original bands/cover bands/artists/musicians

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    hmmm... not sure how to word this.

    i play in a cover band and an original band. i've played in many of each actually. i've noticed i usually get along well and become friends with the people in the original bands, and feel like i'm with people from a different planet in the cover bands.

    in another thread someone brought up the subject of musicians vs artists. i realized that this probably has a lot to do with it. i think there's a difference, and i think musicians are run by different things than artists are. i also realize that someone can be both, and i'm not necessarily judging either, just noting that they're different.

    anybody notice differences between these 2 types of people?

    musicians/artists :: cover bands/original bands
  2. Being in a cover band and an original band are not mutually exclusive. Do both. What I'm saying is when you play covers you are forced to learn stuff that you may have otherwise ignored or never discovered on your own "jamming" course.
    Music is a constant learning experience. My cover band experience has taught me more than any instructor ever did. I've had to learn country lines, jazzy stuff, funk, fast punk, slap, polka, dub etc.
    On my own I may never have learned a country swing bass groove. But now it's in my tool box and should I ever want to use it it's right there. I used to shy away from Reggae, but after I started to learn Reggae tunes I discovered how cool they can be and have since incorporated similar grooves in my own songwriting. I totally dig the reggae dub thing now.

    All the jazz greats learn the standards as a matter of course. I think all rockers should do the same. Learn the standards of your genre.

    Covers is not a four letter word!
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    with all due respect that has nothing to do with the thread... i do play in both, and i'm not discounting the value of playing covers. i agree with you.

    i'm talking about the personality of people who who exclusively play covers and people who write their own stuff....

    someone in the thread that inspired this one suggested to ask what are the aspirations and motivations of each. what drives you - in music, AND life.
  4. I think I just stated that my friend. It's about contantly learning. Thats the drive. As far as personality goes I've met great people and assh*les alike in both original and cover bands. In both cases lead singers always seem to have a hair up their arse. But I have to say when you can pull off that Jimmy Page lick or Jonsey groove just like the original it can make you hold your shoulders a little higher. In kind when a roomfull of people are stomping their feet to your composition that can make you puff your chest out as well.

    What I have found is a good cover band's musicians will have little patience with learning a song right. Most cover bands I play in do not reherse very much if at all. Everyone is expected to be a pro and learn their parts just like the record to start with and get it right (songs can and will morph, but you gotta start with the original arrangment). So when someone is not prepared it can be aggrevating. Maybe that impatience can be perceived as Ego but it's more about professionalism. Thats what I strive for, professionalism. Being well prepared is what drives me. I don't like to waste my band mates time and I don't want them wasting mine either. So we all expect each other to do their homework. Especially if you ever do sub work. You may find yourself playing with cat's you've never met before. But as long as you all learned the tune you'll sound like you've always played together.
    I have found in original projects people will do alot of the "work" at the rehersal and not have done homework .
    SO maybe it's the confidence you can play the song just like the original that comes off like Ego.
    I also think there is a level of insecurity when you are playing your own music. Your never sure how people will respond. When I play "The Ocean" by Zepplin I KNOW the house will dig it. When I play my own tune "La Guardia" I'm never sure how the house will react.
    If someone tells me they don't care for Zepplin, oh well you can't please everyone. When someone tells me they aren't crazy about my own tune, it cuts to the bone.
    I don't think you can seperate the artist from the musician. I think it's one in the same. Playing a cover tune right is an art in itself.
  5. I have a good friend, who is a musician in a bunch of top 40 type cover bands. Basically, he's a professional musician; teaching during the days and gigging at night and doing session work. I don't think there's an instrument made that he couldn't pick up and be playing competently inside of a month. Blows me away whenever I think about it.

    Musically, he's years ahead of me or anyone else in my band (50% original stuff at the moment and working towards 100%). However, he always tells me how impressed he is that we write our own songs. He claims he just doesn't have the knack for song-writing and would rather just play other people's music. Also blows my mind whenever I think about it.

    Maybe it's a left brain/right brain thing?
  6. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    This is a funny thread for me because the band I play in now (covers) is the exact same band that I played original music with for a while. We used to play originals but somehow we evolved into a cover band. I'm actually having more fun now than with the originals, but we still play those out every now and then.
  7. You know it occured to me... Alot of the Original bands I've been in have had one or two main songwriters. Occasionally I'll get a tune in ala George Harrison, Maybe an occasional bridge/middle eight, but for the most part I'm playing someone else's tune. One I didn't write. So I guess it's no different than playing a tune written by Jimmy Page. Either way I didn't write it. I get to do my thang with the bass part, but I can do that with "covers" as well.

    Writing a hit is no easy task. There are but a select few who can do it really well. I write but unfortunatly I haven't moved the masses (yet?)But I can play. So your buddies reaction to someone who can write does not suprise me in the least. We aren't all prolific. SO I play more songs I haven't written than ones I have. The point is I Play.

    Side note: It's a real wake up the first time you learn about publishing and songwriting credits. A non writing band member will not get half of what a writing member can, yet you all put in the same hours at rehersal and you all ride in that same crappy smelly van. Really changed my perspective when I got that wake up call. Made me look at compensation in a whole new light.
  8. i find i have trouble writeing stuff when iam in aband cause i feel a need to pease otheres,pluse most of the bands around hear are like screamo,emo hardcore typ stuff. kinda sucks cause ima more into,funk jazz rock, and sabbth typ meatl not punk guiatr lines with a deathmeatl effects box with really bad screaming (screammo or hard core in my area.)
  9. It's funny, 'cause all the bands I've been in have played original material with a few covers thrown in here and there, but I was not the primary song-writer until my present situation. I just get more of a rush playing my own songs than someone elses' song. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be jumping around and shaking like an idiot playing "the red and the black" or "the trooper" as oppose to an original song, but it's so much sweeter to me when people clap for a song you wrote (or boo, as the case may be -I got thick skin :D ).
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Well, I encouraged Joe to post this thread, but the more I think about this topic, the more complex it seems to become...

    I think I've decided that - in my mind - it's a player's motivations and goals that really determine the content of his character, rather than the type of music he plays. I think I know the stereotype that Joe must encounter in the NYC covers scene (never been there but I'm guessing) - guys and girls with great chops, great gear, great looks - and no apparent soul. The problem with that stereotype is that some of the most driven, ambitious originals projects I've encountered are made up of people who fit the same profile, or close to it.

    And to make things even more complex, I have to say that I've found myself feeling exactly like mcbassdude. I did a stint in an original band shopping their independent first album to major labels (click for sample). Their old bassist quit right after the album was in the bag - so I was literally playing someone else's parts. I met my wife while playing with this band, and when I jumped ship for another band, she commented that the new band's music wasn't as cool - but the guys in the band were way more fun - rather than pursuing some grim death march to fame, they were playing music for the love and joy of it, and it showed in their spirit and personality. Even in that original project though, I eventually felt confined by the band's style. I was crafting parts that suited the songwriter's style, and longing to explore some different and new musical territory. For me, playing covers can give me an opportunity to pursue some of the versatility I crave.

    I think that until you get to a level where people are strongly driven by money and success -- or the promise of it (i.e., the motivation and goals thing) -- you'll find nice folks on either side of the cover/originals fence.

    Hmmm... well, I feel like even with this long post (as is my style) I've painted the issue in broad strokes and not hit it head-on, so I will be curious to read what others have to say...
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    actually it's more like a bunch of back stabbing ego maniacs who could care less about anything but their small little world. they roll their eyes at any talk of god, feelings, the world, the environment, growing as an individual, striving towards being a better person, trying to do the right thing... that kind of thing.

    of course they're not all like that. an example of how they operate, which i believe i've posted before is:

    the top cover band around our parts came to one of our first gigs. they're famous in this little pond. they're great friends with the singer, hugging, drinking, pal-ing around. my drummer (also the nerve's drummer) comes to me outside and says, "holy #$%@! they (the other band) wants me to play drums for them! Please don't tell anyone I told you that!" they came to our gig to try and steal our drummer! they're booked solid, 4 times a week - no way he could do both bands. and these are guys in their 30s. when i left i had to say something cuz i was burning up. i shook one of the guys hands and simply said, "dude. when you need a drummer, put an ad in the voice instead of trying to steal one. bye." I felt a lot better.

    most of the guys i've encountered around here seem to operate that way... then again, maybe, and i'd actually like to think, it's just the ones i've been running into. i hope so - but i don't think so.
  12. I know it's hard to lose players, but I try to never begrudge someone if they can get a better gig. Sometimes that's the price you pay to play with good players. I've been on both sides of that equation. Sometimes when the talent in the ad's run thin, you gotta go headhunting. That's why it's always wise to have back-up players who can sub at a moments notice.
  13. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Like I said - no apparent soul :meh:

    Some of the original projects I've encountered have had folks every bit as ego-driven and back stabbing as that, though. In the original act I mentioned in my previous post, the frontman tried to bring me into a conspiracy to boot out one of the guitarists - a founding member, who brought me into the band, whom I'd known for many years - because he didn't have the right look or hunger for a record contract.

    I was talking with a guitarist I'm working with on a side project and we figured out we had both talked to a local guy who's trying to put together a band to support the radio-friendly songs he's written. I didn't even audition - I could tell the guy was motivated by a desire to be a rockstar and had the same personality flaws of the above mentioned frontman. Anyway, this guitarist, a Berklee grad, had played with this act briefly, but quit when he was asked to stick to the guitar lines on the demo. We both concluded that this guy had some real talent, but was a soulless SOB who was motivated by success rather than by artistic vision. I couldn't imagine discussing anything related to personal growth or betterment with that guy, either...

    Anyway, that's just my personal experience - I don't mean to say that anyone else's couldn't be different from that...

  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    so you're saying it's perfectly ok to act as though you're someone's friend, go their gig, and then behind their back try to get one of their players to quit their band and join yours???

    do you play in a cover band in NY????
  15. Thats not what I said at all. What I said was when you play with good players sometimes they get noticed and get offered a more lucrative gig. I try not to begrudge my fellow players when opportunity knocks. Around here in So.Cal. is kinda understood that if the Rolling Stones call you've got to go. Me personally if I take another gig I always honor whatever gig commitments I already have on the books or find a suitable sub.
  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yeah, I've found unpleasant musicians on both sides of the spectrum. A lot of times you'll find cover musicians are egotistical just because they are musicians. A lot of times you'll find original musicians are VERY pretentious. Some of them act like playing covers is beneath them and anyone who does is a "sellout". (or whatever meaningless pretentious lingo that people use)

    Mcbassdude brought up a great point about songwriting credits. But then we get into the question of what constitutes a songwriting credit. If you wrote the bass line or drum part of a song are you entitled to a songwriting credit? Or are lyrics, chord progressions and the melody the only grounds? I know I've been in bands that mostly play covers, (May have a few originals) and whom really don't aspire to do anything more than play club dates on the weekends. I'll be sitting around plinking around on guitar and I'll play something I originally wrote. Someone in the band will like it and say they want to write lyrics to it. I'm always reluctant about that though, because I don't want to waste a copyright on a song that isn't going to really go anywhere. Then I think it could be possible that I could find myself in a band further down the road, who's goal is to play originals and take it as far as they can. (I'm not saying they might want to be superstars, but they may want to go in the studio and record orginal music)
  17. No. The melody and the Lyric are essentially what gets the copyright and the publishing and the royalties.
  18. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Thank you! Finally someone who sees it my way.....

    However I dn't agree with the part about sub work. Most of my gigs are sub or fill-in gigs. Some bands will go to the trouble of sending you a CD or a set list, but 9 times out of 10, you'll turn up at the gig be asked to play completely different set tunes.

    My friends from the Original band days give me plenty of grief about returning to the covers scene - until they find out how much money I make :)
  19. Yeah, don't you hate it when you've taken the time to learn a tune and show up at the gig only to hear, oh yeah we don't do that one anymore, or oh yeah we haven't all learned that one yet. AAAARRRGGGHHH!
  20. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    or "we changed the key coz it was too high for the singer".

    YOu get used to it. Actually you come to expect it. Nowdays I'll learn the songs, but only loosley. I'm better off being quick on my feet than being rehearsed......