Covers vs Originals

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BatBasstard, Oct 14, 2022.

  1. BatBasstard


    Feb 14, 2020
    I’m just trying to get a read on whether my impression of this forum’s make up is accurate.

    I get the sense that the vast majority of post are about covers bands playing the bars/cover friendly festival circuit rather than people in originals bands trying to create a fanbase and playing the Live Music Venue, Small/Medium/Large Music Festival circuit (in the U.K. I guess that would look like Wildpaths/Latitude/Glastonbury for context of what I mean. I don’t know the American equivalent for Small or Medium but the equivalent for large would be like Burning Man or Lollapalooza).

    Obviously both are equally valid I’m just trying to understand if the advice/experiences I’m reading here are substantially more from one camp than the other.

    I don’t know if there’s a way of running a poll? (Mods?) but if not perhaps if people just sound off?

    For my part, although I have played in covers bands in the past (punk covers, Mod covers, BritPop & Funk bands at various points) I’m now in an indierock/pop band writing, recording & releasing original material, playing small “Live Music Venues” & just starting to get booked into small regional festivals for next summer.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    Yes, it's easy to create a poll...
  3. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    I'm in two bands:
    1. Blues based playing all kinds of covers and the BL's originals.
    2. New band just starting rehearsals for our own pleasure playing, so far, covers, although I think playing some originals would be possible.
    VeryTallBassist and BatBasstard like this.
  4. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I play currently with two bands and both we do mostly original material. We mainly do small to medium size venues and a festival here and there on big stages as one of the opening act. When I say mostly original material I mean 97% with one and 100% with the other.
    BatBasstard likes this.
  5. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    I feel like I’ve already seen and participated in multiple TalkBass polls on this topic already, all of which showed a majority of bassists here participate in covers bands. In second place was originals bands who also incorporate a few covers. If I recall correctly.

    I’m currently in two originals bands that each do a few covers, and in one brass band that does all covers but mashes them up together. Like, one song may include Dr. Dre, Lorde, Paul Simon, and Green Day all mashed together. It’s fun!

    Edit to add link to Brass Band covering Dr. Dre and Lorde:
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2022
    ibasso, Zbudah, JRA and 9 others like this.
  6. David McIntire

    David McIntire

    Apr 5, 2020
    I've played both, and continue to do so. Many of my acts have combined big shows as original acts and thrown covers into our set. We play lots of small bars, and occasional big halls and stages. I've played a couple coliseums. But not regularly or expected again. Played a couple massive outdoor festivals, too, accidently winning a band battle. My approach to each gig is the same, tho. Big room. Small room. Back yard. Music Hall. I go thru the same routines and play the same in either.
    HolmeBass, pbass2 and VeryTallBassist like this.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Most of my life has been spent playing original music. A mix of both my own and others. I've toured, put out several CDs, been on many other people's recordings, and even enjoyed some success. Played with a few somewhat well known people, toured many places - but - at best always broke about even when it came to money. Even when it seemed I made some, it never matched up with what I had initially invested. Never cared though. The rush of playing original music to a packed house that knows the lyrics to your song, IMO, can't be beat. Its a natural high that to me compares to nothing else.

    That being said, I played in cover bands throughout most of the above also. Played in lots of them, got kicked out of few too, as originals at that time took priority.

    For the past 6 years I've been doing weddings, and its the first time I'm earning enough in music to pay my bills if I had to. Its a good feeling, plus I'm getting to play LOTS of stuff I'd otherwise never get a chance to go near. I like playing everything, too.

    Still do a few original shows when I can. Would love to do more and plan to when things slow down and time allows.
  8. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I think you’d be surprised at the number of originals-experienced and touring-experienced musicians on this forum. Probably a lot more than you’d initially think.

    Original/Touring experienced for me.
  9. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I have an originals band.

    I do fill ins for a few different cover bands. Only thing that changes is how long I play. Oh yeah, and I get paid when I play covers.
    IvanDrummer and MattZilla like this.
  10. Topkat13

    Topkat13 Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    I get the impression the vast majority of posts on this forum aren’t bass related.
  11. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    Your read is correct.
    TalkBass (on the EB side) skews heavily to the classic rock cover band, weekend gigger, day job having, Fender P fan, don't stand out, do what the band leader says, no $ above the 5th fret types.

    But, there are people here who not only play in original bands, but actually are song writers. There are people here who don't play P basses because the producer can't mix anything else, they _are_ the producer. There are people looking for new sounds rather than "fit in" sounds and there are people who are looking for ways to apply new technology to their creative expression.

    The second group is in the minority here. And, alas, too many of them are young and wondering what the best bass for Metal is. But if you have an intelligent question about gear, or the biz, or whatever, there are folks here that might have something you might like to read about. Just be prepared for the haters, because the first group can't stand the second group and feels they _must_ throw shade on them whenever possible.
  12. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Originals are for young people. I’m done with that thankless BS.
  13. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Lots of people here have done originals. Lots. The thing you're probably seeing is what happens when the originals thing wears thin, which unfortunately happens to a lot of us.

    Playing original music has its rewards, without a doubt, but it's very, very hard to develop any sort of success with it and most players end up moving on after a while, after the money dries up and frustration sets in and bands break up.

    Some of us just get out of music entirely after that, some seek new originals opportunities, and some decide they'd rather play something than nothing, but they need to stick closer to home and work a regular job, so that usually means you end up playing covers. In other words, doing covers is what a lot of people who start out doing originals wind up with once they give up on the dream.

    In my world there's room for all of it and I don't really put one above the other as there are ways to enjoy doing both.
    FRoss6788, rd2rk, SteveCS and 18 others like this.
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I have done a wide variety of stuff as a gigging musician over 50+ years of playing.

    for the past 18 or so years I have focused on originals projects and have done reasonably well at that. I ended up working with a few American Idol contestants (not the top winners, but they made the LA TV rounds and got production/PR support from the show). I also have worked with a handful of songwriters who while not super famous, were definitely pros.

    Currently I play in 2 working bands. One does original fusion/jazz/world music with a few (10%) covers done in a style consistent with the rest of the original tunes. The other is an original Americana project which is about 70% originals, with the 30% covers being consistent with the original material style.

    I sub with cover bands from time to time to keep my calendar reasonably filled up.

    I get paid (sometimes pretty well) but I don't do it for the money. I love to play and I'm going to keep playing, gigging, recording until I drop dead :laugh:
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Only the jerkoffs on here do that, and there’s not many. They just seem like more because they repeat themselves over and over in multiple threads.

    At any rate, there are plenty of players on here in all walks of musical life, many have done a whole lot of different music over the years, some specialize. It’s not nearly that cut and dried.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2022
  16. definenredefine

    definenredefine Nobody likes a drummer... Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2022
    North Carolina
    I've largely been in bands playing originals. I'm currently playing bass in a punk band. We do play a couple covers, though.

    I have been in a few cover bands (mostly some iteration of Misfits covers for a party or whatever), so I'm certainly not opposed to playing in one. Unfortunately, most people probably wouldn't want to hear a mix of 90s punk/hardcore/indie covers...
    BatBasstard likes this.
  17. BatBasstard


    Feb 14, 2020
    That Brass band is awesome!
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  18. BatBasstard


    Feb 14, 2020
    You are correct. You need the energy and drive of youth to do it.
    I’m 57.
    My band mates range from 25 to 27
    Geddyfleaharris likes this.
  19. BatBasstard


    Feb 14, 2020
    Thank you

    Would it be too much trouble to ask “how”?
  20. BatBasstard


    Feb 14, 2020
    Oh yeah:
    Originals band for the thrill of creating and watching other people love your creations.
    Function band for ££££££
    Covers band for fun and some ££
    Killing Floor and Joe Nerve like this.