New Band = New Song List - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by TRCat, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Hello fellow TB’ers. I’m requesting some feedback from the collective on a few questions I have pertaining to my new band that’s just getting underway. This may take a few minutes of your time, but I feel I need to give you all the specifics up-front so I can get the best possible feedback from you.

    Here’s the background. New cover band, been together about 2 months – 7 “rehearsals.” 5 piece – bass, two guitars, drums and lead singer. Based in/around Peterborough, UK – approx 175,000 and located about 75mi north of London. The singer and I are the “leaders” and we get along very well, and we stipulated from the beginning that the band would be very democratic in nature.

    Singer – 26, a Brit; good showman, not broad in vocal range, a combo of John Popper + Meatloaf + guy from “The Commitments.” In fact his previous band did mostly “Commitment type” covers.
    Lead Guitar – 53, a Brit; exceptional guitarist, very smooth, creative, can play anything. Very stoic and not a “showboat” - has no vocal ability.
    Rhythm Guitar – 49, a Yank from Boston; not as stoic, semi-animated. Rock solid chops and can do some vocals.
    Bass (me) – 51, a Yank from “Joisey” – exit 15W; a bass “baby” – been playing for around 3 years. Can barely walk and chew gum so can’t contribute vocals – perhaps in the future.
    Drummer – 25, Yank from Texas; call sign “Bam-Bam” as he tends to get loud. He and I played together in previous Surf band. Solid timekeeper but doesn’t do vocals.

    Idea for the band was to play a mix of material from the “Blues-Rock” world. We all have full-time day jobs and agreed up-front to gig – for pay, about once a month, but no more than twice a month. So, we’re definitely a “hobby band” and are not concerned with making it as a “in demand” cover band.

    So, I provided all the above to give you an idea of our demographics, age and backgrounds, musical direction and future aspirations. So here’s my questions – based on the below songs we’ve learned and are considering - what kind of band are we…lol? Are the songs we’re considering to broad – too scattered? Any material we should add or drop? One of the reasons I’m asking is because I recently suggested we consider adding “Seven Nation Army,” to our growing list of “to-do’s” but a few of the guy’s stated it’s not a good fit for who/what we are – fair enough. Another debate was selecting one of three possible Stones tunes – “Jumping Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar,” or “Paint It Black.” I’m leaning toward “PIB” as I love the vibe and Brian’s sitar.

    Of note, the below song list was developed with input and agreement of all parties – not one bit of drama, everyone has been very accommodating and easy going!

    Song's we've learned to date:
    "Stand by Me" – Ben E. King
    "Hard To Handle" – Black Crowes
    "Fire" – Jimi Hendrix
    "Fortunate Son" - CCR
    "Have Love Will Travel" – Black Keys
    "Sunshine of Your Love" - Cream
    "Bad to the Bone" – George Thorogood
    "The Joker" – Steve Miller
    "Louie, Louie" – The Kingsmen
    "Crosscut Saw" – Albert King/SRV
    "No Particular Place to Go" – Chuck Berry
    "Good Golly Miss Molly" - CCR
    "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" – Georgia Satellites
    "La Grange" – ZZ Top

    Songs on our "to learn" list:
    "Born Under a Bad Sign" – Albert King
    "Who Do You Love" - George Thorogood
    “Train Kept a Rollin’ – Aerosmith
    “Baby Please Don’t Go” – Muddy Waters
    “One Way Out” – Allman Bros.
    “Takin’ Care of Business” – BTO
    “Drift Away” – Dobie Gray
    “All Right Now” – Free
    “One Bourbon, Scotch, Beer” - George Thorogood
    “Smokestack Lightnin’” – Howlin’ Wolf
    “Red House” – Jimi Hendrix
    “Boom Boom” – John Lee Hooker
    “Authority Song” – John Mellencamp - I know, WTFO?! :)
    “Gimme Three Steps” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
    “Rock Me Baby” – Robin Trower
    “Statesboro Blues” – Taj Mahal
    “Stranglehold” – Ted Nugent
    “Kansas City” – Wilbert Harrison
    “Tush” – ZZ Top
    “Going My Way” – Lenny Kravitz

    “Brown Sugar”/”Jumpin’ Jack Flash”/”Paint it Black” – The Stones

    I just want to get some opinions from folks outside the band about our direction and material, basically getting an early “course check” as I know we’re not sailing in “uncharted” territory – some of you already “have the T-shirts.”

    Finally, I know I can never refund the time it took to read, never mind respond to this post, but I very much appreciate those who do.


  2. Trcat, looks like a good start material would work here in Jersey ha ha ha. How about the UK is this what they listen to? We put together a starter list and after a few shows we heard songs people were calling out or coming up and requesting. Later on we put a suggestion box on our website and used that as a gauge for what we will hit them with in the future. Good luck RTS
  3. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Inactive Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    You are one step away from playing Ronnie Scott's. I mean one step away from playing outside of Ronnie Scott's. LOL!

    You are whatever Bill Wyman considers himself. I'd say roots rock band, or classic rock, although I don't think that is what they call it over you side of the pond. Hey, what is your great day job? Maybe I'll join you over there....
  4. The "will it play/pay in the UK" was one of my concerns being that the Rhythm guitarist and myself are both from the East Coast and of the same age. However, both the Brits are fine with the compromises - Satellites, Aerosmith, Skynyrd, etc. I guess the true test will be the feedback from when we play out.

    Thanks for your response "homes!"

    You calling me a busker TR?! :p No, but I'm hearing ya! As to our day jobs - maybe not exactly "great." Me: CDR, USN, RG: LCDR, USN, Drums: SSgt, USA; LG: Former London cabbie - ret.; and drummer: Director, TV shopping channel. So, TR you ready to "sail the seven sea's?!" lol

    BTW guys, I could kill for some Jimmy Buffs, or a 4-finger Pastrami on rye, or a decent pizza pie....
  5. SeaBassSteve


    Nov 14, 2008
    I'll reply later as im in a successful royston / Cambridge based cover band just downthe road. Your set is mostly good for the scene but think you need to add a bit more youth into it. ( it's bedtime and I'm on iPhone )
  6. SeaBass, lookin forward to hearing from you and getting your input!

    Cheers mate!

  7. SeaBassSteve


    Nov 14, 2008
    I would say that it will appeal to the older generation more so than others. I wouldn't expect that set list to be playing many weddings or functions but will go down very well in pubs etc. It's definitely stuff to listen to and enjoy than to dance to.
    We have a number of your songs in our repertoire but are rarely used as our bookings and gigs tend to be aimed at the age group 20-30. We usually chuck some like stan by me in for weddings but really we are a bit more modern stuff. I'd happily listen to your set all night though!
  8. Here in Australia I'd call it a Classic/Pub Rock set. It would do well in the right venue, but I don't know about the UK scene.

    I do a bunch of gigs with a few different bands using much of this setlist and a few more '80's songs thrown in as well (Robert Palmer, Bryan Adams, Pat Benatar, etc.) and it kills in the right venues.

    The secret, IMO, is to pick 'n' choose where you're gonna gig. At the hip inner-city venues I think you'd die the death, but a bit more mature crowd would dig it.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    I'd call it a blues-rock band and yes, you should have Stones on this list and not White Stripes, at least not Seven Nation Army - there are other White Stripes tunes that would blend in better. I would vote Brown Sugar rather than Paint It Black because people will dance to it easier.

    Also, I wouldn't assume that younger crowds wouldn't like this kind of a classic set. I've seen bars of 20-somethings completely get into Cream and the Stones.
  10. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    As a New Jerseyan myself, I know what it's like to not have Jimmy Buff's for an extended period. Nobody should have to go through that.
  11. Another Blues rock UK bassist here, further over in Bucks and I agree with Seabass, Stones songs always go down well, even if it seems a bit 'old hat' to be trotting out the same old choons. Our website also has a feedback option and we are starting to get some requests come through, usually the ole favourites that we tried to avoid ha! As long as you go for a blend of 'stuff you like' and 'stuff the crowd likes' you won't go far wrong I reckon!

    As a rule here in UK, as Seabass said, we tend to listen in pubs rather than dance the night away.....must be that great British 'stiff upper lip' thing lol
  12. Being a decade older than the oldest bass-man mentioned, I thought that I could get a word in on set lists. I am in Berkshire, UK, with a year of my life dedicated to working in club-bands on U.S. Army bases in Germany during the Vietnam war. A 6 night a week job including several residencies meant that versatility was the name of the game. Starting off with basic material we built up over 1000 songs dropping some as we went along but adding new. We were required to do 5 sets a night, of 45-50 minutes with a 10 minute break. 60s songs proliferated at the time. Country & Western pleased those fans, Soul and Tamla, their fans.
    We are now going to talk part-time. You are averaging one rehearsal per week, so I hope that the material is prepared and ready to hone at rehearsals. It will save time.
    The age range, I cannot comment. Amateur Brass Bands range from school kids to pensioners. The Jersey thing - Jersey is a Channel Island near Guernsey where I have antecedents. The fact that pioneers named many places in the Wild West after places in Europe is a mere historical sentiment.
    Any group or band has to agree on material. Methodical approach to arranging and rehearsing them would be preferable. Sometimes someone won't like playing a particular song so it is best to drop it before an atmosphere creates bad vibes. There are many more to choose from. Start with 2 sets of 45 minutes to an hour. a good 2 dozen songs.
    If you are confident you can switch them around to suit the occasion. Otherwise play them in a strict order. Once done, start a third set. There is an almost infinite supply from 1960 onwards. As it happens, I know a good number of the original artists personally. Don't worry too much - I have heard that some of the big name bands had a very modest set list of songs. If you require a bit more detail and attention - go to my website and click on Contact Us to send a message. Escutcheon Media - Home
  13. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Blues/roots rock with a pinch of frat pop.

    IOW, party fuel.
  14. Totally agree we're shaping up to be a pub band but we've got no issues with that. However, I would like to ensure we have some material that might cause a punter to "feel" like they'd want to dance! :)

    Indeed, it’s all about selecting the right material for the right venue, hence our initial “scatter shot” approach. However, even though we have a few old farts in the band I don't want to end up playing to just the OAP crowd! BTW, good luck in the World cup!

    Yeah we’re all on board with adding some Stones – at least one. One of the reasons I like PiB is that it’s not covered as much Brown Sugar – we’ll see how the other band members feel. I agree with you that some of the younger generation does indeed like the older stuff – esp. when they haven’t been beaten to death with the same old stuff!

    Ain’t that the truth!! Although I am digging my Curry!!

    Howdy neighbor! It is indeed “all in the blend” esp. being a hobby band with a goal of only gigging 2x month. The other aspect to keep in mind is that we have a few US Air Force bases w/in 45min, hence some of the Southern Rock staples. So true for the most part about dancing – that’s almost exclusively the domain of the endless “Ga-Ga” clubs at least in the P’boro area!

    The Human Juke Box Band – wow that’s some seriously heavy lifting! “Wild West “ eh, lol? For all the Yanks/Jersey boyz, relax, Arthur is only “taking the Mick!”

    Hey fellas, thanks for the insight and comments, much appreciated!
  15. Didn't forget you Eddie G as you stated exactly what I envisioned for the band. Is there a formula to create a "booty shakin, head-banger?" If so I want it! :bassist:
  16. cracked_machine


    Jan 8, 2010
    You've got a lot of classic rock there (not necessarily a bad thing). You might find it's lost on a younger crowd. I assume you're planning to play pub gigs? Not many clubs take cover bands. It would be a good idea to ask the pub landlord what kind of music they normally play on the jukebox as this will be a good indication of the type of music the regulars/locals like.

    For the younger crowd you might want to throw in some indie rock type stuff.
  17. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    The songs are there. If you play 'em with conviction, people will want in on it. There's competence, and then there's confidence. Godspeed, John Glenn.
  18. Assuming you guys can execute, interact with and get the audience on your side, and put on a good show, you'd get bookings in my neck of the woods in the pseudo-biker corner rock n roll bars that cater to the 35 to 60-year-old crowd.

    I have no idea how that translates to the UK. They seem to appreciate most things American (especially in music), but as you said, the proof's in the pudding. Gotta fly it up the flag pole and see who salutes.

  19. SeaBassSteve


    Nov 14, 2008
    A very good point. We keep a few blues and elvis songs for those gigs. We practice a few hundred yards from bassingbourn barracks ( ex usaaf ( home of Memphis belle ) now uk army ) and also the east of England is littered with air bases. Kinda helps our singer is ex naval airforce officer.

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