1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Need opinions - How perfect do you want it??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by soulgroovn, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. soulgroovn


    Oct 25, 2002
    New Haven CT
    So we're at rehearsal last night and we end up having an argument. (what!? - an argument at rehearsal?? :p ) Anyway, one guitar player is getting furious because he thinks we're not playing the songs tight enough and as true to the original as he'd like. The point is, we're a cover band in an area where there are 10 or 15 other bands just like us playing the same songs to the same people and for relatively the same amount money. (Ask fastplant about the scene, he plays around here too and they're really good btw).

    My question is, how far do you go with this? I'm all for taking some pride, knowing the songs, and not embarrassing myself on stage but how polished do you need to get before it becomes rediculous? We all care about the music and want to get it right but when you get down to it, we're playing modern rock covers for 150 drunk people. Not dream theater tunes in a room full of musicians.

    Our argument was a scene right out of the movie "Rock Star". We're playing a VHalen tune and someone missed a vocal queue. Because of that, we therefore SUCK playing the tune and we should drop it entirely. But whenever we play the song live people are all over it.

    What do you guys think?
  2. I play in cover bands and some of the previous bandleaders I've worked with can be downright anal. "It's not perfect!!" Well excuse me, I can't overdub live.

    I think there has to be a reasonable balance. Get it as close as you can, by that I mean the breaks must be in the right spot, the verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus arrangement must be right, and the solos must be pretty close to the original. But there comes a point when you can't duplicate the record exactly. Like endings, since most records fade out.

    A tape recording of rehearsal can help. The tape doesn't lie, it'll let you know if it sounds rough or tight.

    But if you're competing with other cover bands, you may have to do extra work to be more "right" than your competition. Even if you are playing to drunks.

    Unfortunately, live gigs are usually not as tight or as good as the best rehearsals. Fortunately they're usually not as bad as some of the rehearsals either.:cool:
  3. I agree. If you are playing in a market with 10 or 15 other cover bands doing the SAME material, then you should strive to play them the tightest of the 10 or 15 other bands.

    My suggestion to stand out without being anal about perfection is to look for songs that NO OTHER band in your area does, or ones you can do hands down better.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I will take this opportunity to revert to my original signature. I think a band should strive for technical perfection at rehearsal, then cut 'er loose at the gig. Most audience members won't be able to articulate what makes your band sound better than the rest, but being tight will be the underlying reason most of the time. Sloppy playing is just that. Listen to the record. They played it tight, then they tightened it up even more at mix-down.

    Oh, one last thing. If your band isn't in tune, YOU SUCK! Period. Again, the audience may not be able to put their finger on it, but they'll spread the word that you suck. In both of my bands, tuners are mandatory equipment, and everybody tunes at least between each set, and between songs if necessary. The Boss TU-2 is a relatively inexpensive way to do this.
  5. I concur wholeheartedly with Munji.

    The band needs to be tight, and in tune, otherwise it's poop. I've done covers before, and if there's one thing I've learned; it's that you need to be tight before you can be loose. If you can play tight, but loosen up for gigs, you sound fine. If you can't play tight and loosen up, you sound like utter crap.

    Hard lesson I learned the hard way.
  6. soulgroovn


    Oct 25, 2002
    New Haven CT
    Thanks for the input everyone and I say this without cockiness or an ego. Yes, we are tight and we are definitely in tune and we also go over great at every show. I guess I should rephrase my original post to "we've reached a high level of proficiency, one that will hopefully help us stand out among the other bands but does a single band member have the right to flip out on another band member for missing one note?"
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    If they get it right themselves 100% of the time AND they can help you improve your handling of the bassline, it MIGHT be reasonable for them to gently help out. However, I guess when it comes down to it, there's a reason why so many bands split over 'musical differences' - if the guitarist wants to reach a carbon copy standard and you want to reinterpret the songs, that ain't gonna work....

    Where do the rest of the band stand in this debate?

  8. If your other members are flipping out when you miss one note then you are playing with a bunch of uptight a******s! I would rather see players aggressively playing a tune and having fun and maybe missing occasionally than a bunch of uptight guys who think that every note has to be exactly "perfect". Who is to say that the original band played it the ultimate way to begin with? And if you pull it off note for note and tone for tone what have you really accomplished? Congratulations, you now sound like every other Top-40 band on the planet. So what if you are slightly tighter, most people in the audience will never know the difference! And who in the audience wants to watch another bunch of uptight guys who snarl at each other over the slightest glitch?

    IMHO you are better off taking those songs and making them your own. People like to see bands that have their own style and sound. They can hear the clones anywhere and at any time. Very seldom do they get to hear a fresh approach. Maybe the question isn't 'Should I have to put up with this?' but actually 'Who says we have to be perfect by someone elses standard?" Good luck, sounds like this is only the tip of the iceberg in your band. :cool:
  9. Hey soulgroovn!

    I used to live near you, we're practically brothers! Isn't that cool?!

  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego

    No. That's what you call immature. In my bands, I assume that whoever made the mistake knows they made it and will try to correct it next time. If I hear the same mistake two or three times, I'll ask them if they know they played it wrong. If they say yes, I don't say anything else. If they say no, I say, "Let's listen to it on the record and work it out." Any other band member is free to do the same thing. That's the difference between a band of 40+ geezers and one of 30- hosers.
  11. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Vocal harmony is very important, too. If youre doing tunes that have two and three part harmonys, get them right.
  12. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    There's nothing wrong with getting the song as tight as it can possibly be. That's a good thing.

    Occasionally there may be a song that just never quite gels, even in a good band, and you're better off ditching it than taking it public.

    Your bandmate is off base, though, if he's throwing a fit about it, ragging on other bandmates, etc., especially if it's a minor problem that can be addressed.

    If you guys are actively gigging, that's good. I've seen guys who find fault with every little thing, not wanting to play publicly until everything is A-1 perfect. In theory this isn't a bad thing, but in reality it's very often a case of the naysayer's own insecurities about performing that are at the root of it. That is a very bad thing, to run away from, screaming. :)
  13. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    It can be tight while not being 100% the original line..
  14. Right. Unless you are playing Handel's Messiah, God didn't write the part, just some guy did. There is no one best bass line to most songs. Sometimes, you do have to nail a signature part, but for the most part (assuming you are a good bassist yourself) you can come up with something equally or more interesting that fits the feel and makes the band tight.
  15. Here's my take on things from observing audiences who go to see cover bands. First off, since I'm a musician, I tend to listen for good musicianship. However, most audience memebers want to be entertained visually and not just aurally. Therefore, the cover bands that I see succeed are ones that capture the attention of the crowd and involve the crowd in the show. They have great personalities and presence on stage. They crack jokes and make everyone laugh. When it comes to the music, they are usually good players to great players. I've seen ok players get a crowd so into show that it didn't matter that they weren't great players. The crowd was dancin and havin a blast. I've also seen great players with very little crowd involement and stage presence go over very badly. Why? Because an audience listens with their eyes about 75% of the time. It's sad, but it's true. When it comes making the music tight, it needs to be done but the the "show" part also needs to be down tight, especially if you're competing with other cover bands.