Retiring from Cover Band Scene- had more than enough- What now?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by obimark, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Ok- I'm officially retiring from the Cover Band scene of playing songs to crappy audiences with drunk "tease" girls, a way too-loud band, playing until 1 and getting home by 2 with little or no money.

    No more loud guitars and loud drummers where I struggle to even hear the notes I am playing (other than a huge boom, boom boom).

    With that said, I am considering Jazz/ Lounge type gigs as a trio or even duo. Preferably instrumental only.

    From those that do this it any better or do you hate it?
    How long are the gigs and what is the pay? How many standards would I need to learn and can I read the rest?

    Is it worth my time to pursue getting my jazz standard songs down? Or do those gigs suck just as bad?

    My criteria would be lower volume, I need to hear EVERY note I play clearly (as well as the other players), and ideally don't want to play for much more than two hours total (preferably sitting down) and I want to pack up my small combo amp and be home well before midnight with $100 to $150 in my pocket. Am I dreaming?
    MD Stingray, Charlzm, Marc61 and 6 others like this.
  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yup, you're dreaming. Jazz gigs pay very little. Think $50/man maybe
    and very few to be had. Most are picked up by music Professors in my area.
    Low audience turn out.
    Think acoustic gigs with no drums, duo/trio. Usually play around the diner time.
    Low pay, home early.Playing Pop/Rock tunes.
    Don't blame you for dropping out of the cover scene.
    It does get old.
  3. Good info- I appreciate it. I could live with the low pay but if the gigs are few and far between its not worth doing.

    I do know a lot of songs and could potentially do the pop/rock acoustic duo (with a lower volume electric bass), but most of those gigs want someone who can also sing.

    But I know one thing, it would take more money than ANY cover band is getting for me to play Slither or My Own Worst Enemy ever again. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
    David Jayne likes this.
  4. What about a tribute band?
    design, seang15 and StrangerDanger like this.
  5. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Sounds more like a function of the bands you are playing in than the entire world of cover bands. I've played in lots of cover bands where I could hear every note I played, there were no volume wars, we played lodges so we were done before midnight with $100 - $200 in our pockets.
  6. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    Do you wear earplugs when you play? I do.
    Ductapeman and arrowsun like this.
  7. Always do as well.
  8. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    We stumbled upon a venue where the owner isn't an idiot - always though they all were LOL. 8:30 to 11:30 play time and OK pay. NOTHING good happens after midnight and four hour gigs are just stoopid. Most venues compete to attract the worst of the alcoholics as those are the ones they make the most $$$ on. This one goes after those that won't go to those other venues - who sane wants to hang out with the areas worst alcoholics every weekend (the typical bar band LOL)?
    Short-scale, SwitchGear, 10cc and 3 others like this.
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    YEs, you are dreaming.. at least in my neck of the woods you are!

    Sounds like what you REALLY WANT is another band.. not retirement.. :)
    Something with some pros who know how to play, are not hearing impaired and get decent paying gigs ??
    Runnerman, Joybass and obimark like this.
  10. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    The grass is always greener. I feel you'll find reasons to dislike the jazz scene after a while too. Pick the music you enjoy listening to and playing most, and find people on the same page to play it with. If you're just playing music for a job then the fun factor slowly dissipates, no matter what genre you choose.
    tattooSAM, nolezmaj, PWV and 3 others like this.
  11. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I was in the same boat as you...for about 10 years (90's to early 2000's) I played in a very busy cover band, 3 nights a week, 50 weeks a year. I got to the point where i really wasn't having fun, all the same reasons you posted +. I dropped out of the scene for a several years, woodsheded at home, focused on my day job, and got to a comfortable point where I no longer need to do music for money. Now I can pick and choose what I play and how often, i'm a better player now and much happier.
    EdO., greggcowanom, seang15 and 2 others like this.
  12. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Pics or no drunk "tease" girls.
  13. My gut reaction, because I'm nearing the end of that arc myself:

    As I got older, I naturally found myself playing music with younger people. It's all good, I'm young at heart and in good shape physically and mentally. But I have something they don't: Experience.

    I'm determined that when I quit weekend cover bands altogether I'm going to still find ways to work with younger musicians. There is a lot of mentoring you can do and help musicians avoid the litany of counter-productive behaviors that we gripe about here on TB and elsewhere.

    I've also gotten pretty good at band management/administrative details, so even though my stage time may be reduced, I can still help bands with promo/marketing/booking/image/polishing their product, etc.

    I've also gotten fairly competent with recording, sound, and lights. I can help bands stage themselves to look and sound their best. I can help bands with demos, and songwriters with getting good marketable demos of their material. And I still play several instruments half-way decent enough to be of assistance tracking parts.

    I can see where the weekend warrior thing will loose it's charm soon (I estimate I've got a good 5-6 years left), but I doubt I'll quit being active as a musician and entrepreneur, and might even find other performance avenues. It would be a shame to just shelve all this experience that I have acquired over the decades.
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Dreaming? No. That's what I do (and have a country band that plays 2-4 times/month). I'm also an acoustic guitar player and sing. I get plenty of calls for sit-in gigs, and have a trio (sometimes a duo when one of us gets double booked) and we play wineries, restaurants, house concerts and such ... no bar gigs ... ever. That $100-150 is reasonable for a gig ... but not "per man".
    Mechanical and obimark like this.
  15. friendlybass


    Jul 19, 2012
    Jazz stuff can be hard to break into. The top dicks (and dickettes) in Denver are maybe pulling 150 a night but its not every night or even every weekend, and those guys are a tight knit group of 100 or so guys.
    If you can get it, then go for it. But id recommend just taking a break, because every time I'm ready to call it quits on a particular scene I take a bunch gigs outside that scene and end up craving it
    obimark likes this.
  16. as a quite inexperienced player myself, I have to say its frwst to see more experienced players actually wanting to help out! really cool!!!
  17. Thanks.

    And it's not like I'm the next Berry Gordy or anything, but I care about my local music scene and would like to instill healthy standards in entertainers in my area and help if I can.
    13lues likes this.
  18. Good advice- and I think I have been too quick to join cover bands in the past that I knew from the beginning weren't a good fit. Bands with Loud setlist too geared towards hard rock and loud practice volume.

    If I do get the urge again, I will be adamant on reviewing the setlist before I even bother to audition.
  19. theduke1


    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    I play in a trio cover band.
    We have no egos, no volume wars and we are all about the same age.
    We don't play in January, February or March unless one of our regular gigs needs us. We play mostly Sundays 3-7/ 4-8.
    We give the owners an option 3 hr $300 4 hr 375.
    We gig 1-3 times a month.
    This is the most fun I've ever had in a band.
    Good luck
  20. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    Do a tribute band. I am in a Beach Boy Tribute band. We do some travel in Fla, play hr and a half shows, all corperate gigs, condos, festivals, etc. and the money is GREAT!! Whatever you do, you have to get out of the bar/night club scene. Sometimes, easier said than done