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do we have to do covers?/what do you think about covers?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Unemploid, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. where should i start? well my band finally found a drummer. we'll see how long he'll be playing with us. he an older guy, i hope he can keep up with us.

    we told him, that we are looking for a drummer so we can play our original songs. he's telling us now to make a list of songs for us to cover. he says that we'll get more people to show up to gigs if we play covers. sure, we'll get a few more people. from my experience, people my age (around 20) don't want to hear covers.

    whenever we've played our own songs, the audiance loves them. the audiance even sings along to our songs, and they never even heard the song before. our fans want us to play just to hear our songs again, and to hear what NEW songs we're working on.

    people can see our list of covers and show up to our gig to listen to them. we are practicing on classic rock songs. people my age and younger don't like classic rock, our band does so no problem. what i'm saying is, they like rap, hiphop, club music, etc. i'm not saying we should change our style, i'm implying they won't show up to our gigs. they'll be like, i don't like these bands/songs.

    people my age do like originals. they're new and they'll come to see and hear us.

    what i don't like about covers is PRACTICE. like, really practicing. we have to have our instrument sound like the band. we have to play like the band. we will be compared to the band. when we play covers, people will say that we are not as good as the band we are covering. when we play our originals, people say we are as good or even better than famous bands. when we practice our own songs, their is no wrong way, we just create. it's faster for us to create a song from scratch then to learn to play another band's song.

    i think that's it. i do like the covers we are planning to learn. yes, i know, just play a gig with a set with a combination of covers and originals. here is a link to hear one of our songs. our drummers, in the past, like our originals over the kind of music me and my brother like. our new drummer hasn't heard our music yet, because we haven't practiced with the drummer yet.


    here is a list of our covers. don't copy us! jk, i don't care. come see us, when we start gigging, because we'll be playing these songs.

    kiss: black diamond, detroit rock city, i love it loud
    van halen: cathedral, atomic punk, everybody wants some, panama
    ac/dc: big balls, dirty deeds, if you want blood, dog eat dog, rock n roller singer
    led zepplin: rock and roll, bad times good times
    jimi hendrix: purple haze, fire
    aerosmith: toys in the attic
    beatle: can't buy me love, day tripper, eleanor rigby
    rolling stones: it's only rock and roll, start me up
    ironmaiden: trooper, run to the hills, number of the beast

    eventhough our drummer is older, he may not want to play beatle or stone, but we can live with that. we don't know how he feels about metal, but ironmaiden is last on our list to practice because they're the hardest songs on this list.

    i'm interested to hear your thoughts. what do you think about our cover list?
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    It can be good to have some covers even though you're mainly doing originals. It gives people something familiar to listen to, which can sometimes win over a reluctant audience. It can also help you fill out longer nights. Do you have 4 hours of original tunes? You can make a lot more money if you don't have to share the bill with another band or 3. You may not be in it for the money, but it doesn't hurt either.
  3. Personally, I think it's a bad start if the drummer wants to do covers even before hearing your originals. Ideally, you want bandmates heading in the same direction. If you want to be a cover band, be a cover band. If you want to do originals, do originals.

    The worst part I've learned about being in a cover band is finding out:
    1. Bandmates are all over the map on choosing songs.
    2. Bandmates can't actually perform the songs that were decided on.
    3. It might take forever, which is what I'm currently dealing with, to get a 4 hour setlist going.

    With originals, everyone's passion is into creating each song. Or at least hopefully it is. Honestly, I'd be more adamant about getting a drummer that wants to create music with you.
  4. FerK

    FerK Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    If the whole band is into originals, and your new good drummer, who everyone likes, wants to throw in a few covers...why not ? As lowfreq said above, mixing in some well-known covers (which hopefully fit in your list) gives the audience something familiar to relate to, that they will like and be able to sing along to. Decide on the ratio of originals to covers (I personally like 1 cover every 4 originals or so) and play your setlist in one go. See how it fits.

    Also like lowfreq mentioned already, I find it very challenging to fill a 3-hour gig (quite a normal gig length) with originals. Unless you're willing to live in the shed for months, until you have 25 / 30 originals ready for a gig.
  5. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    If it doesn't feel right, don't do it!

    I hate playing covers, too. Luckily, the rest of my band feels the same about it. Still we have plans do do one crazy out-of-the-box cover, but I guess that's something different.
  6. thanks everyone. i don't know if the drummer wants to create music. he want to play a gig down in mexico. last time i spoke to him he was talking about doing gigs to get money. making money from our band isn't a bad thing, but i don't know. my bro and i come from a small town, we're in the los angeles area now, we just want to put on some free shows and partys. of course, start out small and get to that point. we do need rent money. i was telling the drummer about this skate shop that will let us play at their shop for free. all we have to do is contact them and schedule a date. the drummer did seem to hyped for it. i think it would be a really sick place to gig. we'll invite people and the shop will get people to show up. i think he's just jumping to conclusions.
  7. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    Your generation has found its voice through you, it seems. You know exactly what every 20-something does or does not wish to hear. Big bucks must be flowing your way shortly!
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    A cover band that throws in the occasional original is one thing. An originals band that plays an occasional cover is another. Cover bands do get more regular paying gigs because they play songs that are already popular. But if what you really want is to write originals, you need the drummer on board with that.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    What's your target audience?

    Seems to me you equate covers with classic rock, i.e. older music. So if you target a 20-something audience that you think doesn't listen to that music, why play it? If they listen to other newer bands maybe you should try and cover some of their songs instead.
  10. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    No covers. You don't need them.
  11. southpaw723


    Oct 20, 2013
    If anything, nobody wants to gear those ACDC songs. Especially big balls
  12. idk if eddie is being sarcastic. i will make the big bucks one day and i'll come back to this thread to show you. thanks 10cc. my brother and i like classic rock. we've spent plenty of time with the city folk to know that they aren't to keen. but i know as long as you rock the stage live that their is no debating on if it's cool, or your style. the music just captures the audiance, and they'll enjoy it, even if it is not the kind of music they listen to.
  13. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I don't understand half of the OP.

    Does your band want to play originals or covers? Focus on whichever you want
    Why is your brand new drummer telling the band what to do?
    If your audience wants to hear original music, play it.
    If your audience does not like classic rock, why are you going to play it?

    My target audience hates originals and only likes classic rock so we wrote a whole bunch of of hip hop songs and play those out.
  14. i sugeested for us to do big balls as a joke. now, i don't think we can play through the whole without stinking the stage. rock n roll singer we may not do. i don't like dog eat dog, but my brother's vocals made the song kick ass. my brother wants to play dirty deeds. i like if you want blood, but i'm not sure is we can perform it. we didn't want to play the bands most popular songs. we wanted to songs that the band doesn't usually play.
  15. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Agree. Find a new drummer. You told him your band plays your own songs, then he comes up with a generic list of classic rock covers that he wants to play before even hearing your material. He doesn't seem to get it. Move on. Quickly.
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I hate playing originals. Because there is no shortage of musicians who write medicore originals. Also gigs for all original bands do not pay as well.
  17. bassgod, i understand. their is more contradictions that you haven't point out. i knew i would be answering these questions later. first, this thread is big as is. i didn't want to make it bigger with more ramblings. our audiance was in the town my brother and i were originally from. like i mention in a reply above. if you play it live the audiance will like it. they don't know that the music is out their, the bands job is to show them.

    true, why is the drumer controlling our band. i would say because he is older, with "experience", doesn't want kids telling him what to do, and thinks he knows what to do. we'll work everything out, he not bossy, but my first concern is he can keep up with our tempo.

    our song justin case has club music influence in it, that one of it's secrets to it's likeability. even thoughh i hate to admit it, we are a pop rock band. we make popular rock songs, so what people are listening to is a factor. overall, we play what we like.
  18. we've always been medicore, that's the secret. musicians like complicated and professional. people want something simple. something they recognize or simply the energy of the song. the audiance doesn't think and/or doesn't want to think. they simply want to have a good time.

    thanks aaronvonrock.
  19. BrentD


    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    I'm with you on the originals. If you want to be an originals band, focus on those.

    But I will say that covers are good to have in your pocket. Some of the reasons you don't like them are actually good reasons to play them. They require practice. They require you to adapt your tone to fit a song. They give you a benchmark for quality to see how your band is progressing in getting tighter and more in tune with one another.

    But that can be accomplished by bringing covers to the woodshed and leaving them there when you play out. You don't have to be a cover band.
  20. My first impression is not a good one, it usually doesn't go well when a new person is brought into an existing act and they try to change the direction of the band. To make it all work, everyone has to be on the same page. I've been through the mishmash/chaos of different people wanting different things and it always, always results in people picking up their stuff and parting ways, eventually. Or at least the dissenting individual leaving, sometimes at a very bad time.

    You are an original band, correct? So you're used to writing and creating. Who says you "have to" play them exactly as they're recorded? Some of the absolute best cover bands I've seen really take covers to the next level and use them as a very loose framework for completely recreating them. In doing this, you could still keep that original vibe while jumping into doing some cover songs.

    But I keep coming back to this.....you're an original band first. And you like being that way. I think it's a mistake to let a new, untried member start to pull you in a different direction. Maybe if you all agree to add a "sprinkling" of covers here and there, I suppose it could be okay, but to totally switch train tracks while the train is moving can have terrible results.

    As far as covers being harder, for me it's the opposite. I'm not a creative player, so I do much better when I do covers. With Aftermath I had 6 weeks to learn 4 hours of music, and it went okay. But they were also common rock covers and a lot I already knew, at least somewhat.

    The list you provided is an awful lot of cover songs for an original band, honestly. Almost looks like you're morphing into a cover band. Which you don't seem to be on board with. I had to laugh when you said you were considering Big Balls. We do it every show and the crowd loves it. They also love Mustang Sally, Keep Your Hands To Yourself, My Own Worst Enemy, Tush, Rockin' In The Free World, etc. Yeah, we have those kinds of crowds, the ones who want that stuff.

    My opinion; steer the ship straight and stay on course. If you want to add a very small number of covers, go ahead, but don't let it take over the direction of your band. Either get the new drummer on board, or find one who wants the same things, because this is a classic case of players who aren't on the same page and it rarely ends well.