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what kind of band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Apr 17, 2003.


  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I'm looking for advice on what type of project would be best for my first band. I've recently decided that it's time to join or start a band after 2.5 years of learning my instrument. I seem to have two or more options at this point. I've been talking with two guitarists who want to start a cover band project. We met and picked out songs to learn, but they wanted to get a drummer on board before we even played together. We got contacted by a drummer. (guitarist / songwriter and newbie drummer of one year looking to push his musicianship by taking a drum gig). He wanted to meet up with me first to see how we get along and play together - start with bass and drums first and get it tight. I liked that way of thinking. I agreed and we met and we 'clicked' in every possible way. He told me about his original project he is starting to put together and extended an invitation for me to try out/ try them out. We were meeting to work on a cover band project so we didn't talk too much about the other project beyond making it clear we both wanted to give it a try. I was stoked with all of this and intended to pursue both projects even though that seemed like a lot. This morning I got word from Mr. drummer dude that he has decided he is not enjoying learning the cover material and is excusing himself from the cover band project. He still wants to swap tapes of originals and then probably do a few jams and then see what we think. So now what do I do? Go back to searching for a drummer for a cover band that has never played together and has no singer. Start working more on writing and recording more original material and pursue the original project full on (bass would complete a trio) Tell them all that I've 'got bass and will travel' and then just relax and wait for the phone to ring and play with whoever wants to play. Should I be looking for other projects? (I know many on here advise look for an already gigging band, although I am intimidated by having to learn a bands complete set list while they are all waiting for me to get ready) I like the idea of playing covers because something about it seems more legit to me, in the way that some people play originals because they aren't good enough to learn songs, but I'm sure playing originals would scratch the musical itch just as well (it might be even better, who knows) Does anybody have opinions on originals vs. covers for a bass players first band? If you were kind enough to read this far, care to speculate on which option would be best for me?
     
  2. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    A cover band that is up & running is where I would go. They will have most of the gear and gigs set up.
     
  3. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Thanks for responding to my ridiculously long post. I do hear the advice about joining a working band come up very often - and I can see where it's the quickest path to gigs Ville, but as a newbie myself I'm intimidated by having a bunch of pro musicians (because IMO, if they've successfully gigged they are pro's) waiting for me to learn their set list so that the band can rehearse.
    In my situation I am feeling drawn to the originals project because I feel very comfortable with this guy, they have a rehearsal space at the band leaders home, which is very close to my home - the cover band project will be paying for rehearsal space - also the band leader for the originals project has got an amp for me. You see, I've only got an 80 watt 115 combo and I know as soon as I do get hooked up with a band I'm going to need a better rig. This guy has got a 130 watt 115 combo and so far only one guitar and I think his amp is only 50 watts. I might be able to play with them and get by without buying an amp. Is it wrong of me to let that (the amp situation) influence my decision?

    and SMASH - I hear you loud and clear. My first choice is to try and do both.
     
  4. Well, IMHO you need to get a decent gigging amp before you join a "working" band. Doesn't need to be terribly expensive, a used Peavey combo can work great. (I scored a Peavey Databass combo a couple months back for $225--450 watts into a 15 inch speaker, decent enough for gigs where i don't want to tote the big rig...) 150 watts is my minumum power these days, tho I've used less.

    I believe a cover band is the best way to get gigs & money fast. It is possible to learn a lot of songs in a hurry, a few years back I got handed a set list of 90 songs with less than a month to get them down. And this was before I had Kazaa to get good copies of the songs.

    So here's my secret tips for getting into a cover band fast: (please excuse length of post)

    1) Get the setlist
    2) Review the setlist and immediately mark off the songs that are out of your league. Don't waste time on them, at least not yet. Hopefully that's not more than 10 to 20 percent of the songs!! (if you have to, make an excuse for not wanting to play those songs)
    3) Get good copies of all of the songs, with Morpheus or Kazaa if you have to. Having them on MP3 on computer makes access a lot faster than using taped copies. Also the quality, pitch and tempo tends to be more correct with MP3 than with tapes--and Windows Media Player lets you slow the speed down.
    4) Listen to the song, write down the order of the song parts--intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc. This is the arrangement. If you have time, write all the words out too as you get the arrangement down. This helps you remember that HEY here comes the solo, because I just heard the singer say "and the Sultans, they play Creole...creole"
    5) Figure out what key the song is in--try having your instrument tuned standard first.
    6) Learn the individual parts. By having already done the arrangement, you discover that many songs only have two or three riffs: intro, verse, chorus. Maybe a bridge too, but most parts are very repetitive.
    7) You don't have to nail every riff exactly note for note, only the signature licks. Be in key, in time, with the right arrangement, and it'll work out OK most of the time if you get pretty close.

    I believe learning a lot of covers is the fastest way to progress musically. Theory's great, but a variety of songs shows how the theory comes together. Sure, you may not think "gee listen to the minor 6th after the 1-4-5 progression" but things will click more. Then doing originals will be much more interesting because you will have had exposure to a variety of different great songs.
    :bassist:
     
  5. chris4001asat

    chris4001asat

    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I would suggest finding out how the original music scene in your area is. Until recently, I've always been in original bands. Spent 15 years rehearsing weekly, but playing very infrequently. The original scene here in Toledo is virtually hopeless. There's never been more than 5 clubs at one time that had original bands. I did have a lot of fun, made some good friends, and it made me the player that I am today. Playing originals teaches you how to listen to the SONG and think about what would sound good. I finally broke down last year and decided to try out a cover band. I walked into the audition, never really played covers before. They showed me the song list. All songs I've heard on the radio a million times. I just asked for the key and went for it! Two weeks later, played my first gig with them. 4 hours worth of songs!
     
  6. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The bottom line is that you probably just need to get out and play...preferably with musicians of your talent level or better. While you should learn and grow from any situation, you will probably learn and grow more in a band with equally competent or superior musicians. When I was in high school, I got a gig playing drums in a country/oldies band. I could have cared less about country (althought it was a great learning experience), but I had fun playing the classic/southern rock at the end of the night. Given that I was in my teens and everyone else was in their fourties, I learned a tremendous amount about what it was like, and what it took, to play in a professional band and be successful.

    If you've never played in a band before, you might think about starting with a "garage band" to get your feet wet, learn to play with other musicians, and to take the pressure off yourself. Once you assemble a group of people who you can play with and have fun with, you might think about trying to write some songs or playing at local parties for for friends. This would be a great intro to playing in front of people, and is how most people start out. However, if everything comes together for one of your potential gigs (you have all the the members and equipment you need) and you have show lined up, there's nothing to build competenct like "trial by fire"! ;)

    As for your last question (and I DID read far enough!) :D , you have a very interesting opinion on covers....one that I would say is completely oposite to my opinion, the guys in my band, and many other musicians. First, learning covers and playing covers can be very rewarding. I basically learned how to play by figuring out songs on the radio, and found it a lot more fun to "practice" by figuring out and playing popular songs. It is also a great way to learn about music composition and to become well versed in a variety of different styles. Also, I developed a lot of my personal style from playing along to Led Zeppelin, Motown, and James Brown albums for fun....and 10 years later it is still fun! :bassist: However, a musical instrument is a vehicle of self experssion. It allow s one to creat one's own art, and writing music, playing music, and improvising on one's instrument is the ultimate form of self expression. It allows you to put your own stamp on the vast musical quilt that has been borrowed from and added to for thouands of years.

    There is merit is learning and playing covers, and you may be forced to play covers in certain situations if you want to play out. However, I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with your line of reasoning that covers are more "legit" and people who play originals do so because they "can't learn covers". On the contrary....anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, can pluck away at a root or fake their way through tablature. The real challenge is to come up with music that is original, is not a rip-off of a prior song, is structurally sound as a composition, is fun and interesting to play, and captures the attenion of the listener. I would challenge you to try to write you own music...or to create your own interesting and original bass lines for original songs. I think you'll find that being original, musical, and interesting is much more difficult than memorizing a few lines of tab. Good luck with your projects.
     
  7. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Gigging a lot helps you like rehearsing or jamming can't. If nashville bill isn't veteran of the bass trenches, he does a good impression of one. He has obviously been there whatever his age and makes several valid and lucid points. I like to play for the fun as much as the next guy. If you want to progress you have to work and gigging is the front line, the place where you get your chops, playing to three people in a dive at 1:18 am, making sure that you're still in the pocket. Some of your best s*** comes at these times. You'll end up playing like that in front of 500 people and that's a great feeling. :cool:

    I say go for the covers and tear 'em up.:bassist:
     
  8. aaron f.

    aaron f.

    Oct 21, 2000
    Manitoba
    My point of view on this is play the kinda of music you enjoy. In my city (Winnipeg) there's a huge punk scene but thats not really my cup o' tea. So i formed an experimental/industrial/metal band with some colse friends. We may not get loads of gigs but i'm much happier playing a style I love. The way I see it if you're on top of your game the gigs will come iregardless of what genre you play.

    Second point, adding a few covers to your set can really help the crowd get into your music, especially if you're low on original tunes. I usually play one per 45 minute set, las time we covered the frail/the wretched by Nine Inch Nails.

    Also give it time, I formed my band about a year and a half ago and have gone through 1 vocalist and 3 drummers before settling on the right mix.

    As many others have already said hook up with experienced musicians, older musicians have already gone through the awkward phase of establishing a band and can give some great advice.

    Other than that just keep it a fun experience.
     
  9. Well thanks for the compliment, blueszilla...I am 42 years old BTW and have played a few dives, though I'm don't do this for a living (couldn't afford to).

    I heard there was a couple of guys, let's call them John and Paul, that started jamming together on songs that were being played in the local record shops. Soon some guy named George came along and they started playing these songs in local pubs. Basically, they were doing covers. Eventually they would start writing their own tunes, but they got their start--like most every other band in the world--doing covers. They developed their songwriting skills over several years, and the result? "Sgt Peppers". "Magical Mystery Tour" etc. Of course I'm talking about The Beatles.

    Of course, I'm biased. I like getting paid for my efforts. I like having a crowd dancing in front of me. My practice time is limited, so covers are the most expedient way to go for me. And I like the cover tunes, even if I do get tired of Sweet Home Alabama. But maybe I'm just getting a little too long in the tooth to commit to an originals project.
     
  10. The whole covers vs. originals discussion has been debated forever and could go on for pages and pages, but it all just comes down to what you're looking for right now. They both have their pros and cons, most of which were listed above. You have to think about what your own music/bass objectives are right now...once you have that the answer should be pretty obvious...And keep in mind that your objectives will change with time and experience, and so will your bands.
     
  11. (I was going to post a thread on this topic, but my search revealed this thread. I have some reading to do, but here's food for thought :) )

    Do what you do with confidence and convicition…

    So the original scene could appear to be feast or famine. Either you work your tail off and spend lots of cashola in the studio for nothing, (the occasional free gig, weak turnouts, etc.) or…. you become Pearl Jam. There is some satisfaction in being an innovator vs an emulator, no? If the gig goes well, the energy from the crowd is payment enough… there is lots of original music that is kind of ugly and dissonance abounds, to counter this and find bandmembers that hear what works, isn't easy.

    The cover scene is filled with bands that get to play nearly every weekend, don’t have to travel far, you pay off your gear in a hurry (unless you have obsessive GAS ;) ) and typically play to a good sized group of people. The energies of the crowd and dance floor provide fuel to the band and it grows exponentially. It is emulation, how much satisfaction can be gained from going where man has gone before?

    I believe a cover band who incorporates a few originals into the setlist is a nice goal, satisfying both ends so to speak.

    Either way, I hope that music breathes in your spirit like it has for me, I couldn’t imagine life without it.