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If You Play Covers....FOR MONEY....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rickbass, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    For any of you who have figured out you can be employed steadily by playing mostly covers, my question is -

    How does your band decide when to drop a cover out of your sets ???

    For instance;

    > Is it when the song drops out of the Top 40 ???

    > Is it when most of the band members get sick of playing it ???

    > Is it when you have played it 10 times and, still, no one in the audience is on the dance floor/getting off ???

    > Other ???

    Thanks for responses. I'm getting tired the occasional arguments about it.
  2. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    We drop a tune when the audience give you no response to the song.

    The song would not make it to the set list if we droped it when we got board of playing it:eek: :bawl: :bawl:
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I did the whole cover for money thing for years. The set list should be driven by the crowd's interest. Sometimes we'd learn a tune, play it once or twice and never do it again. Other tunes lasted for years.

    In fact, when we were really going, we would go into shows with 40-50 tunes in our heads and our frontman would call out the tunes as he sensed the attitude of the crowd. We didn't even use a set list.
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I'm with Chasarms on this one. We have a basic set list, but we also pay attention to the crowd, and adjust on the fly if necessary.

    We also came up with a rule in our band that all four of us must agree on playing a song to add it to our list. As time goes by, if someone is just plain tired of playing it, we drop it.

  5. DB5


    Jul 3, 2001
    Austin Texas
    Chasarms sums it up best, The set list should be driven by the crowd's interest. :bassist:
  6. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    When you hear crickets once the tune is over.

    if you are in a Top 40 band, that might be concider sensible...

    That is very common with the Nawlins cover band that I currently gig with. We have 114 tunes on the wall of the practice roon, but in the last few months we only have about 80 of them in rotation... cause we got sick of them, or the cricket's came out to play our gig for us.

    I really shouldn't get to that...

    A sucessful 'party/top40/drinking cover band is supposed to have more than half of the room interested and interactive with the group at least half of the time. If them cricket's are the only cats on the dance floor, change up the tunes-rep, and fast.

    Man, I hear ya, one of the guitarists that we use for this one cover band always wants to play samba pa ti, which I can't stand, plus it puts the crowd to bed... I want to switch it out for Hot Tamale Baby, tends to wake the crowd up and get them dancing and stomping their little feet... and crushing those darn cricket's!

  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I should add that I enjoy entertaining much more than playing for the sake of playing.

    I would never get bored playing a tune as long as the folks listening weren't bored.

    Give me couple hundred folks who want to hear 12 bar in A for three hours and I am there, bass in hand.
  8. I have play covers for money only a few times...
    We played a few hits and bassicaly lots of classics. We figured out that non musical people loves classics songs. The Police, The Beatles, etc. It`s really cool also when you play a famous song but you make your own arregments to it.
    For example, we played a bossa-nova version of "Every breath you take". When the song started, evryone was like :confused: , and when the lyrics came(we kept the same vocals) everyone loves it!
    Now, we make the same thing with our songs. I really love to do that kind of stuff
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    That's a big consideration I have tried to deal with, j-raj.....how "trendy" is your market/audience ???

    Some place like South Beach in Miami or L.A. must be hell to please.
  10. I agree. In my case our band takes a setlist. Throughout the night, we mix it up the tunes and try to cater to the feel of the audience.
  11. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    We play to the audience. If the song does not "go over" well, we'll work on it, or junk it. Since we play "Classic Rock", most of our tunes are out of the Top 40 but, we are starting to accumulate quite a few songs now, so we can tailor the set list to the crowd and handle a few requests.

    We do a few newer songs if they're catchy. But it is about keeping the audiences interest, and being invited back by the Club Owner.
  12. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Well, being that I've been in my uncle's cover band for about a couple years now, I'd think I could give advice, but my uncle doesn't pay attention to the audience when we play. It's weird, we'll be playing a packed house and he'll play slow songs after slow song, then play a fast paced song and everyone will go nuts... then a slow song. So yeah, if I fronted a cover band, the audience would be the main concern, but also, don't do songs that everyone in the band hates. I mean, people love Christina Agulaira (sp?) but that doesn't mean you should be a Christina tribute band... er, yeah.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Back in the ol' daze around here-
    -If you're marketing yourself as a Top-40 band & booking yourself into the Top-40 clubs...you had better be CURRENT!
    -Band members getting sick of playing it? Irrelevant.
    -If said tune is "current" & no one is gettin' off on the dance floor...good sign to drop it or play it very, very early in the opening set.
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Usually we dropped a song when we felt the radio had done a sufficent job of beating it to death.
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Man! Been there, done that.
  16. I've been there before. I can recall a few times where we would play a song that I just couldn't stand to play live and each time I would pray that we didn't get a reaction. That way when we talked about how each song went, after the show, I could say "yeah, that one is just not working, we should drop it." Problem was that they almost always got a good reaction so I knew I didn't have an argument. Oh the trials and turbulations of playing in a cover band.;) :)
  17. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Seems to me the simpler a song, the more the crowd loves it, the easy-er to play, the more I hate it.:confused: :confused:
  18. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    Funny that you should ask...



    At Least right in Atlanta it is....

    Actually you would be surprised the 'snooty joint' that we play every first Friday of the month is pretty responsive and energetic to our tunes-selection (we've spent the last 19 months tailoring to this crowd). Talking to any of those patrons, is another story. :spit:


    You can ask any ATLien Bassist (Siff, JT, Bassmonkeee...), there is a section of town here called Buckhead and it has got to be the most 'snootiest', really hard to gauge and real tough to please. Usually the cover gigs we do in B'head would be followed by DJ'd muzak at 1am and the 'snoots' become more energetic to the pre-recorded crap and bouce around.... kinda insulting, but hey they pay us for a slot to fill...

    ... but if you play in some of these more rural communities 1...2...3 hours outside of the city, the people totally dig what ever you play, cause they are happy to have you there.

    Tailoring tunes to the venue always takes a routine of patience and paying attention to the crowd during and after tunes. Sometime a Nawlins version of a Dead tune (like Dr. John doing 'Deal') will go over very well in jock and fratboy environment, and sometimes they react like... 'dude don't play yer hippie **** here!'
  19. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I'll take a "dive" working class crowd before the "Uptown Wine and Croissant" types.

    Dive crowds are there to have a good time. Uptown types want someone to entertain them.
  20. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    Yeah exactly... Last time the 'Squirrels' and I played this place half-way b'tween Athens and Atlanta (Chips Bar and Grill), this was the result:


    The people even helped us to haul our gear back to the cars, after the gig!! In 'Snootiville' people barely move out of the way when you are trying to break the gear down.

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