Crappy cover band music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by njones89, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. njones89

    njones89

    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    I have been looking for another paying gig and the last three cover bands I've jammed or auditioned with had a bunch of boring rock tunes where the bass part is pretty much playing an A at eighth note intervals except maybe the chorus on some songs. Things like Stick goes boom by Krokus and Say what you will by Fastway. I had one jam session where I was just chuggin A's for 2 hours straight before I decided I had enough and left. They always complain about how hard it is to get a bass player to commit. I asked the lead singer of the one band why he didn't play bass for the band instead because he said he could play any instrument. He danced around without giving me a straight answer... well we were waiting for the guitarist to show up and he hopped on the drumset and made a fool of himself. He was a good singer, though.

    I just can't imagine that those kind of songs would even be crowd pleasers. Why do cover bands pick those kind of songs? I know it's easy money with little to no effort, but it kinda limits your abilities.
     
  2. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    This is why some of us maintain multiple projects. Some for the pay, others for artistic fulfillment.
     
  3. I like "Say what you will" a crowd pleaser and we do it. OWN IT!
    (it is an easy bass tune though) :)
     
    Charlzm and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. njones89

    njones89

    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    Let me just clarify that I don't think the songs are bad by themselves. It's redundant setlists with boring parts over and over and over again.

    RustyAxe, I have started my own band. I can't imagine trying to fit more than one cover band into my schedule! I do it for the pay, but if you're not happy, you will eventually quit it (or so I've found).
     
  5. By definition, generally speaking a cover band gets hired to play popular, well known songs for a basically musically ignorant audience. Bar/club/party crowds generally only want to hear music they're already fairly familiar with. Yeah you can get away with doing a few album cuts, less well known tunes, originals etc but if the lion's share isn't pretty much what's been made popular on the radio, what the audience in attendance is already pretty familiar with, you're likely not going to get a lot of reaction. Which means limited crowd draw, which means you're unlikely to become a "popular" band in your area, which ultimately means you're not going to get booked with any regularity. You can whine about how musically limiting that is all you want, it doesn't change the fact. You wanna play regularly and make something of an income from playing music, that's the hard cold reality of it. There are rare exceptions to that but damn few in my experience.

    Our band fights that by trying to pick (as much as possible) popular songs that have some challenge to them and allow us to prove that we can actually play a bit. But ultimately if you want to get steady bookings as a cover band you'd better be prepared to check your musical ego at the door a bit and own the fact that a lot of popular music is pretty easy (and boring) to play.
     
  6. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Inactive

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    If the Bass line is boring, sing the song! Good practice.
     
  7. njones89

    njones89

    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    There are plenty of good, popular radio rock songs that I have played live in the past and got paid well to do so. I don't have an ego! I just don't want to play the same damn root note for 6 hours in a row. Most of these bands haven't even booked a gig yet because they haven't found a solid bassist. Catch my drift? I am aware of the simplicity of popular music, EdO. Why do you have to be so condescending?
     
  8. njones89

    njones89

    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    I am working on my vocals! I agree, it is a challenge to coordinate singing and bass playing.
     
    BurnOut likes this.
  9. My comment wasn't aimed at you specifically @njones89, it was a generalized comment. If you thought I was dissing you specifically or if you were upset at my comment I apologize, totally not my intention. When I used the term "you" I was speaking to/of all musicians in general, not to/at you specifically.

    I get where you're coming from, totally. I deal with it a lot myself. But it is what it is - if "anyone" want's to gig regularly, especially starting out you're going to be playing a lot of popular, common, boring popularized-by-radio music. Never ceases to amaze me how many musicians don't seem able or willing to get that fact.
     
    Gearhead17 likes this.
  10. njones89

    njones89

    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    Thanks for clarifying your stance EdO. My experience with cover bands has been mostly 80s rock, which I am not entirely familiar with. Some of it I have learned to appreciate, but the last few cover jams I have done have been pretty bad. I have one lined up for Saturday. There are a couple songs I like on their list and the guitarist asked me what I can play because they want to include me in on that. That's part of it you know, feeling like you are a team player.

    There are not a lot of younger guys (my age) who are in my local music scene, so I am sure that is part of my struggle. I saw a band out of town a while back that was playing punk rock, 90s grunge, and other music that I am familiar with - and they were killing it! Full house! I would love to play that kind of music, even if it is simple.
     
  11. Keep practicing and improving yourself and your abilities, keep digging and putting yourself out there, eventually you'll find people like minded enough. But also remember that being in a band is a team sport, everything is a compromise like it or not and everyone has to be able AND willing to compromise (assuming you want it to have any staying power). Which IMO is what being a "team player" is all about. :thumbsup:
     
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  12. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    I think of managing a band as balancing multiple constituencies. One is the crowd. They do generally want to hear their favorite songs and if you don't pack a setlist with popular hits, you'll wind up playing to crickets. Another is the management of the venue. They're the ones that actually pay the bills. For the most part, if the crowd is happy, they're happy. But they do still need to be managed in their own right; there are some who have their OWN favorite music they want to hear in their joint, for instance. Most will be principally concerned about draw, but some want to like the bands they bring in. If you're playing a wedding or corporate party, that's a whole other angle; it doesn't matter if the crowd loves the band if the bride hates it.

    The musicians in the band itself are a third constituency. It helps if they're flexible, if they prioritize entertaining the crowd over playing their personal obscure favorites, etc. But even so, at the end of the day, to keep them around they have to LIKE being in the band, which presumably includes liking the music choices. At least some of them. I'm fine playing a night of three-chord eighth-note wonders - assuming the crowd likes them - if, once or twice a set, a song comes along where I get to stretch out and have some fun. There's a lot of music in the world. You can usually find stuff that people can agree on if they're being reasonable.
     
  13. That Hrod sums it up pretty well IMO. Njones what are some of the songs you would like to play? Just curious?
     
  14. Njones , will your bandmates give you room to do more interesting lines instead of just pounding roots? What's the instrumentation?

    I was in a three piece cover band project where we all had liberty to make the parts our own. For example, we would each have opportunity for 4-bar solos and fills. The simple to play, popular tunes were very recognizable to the dancing audience but with more depth, character, and flavor... kind of like a good cigar.
     
    LowActionHero likes this.
  15. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Lowest common denominator songs are not a bad place to start a band, but I would get bored if a band doesn't display its musicianship with some more intricate tunes after a little bit.
     
    btmpancake likes this.
  16. Madhouse27

    Madhouse27

    Sep 19, 2016
    Do people still get paid to play Krokus songs?
     
  17. AaronVonRock

    AaronVonRock

    Feb 22, 2013
    Bangkok
    Killer Krokus t-shirt in Gummo.

     
    10cc likes this.
  18. AaronVonRock

    AaronVonRock

    Feb 22, 2013
    Bangkok
    There is actually a Krokus tribute band! With a KISS logo in the background.

    Headhunter USA Is The True And Original Krokus Tribute Band From San Antonio, TX

     
    10cc and Madhouse27 like this.
  19. Madhouse27

    Madhouse27

    Sep 19, 2016
    Man, I thought it was all over. I'm gonna see if the spandex and leather still fits and get in on this action.
     
    10cc likes this.