1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

what's with this rehearsal crap????

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    i'm trying to find a new cover band to make some extra money on the weekends. a few gigs a month. i answered a couple of ads, one band came to a nerve show this weekend and said i was in if i wanted.

    all the bands i'm running into want to rehearse on a regular basis, EVERY WEEK, once or twice a week!!!!!!!!! what's up with that???? am i weird that it seems counterproductive to me to rehearse like that????

    here's how i see it:

    it's a cover band. you do it to have some fun earning extra money. you get 3 or 4 sets of songs together and rehearse them of course. a handful of rehearsals till you have the sets down, and then you're done. if you get new songs you want to do you try them out on stage. once every 2 or 3 months maybe you have a rehearsal to work some stuff out, BUT EVERY WEEK, 2 TIMES A WEEK!!!!!

    IMO that kills the whole idea of doing covers in the first place. it wipes out in most cases a complete night of the week, and costs money. in the long run, if you're only playing 2 to 3 gigs a month, it winds up costing more to rehearse than what you make.

    after all this rambling I think the name of this thread or the REAL question behind it is, WHY DO PEOPLE PLAY COVERS????

    i want to do it for easy, fun, extra money. i don't want to reharse my butt off. i don't believe i have to.
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    My cover band only rehearses to learn new tunes. Of course, we play every Friday and Saturday, so there's no reason to rehearse the existing tunes. Every three weeks or so, we'll get together and hack out a handful of new songs, perhaps three or four, just to keep the show fresh.

    Anything more than that is, to me, a sign that the members of the cover band really aren't that good. If they have to keep rehearsing the same old songs as a band, either someone's not doing their homework, or they don't have sufficient "professional memory" to faithfully reproduce the parts after they've learned them.
  3. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member


    Once you know the set, the work is done.
    If they don't know the set, their work is not.

    Do they want to mod or change the set.
    You can sit down and chart the changes.
    Now they know the set and you are done.

    Give it a chance, but something tells me that
    you and they are not heading the same direction.

  4. Why do foorball players practice every week? They know how to pass, and run, and tackle. So there's no need for practice, right? Once you learn how to catch a football, you never have to practice it again, right? Just throw a bunch of pros on a field, they'l win, right?

    Guess what: I don't care what the cover song is, no matter how many times you or your fellow band members have played it, if you don't practice it regularly TOGETHER you won't stay tight. And if you've never played a song together, the band MUST practice it. Slight things like intros, and bridges, and endings. The record fades out, how will the band end it?

    And let's not forget a regularly scheduled band meeting to discuss the set list, money issues, direction, etc.

    Even pros get together and rehearse regularly. If somebody thinks they're so good that they don't need to keep practicing a song once they've learned it, more power to them.
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Well, my view on this...

    Each band member practices at home to get the chops and theory down. Then you rehearse with the band to get the overall sound and arrangement to work.

    In a cover band, no way you could keep say between fifty and a hundred songs current (starts, breaks, endings, vocal harmonies) unless you play them reasonably often and refresh your memory of the arrangement.

    I play in two cover bands and we struggle to remember all the details of our repertoires on just one rehearsal a week each. Before gigs we sometimes use the final rehearsal to only go through the arrangements and specifically practice the beginning, ending and any special features of the songs. This is where the big difference is between just faking it and actually doing something musical of a song.

    Guess it comes down to what level you want to perform, but rehearsals are really necessary to get a tight and professional result. You can perhaps coast along through the middle of a song, but the beginning, breaks, the ending and other special features must be sharp.

    If you can cope without rehearsals, I'm envious. :)
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    In the late 80's, I played in a cover band that played 3 nights a week. New songs were learned at soundcheck, as EVERYONE was a first class player and always did their homework. One general run through of the song, discussion and decision for an ending, and assignment of harmonies, a cappella run through of harmonies, then played the song through twice to clean up.

    Performed the song that night, and all was perfect, and I do mean ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. It CAN be done, with the right guys. I'm playing with a great bunch of musicians right now, but the current band can't learn songs that way, unfortunately.
  7. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Well, that's *not* my two bands you're describing... :)
  8. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I wouldn't expect that the guys he is talking about are at that level either, which is why I didn't skewer him on this.

    * Put's on Zappa's 'We're only in it for the Money!' CD *

    Thay recruited a bass player who is strictly looking for a hired gun COVER gig.

    I mean, either you are a musicaian or you're not. Let me rephrase that, they may have less experience than JN.

    And, this ain't the NFL. If you go play baseball
    with Ralph Spoilsport Motors Monday Night Beer League, they expect you to know how to hit, field and the all basic rules. Otherwise, don't play.

    You reach a certain point where it shouldn't be necessary. He needs to define the rules with them and go over the ground work and charts of the set. He doesn't have to be the band leader. They can learn to play music on their own time.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    With such a (too big?) mismatch of musical skills and ambition, perhaps it's better to simply not take on this gig?
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    That is completely, unequivically, 1,010% wrong. If musicians know their stuff, know how to play within a band setting (especially if it's the same band members for a while) there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to rehearse the songs you already know. So long as everyone is doing their homework and making sure they don't forget their own parts (which they should be doing) there should be NO problems. My expereince with many bands has proven this to absolutely true.

    As for the endings of songs, that can be discussed over the phone, or if the band knows each other well enough, can easily be felt out right on the spot. If it's a little rough going, it ain't the end of the world either. Not worth $50 rehearsal time and and a good 4 hours of my time (travel included).

    I also disagree with the football analogy. There's no correlation, it isn't a competetive sport, there are no strategies involved, you don't have to be in top physical condition to play, and you can't practice football much by yourself. I play with myself all the time :D . And I play in bands all the time. Gigs are the best rehearsals, and if I'm playing reguarly, even 3 times a month, I am fine.

    Might as well add this while I'm at it:
    I've paid my dues, perhaps that's why I can make these claims. I played in bands for years (like 15 of them) that rehearsed 2, sometimes 3X a week. Maybe that's what was needed to get to where I'm at now. Maybe I'm being slightly pigheaded about this because I've got the above experience. I HATE REHEARSING!!!! - if it's unneccesary. I love working on new original material.

    Rant over for now.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Ohhh... I'm NOT taking the gig. I decided on the spot when talking with the guy. He said think it over and I did for a night, then emailed him witht he same decision.

    Interesting thing is I'm pretty sure these guys are really talented, experienced musicians. Their thing is that they want to constantly add new songs, like 2 a week, and play them EXACTLY as they are on the cds. Not my bag o fun fer sure.

    I was a little thrown by it all because they claim to be really laid back and only want to play a few shows a month. :confused:
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    OK, that's a bit different from our type of cover playing, and perhaps explains some of my previous comments. We always do something with each song, adapting them to our skills and instrumentation and so on. I can't see much fun in copying something straight off a CD. We do try to keep the defining licks and what not, the audience is supposed to recognize the song after all, but we want to do our own interpretation. Hence the rehearsals, otherwise we could indeed all sit at home and jam with our CD players. How fun. :)
  13. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Depends on the songs.

    If the band plays some crazy jazz or even Rush to Tool like my band does. Then I think you need to practice.

    If you play Brown Eye Girl and Green Day then maybe practice isnt needed.
  14. genesis6891


    May 29, 2003
    Wow well I'm loving playing at the moment and so any chance I get to play with people I say yes, otherwise I organise jamming days. Me and my jazz trio rehearse twice a week if we can, you guys speak as if it's a chore...there's not many more invigorating experiences than playing music with other people in my opinion.
  15. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    I think genesis nailed it. He mentioned the love to play. Now, I have no doubt that Joe loves to play. It just happens thats not what he is looking for right now. He is looking for money. Big difference! I hope Joe informs what ever band he joins that he is there just for the money. I dont see anything wrong with that, as long as everyone in the band is on the same page. I also would assume Joe isnt in The Nerve for the money, he is in it for the love of the music.
    But remember my number 1 rule, I am an idiot, so I could be completely wrong.
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I agree with Joe, nothing says "you suck" like dragging me off to rehearsal so you can learn your parts. I would rather be working on new/original material as well.
  17. One Word: Homework

    Nothing worse than having to sit and watch someone learn a tune. If your doing covers you have the reference standard on disc, you can "reherse" as much as you like in the comfort of your own home. If you can nail it with the record then you should have no problem on the gig.
  18. I didn't say you needed to play the same song, three times a week, after you've learned it. But when a band has 100 songs in their songlist, a typical evening of practice might play 30 to 35 songs. Rehearse once a week, that means the band is keeping in touch on a particular song once every three weeks. That to me is not unreasonable.

    I totally agree that rehearsal is NOT the time for somebocy to learn their part. (I get irritated when we've agreed on the next practice's songs, and somebody comes in unprepared. Unless its me of course:D ) I also get irritated when somebody wants to practice on a song, in rehearsal ("Hey here's a great song I heard coming over, lets play this tonight"), and nobody's had a chance to work on it individually. (God I also hate it when somebody says "here, let me show you, it goes like this" Let me listen to the song and learn it correctly, not the way they think it goes)

    Sure, there are some simple cover songs that don't need a whole lot of rehearsal--Honky Tonk Women for example. But IMHO if you want to stay tight on songs like I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home,a group needs to play it once every few weeks, UNLESS they are playing every weekend. Now if a band plays every weekend, and they are playing their whole setlist, then I completely agree it would be pointless to do the same songs on Wednesday night that you just did Friday and Saturday night. (Provided of course everybody played their part correctly).

    So each situation may be different. If a band is playing the same setlist each and every weekend, I concur: practicing the same old tunes is pointless, and rehearsal should be reserved for new songs or problem areas. But if a band is only playing out once a month or so--and many bands will go through spells where there's no bookings--then once a week rehearsal seems appropriate IMHO. Unless the whole set list is Sweet Home Alabama or Born To Be Mild....then jam on.:bassist:
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Both of my bands practice once a week. Less when we're gigging a lot. We all do our homework, then bring it to practice to work out the details. We play 'em pretty close to the CD version because we've found the crowd responds better. They don't want to hear somebody else's rendition of the songs they love on the radio. I like to go to practice after a long day of worker's comp claims, collections issues and lawsuits. It's how we blow off steam once a week, and we all feel the same way.
  20. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Hey Munj, did I ever thank you for that last

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

    By the way, I think you are really weird, too...

    I luv you man, have another Bud on me, if we ever meet...