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What's up with cover band prejudice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Aug 15, 2002.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I get a lot of satisfaction out of playing orginal music and I believe that there should always be bands doing orginal music.

    But, I've noticed, that a lot of people look down on bands who do covers though. Like, I'll see local bands promoting their gigs saying something along the lines of "Hey, instead of going out this weekend and seeing a cover band that is just going to play the same stuff you heard on the radio earlier, come see us ect." Or there are people now in all orginal bands and they'll look back on their days in cover bands and talk about it like they are ashamed of it or something. I mean, I don't see what the big fuss is. I think people that act that way are just jealous that they are competing with cover bands for gigs. A lot of times, you have people who no longer have stars in their eyes and they just want to go down to the VFW on Saturday and play a few tunes. Why should someone be condemned for that?

    Again, as much as I love to perform orginal music, I also love performing covers and I always give respect to anyone who stands up on a stage and plays music in front of people.

    What are your opinions?
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I think it's misplaced frustration on the part of all-original bands who struggle to get decent gigs: the big money at the local level goes to cover bands. A bad cover band will often get more gigs than a kick-ass original band. But that aint' the fault of the bands, it's a reflection of the market.

    I've definitely been frustrated... it can be a struggle merely to be a *creative* cover band. Back in my 80's metal years, my band tried to play progressive hard rock songs by Rush, Pat Travers, and Crack the Sky in clubs... but for every dedicated music fan we pleased, there were 10 others who yawned and waited for the overplayed radio hits by Fastway, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, etc. We'd get mostly yawns for the original songs we tried to sneak in, too.

    Anyway... glad to hear you can appreciate cover artists as well as those who write their own songs.
  3. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    i read that iron maiden used to sneak in their original tunes under the guise of a cover.

    "roight, this next one is a little known tune by black sabbath...."
  4. Mathias_TfG


    Apr 28, 2002
    New York
    Personally, I prefer to see bands that perform at least a few originals... even if they are mainly a cover band... but thats just my two cents.
  5. I dont think cover bands are looked down on, I just think that they arent looked up to like original bands, for obvious reasons.
    My thought has always been that the creation of a song is the art, not the performance of a song. So IMO, that is the real devision between bands who play covers and bands who make original music, cover bands arent artists. Unless of course they do a Hendrix, and totally re-do a song and make it their own. But most cover bands I have seen are content to play the original note for note.
    Its like everyone looks up to Leonardo for painting the Mona Lisa, but do people look up to someone who paints a copy of it?
  6. yea, note for note cover bands dont get a lot of respect. I think bands like reel big fish get a little more respect for doing covers because they convert the parts and use different instruments to play the parts. One of my favorite local bands is a half cover band half original band, they basically use the covers to pad there shows, because they put more emphasis in there originals.
  7. Jerry, Jr.

    Jerry, Jr.

    Jun 7, 2002
    Boston, MA
    I think Fuzzbass made a lot of good points.

    I play in two original bands. It is extremely frustrating to get a couple of gigs a month for little money when you see some cover bands playing every weekend and making big $$. Or when you hear a non-musician friend raving about some band he/she saw and come to find out they are a cover band.

    I don't really have a problem with the cover bands themselves. They didn't make the rules, they're just playing by them. My beef is more with the public. People who would rather go to a club and hear a band play the same tired songs that they hear on the radio than (heaven forbid) hear something new and fresh.

    As far as playing in a cover band, that I don't get. Other than for financial reasons, where's the appeal? A quick story. I was playing in a band in '96 when Rage's "Bulls On Parade" came out. We were an original band that would play maybe 2 or 3 covers in our set. Well, that summer when the song was a hit we were covering it. Every gig we did would be the same thing. We'd play our songs and receive polite applause. When we played "Bulls" the place would go nuts. Moshing, singing, dancing, whatever. I remember it was the most hollow feeling. Like "I'm glad you like our version of this song but hey, our stuff is good too!"
  8. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I've played in both cover and original bands. Original is most artistically satisfying, but reworking a cover can be an art in itself. Look at the jazz dudes all playing the same standards. Or any orchestra.

    I respect all song-writers here, but we need to remember that the songs in the standard repertoire are hits for a reason. They resonate with lots and lots of people because of the lyrics, tone, beat, tempo, hook, etc, etc, etc. Local song-writers have a VERY tough job because their songs compete with the best of the best material for the same venues. Paul Simon, or Chick Corea, or Mozart are all amazing writers and to get your work up to their standard is a major challenge. Also, think about all the drafts those famous people wrote, or how many songs of theirs DON'T get played in clubs or on the radio. It's no wonder people, in mainstream markets, will pay good money to hear a cover band. The material is the "best" (and yes best = most popular when you're talking club $ or crowd appeal - NSync is the BEST!) and all my friends and I can sing along too!
  9. Reason I play in a cover band? Fun gigs, make some money, play my bass.

    Reason people like to see cover bands...they can sing along. Kind of like a living Jukebox.

    I am actually going for a second audition tonight with a Cover band "Electrik Mayem". A few classic rock songs and Modern radio rock. They pick popular tunes, but the not the most cliche'd ones. The guys all seem nice, it's a 4 piece lineup. Everybody is a working stiff who just wants to get out and play once a week.

    Anyway I can see your point about artist expression and have thought about joining an original project in the past. But playing a musicical instrument isnt always about artistic expression, for some people it is a hobby, a release, a small bit of rock and roll stardom (if you get in a good band)that you can taste every other weekend...The problem with original projects is the amount of time and dedication, lots of rehursals and weekday gigs because the coverbands get all the weekend gigs.

    Just my viewpoint...
  10. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    That's why I do both!
    I play in my original band for self satisfaction and I play covers to actually play to a audience and make a little cash to support my GAS!
    I do take allot of flack for playing in my Zep tribute band and classic rock band from my original guy's and the original crowed the hangs with us.
    The thing is I'm playing all the time and it's a little jealousy on there part also.

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