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So here's the thing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Disappear, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I'm looking to start a band. I'm pretty sick of doing covers of songs I don't have much interest in. I got an invitation to 'jam' with this one band come this weekend. They send me a list of tunes they know. Aside from a couple tunes I'm fine with and want to learn to play (list is very short), it's all music I don't have any interest in learning/playing. Sure this will be an experience to jam with others and improve my skill by learning the songs but, it feels transparent.

    They're more into mainstream popular music whereas I'm into the under-the-radar music. I don't know what to do. I'd like some input.

    I've considered learning 5 of the songs I like just to go jam and see if they'll blues jam with me but otherwise... I don't know.
  2. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Put together your own cover band that play under-the-radar type covers. TBH, Ive never been a big fan of cover bands, mostly because they often play a lot of popular music. I would be much more inclined to go see a cover band that did some obscure/under-the-radar type thing.

    Im in an improv band myself, at our last show we did a jam on the score music from '28 Days Later' that was wicked awesome!
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    sometimes playing obscure covers is like playing in an original band ... the people who come to see you don't know anything you play.
  4. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    That is epic. Now if only I could improv. Well, I gotta get better at walking first, then I'll think about that.

    That's not my style though. I can't take credit for someone else's work. I'd rather borrow ideas from them and work it into my music.

    Cover bands aren't exactly my thing but knowing some tunes to work up the chemistry, I believe in.
  5. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    bump for advice
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    IMHO, if you are going to do covers, you have to do popular tunes. The key is to do them well. I like under the radar b-side sort of stuff, but if you want to gig out hopefully for pay, I'm just not seeing it happen. It's a sad fact that people will pack a joint to hear you play Poison, or White Snake tunes while they get hammered and try to figure out who they might have a shot at taking home that night. You're there to make the club money in a cover band situation, and you do that by playing stuff that people with questionable taste like to hear.

    Doing obscure covers also shuts you out of clubs that do original music as well I would imagine.

    I think you can get away with doing a few tunes for fun that are more obscure, but the stuff you really don't sound like you want to play will probably have to be the meat and potatoes of your setlist if you want to do repeat business.

    If you manage to make a go out this concept, I want to hear all about it. I really would love for you to prove a jaded old fart wrong!!
  7. KrisH


    Nov 6, 2007
    New Jersey
    Don't waste their time -- or yours. They're looking for a bassist who shares their interests and goals. You don't. And while it might be fun for you to spend an evening "jamming," they've spent an evening auditioning a bassist who wouldn't even learn all the songs they asked him to. :scowl: I know what I'd be thinking if I was in their position . . .

    On the other hand, if you had an open mind about the situation, you might find something redeeming about the situation, and come to enjoy it. Stranger things have happened.
  8. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    That point was made quite clear with another audition I had. I doubt these guys understand that. If you're going to cover Pink Floyd, you'd better do a damn good job at it. I don't see it happening, but then again I could be wrong.

    To defend myself...

    Learning 49 songs in two days is a bit unreasonable[please don't give any "i learned 835942164 songs in one day for a gig that night"]. I could do it, but, 49 songs with the same feel and such as the original performers? They eventually want to start writing their own stuff but want to do one cover gig just to get a gig under their belt. Besides, music's never a waste of time.

    I do have an open mind to it, which is why I'm debating whether to do it or not.
  9. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Many "originals" bands start off doing covers just to get gigs, build a following and generate cash flow. Then as original material is written it can be selectively slipped into the sets to test it out and find out what's working and what's not. As long as it is not announced as "an original" you can often slip it by the bar owners and get unprejudiced feed back from your audience.
  10. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    A Beatles 'tribute' band played after us a couple weeks ago. We're an original band and pretty much filled the place. They do obscure beatles covers and managed to empty the place in 2-3 songs. Reading charts off of music stands... etc.

    I'm with the outlook of 'if you're going to play covers... at least play tunes that the majority of people have heard of'.

  11. playing in a band that plays songs that you don't really have any interest in learning is usually not a good idea.
    if you play for fun you have to be psyched on the material or else its just a waste of time.
    but i say go jam with them before you make up your mind, sometimes the chemistry between the members of the band makes the crappy songs worth playing.
  12. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I'm leaning towards jamming. I mean, the handful of songs I like are worth playing[to me at least].
  13. crayzee


    Feb 12, 2009
    Mississauga, ON
    Well, if they're seriously considering doing originals, it might be worthwhile to suck it up and join them for that. Of course, that's assuming you like what their direction for original stuff is... Might be worth it to ask about that and see if they've actually done any writing.
  14. Funny: I'm currently in the exactly OPPOSITE situation. I'd prefer to be in a band that plays very current pop stuff—even though I don't care for much of it—because I want to play the good clubs and bring home the sweet green. But after moving out here to the more rural area of WV where we are, the only good group I could find is one that plays ALL under-the-radar, obscure stuff. Seriously, I didn't recognize 75 percent of the song list, and I know a lotta stuff!

    Still, I went because a good band that needs a bassist is VERY hard to find around here. And these guys do get to play out some because the leader owns/runs the biggest PA in the area and every big band that comes through that doesn't carry their own production rents his, so he often opens up for them with his own band (us).

    It was more fun than I expected it to be. ANYTIME you get to play with really good musicians is a joy. And when I opened up and really dug into the moldy oldies and obscure B-sides that they love playing, I learned some new ways to play and widened my musical scope a bit. Plus, when I DID get a little rascally and let the thumb loose on some of that stuff, they LOVED it! "Yew'all doan play 'em bass lines like 'er reg'ler bass man do. Thassum purty kewl li'l stuff yew'all do right there, that thumby-thang. Yew'all c'n dew s'more a that, y'wanna..."

    So, in my case, a gig that I fully expected to turn down might become one of my best.
  15. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    There's a piece of information missing here:

    Is the band you're going to "jam" with looking for a bassist so they can start working on their first gig material? Do they consider this an audition?

    If so, you and your attitude about their music will be a big waste of their time. Don't go.

    If, on the other hand, they are truly looking to just "jam" for fun, then by all means go ahead as long as they know IN ADVANCE that you will only be learning 5 of the songs they provided and that you are more interested in just having a blues jam. If they're OK with this, go have fun!
  16. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I like some of the music but I really don't care much for 311, metallica, alice in chains, korn, and the like.
    They had some floyd, chili peppers, the hip, and U2 that I'll gladly play but to hell with the popular metal.
  17. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    The situation isn't difficult, don't waste your time or theirs. Everyone makes valid points about being in a cover band that plays popular covers vs unpopular covers. Look at it from a promotors point of view, as they are the ones paying and booking cover bands. They want you to play music the crowd knows. The crowds that frequent a venue booking cover bands usually want popular, catchy tunes. You may have to decide if you are doing it for money, popularity, or the love of music. All three dictate very different approches to which covers you will be playing.
  18. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Swung on and missed.
  19. Disappear-
    I wouldn't make it a big deal. If you'd rather play with this band this weekend than anything else you're going to do, then go play with them. If you'd rather do something else, then go do that. 5 songs shouldn't be a big commitment of time.
    I go and sit in with bands I don't have any intention of joining just to learn some new songs and progressions. It's also a good way to network. Maybe one of these guys knows someone who'd be interested in your project.
  20. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    That's my train of thought after deep meditation on my current events.

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