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Dude, you just can't cover...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Bochafish, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Bochafish


    Jul 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    "insert band name here"

    I've run into a few people who claim there are certain bands you just can't cover. Our old sound guy said Beatles or Zepplin were off limits to all bands.

    A long time ago we were told to leave after the first set. When asked why, owner responded, "Dude, you just can't cover Floyd." (Pink Floyd)

    Ever happen to anyone else? Other bands that are off limits to yourself or others?
  2. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Any band can be covered.
    Now a GOOD cover, that's the trick. :D
  3. Bochafish


    Jul 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    that's what I always thought! Although we did butcher time->breathe, it was the fact we played floyd in his bar. Just weird
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Nothing is sacred, but there have been a few tunes we learned and dropped because we didn't feel we did the song justice.
  5. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Can YOUR BAND cover Pink Floyd or just hack your way through a pseudo version of "Money"?

    Like Phalex said...... all tunes are "fair game" but there are some that you better be able to justice or else you are just going to piss off the majority. (which is never a good thing!)
  6. Ah, but we can cover "Free Bird" until it's been ground into the dirt?

  7. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Basically, if you can't do the song justice, you probably should avoid doing it. You will look INCREDIBLY stupid for trying to do something WAY out of your league. However, if you can give the original song a new spin or do a cover fairly well; go for it.

    I have seen other bands do songs in this "category" and they go over great with audiences. Even though they butchered the original version, the crowd is just eating up the stage antics and the overall presentation of it. Go figure.... It's all in how you present it.
  8. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    It doesn't have to be a matter of doing a song WAY out of your league. It's more a matter of chemistry. There is a difference between playing a song, and PLAYING a song.
  9. Mike11121


    Sep 17, 2007
    There are a lot of bands that I like to listen to but wouldn't even think of covering. That can be because it's not possible (in our opinion) for us to do the song justice live, as has been said (usually because of production/layering etc), the vocals are just impossible without a vocalist with very specific talents (say Dio, Kate Bush, Journey, Soundgarden etc) or maybe we just think it wouldn't fly with an audience.

    But I've always struggled with the idea that you would necessarily try covering songs that you like to listen to no matter what. We tend to pick our cover list based on what we know audiences want and what we can do reasonably well.

    Then we listen to what we like on the way home - simple really.

    Our "listening list" and our "set list" remain pretty much separate.
  10. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    I've heard an amazing retake on 'Living on a Prayer'.
    They totally reconstructed the song, different vibe, not anywhere near as cheesy as the original.

    It takes imagination, but when it comes off it's cool.

    That said, Zeppelin's tough.
    We still might get to try Fool in the Rain, though probably with the key changed down a fourth.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Well, I have a slightly different take. For me, you actually have TWO choices. With those songs people have a real attachment to, you either have to cover it dead on, or completely make it your own and don't even try to get close to the original. I used to play in a 3 piece band. There isn't much in the way of 3 piece music out there. We played everything. We even did Allman Brothers (and at last count I think they had about 27 guys on stage..... just under what P-Funk has). Anyway, we got away with it by doing our own versions of the songs.

    But, no, there aren't any rules. The owner of the club who kicked you out for doing a Floyd song either was a douche to begin with, or you guys really sucked and that was his excuse to get rid of you.
  12. Hendrix, I don't care how good you are, you're never going to do justice to a Hendrix tune as long as you're an earthling.
  13. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    I'd say the more "Classic" the band, the better your cover has to be because more people will notice when it sucks. If you want to cover Love/Hate in a bar environment, it's probably a safer bet than trying to cover Led Zeppelin unless you're certain you can nail it.
  14. I agree but I have seen bands cover most of those mentioned and do it well. Randy Hansen does a very credible job of sounding like Hendrix. So does Frank Marino. There was a band in Oregon called "Stairway Denied" and they played awesome Zepplin covers. Their singer sounded like a clone of Robert Plant - great band ! I saw a band at the Oregon Country fair in about 2000 or 2001 that just nailed Pink Floyd. They all played in other bands and had offers for gigs all over the West Coast. I think they had to turn most of them down unfortunately. Soundgarden is a very tough band to cover too. Chris Cornell has one of my favorite voices in rock. Several years ago I played in a band that did a fairly good job covering them. We had a girl singing with us that was awesome and could hit all of CC's notes. Our weakest link was our drummer. He wasn't quite capable of some of their odd time signatures. It was frustrating. We came closer than any other band I have heard to sounding like them though.

    Personally, I prefer covers with a twist like, for example, ska or reggae versions of rock songs. I think those are really fun. David Lindley and El Rayo-X did some great ones.
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    either nail it, or change it (one band i'm in does an almost country/rockabilly version of NIN's "closer", an example of the latter).

    just don't half-ass it and then call it "your own version".
  16. There are people in this world who consider themselves experts on music, and therefore know the rules (according to them), and you had better abide by them, or you're not worth their time.

    There are people in this world who own bars.

    There are people in this world who book bands for bars.

    And every so often there are people who are all three. STEER CLEAR OF THESE PEOPLE.
  17. We've done a few odd covers mainly hard rock borderline metal versions of older rock songs. Actually our cover of Zombie by the cranberries is a fan favorite. We used to cover last dance with Mary Jane by Tom petty in more of a metal vibe. I don't attend tribute band shows or many cover band shows. To me music is more about art and if your going to do a cover you should do your own version. I will say I absolutely hate it when I see people do half a@$ covers of Tool. Which is every single time Ive ever seen a band cover a Tool song. Someone in the band if not more than one member always butchers it.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    My band did 3 Beatles songs tonight, one of which I sang. I also played in a band where I sang "Comfortably Numb" and "Run Like Hell," and our lead singer sang "Rock And Roll" and "Whole Lotta Love." In all cases, we killed it, and I was especially brilliant singing "Comfortably Numb" ;)

    So screw those idiots, especially the bar owner who fired you for playing Floyd, unless you sucked ;)
  19. emf818

    emf818 Guest

    Dec 27, 2012
    Alot of people say you can't cover The Beatles but it is possible. Someone also said once you can't cover a Pixies song which isn't true as well. Really when people tell me not to cover things, I do it anyways to piss them off.
  20. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    All that talent, plus humility too! ;)

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