setlist looks awesome, and you seem to understand how the business works (the bands that get hired are the ones that help sell booze).