em like they they were written or like you want?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. Keep it real

    14 vote(s)
  2. Do what the heck I want

    10 vote(s)
  3. If the line's vital to the song, play it; if not, go nuts.

    32 vote(s)
  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Almost every cover band I see in my area completely does what they want on cover songs, they play them wrong, add the wrong effects, make up solos etc...I think improvising at times is cool but every freakin song, 90% of the time we try to dupplicate what the origianl artist has done with the notes, effects, vocals, etc. I know cover are suppost to be fun but it's also cool when you know what the song is, most of the crowd does not realize the differences but some do, sometimes it's justified but I don't think all the time, whats your opionion?
  2. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    In my band it just depends.

    We usually try to play the song pretty straight.

    BUT, certain songs we wind up making our own.

    There's a lot of great songs with horns playing the lead melody. Well, we don't have a horn section, or a horn player. So, the guitar (most times) will play the melody from the horns. That is a typical example.

    Many blues tunes are really meant to be played as jammed out fun. Even the studio versions of many of these tunes (i.e., Stormy Monday), are just that.

    Certain danceable tunes we will extend if people are diggin em and shaking their booties, but we usually try to keep them to the feel of the originals.

    Make sense?
  3. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Certain danceable tunes we will extend if people are diggin em and shaking their booties, but we usually try to keep them to the feel of the originals.

    Certain tunes and times yes i agree if its tastefully done, but some of these guys hack every song, i mean like "talk dirty to me" by Poison, how do you hack that? Why would you? It's beyond me, im with you try to keep it real unless it's bennificial to the song or the crowd is really into it and wants it to keep going.
  4. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Well, if the band knows how to execute the songs just like the original, but chooses to add their own personality to the tune, then that can often be really cool. On the other hand, if a band is just so sloppy that they can't be bothered to learn the song correctly, well that can often be really bad...

    For a cover band, it's all about how the audience responds -- they will be the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down for a cover band.

  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    It depends on the instrumentation.

    If you have the proper lineup to do the cover note by note, stay true to the original.

    If your instrumentation is much different from the band that originally recorded the song, then some departure might be interesting.

    I think bands tend to choose songs that accomodate the band's instrumentation. My band, fr'instance, does not have a keyboard player, so we avoid tunes with keys in them.

    Even though you might try to play everything exactly the same, you'll still end up sounding different because you're a different player. If a certain bassline is vital to a song, like "What's going on", I'll play the Jamerson line because it's such a big part of the song. On "Can't Explain" by The Who, I play Entwistle's part exactly because there's not much room to expand and on "I'm looking through you", I do my own thing because the original bassline is kinda buried and I hear something slightly different than McCartney's playing.
  6. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    Depends on the song really. I don't think i have too much to add to, say, a metallica cover or such. on the other hand, covering a zep or cream tune begs to be stretched and changed.

    i don't really dig seeing cover bands play covers note for note; i've got a radio, and can enjoy those versions without the rest of the bar. that, and meaning no offense, but playing covers the "right" way is just playing by rote, muscle memory; there's no creativity to learning someone else's songs.

    i'd rather see something creative and original done with the tune, something that let's those particular musicians speak in their own voices. but, like secretdonkey pointed out, its the crowd that's going to determine whether or not its a winner. i guess at best its a balancing act. i see crowds around here go nuts when they hear somebody redo some 80's pop tune in a new way.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you can add something tasteful, inject your flava, like some James Brown songs that get too repetitious over the same riff....(only JB can really pull them off successfully for so many bars).

    Some origninals are perfect and people get P.O'd if you mess with `em, like Hall & Oates songs.
  8. i say do your own thing. noone wants to hear a band try to sound just like the original, they have the original for that ;)
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Some songs you have to keep the bass line true to form or it will be very noticable and the crowd wont dig it as much. Good examples would be Dock of the Bay, and I Feel Good. (Unless of course its totally obvious that you revamped the entire song.)

    Most IMO/IME you can get away with changing around the bass line and make it your own while still preserving the originals integrity to where the crowd will never really notice a difference.
  10. kaboom133


    Oct 19, 2001
    Latrobe PA
    when my band plays a cover, we usually take it and change it, whether a little or a lot, to be the same style as our origionals. we make it our own. when anyone asks us about this, our singer steps right up and says "well, is (whatever band did the song origionally) here? i didn't think so."

    i think it works, because if we play, and people come to see us because of our origional(wich is mostly what we play) they might not want to hear a song that's a complete different style of music.

    it's kind of like all of those punk covers of pop songs and oldies. we just make the songs fit our own style.
  11. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well said SD. I've found if you change the song too much, the crowd just stare and wonder why it sounds wrong. Remember that at these places 99% of the crowd don't know anything about playing music, so the arty touch goes right over their head.

    Delfus, your "do your own thing" comment is fair enough but I recommend you join an originals band if that's your main aim. No rules there. Specialist cover bands require a different attitude.

    Having said that, I've seen some original bands do some excellent covers which they've changed and put their own stamp on. I guess it just depends wether your chasing credibility or just looking for a way to keep drunks entertained for 3 hours.
  12. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I stick to the guts as far as structure, but I often either simplify or extend the bassline. If I'm stuck with vocal duty, you ain't getting much more than the root on a constant eighth note because I can't do much else while singing. As far as bass solos, if there is such thing, people know how they should sound, so I do my best to recreate it. Doing an early Metallica thrash set, I use the exact pedals Jason and Cliff did for the songs, to further recreate everything.
  13. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    I believe in nailing the song note for note, beat for beat first. Once this is done you can then add/remove/mutate/change feel/etc. I'm a firm believer in nailing the foundation first so you can always fall back on it.
  14. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Depends on the nature of the gig. If playing it close to the original is what the gig is about, and you accepted the job, then that's what you do.

    However, I think there's absolutely nothing sacred about the original version *in itself*. A song is a song, it's not there to be recreated like it was a museum piece, it's there to be played. Personally, given a choice, I don't really see any point in copying an original version exactly. And to be honest, I wouldn't spend a dime on hearing a band do that, no matter how good they were. Clearly there's a market for it, and that's cool, but I'm not aprt of it.

    In most settings, I don't think it's worthwhile covering a song if I'm not gonna do it my way--again, provided that the gig allows for this. That doesn't mean you change things pointlessly, just for the sake of changing things. Sometimes you just can't think of any better approach than was already there. The point in that case is not that that way is the *right* way that must be followed under pain of death, but that it's the best approach you can come up with for what you want to do.

    The last band I played regularly in was mostly original and traditional, but we regularly did two covers. One was kinda close to the original, thoguh clearly different, but the other was a total reworking of the song that sounded nothing like the original. Both approaches worked for the songs they were applied to.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Bottom line is, some gigs/bands/audiences demand that cover tunes are as close to the original as possible. But the way I feel is, if I'm going to see a talented band play covers, I'd rather hear their original interpretations... especially if I've heard the damn songs a bazillion times already.

    When I learn a new song, I always try to learn the recorded bass line simply as an ear-training exercise (in those cases when I'm given the original recording to learn from). But when it comes to gigging, the lines are always subject to change. This is because neither of my gigging bands cares about replication... we do things our own way, and I love that.

    We don't go out of our way to do this. For example, my #1 band is basically a power trio, and the guitarist sometimes has to cover keyboard and horn lines, so I often have to adjust accordingly. But sometimes I come up with ideas on my own that I like, so I use 'em. And I'm a pocket player; my goal is to make everyone else sound good... so, I'm not talking about throwing in flashy fills to show myself off.

    Heck, there are also instances where we learn a song without benefit of the original recording:
    <blockquote>"Hey, I think we ought to do (song X), I know the lyrics."
    "Yeah, I like that one too. I know the verse and chorus progression, how does the bridge go?"
    "I think it goes like this."
    "Sounds good to me, let's do it!"</blockquote>
    I think it's unfortunate that there's so much demand for cover cloning. I suppose that's why Top 40 DJ's and karaoke are so popular.
  16. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Depends how you're billing yourself. There's a place for bands who do very accurate covers - either as a tribute ot a particular band or to catch the mood of a particular era or scene.

    I play in (and prefer) the kind of band that recreates the songs and makes them fresh. We take a pretty eclectic range of songs and 'remix' them live, fitting our strenghths and the mood of the evening.

    It's not right and wrong - just different ways of approaching things.

    Of course, if you're making bookings as a covers band, it's worth making sure that people know what your approach is...

  17. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Same here. If you are going to do songs note for note, that makes you nothing more than a human jukebox. I like, and will pay to see musicians that can "create" in a live environment. I seriously doubt that someone like John Paul Jones ever plays any song the same way twice.
  18. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City

    You need to know the rules first in order to break them properly.
  19. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Just out of curiosity, what does everyone think about a band like Dark Star Orchestra? They recreate entire Grateful Dead shows -- note for note, beat for beat, mistake for mistake. I've never seen them play, but the whole thing seems like a Halloween-show trick that got out of hand somehow. They're apparently pretty successful, though...
  20. I'd try to play it as close as possible to the original.

    After all, you are playing COVERS, right?

    I've never heard anyone who saw a cover band say: "We went to see this band that played Doors covers. They didn't sound anything like them, and changed all the solos. They were great!"

    Play your own stuff your own way.

    Mike ;)