Covers versus original songs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by xxxBassJunkiexx, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. (I don't know if this is the right place for this, but here goes)
    Our band has been having quite a debate recently. Our drummer thinks we should write our own songs, and only do 1 or 2 covers. The guitarist and I both think the covers should outweigh the orginals, simply just for our first gigs. We've been together for a month or two, and haven't had a real gig yet (one is coming up in May for the talent show).
    I figure since people will know the songs we cover, they'll like it better than us playing a ton of songs they've never heard. We'd play some more gigs, each time adding new songs that we've written.
    What do you think?
  2. yeah, I would hafta agree with you and your guitarist about doing more covers than originals, starting out with at least. As you go along, like you said, just add a couple more originals and get rid of a couple covers here and there.
  3. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    This is what my band is doing.... covers now, originals gradually added.
  4. xax712


    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    It's a good idea, but I know that alot of places around here won;t allow bands to play covers, so the faster you guys get your own stuff the more gigs will open up. Also I always tend to be more impressed by bands that write their own stuff, but please do this for me and make sure you aren't forcing the writing, if you are struggling to write stuff just stop and wait until the next day or so, just let it flow, because if you aren't happy with the music other than you think it's cool that you wrote it odds are that nobody else will like it either, and your and your band won't try as hard when playing it.
  5. rhythmrod


    Oct 27, 2001
    Austin, Texas
    Playing covers can be a double edged sword. Great if you do a good job & very embarassing if you don't. Therefore, if you and your band are going to cover, make sure you do it well, because don't forget, the audience also knows how the song should be done. And you will be compared to the originators of the music. However, if you do your own music and you play well, then the audience will be judging you for "YOUR" talent & music. I personally prefer original music, because you never know who might be listening! Good Luck!!! OK BYE, BYE, OK BYE!!!
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    IME, writing GOOD music is difficult. In the many years that I attempted to do the original music thing, I found that only about 1 out of 4 songs that you actually take the time to rehearse and arrange turn out to be decent. But we still had to keep them in the set until something else was put together.

    I mention this only to say it takes a TON of time and work to but a quality show of originals together. Mixing covers will allow you to get out a play more quickly and get the experience.

  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Hey, check out his profile, he's in high school and playing at a talent show for pete's sake!

    We're not talking about getting ready for gigs at the Enormodrome here :rolleyes:

    I see this thread is sliding into the usual mudhole :cool:
  8. rhythmrod


    Oct 27, 2001
    Austin, Texas
    Good point!!!
  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    In my time of playing and listening to music, I sort of noticed a trend.........or more like an unspoken rule of sorts.

    The covers vs. orginals thing a lot of times depends on the style of music you play. There aren't many metal bands that do all covers. They usually write their own material and do a few covers. Even metal fans wouldn't seem to want a band doing 2 hours of Judas Priest and Iced Earth covers. Same seems to go with similar styes of music.

    But there are Country bands, and Classic rock bands, who's gigs consist of all covers and they can do it and be real popular in their respectful scene.

    Has anyone else noticed that?

    My advice is, if you're just starting out, both write orginals (if you can) and do covers. It will be up your reitire (or however you spell it :p ) quickly. If you start gigging pro you'll have the covers to get you the gigs, then you can stick the oringals in and build from there. Espcially since you probaly won't have 2 and a half hours of oringinal music to start gigging with.

    Right now I'm playing all covers and I miss doing some orginal material. (I'm playing on a guy's record here shortly, so I'm excited to be creating something new) The covers are a lot of fun though.
  10. xax712


    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    OK I understand he's in high school, but around my location there a few places for high school kids to play and they will kick you out for playing covers. I was just being up front. I haven't been out of high school very long and know exactly his situation. Just getting the pro's and con't together for him.
  11. Since you're young you can get by on covers.
    My band played an outdoor "fest" of sorts a couple years ago. The other bands played covers to varying degrees of splendor.
    My band did all originals. We also got the most recognition, appraise and applause for it.

    We were the only band who was asked to come back again.

    Who really wants to be recognized for other people's works, anyway? And then there are some bands who can only make it big by doing covers. Look at Orgy's cover of blue monday, or Marilyn Manson's sweet dreams. Both of these bands went big AFTER doing covers. Or Limp Bizcuit (or however they spell it) doing Faith. Nobody heard of them until they did that cover.
    It's fine to do covers if you're young and so is your band. But even when I was young I played only originals in my bands. IMHO, it's hard to take your band very seriously if you aren't actually writing music together.

  12. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA

    Wouldn't it be the other way around? As far as I can tell, at least in Southern California... If you play covers you are much more likely to get paid. I guess if you do orginals for long enough to build up a following and the clubs, bars... etc notice this, you will get paid for your stuff. But for most people, if you want to get paid right away, then covers are the way to do it.

    Hmm... I guess it depends on what the immediate objective is. I'm not terribly young anymore, but I would like to replace my job with playing music.

    I have a house payment, 2 cars, some credit card debt, a vacation resort to pay off... Can I do all that playing orginals? I think it's more likely that covers will pay my bills much better for now.

    A younger guy with a lot less debt would be fine playing originals, because usually the heavier financial need isn't there yet.

    That's cool! You must have put on a great show. :) I don't think those results would be typical though.
  13. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    Isn't it impossible to write new classic songs?If theyre new then that would make it just rock,not classic rock.:D

  14. Actually, there are very few clubs and bars in Denver who look for cover acts. The ones who do are low paying sports bars. The bands who play there are little more than background noise.
    You won't see a cover band playing the larger venues (and higher paying ones) in Denver. I imagine that holds true for many a city.
    And the only cover bands who go on tour are bassically cruise line bands. They get paid decent, but it is the same boring background music scenario. When people come to our shows, it is to see and hear US. I couldn't imagine too many people paying $5 to $10 a head in order to see a cover band.
    When you are young and first starting a band it is typical to play covers. You haven't honed in on writing abillities yet, nor have you grown as a band.
    I don't plan on paying my way through life by the money I earn from playing. I have a day job for that. I wouldn't have much fun playing nothing but or mainly covers... it would be more of a job for me than the one I already have.

  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Gabe is right on the money! ....and I do mean "money."

    At your age, you can get away with pretty much anything. Throwing out some covers right off the bat establishes respect with the audience because they know how the songs are supposed to go. You can always work in some originals if you want. But don't expect much (unless the writing is exceptionally strong) because the audience doesn't know if your doing them well or not.

    Or, you may luck out like I did centuries ago and your originals may just happen to have the right sound at the right time for the fickle high school/college/under-30, markets.

    In later years, you'll find if you want to get people in the door and you like getting paid for the hours of practice you put in all week, you'll do covers and very few originals, (if at all). Once you can consistently get people in the door, maybe, MAYBE, you'll be able to put together a CD/mp3's of originals that you can market at your gigs.

    Even then, most bands' originals stink until the band has been around long enough to get that "right" mix of musicians who can put together catchy originals.
  16. I think you can`t go wrong starting out with covers of songs that are popular to your target audience(s).Even doing covers of tried and true classics and/or exciting and popular newers hits your band will bring it`s own flavor and flair to your interpretations (sp?).After all;imitation is the sincerest form of flattery(or so `tis said).If I were in a big name band I would be tickled pink seeing all these up and coming groups playing ours songs! :D

    Whichever you guys opt to do,best of luck,eh? :)
  17. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas
    I always wanted to try having one, lets say, five piece band that went by two different names, (one name for their original music sets, and one for the all cover tune sets).

    Then the two different "band personas" would play in the venues more apprpriate for what they were doing. The reason why I think this would be a good idea, is because the audiences for original local acts and for cover bands are two different animals. The cover band audiences "know what they like, and like what they know," while the original music scene tends to stigmatize cover acts as being money hungry, whorish, un-artistic, and just overall less talented. I enjoy playing originals and covers equally, and feel that I must do both to feel "right" (not to mention that you can actually make money playing covers, while monetary rewards are practically non-existant for origianal acts). The reality is that you have to go about it carefully to be accepted in both venues.

    ...and that's my $0.02. Thank you,
  18. Thank you all so much! I told the guys about all this, and they've opened up a lot more to our possiblities (finnaly, the only girl has a say :rolleyes: