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How to decide which songs to play

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thetitan, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. thetitan


    Jan 28, 2007
    Hi guys

    Starting a band up and I reckon that we should start off by covering relatively simple songs and then move onto more complicated stuff, then start writing our own stuff when we're comfortable with each other and tight (any better ideas welcome!).

    Anywho, was just wondering how we should go about deciding which songs to play. So, in order to avoid unrest and keep everyone happy, what should we do?

    Thanks a lot for any help!


  2. boogiebassbilly


    Apr 7, 2007
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    This may not work for everyone, but here's our process:

    The way we do it (out of necessity at first but after that because it works) is for my guitar player, drummer and I to each pick 10-12 songs and then let the other guys veto any songs that they outright don't like or don't want to play. Then we take those songs to our singer and let him pick the ones he wants to do from that list. This gives us 15 to 20 songs to learn. Every month or so, we go through the process again.

    What we've found is that it is much easier to convince another musician to play a song they don't like or one that's difficult for them than it is to have a singer sing a song that doesn't suit their voice. No matter how tight you are musically, you have to find stuff your vocalist can do well if you want to sound good as a band.
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When you're first starting out, go out and see other bands. Take note of which tunes go over and which ones don't. Most bands do very similar material, it's just a fact of life. If you can cherry pick from the set lists of others, you can avoid songs you'll need to dump later.
  5. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I wouldn't go with getting song ideas from everyone. It won't work unless all of you have the same taste and ideas. You'll end up with a mish-mash of songs that may or may not work for you.

    First, you should all sit down and discuss your goals for the band - which should then lead you to determining what sort of covers you should be playing. So many to choose from. For some people, a cover could mean doing Drowning Pool and for others it will mean Van Morrison and the Beatles - quite different groups.

    I would go and see popular local cover acts to get a sense of what they do and what works. I would do some internet research on the song lists of popular cover bands.

    Then choose the songs that best fit your skills, your band goals, and the local market needs. Not your individual tastes.

    we choose songs on the following criteria:

    1. Is it a well-known song? (no matter how good an obscure B side from your favorite group, if it's not well-known it probably won't work for you in public).

    2. Do we have the instruments to cover it properly? (some songs really need a keyboard, or a chick singer, or 2 guitars. It just depends).

    3. Does it work for us? (we try it in practice and if the feel isn't there after a couple of tries, we dump it. We play the others in public a couple times and see what sort of reaction we get. If it clears the floor, we dump it).

    Song selections can be a real negative in a band if you try and do it like a democracy - trust me. Hurt feelings, songs you shouldn't be doing, no sense of continuity in your music will surely be the result.
  6. thetitan


    Jan 28, 2007
    Thanks everyone, has been very helpful, things going smoothly so far thanks to your advice! Much appreciated!
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