Originals or Covers?!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by opivy3056, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. opivy3056


    Oct 14, 2004
    Annapolis, MD

    When you play out what do you typically play? Covers? Original material? or a mix of both?

    Many bands I know swear by their originals, they're all about getting their own music out into the world.....saying that you can't play covers if you want to "make it".

    Personally, we prefer to win peoples hearts by covering songs they know and love, and then convert them with our own songs. :cool: Too many bands out there are just trying to write as many originals as possible without considering the quality.

    What kinds of songs do you play at your shows?
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Sometimes all originals, sometimes all covers, sometimes a mix. I depends on the gig and the crowd.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    generally covers, with some originals mixed in depending upon the band. Knowing your audience helps, and so does having a large set list. It's always helpful to be able to tailor your song list to the audience present at the gig. it's easy to lose sight of the fact that we are fisrt and formost entertainers. when playing live, it's all about the audience, not you. Nothin gwrong with being an all original band though, as long as the songs are good. an original band with bad songs is just a horrible thing. one band i knew called the FOG had a bunch of fantastic originals. none of them was a knockoff of a cover tune, but they all sounded like you should know them. it was always funny to hear people in the audience ask each other the name of the songs "i know this song, i just can't think of the name!"
  4. After almost 3 years of 80% covers, our band is finally moving. We're planning to use only 1 cover (out of dozens) and have several good originals made already. It's hard not to play covers since they're just so fun to play, but we're finally looking to make the switch and have been writing nothing but originals for the last few months.
  5. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    We used to play a ton, but now we do about 1 or 2 a show.
  6. We've alwayts had our own (for own read crap) tracks but our highlight has always been the covers.
    However as I am trying to convince the band we need to try and move away and get our own stuff down, especially since it's actually starting to become decent now.
    Covers are so fun and it's hard to move away from 'em but in my mind we really need to get our own stuff for gigs and things perhaps with one or two covers thrown in.
    Originals seem like the next stage to me. When you start out you play covers and slowly you work to your own stuff...even if it ain't amazing.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    In my experience, this is most commonly stated by hacks that don't have the talent to play covers.
  8. Never have played a cover at a gig, hopefully never will. The idea of playing other peoples music has never apealed to me. Not to mention that if the best song you have is your own rendition of a "classic" song, you're pretty much Efffed. Not that your own songs may be bad, but for the simple fact people may already have a connection with the tune. But I guess if you own tunes are not good enough to win the crowd over in the first place you have bigger problems.

    Just remember if you use a cover to break your band when you make it, you get get no $$$$$$ for it. And most bands only get one single released. Why waste that chance to make someone else money?
  9. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I think what people mean when they say you can't play covers if you want to 'make it' has to do with making it in the big sense, in which case it's actually correct, in my opinion. There aren't too many Big Name Cover bands out there on the radio on touring the world.

    You could 'make it' in the sense of making enough money to live on playing covers, but you're not going to get to that 'musician's dream' level of exposure or 'stardom' if you keep playing only covers. Unless maybe there's an all-star cover band out there on that level that I'm not aware of...

    Or, there is the opinion that musicians who play covers are a lower class of player, and I don't think that's fair at all. If bands have to play covers to get going, I don't think they should be disrespected for that. Of course, I don't want to play covers- but I do when the situation calls for it. I just hate to see people get elitist or condescending about it.
  10. playmybass


    Mar 28, 2004
    Tucson, Az
    We end every set with one of two covers. Either Smash your enemies by hatebreed, or eye of the tiger, metal style, with breakdowns.
  11. rotorheadcase


    Apr 20, 2004
    All covers.....but we like to take standard covers and put a different spin on them. Audiences like hearing familiar stuff but seem to respond really well when you do it in a tasteful but unexpected style.

    Plus, we're crap songwriters :D
  12. I think that's a great thing. Playing covers but really adding your own style and changing em round. Or playing older versions of songs and rocking them up a bit..erm.. or something.
    That's something we've pretty much failed to do. Sure we put our own sound to it, but that's just cos it's us playing it and not the actual band, naturally. But really chaning it round and adding your own twists to it is something we don't really do...or even the old style cover either... but oh well, the sooner we move out of covers the better anyways really.
    It's great fun to play covers, and you're missing out if you never try but essentially there's nothing more rewarding than making your own original, good song.
  13. I play every weekend doing cover songs. I need all you original bands to pick it up a little cause I need more good tunes to play. :)
  14. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    I like covers. They are familiar, fun and patrons/club owners like them (especially if you pick ones you can pull off pretty good).

    Originals? Hmmm... IME, usually they are appreciated far more by their band/author than anyone else. Most that I've heard just aren't that good. Sorry.
  15. 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
    We play other peoples' originals. Famous people.
  16. Never been too big on covers. I can understand that some people think that entertaining the audience is your purpose, but I never really cared. I played (I am not currently performing, and this may be the reason) for me. For the chance to put something together and execute it the way I wanted. For the chance to really enjoy music with 4 other guys I grew up with. Granted, we needed some people in the bar...but mostly our friends and the few loyal followers that we gathered would make up the "front row". We used to play the kind of places that did not have a built-in audience. The people that showed up were there to hear originals from whatever bands were scheduled that night. Some liked it, some didn't. In the time that band was together we wrote 25 songs. We played one cover... a completely butchered Chris Issac song.

    When the audience did get into a show, it was always cool to know that someone else dug what we were doing...but I was really in it for me. Selfish? Sure.

    Sorry, I got off the topic. Do I play covers? No. Mostly because I enjoy writing music. In my limited scope of experience: it's easier to get a crowd into music that they know and connect with. Getting them to connect with originals is usually more difficult.

  17. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Good one Munji.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    There's been other threads like this one, and I'll say what I said there:

    It ONLY matters if you're playing rock music.

    No other music genre places ANY importance on original material, period.

    Rock musicians are kinda stupid that way :bag: because they limit themselves by their own ability to write songs. In other genres, people have the pleasure of playing the best songs out there from the best songwriters out there.

    Don't go whining about "self expression" either :p because good interpreters will find songs that allow them to express themselves. There's no guarantee that the composer will be able to draw the most out a song.