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The Fortunes of a small market Cover Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mellowinman, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I thought I'd take a moment to write this, because today our fortunes are UP. We've had a tough last couple of years.

    June of 2011, we played IPFW Rock the River, and everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE said we were "fantastic," and I thought the exposure, and the positive input might help us get better gigs.

    We had previously played some of the "premiere" clubs in the area, with varying degrees of success.

    We had done so with a less than fantastic drummer, and even though we liked the guy on a personal level, we had let him go, and his replacement was a dick, and the next guy, (the guy who played Rock the River,) wasn't committed to us.

    We had some ups and downs, including an outdoor gig in Ohio that was the biggest nightmare of my band life. Bad sound; idiot soundmen; nowhere near enough pay to justify the long trip out there; you name it, that was horrible.

    And some of the "premiere" clubs weren't having us back.

    So anyway, we finally got back to being booked into two clubs we really like; we finally have the drummer we need, and now things are happening.

    We did the Public Radio show, and that raised our profile a little. I did one show as a solo acoustic performer, and the band did two sets; one rocking set and one acoustic set.

    But now, the phone is ringing! Clubs have started calling US looking for a band! On Tuesday, the local music paper sent someone out to interview us, and we are featured sometime in September. We're not the cover story, but we're on the cover. That's better than our previous 200 issues, in which our status ranged from "totally ignored," or "appearing in some venues' ads, but sometimes misspelled."

    Tonight we played as the temporary house band at the local comedy club, and that was golden. The staff and patrons really loved us. One comedian didn't think I was very funny, but I can live with that. He didn't get anywhere near my best stuff, anyway.

    Playing people on and off the stage could've gone a little better. I missed a cue or two, but I was new to it, and they gave me conflicting information as to what we'd be doing when. It seemed to work out fine though. They would love to have us back, but they are nowhere near generous enough for us to do it very often. The only benefit is, they have a local TV show, and we are now on it, so that's good promo.

    We have some good stuff coming up, and I am not ready to say, "OK, here we go!" yet, because I know things can be up, and things can be down.

    But today, things are up, and I'm proud that we've stuck to our guns, as far as set lists, attitude, and style. We're playing music that we LOVE to play, and we've chosen it based on what we think people LOVE to hear. We're not playing anything that I'm not behind 100%.

    I have had tough times; frustrating times; times when I've wondered if it was all worth it. I have to say, whenever we play to a receptive audience, it makes me feel like, yes, it is worth it.

    So stick to it, people, and although you can listen to others as far as ways to get ahead, it is a great idea to follow your muse, and play something that you really feel passionate about playing, as long as you understand how to make it at least somewhat marketable.

    You don't have to literally do what others have done, or what conventional wisdom tells you to do. You should find that way to do what a band like Rush, for example did; find an audience for music you are playing REALLY REALLY WELL.

    And most importantly:

  2. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    Awesome dude.

    Hope things blast off for you man.
  3. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    GREAT STORY - I am very happy to hear that your hard work and determination are paying off. Very jealous!

    Keep at it and don't get complacent - you have to always keep improving and selling yourselves.
  4. That's where it's at. I hope you convert all the buzz into some good $$$.

    My little 80% original jazz band is on a bit of a roll presently too. 5 gigs back in the saddle after a pretty barren last 6 months. We got a booze rep wanting to sponsor another weekly gig at another bar and a winery wedding venue owner hooked for summer functions. Getting on TV? Not gonna happen.

    The Rolling Stones were a very sucessful cover band before they hit with their originals.
  5. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    AWESUUUUUUMMM!!! :hyper: :hyper:
  6. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I seriously think some cable network should do a reality series on a small market cover band. Having been involved in that scene for about the last 8 years I can tell you there's never a lack of material.
  7. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Never thought that "standup" would be required of a cover band. Glad it's going well.
  8. TheDude007


    May 18, 2010
    Kansas City
    I gotta say, there seems to be a lot of complaining and venting on TB, and that's understandable, it's a great place to come and vent about bad experiences, etc. However, it's really refreshing and good to hear of someone doing well. Cheers to you, and I wish you the best success in the future!
  9. patplaysbass

    patplaysbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 7, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Soon-to-be-ex Musician's Friend/Guitar Center Employee
    Congrats! Glad to hear of some success in Indiana, let me know if you guys ever come down to Indy!
  10. Right on, dude. And you are very funny:D
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Ft Wayne, huh?

    1986-1993 I spent 3 years in the Goshen/Elkhart area, about a year in Indianapolis and 3 years in West Lafayette (Purdue)... and one of my best friends in college was from Ft. Wayne... so I know that area pretty well. The first cover band I was ever in was as grad student at Purdue and in fact that band was the "research project" for my Masters thesis. Played some real dive bars in that cover band for almost no pay, but it was invaluable experience and a lot of fun.

    But enough about me... :p really glad to hear things are coming together for your band, and thanks for posting. TB is for sharing the good things that happen to us, too.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Awesome dude.

    I'd like to share a quote from Cynthia Occelli. "When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom or criticize you, remember they're telling you their story, not yours."

    Congratuations on writing your own story.
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    I've been on a shared bill with comedians, & I can tell you I have the utmost respect for them! You think dead time between material (i.e. songs) is bad for a band, try it sometime when it's just you standing there with nothing but a mic! You can learn a lot about stagecraft watching comedians at work - even ones with mediocre material. Same goes for magicians.
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    No, it's not required. I came up to Raymond, the Amish Comic, and I said, "hey! You're MUCH FUNNIER than most Amish guys I talk to!" and he gave me the dour face and said, "how long did you spend writing that one?"

    Raymond is pretty funny. Here's a vid:

  15. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Raymond, the Amish Comic, contacted my wife on facebook, and was totally hitting on her. I'd be mad, except:

    1. He doesn't know she's married
    2. He doesn't have a chance in hell
    3. I always take it as a compliment
    4. He said nice things about the band

    Here is one of the photos we sent the newspaper. We shot it today. The photographer is 15.

  16. New Zealander?
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    The chick looks like Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons) back in the day.
  18. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    If I'm not mistaken, that'd be Mellow's wife.

    He looks much different than I had pictured him.

    Anyway, congrats and all the best to you for your hard work Mellowinman!:bassist:
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Understood and agreed. He did well!
  20. tommytutone


    Feb 22, 2012
    Great story. Good luck and congrats!

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