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Starting out gigging with a new cover band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Marley's Ghost, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    My new band has had a few rehearsals and we are looking at being ready to play out by late spring. I was wondering if anyone could share experiences on how they have started out. We are playing a mix of classic/modern rock, and will probably only look to play twice a month or so. We don't have any recent contacts around here in the biz so we will have to start from scratch.
  2. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    Make a good demo and promo materials, and shop it around. Don't be afraid to follow up with them often. Persistance wins. Utilize any "friend of a friend" that might be able to throw in a good word for you. Let them sit in on a rehearsal. Don't forget to be entertaining, and have a setlist that will get people out dancing. I was really surprised on how important that was. People that dance get real thirsty, and a thirsty crowd buys more booze. Club owners like entertaining bands that get people thirsty. Then they call you back.
  3. just like Badb says; a recording and promo pack. a website can help, too.

    take a serious look at your setlist - do people really want to hear what you're playing - or is it what the band wants to play? I probably enjoy playing about 1/3 of what my band plays - the rest are ok or I detest them. but people like "what I like about you". even though i hate that song, I like it when the dance floor is full and people are getting into it.

    one big hurdle to overcome...you'll never be completely "ready". you won't have enough material and some of it may not be that tight. you just have to do it. in my experience, most bands don't really start to gel on stage until 4 or 5 gigs.

    people want to be entertained - make it a show. engage the crowd. an important part is keeping breaks between songs to a minimum ...10 seconds is an eternity - you'll lose them fast. it's best to seque 3 or 4 songs together then take 10 seconds or so to "reload" - if you have to.

    start with the smaller places or play some private parties - or have a party of your own.

    find out who books the bands and talk to that person. followup within a few days with a phone call or drop by again. then followup again and again and again.

    bring as many people as you can - start an email list NOW!!

    when i go to a new bar, I meet all the bartenders and waitresses before we start and write their names down. then mention them by name at least once a night. treating the staff well improves your chances of being asked back.

    good luck and have fun.
  4. My advice would be to find a way to do something a little different from other cover bands in your market. If you are only going to play twice a month (nothing wrong with that), you are going to have a harder time breaking in to the scene if you are covering the same types of sets that other more known bands are. It'll limit you on what nights you can get gigs in good places or where you can get gigs on weekends.

    Find a niche' of some kind. Look for a void in your market and fill that. Meet a need and then network network network.
  5. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Like a neo-punk lounge band. Every market needs that.
  6. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Start going to the places you want to play now. Don't wait, because there's a lead time between booking and playing - my band has gigs booked out to September already. We actually could have finished booking the whole year, but we decided to slow down. [and we're not even very good. :) ]

    Get a demo CD together. It doesn't have to be perfectly polished - it just has to be clean and entertaining. Hand the CD's and cards out when you visit the places, then follow up with calls to attempt bookings. Also, check out what the successful bands are playing, and try to incorporate some of that material.

    These days, in my experience anyway, a demo CD and a website are essential.
  7. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    Also, see if there are full equipment jams around town during the weekdays that have bands on the weekend. If there are, then that's a start. Sometimes jam hosts moonlight as room agents(do around here anyway) and they will give you some rooms.

    Be prepared to have 40-50 tunes ready. Don't worry if they are polished.. as someone said, you'll take time to gel as a band whether you rehearse all day or not. Playing a room is a different thing.

    Google things like "cover band set list" and the like for what works for other cover bands.

    Oh... and get ready for Brown-Eyed Girl, Bad Moon Rising and Sweet Home Alabama.. It WILL be asked for.

    Hope this helps,

  8. mwm70


    Oct 27, 2004
    That's how often we are playing and it seems to be working for us. Our drummer does the booking and he has been cold calling bars and clubs in the area. A sizeable quantity of clubs have said a demo is not required since they often are not a true representation of the live performance. We started at smaller "b - rooms" and are booked through the summer. We also did some free events to have references for club owners to call. Good luck.

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