Not Playing covers


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RedMoonMan
12-27-2007, 12:53 AM
i was just wondering if any one had any problems playing gigs and stuff if the band didn't do cover songs, because i prefer not to play covers at all, and i was wondering if that would hinder the bands ability to make and steps towards success. I just think its more fun to write and play your own creations, because playing other peoples songs sorta makes me bored for the most part and in my opinion i write good guitar stuff for my genre. Anyways just wondering if this would become a problem at all in the future.

xJohnxAnarchyx
12-27-2007, 12:58 AM
honestly. it depends. i would say if your band is starting out cover songs that you all like and that the crowd will enjoy. after you get your own stuff known it won't matter to play them anymore. it's just always fun.

qotsa1998
12-27-2007, 01:00 AM
Id start with a cover or two, kinda in the same style as your own stuff. Then play ur own songs. The covers kinda help warm up the crowd IMO.

trey-col89
12-27-2007, 01:02 AM
Honestly, if you're a high school band, or your just starting out, theres really no shame in doing covers. Hell, half of the Dead's repetoire was covers for their entire career, and no one questioned them. Every band starts off doing covers, it allows all the band members to get in sync with each other and get comfortable playing with each other. You don't have to do covers if you don't want to, but its not a bad idea.

axemanchris
12-27-2007, 01:03 AM
Generally, places will book either cover bands or original acts, because the audience will typically want to hear one or the other. Your range of opportunities (number of clubs willing to book you, etc.) and possibilities for making decent money are in covers. My friend's band did 3 sets of covers and walked away with $450/night. As a cover band, it is generally acceptable to an audience to play *a couple* of original songs.

As an original band, expect to play smaller clubs, to smaller crowds for less money. (not unusual to play for $50 or so) People would rather drink and get drunk and dance to Arctic Monkeys than hear some bunch of schmucks play stuff they've never heard of before. (I say that with all due respect.... my band is all-original)

However, the possibilities as an original band expand greatly if you are good. Because we're all original, we have had opportunities presented to us that cover bands typically never get:

-radio play (both campus and commercial)
-television coverage (both community and network)
-large outdoor festivals
-print media coverage

A good original band is judged similar to a good cover band though:
-vocals have to be good
-songs have to be good
-you have to have your act rehearsed and squeaky tight

Just jamming on guitar riffs, for instance, won't get you a gig anywhere.

CT

axemanchris
12-27-2007, 01:04 AM
Every band starts off doing covers, it allows all the band members to get in sync with each other and get comfortable playing with each other.

We didn't. I had the album 80% written and demoed before we ever had our first rehearsal.

CT

RedMoonMan
12-27-2007, 01:06 AM
thanks a lot guys.

trey-col89
12-27-2007, 01:06 AM
Alright you're the exception, the one exception in the entire world. But realistically, MOST bands start out at least playing a couple of covers, if not all covers.

pandora_grunt
12-27-2007, 05:40 AM
Trey? what the hell did Axeman do to you? You sound so angry. And just to prove you wrong, in my hometown there are a lot of so-called garage bands that mostly play own stuff. I'm saying it's good but they do. So Axeman isn't the only exception.

On a more on-topic point. It's all a matter of synchronization. IF you find your band works like an oiled machine playing covers go that way. However, if it doesn't work at all, you notice solid timing while playing own material, evidently you might be better of that way.

SlackerBabbath
12-27-2007, 12:28 PM
OK guys, this is how it works.
Before you can successfuly play a gig with nothing but your original material in it, you have to put a lot of hard work in first. It's called 'paying your dues.'
First of all you need to realise that your first gigs are going to be in bars that book you because they want you to bring a crowd of followers with you who they can then sell beer to.
Remember that.... to start with, it's all about the beer.
These people will only book bands that play covers becuase they have studied human nature and they know that people want to hear songs that they already know, especialy at a loud gig where they can drink beer and sing the songs that they already know at the top of their voices, this is because people like 'familiarity.'
So what you, do is this.
You play cover songs for the first couple of songs in your set, then throw some original stuff in, then do a couple more covers in the middle of your set, then finish with a couple of covers. So, were talking about somewhere between 4 and 6 covers in this set.
What you're actualy doing is 'training' the audience.
The more gigs you get back at the same venue, (and you will... if you play cover songs at your first gig there.) the less cover songs you do and you replace each cover with an original. With every gig back there, do one less cover and one more original, until eventualy, the audience has become 'familiar' with your original material.
You now have a 'hardcore' crowd.
Now play some different venues in the same town.
Some of your 'hardcore' crowd will turn up at these gigs in different venues and their enthusiasm will carry many of this 'new' crowd along with them, but just to be safe, throw a couple of covers back into the set.
Eventualy, you'll be a band playing original songs, that everyone in that town wants to book because you'll attract a large crowd which they can sell beer to. See? It's still all about the beer. ;)
Want to be bigger?
Now start playing in different towns. You start at each new venue in a new town in exactly the same way that you started at the first venue, with around 4-6 cover songs, that keep your audience at the gig while you familiarise them with your own stuff, but the next time you play there, you play one less cover and one more original song, until eventualy, you are playing a set of totaly original songs that the audience is familiar with and you've branched out into a different town.
Repeat this exercise in as many towns around the country as you can possibly do. This, to be honest, is gonna take years, but no one ever said it was gonna be easy eh? :rolleyes:
Do this in enough towns to pretty much criss cross the country you're in, then move on to the big cities (and sell recordings of yourself and t-shirts while you're at it) and pretty soon, you're going to be playing gigs at larger venues where you're job isn't to sell beer, but to sell tickets to see 'YOU', doing your original stuff.
It's hard work, but that's how it's done.
;)

Gurgle!Argh!
12-27-2007, 12:37 PM
i have never played a cover in a band. it just doesnt interest me and never has, and i've always been lucky enough to play with musicians who feel the same way.

i guess it all depends on what you want to do with your band. for me, going for the lowest common denominator isn't something that interests me, and i have no illusions of playing in a band being something i can live off. so i'd rather do something that interests and excites me than play something that doesn't interest me purely to make people who i have no respect for like my band.

the post above is accurate if you want to be some boring bar band or whatever. but that is most certainly not 'how it is done'. its one way of playing with your band. i can assure you that almost any band that don't suck would say something very different.

axemanchris
12-27-2007, 01:32 PM
I'd say it's pretty much spot-on.

The only things he left out of it are:
1. Don't do any more than about 10-12 original songs. Nobody wants to hear three sets worth of original music by the same band. It gets boring and tiring after a while. Not many bands have 30 songs that are all good anyways. Really.
2. That is the sort of cycle that goes on in any town you want a following for a lot of bands. Some bands build their followings in other ways doing all originals. Either way, it is a tough go, and you do have to build your following one town at a time pretty much. This all starts to get easier as you get more help. The more help you get (media exposure, etc.), the more likely you are to 'break' and start having your machine develop its own momentum. Let's say you have a video on MTV for instance..... people all over the world will know who you are, and you will be much easier to sell in any given town. Of course, getting to that level requires a LOT of fighting it out in the trenches where there is little glory.

More likely, you'll get picked up by a few college stations, and if you can chart there, you might stand a chance of getting a half-way decent gig in those cities where you are charting. Chart on a bunch of stations, and you could get picked up by national media like CMJ. These are the trade magazines that people higher in the industry look at when they are scouting for new talent. You get the idea...

CT

SlackerBabbath
12-28-2007, 08:25 AM
i have never played a cover in a band. it just doesnt interest me and never has, and i've always been lucky enough to play with musicians who feel the same way.

i guess it all depends on what you want to do with your band. for me, going for the lowest common denominator isn't something that interests me, and i have no illusions of playing in a band being something i can live off. so i'd rather do something that interests and excites me than play something that doesn't interest me purely to make people who i have no respect for like my band.

the post above is accurate if you want to be some boring bar band or whatever. but that is most certainly not 'how it is done'. its one way of playing with your band. i can assure you that almost any band that don't suck would say something very different.
I can assure you, most bands that 'don't suck' are in that position because they put in a lot of hard work, playing around bars, crossing countries and learning their trade.
It's very simple, without learning the apprenticeship, you can't become a master at what you do, and as far as gigging musicians are concerned, throwing a couple of covers into your set and playing around the bar/club circuit is that apprenticeship.
So tell me Gurgle!Argh!, how far have you got doing nothing but strictly original tunes?
I'm not saying it's better playing covers than originals, just that to get the gigs and to get noticed by those that would appreciate your music, first you need to play a handful of covers that will be dropped later down the line. It's not a massive problem, you're not going against the wishes of some music god that's gonna stike you down or anything heavy like that. It's simply the tried and tested way that it's done now and it's how original bands have been doing it since the whole scene began in the 50s.
You can't just expect to make original music and have everyone sit up and listen to you as if you've suddenly become some kinda pampered star overnight or something.
Anyway, what's wrong with being 'some bar band?' I bet (contrary to your claim about bands that don't suck) that 98% of all top bands today have played the bars and club circuit as part of their climb to the top and I guarantee you that every single one of them will agree with me and say it was essential to teach them their trade.
After all, who wants to see some pretend band made up from a few inexperienced young kids who think that instead of spending a year or two constantly gigging around bars and clubs, tightning up their music and their act, building up a following, putting the hard work in, paying their dues, they can instead just play a bunch of tunes that nobody's heard before and demand instant recognition for it?
Believe me sonny, it cirtainly doesn't work like that and no amount of pouting and pretending that you're the 'dog's bollocks with a brand new sound' after you've relatively only just written your first few songs is gonna change that.
At the end of the day folks, you can either listen to me, a well seasoned pro that's been there and done it all and is happily semi retired from the business now, or you can listen to someone who thinks that you just play some original songs and everyone will just sit up and notice you and give you gigs on stages other than in bars.
The choice is yours. ;)

axemanchris
12-28-2007, 10:25 AM
In the end, though, it comes down to (as far as a band 'making it' goes:
1. Great songs.
2. Great performances.
3. Great image.
4. Industry contacts.

How you get yourself noticed is up to you, and in a lot of cases, requires every bit as much luck as it does anything else. It is possible to avoid playing covers and still get noticed. It's largely impossible, though, to not slug it out in bars developing a following one town at a time until something breaks for you.

The tough part is this.... Being blessed enough to be able to write great songs, and to get a band together of like musicians able to deliver great performances of said songs, and still be young and beautiful enough for the industry to market you to the MTV crowd.

Before "Video killed the radio star" it was okay to be a bunch of old guys (like over 30... hahaha) who had slugged it out in bars playing covers and evolving into a great original act. There are tons of bands who did do it that way, and got big only after they were relatively "past it" by today's standards.

In our modern age of internet and the like, you have so many more options for getting word out and getting your music in front of people, combined with the fact that you have to make it by the age of 25 or so or forget it, that spending years in the clubs doing covers is a pretty risky path.

Better, really, to go to New York, LA, Vancouver, Toronto, etc. - wherever there are major industry players. Move there. Yes, move there. Proximity is everything. You're not going to *ever* meet a world-class producer, record label exec, head of A+R, big-time manager, etc. if you don't live in their community. These are the people who need to hear you great songs, great performances, and need to see your great image.

BUT!! They ALSO want to see that you are able to sell yourself. If YOU can sell you, why should they think THEY can? If you can show that your package sells itself, as evidenced by a strong local following and a 'buzz' in neighbouring communities, etc., they will surely see the potential.

CT

SlackerBabbath
12-28-2007, 12:11 PM
^I agree with every word you said, but i must maintane that hard word and as much gigging as is humanly possible is the most likely way to get results.
To do it this way though, you're going to have to play bars because there isn't enough venues without a bar that will book an unknown act to possibly gain any kind of useful experience.

Yes, it is possible that someone might 'discover' you and make you a star overnight, but it's about as likely as winning the lottery.
The Internet is a very useful tool to have and it's revolutionised promotion, but that's all it is. The music industry still revolves around gigging to promote product.

axemanchris
12-28-2007, 12:13 PM
agreed on all counts

CT

gig-getter
12-28-2007, 06:30 PM
Id start with a cover or two, kinda in the same style as your own stuff. Then play ur own songs. The covers kinda help warm up the crowd IMO.


Slipping a couple of covers in per set will help you get your band on at venues that normally only use covers bands. Then as gotsa says, you'll also play your own material to a more "warmed up" crowd.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-28-2007, 07:23 PM
I can assure you, most bands that 'don't suck' are in that position because they put in a lot of hard work, playing around bars, crossing countries and learning their trade.
It's very simple, without learning the apprenticeship, you can't become a master at what you do, and as far as gigging musicians are concerned, throwing a couple of covers into your set and playing around the bar/club circuit is that apprenticeship.
So tell me Gurgle!Argh!, how far have you got doing nothing but strictly original tunes?
I'm not saying it's better playing covers than originals, just that to get the gigs and to get noticed by those that would appreciate your music, first you need to play a handful of covers that will be dropped later down the line. It's not a massive problem, you're not going against the wishes of some music god that's gonna stike you down or anything heavy like that. It's simply the tried and tested way that it's done now and it's how original bands have been doing it since the whole scene began in the 50s.

this is just wrong. sorry. i promise you, if you go and look at most of the bands right now who are doing something interesting, they have never been a covers band. maybe things used to be like that. funnily enough, music has moved on since the '50s.

[qupte]You can't just expect to make original music and have everyone sit up and listen to you as if you've suddenly become some kinda pampered star overnight or something.
Anyway, what's wrong with being 'some bar band?' I bet (contrary to your claim about bands that don't suck) that 98% of all top bands today have played the bars and club circuit as part of their climb to the top and I guarantee you that every single one of them will agree with me and say it was essential to teach them their trade.[/quote]

i will agree that they have played the toilet circuit. thats a given. but it doesn't mean they went around playing sets composed of covers. i can say with certainty that almost all of the bands i listen to have never played sets that weren't dominated by original songs.

After all, who wants to see some pretend band made up from a few inexperienced young kids who think that instead of spending a year or two constantly gigging around bars and clubs, tightning up their music and their act, building up a following, putting the hard work in, paying their dues, they can instead just play a bunch of tunes that nobody's heard before and demand instant recognition for it?

except no-one says that. what i'm saying is there's a difference between playing the toilet circuit as a cover band and playing it doing original material. i mean, if you want to do the covers thing, sure, go for it, you'll probably stand a better chance of making money that way too, but you don't have to do covers to be a successful original band, and i'd dispute the wisdom of your method largely because the kind of person who'd choose to go and see a covers band probably isnt open minded to listen to any new music in a live setting :rolleyes:.

Believe me sonny, it cirtainly doesn't work like that and no amount of pouting and pretending that you're the 'dog's bollocks with a brand new sound' after you've relatively only just written your first few songs is gonna change that.
At the end of the day folks, you can either listen to me, a well seasoned pro that's been there and done it all and is happily semi retired from the business now, or you can listen to someone who thinks that you just play some original songs and everyone will just sit up and notice you and give you gigs on stages other than in bars.
The choice is yours. ;)

ok, well believe me when i say that i know plenty of people in really awesome bands who are signed and tour internationally and all these fun things who would say you're completely wrong. i might agree it might have been the case once upon a time. it most certainly isnt the case now.

i mean, sure, tell me i'm wrong, whatever, but i can't say i'm that concerned because i know i'm not. everything you've pointed out is meaningless because i can happily point to so many bands at all levels of success who were never covers bands, and i can be more than confident that they'll outnumber and be better than the few you can come up with who have done things the way you're talking about in recent years. sure, plenty might have done. not so much these days. i go to plenty of gigs on the toilet circuit. i NEVER see covers bands. thank god. in fact, i'd say in most cities in the UK its easier to get gigs at decent venues playing originals than covers. to take the places i live in as examples, i can't think of anywhere that puts cover bands on in any number in oxford, and i can't think of many in sheffield. on the other hand, i can think of plenty who put on a lot of small unsigned bands playing the toilet circuit, i can think of lots of awesome promoters putting together interesting bills and arranging them so that local bands help get people in for out of town bands, and i can think of plenty of people, like myself, who have listened to and are interested in bands from other cities before they've ever played outside their hometown, thanks to things like myspace, and who will actually listen to and appreciate unfamiliar bands in a live setting. some of the bands i'm most happy to have discovered in recent times i've discovered by seeing them live.

basically, music has changed a lot. for the better.

SlackerBabbath
12-29-2007, 09:11 AM
this is just wrong. sorry. i promise you, if you go and look at most of the bands right now who are doing something interesting, they have never been a covers band. maybe things used to be like that. funnily enough, music has moved on since the '50s.
Yes, I know, I've been involved in it since the 80s and still am. I'm acting as a promoter and publicist for quite a few bands as well as having a couple of projects of my own on the go. I have plenty of contacts in the record company side of the market and I know what I'm talking about.
I'm not just bull****ting folks here in order to become popular. I'm simply telling it like it is.
So far, all I'm seeing from you is 'You're old, what do you know about it?' and 'Don't play covers because I personaly don't like them.' and then absolutely no better alternative plan from you whatsoever.
You can't just expect to make original music and have everyone sit up and listen to you as if you've suddenly become some kinda pampered star overnight or something.
Anyway, what's wrong with being 'some bar band?' I bet (contrary to your claim about bands that don't suck) that 98% of all top bands today have played the bars and club circuit as part of their climb to the top and I guarantee you that every single one of them will agree with me and say it was essential to teach them their trade.
i will agree that they have played the toilet circuit. thats a given. but it doesn't mean they went around playing sets composed of covers. i can say with certainty that almost all of the bands i listen to have never played sets that weren't dominated by original songs.
I've never mentioned anything about having sets 'composed' entirely from covers or having covers 'dominating' their sets, read the post again, I just suggested placing a couple of covers at strategic points in the set, namely, the beginning, the middle and the end, and then playing a couple of gigs like that until people start getting used to your original stuff.
As I said in my earlier post, just 4-6 covers should do nicely, and out of an entire set of around 20 or 30 songs it's hardly going to break the bank of rightiousness or take anything away from your original material is it?

except no-one says that. what i'm saying is there's a difference between playing the toilet circuit as a cover band and playing it doing original material. i mean, if you want to do the covers thing, sure, go for it, you'll probably stand a better chance of making money that way too, but you don't have to do covers to be a successful original band, and i'd dispute the wisdom of your method largely because the kind of person who'd choose to go and see a covers band probably isnt open minded to listen to any new music in a live setting :rolleyes:.
Ahh, now we're getting to the crux of the problem right here. You're in a minority and you're acting like it's the only way anyone should act because you're a musical purist that thinks covers are somehow dirty or something.
Y'know, when you say 'kind of person' like that and insult their open mindedness, maybe it's an idea to remember that more people go to see cover bands than original bands, which you already kinda have by stating that there's more money in cover bands, which there isn't by the way. There's way more money to be made from original songs, but you have to market it right and get 'ordinary' everyday folks, like those that you insulted and called them 'the kind of person' to listen to your material and hopefully buy it.
If you think they won't be open minded enough to listen to your music, fine, you'd probably be correct, but why do you think we put a couple of covers in the set in the first place? It's to grab those that don't have that open mindedness.

Being a 'covers band' means you have a set that is comprised mainly from cover songs, which is a completely different thing to what I'm suggesting, I'm suggesting that you take an original set and just add a few covers to it, nobody apart from you seems to have a problem with an original band throwing a couple of covers into their set.

Y'know, I hope you never refer to the lower end of gigs as the 'toilet circuit' in front of any promoters or club owners when you're playing these places, it really won't do your cause any good.

ok, well believe me when i say that i know plenty of people in really awesome bands who are signed and tour internationally and all these fun things who would say you're completely wrong. i might agree it might have been the case once upon a time. it most certainly isnt the case now.
You probably do, but these are exeptions to the general rule, (I know there seems to be too many for them to be exeptions, but there are a lot more bands out there that have done it my way) and the truth is, there are probably plenty of bands that have some sort of moral problem with doing a couple of covers to help their career along but this attitude in a band that is just starting out is seen by the rest of the industry (and I'm talking about bigger experts on the subject than you or I will ever be) as a definate disadvantage.
To do it your way takes much longer to get established on the countrywide circuit, to do it my way, you end up playing the countrywide circuit with nothing but original songs anyway, just a little earlier and without having to stick to some nonexistant moral principle and have other people think you're some sort of stuck up prima-donna because of it, all because you've done a little bit of homework, found out what gets you noticed and you've been willing to play a few covers earlier on in your career.

i mean, sure, tell me i'm wrong, whatever, but i can't say i'm that concerned because i know i'm not. everything you've pointed out is meaningless because i can happily point to so many bands at all levels of success who were never covers bands, and i can be more than confident that they'll outnumber and be better than the few you can come up with who have done things the way you're talking about in recent years. sure, plenty might have done. not so much these days. i go to plenty of gigs on the toilet circuit. i NEVER see covers bands. thank god. in fact, i'd say in most cities in the UK its easier to get gigs at decent venues playing originals than covers. to take the places i live in as examples, i can't think of anywhere that puts cover bands on in any number in oxford, and i can't think of many in sheffield. on the other hand, i can think of plenty who put on a lot of small unsigned bands playing the toilet circuit, i can think of lots of awesome promoters putting together interesting bills and arranging them so that local bands help get people in for out of town bands, and i can think of plenty of people, like myself, who have listened to and are interested in bands from other cities before they've ever played outside their hometown, thanks to things like myspace, and who will actually listen to and appreciate unfamiliar bands in a live setting. some of the bands i'm most happy to have discovered in recent times i've discovered by seeing them live.

basically, music has changed a lot. for the better.
Look, I know you mean well, but you can't base your view on an entire county's live gigging scene on what you've seen at a couple of local venues that specialise in original material only anyway. There is a place for that type of venue, and you'll generaly find that the audience is made up mainly from other musicians, but they are nothing new. These venues and promoters are not part of some great change that's suddenly happened to music, these type of places have existed for ever and they simply serve an exclusive but limited clientel of musical purists like yourself.
You can be successful in your own right playing to this 'musician's' audience, but you are limiting yourself. The majority of the population of any country that regularly listen to music are not musicians, they don't have some weird moral code that tells them that cover songs are evil or something. They are the 'kind of person' you mentioned eariler. They outnumber musical purists, making them a much bigger market to aim towards and they all work via 'familiarity', which is why the stratagy of playing a couple of covers to get their attention while you familiarise them with your own material works so well. Because 'familiarity' is part of human nature. You can't just say 'Well I don't agree with human nature because it goes against my strict musical working ethics' and try to fight against it, that'd just be silly. It'd be like trying to convince the sun not to rise.
You might as well go with the flow and end up playing the countrywide circuit with nothing but originals anyway, only a lot sooner, to a wider based audience that isn't made up mostly of other musicians and still be young enough to enjoy it.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-29-2007, 03:34 PM
Yes, I know, I've been involved in it since the 80s and still am. I'm acting as a promoter and publicist for quite a few bands as well as having a couple of projects of my own on the go. I have plenty of contacts in the record company side of the market and I know what I'm talking about.
I'm not just bull****ting folks here in order to become popular. I'm simply telling it like it is.
So far, all I'm seeing from you is 'You're old, what do you know about it?' and 'Don't play covers because I personaly don't like them.' and then absolutely no better alternative plan from you whatsoever.

I've never mentioned anything about having sets 'composed' entirely from covers or having covers 'dominating' their sets, read the post again, I just suggested placing a couple of covers at strategic points in the set, namely, the beginning, the middle and the end, and then playing a couple of gigs like that until people start getting used to your original stuff.
As I said in my earlier post, just 4-6 covers should do nicely, and out of an entire set of around 20 or 30 songs it's hardly going to break the bank of rightiousness or take anything away from your original material is it?

sets of 20-30 songs? i guess ultimately we're talking about completely different scenes here. i can't actually remember the last time i saw a band play more than 20 songs. most of the bands i see play sets lasting between 30 minutes and and hour.

Ahh, now we're getting to the crux of the problem right here. You're in a minority and you're acting like it's the only way anyone should act because you're a musical purist that thinks covers are somehow dirty or something.
Y'know, when you say 'kind of person' like that and insult their open mindedness, maybe it's an idea to remember that more people go to see cover bands than original bands, which you already kinda have by stating that there's more money in cover bands, which there isn't by the way. There's way more money to be made from original songs, but you have to market it right and get 'ordinary' everyday folks, like those that you insulted and called them 'the kind of person' to listen to your material and hopefully buy it.
If you think they won't be open minded enough to listen to your music, fine, you'd probably be correct, but why do you think we put a couple of covers in the set in the first place? It's to grab those that don't have that open mindedness.

i guess one of my issues here is that i don't understand why someone would go to see small unsigned bands and expect to hear songs they recognise. i never expect it, and i don't know anyone who does.

Being a 'covers band' means you have a set that is comprised mainly from cover songs, which is a completely different thing to what I'm suggesting, I'm suggesting that you take an original set and just add a few covers to it, nobody apart from you seems to have a problem with an original band throwing a couple of covers into their set.

well, i don't have an issue with sticking a cover into a set. but i think there's a limit. if there are two or three other bands on the bill, you only have so much time. i'd rather use it to show the different facets of my band's sound, and i would never open or close with one.

Y'know, I hope you never refer to the lower end of gigs as the 'toilet circuit' in front of any promoters or club owners when you're playing these places, it really won't do your cause any good.

funnily enough, i am aware of the concept of tact. although i'd point out that the term 'toilet circuit' certainly isn't a derogatory one.

You probably do, but these are exeptions to the general rule, (I know there seems to be too many for them to be exeptions, but there are a lot more bands out there that have done it my way) and the truth is, there are probably plenty of bands that have some sort of moral problem with doing a couple of covers to help their career along but this attitude in a band that is just starting out is seen by the rest of the industry (and I'm talking about bigger experts on the subject than you or I will ever be) as a definate disadvantage.
To do it your way takes much longer to get established on the countrywide circuit, to do it my way, you end up playing the countrywide circuit with nothing but original songs anyway, just a little earlier and without having to stick to some nonexistant moral principle and have other people think you're some sort of stuck up prima-donna because of it, all because you've done a little bit of homework, found out what gets you noticed and you've been willing to play a few covers earlier on in your career.

sure, it probably does take more work the way i'm talking about. but as someone who goes and sees small bands on a regular basis this is the way they all do it. more than anything i'm just bemused because i never see bands playing the way you talk about it, and i see a lot of bands.

and i disagree that they're exceptions. i really do. but i think this is pretty much unresolvable either way, and obviously it depends on the field of bands. my taste in music probably causes it to lean more towards the way of doing things that i'm talking about. if someone's more into commercially orientated rock then it'll probably lean the other way.

Look, I know you mean well, but you can't base your view on an entire county's live gigging scene on what you've seen at a couple of local venues that specialise in original material only anyway. There is a place for that type of venue, and you'll generaly find that the audience is made up mainly from other musicians, but they are nothing new. These venues and promoters are not part of some great change that's suddenly happened to music, these type of places have existed for ever and they simply serve an exclusive but limited clientel of musical purists like yourself.

well, actually i can. i'd say its perfectly reasonable to say that if two of the major cities of the country, both of which have flourishing music scenes are dominated by venues which put on original music then its fair to say they're a good model to take. i'm not saying that the venues you mention don't exist. but i would say that although you might play to more people at them the majority of those people will be there to drink, not to listen to bands. i'd rather play to a receptive audience. on the comment about musicians, i disagree, again. i'd say these things do tend to be popular amongst fellow musicians, but musicians have friends. when i go to gigs, my girlfriend tends to come along. often some of her friends come along. oh look, lots of non-musicians going to these things! yay!

You can be successful in your own right playing to this 'musician's' audience, but you are limiting yourself. The majority of the population of any country that regularly listen to music are not musicians, they don't have some weird moral code that tells them that cover songs are evil or something. They are the 'kind of person' you mentioned eariler. They outnumber musical purists, making them a much bigger market to aim towards and they all work via 'familiarity', which is why the stratagy of playing a couple of covers to get their attention while you familiarise them with your own material works so well. Because 'familiarity' is part of human nature. You can't just say 'Well I don't agree with human nature because it goes against my strict musical working ethics' and try to fight against it, that'd just be silly. It'd be like trying to convince the sun not to rise.
You might as well go with the flow and end up playing the countrywide circuit with nothing but originals anyway, only a lot sooner, to a wider based audience that isn't made up mostly of other musicians and still be young enough to enjoy it.

call me crazy, but i don't think about 'markets' to 'aim for' all that much. i guess ultimately we are talking from completely different perspectives. i think what you're talking about is perfectly acceptable if you want to do things in one, more commercially orientated way. i'm talking more from an indie rock/early hardore background that emphasises artistic integrity over striving for commercial appeal. if people are going to listen to my bands music i want them to listen to it on our terms. if they're put off because its unfamiliar, that doesn't concern me. i don't see music as a job. i'm content doing my degree and getting a job. i see it as something fun that i would like to be successful in, but not something i'm so focused on achieving success in that i'm willing to do something that i consider to be kinda lame. staying true to my artistic principles is my first goal.

i'm not saying what you're saying doesn't have some truth. but i am saying that i disagree that its the number one way of doing things. in my experience, the way i'm talking about doing things is the way that leads people to playing with other good bands, to getting a decent fanbase, to getting involved with small indies, which is the best route on to quasi-indies and major labels.

shredder1223
12-29-2007, 06:38 PM
Gurgle, Slacker knows what he is talking about.

No offense but you're coming off as some kind of naive preteen or something.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-29-2007, 08:20 PM
Gurgle, Slacker knows what he is talking about.

No offense but you're coming off as some kind of naive preteen or something.

personally, i prefer naivety in bands, or at least i prefer it to cynicism. and i'm sure he does know what he's talking about in a sense. but i also know what i am talking about. and, lest we forget, this thread originated from someone saying that they'd rather not play covers. i'm making the point that this is a perfectly acceptable and common thing for a band to do, and that i prefer it in a band.

GuitarMunky
12-29-2007, 08:33 PM
i was just wondering if any one had any problems playing gigs and stuff if the band didn't do cover songs, because i prefer not to play covers at all, and i was wondering if that would hinder the bands ability to make and steps towards success. I just think its more fun to write and play your own creations, because playing other peoples songs sorta makes me bored for the most part and in my opinion i write good guitar stuff for my genre. Anyways just wondering if this would become a problem at all in the future.

it depends on what you want to do. Some bars hire cover bands specifically. In those cases you are hired to be more or less a human juke box. Your not there to express yourself, your there to play popular songs so people can drink, dance and mingle.

There are other places that hire bands that do originals. That is a different situation. The people are there to hear your music. The downside is ..... cover bands are the ones making the money.

if your doing this as an artist, and want to play your own music.... find the clubs in town that showcase original bands.

If you are looking for a job. Learn and play covers.


Ofcourse you could always do a bit of both.

KKING911
12-29-2007, 09:00 PM
My head hurts. But that was a good discussion, I learnt alot. :peace:

SlackerBabbath
12-30-2007, 11:20 AM
sets of 20-30 songs? i guess ultimately we're talking about completely different scenes here. i can't actually remember the last time i saw a band play more than 20 songs. most of the bands i see play sets lasting between 30 minutes and and hour.
Huh? I don't thinK I've ever been in a band that have less than a two hour set figured out before we went on the road. Yes, occasionaly I've played the odd half hour set, when we've supported someone or been playing as part of a large bill of different bands, but you can't do that for the rest of your lives. Don't you wanna be the headliner?
The standard gig length across the country comprises of an hour and a half.
This can usualy be played as one set or can be split into two 45 minute sets.
For this, the wage (for a headliner) can vary a great deal from around 150 up to around the 1000 mark. It all depends on the amount of people you can be expected to bring with you and the size of the door charge. If you're a well known band that will be a big draw, you will be offered more money when you're being booked.

The kind of gigs you're talking about are useful to get you better known in a new town but they are cirtainly not the only gig in town.

i guess one of my issues here is that i don't understand why someone would go to see small unsigned bands and expect to hear songs they recognise. i never expect it, and i don't know anyone who does.
That's because you're assuming that the rest of the public think like you and your friends think.
Most people that go to see live bands simply go to be entertained. If they hear a song they know, especialy if you play that song in a new and exiting way, it gives them a 'connection' with your band and makes them take more notice of your own songs that they've never heard before and probably wouldn't have noticed if you didn't get their attention with a cover song in the first place. Eventualy, they'll start to sing along with your catchier original tunes, then they'll listen more intently to the less catchy tunes in your back catalogue. This is when you sell them a CD. ;)
The next time you play there, you'll have people in the audience who have listened to your CD at home and learned your songs and are therefore 'familiar' with your set.
Now you can leave the covers out of the set, (they've served their purpose) and play original songs all night, then sell them a t-shirt at the end of the night.
The next time you play this town, you should be playing in a larger venue where you can sell more CDs and t-shirts to a larger crowd.

well, i don't have an issue with sticking a cover into a set. but i think there's a limit. if there are two or three other bands on the bill, you only have so much time. i'd rather use it to show the different facets of my band's sound, and i would never open or close with one.
That's because you're only concentrating on these huge bills that have so many bands on them.
Did you know that promoters of such gigs usualy make a LOT of money at your expense?
They pack 8 or 12 bands onto one bill, who in turn bring all their mates with them and between them all fill the venue. If the ticket price is 5 and the venue holds only 200 people, that's 1000 that's come in over the door, yet most of the bands usualy only get expenses of around 25 if they get payed at all.
If there are 8 bands on the bill and they all get 25 each apart from the headliner who gets 200 if they are very lucky, the promoter is still making 600 profit just on the door takings alone, and this is before they've sold beer and other refreshments to the audience.
If your in a 5 piece band, you've just made 5 each. :(
On stage, the changeovers between bands are so quick in order to get everyone on, no one has time for a proper soundcheck, so your front of house sound is usualy sketchy at best (that's if there's a competent sound engineer on the desk) and getting any kind of decent mix from the on-stage monitors is as rare as rockin' horse sh!t.
Wouldn't you rather be the band that is either headliner or maybe supporting act on a bill of two, in a larger venue like maybe a theatre, where you get a decent soundcheck before the doors open to the public and a chance to talk about your sound with the sound engineer and show the audience every single facet of your band's sound, as it's supposed to sound? And have a proper backstage area with hot and cold running water and a TV and DVD player and comfy chairs with a crate of beer thrown in as well (known as a 'rider') and even being put up in a local hotel at the expense of the concert promoter?
And then after all that, get payed properly for it?
This is your reward for playing the toilet circuit and playing a few covers at first to draw the audience in and playing small pub venues where you're the only band on and it's your job to entertain the audience for the entire night, then moving it on to a different town, then another, then another, then moving on to larger venues when you have become better known.
It's a lot of hard work, but the rewards are worth it.
Like I said, the cover songs are just a tool to get you to this position, a way to make the audience, from those first few gigs in new towns, remember you when they've gone home after your first gig in that town, and a way to make sure they come back to your next gig in that town which will eventualy lead to you being in the above position of being able to play a properly mixed gig in front of an audience where half of them are already familiar with your material and the other half are about to buy your CD and t-shirt after they've heard your set and seen all the facets you have to show them.

sure, it probably does take more work the way i'm talking about. but as someone who goes and sees small bands on a regular basis this is the way they all do it. more than anything i'm just bemused because i never see bands playing the way you talk about it, and i see a lot of bands.
You obviously usualy only see bands in a city, because that's how it's generaly done in the lower end of the gig market in cities, and that's why there are so many rich promoters in the city. :D
Heh, they even have something called 'pay to play' (*spits*) where you buy so many tickets from the promoter for your own gig and then you have to sell them on to make any money. :haha
Seriously, can you imagine anyone falling for that? But they do apparently, all the time.
In venues up and down the rest of the country, it works slightly differently.
You gig around the country, building up a nationwide following as you go (and getting them all talking to one another via your website) then you move into the cities last of all when the rumours of what a damn good band you are starts filtering through to the cities. This way, you are offered a much better deal to play there than you would if you play your first few gigs there on the same bill as 7 other bands with nothing more than a fiver each to show for it.

Continued in next post.

SlackerBabbath
12-30-2007, 11:21 AM
Continued....


and i disagree that they're exceptions. i really do. but i think this is pretty much unresolvable either way, and obviously it depends on the field of bands. my taste in music probably causes it to lean more towards the way of doing things that i'm talking about. if someone's more into commercially orientated rock then it'll probably lean the other way.
Nope, this works regardless of whatever field of bands you're into, if you're into death metal or something, you play around the venues that specialise in that field, (and there are lots) if you're more of an indie type of band, your in luck because there's absolutely thousands of indie friendly small venues out there at the moment.
Remember, there are a hell of a lot more small towns out there than cities, which means that the way it's done in cities is indeed 'the exeption'

well, actually i can. i'd say its perfectly reasonable to say that if two of the major cities of the country, both of which have flourishing music scenes are dominated by venues which put on original music then its fair to say they're a good model to take. i'm not saying that the venues you mention don't exist. but i would say that although you might play to more people at them the majority of those people will be there to drink, not to listen to bands. i'd rather play to a receptive audience. on the comment about musicians, i disagree, again. i'd say these things do tend to be popular amongst fellow musicians, but musicians have friends. when i go to gigs, my girlfriend tends to come along. often some of her friends come along. oh look, lots of non-musicians going to these things! yay!
You're looking at it all wrong.
The majority of people who go to an original material only venue are elitists. This means they are harder to please because they already have an idea of what they want to listen to and quite often, if you don't exactly match that model they are imagining, they ain't gonna take much notice of you.
They may be polite and tell you they respect your stance on not doing covers, but that doesn't mean they'll buy your CD, t-shirt, or a ticket to see you again.
On the other hand, people who go to gigs to just drink, soak in the atmosphere and have a listen to whatever band is on are more open to something new, once you have their attention, (which is where the covers come in) and are therefore 'more' responsive than most audiences at an original material only venue that doesn't contain all your mates.

call me crazy, but i don't think about 'markets' to 'aim for' all that much. i guess ultimately we are talking from completely different perspectives.
Yes, you're coming from a hobbyist musician's point of view and I'm coming from a professional musician's point of view, where people have to earn enough money to live on and provide for their families.
i think what you're talking about is perfectly acceptable if you want to do things in one, more commercially orientated way. i'm talking more from an indie rock/early hardore background that emphasises artistic integrity over striving for commercial appeal. if people are going to listen to my bands music i want them to listen to it on our terms.
But they are listening to it on your terms. They're listening to a tiny amount of your stuff on the promoter's terms.

if they're put off because its unfamiliar, that doesn't concern me. i don't see music as a job. i'm content doing my degree and getting a job. i see it as something fun that i would like to be successful in, but not something i'm so focused on achieving success in that i'm willing to do something that i consider to be kinda lame. staying true to my artistic principles is my first goal.
If that's what you want to do and you're happy to continue to do so, then good for you. But I'm on this thread to advise from a 'professional' point of view because to most musicians, the ultimate dream is to actualy make a living from it.

i'm not saying what you're saying doesn't have some truth. but i am saying that i disagree that its the number one way of doing things. in my experience, the way i'm talking about doing things is the way that leads people to playing with other good bands, to getting a decent fanbase, to getting involved with small indies, which is the best route on to quasi-indies and major labels.
No, you've just said that you are only doing this part time until you finish school and get a job, and obviously your experiences, reflect that.
Major labels are much more interested in a band that will get out there, draw the audience in by whatever means and sell themselves to that audience, why? Because they're businessmen and they wish to make money out of you. If they don't see you as a band that take it seriously or a band that plays nothing but venues that are swamped with other acts, then they'll ignore you. Labels like bands that can prove they have a decent knowledge of how to build up a countrywide following and how to play an audience.
Just playing in the odd city here and there on bills that only give you an average of a half hour set just isn't going to cut it for them. They want to know that you have the ability to make money, so that you can then make them money once they've invested in you.
Yes, there is a slight possiblity that you may be 'discovered' like Oasis were by Alan McGee at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut club in Glasgow in 1993, but remember, Oasis had been constantly gigging around the country's 'toilet circuit' for two years by then.
Fairy stories very rarely happen over night and most bands that have 'made it' have done so off their own backs due to hard work and throwing the occasional cover in the set early on in their career.
If you're going to be 'discovered' it'll probably happen in a city, but only if you've put the hard work in touring the rest of the country first, and believe me, to someone who signs bands up to a label, the difference will be apparent.

It may be ugly, but it's the truth.

trey-col89
12-30-2007, 03:07 PM
I don't know though, there just really aren't as many opportunities to find likeminded musicians and gig at different places in Bumblefuck Nebraska as opposed to New York City, Chicago, Boston, etc. Theres no denying that, can you explain how touring the rest of the country before you get to a major city is more beneficial because I don't really follow.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-30-2007, 05:18 PM
Huh? I don't thinK I've ever been in a band that have less than a two hour set figured out before we went on the road. Yes, occasionaly I've played the odd half hour set, when we've supported someone or been playing as part of a large bill of different bands, but you can't do that for the rest of your lives. Don't you wanna be the headliner?
The standard gig length across the country comprises of an hour and a half.
This can usualy be played as one set or can be split into two 45 minute sets.
For this, the wage (for a headliner) can vary a great deal from around 150 up to around the 1000 mark. It all depends on the amount of people you can be expected to bring with you and the size of the door charge. If you're a well known band that will be a big draw, you will be offered more money when you're being booked.

since when? most headliners play up to an hour with two supports playing about half an hour.

The kind of gigs you're talking about are useful to get you better known in a new town but they are cirtainly not the only gig in town.

That's because you're assuming that the rest of the public think like you and your friends think.
Most people that go to see live bands simply go to be entertained. If they hear a song they know, especialy if you play that song in a new and exiting way, it gives them a 'connection' with your band and makes them take more notice of your own songs that they've never heard before and probably wouldn't have noticed if you didn't get their attention with a cover song in the first place. Eventualy, they'll start to sing along with your catchier original tunes, then they'll listen more intently to the less catchy tunes in your back catalogue. This is when you sell them a CD. ;)
The next time you play there, you'll have people in the audience who have listened to your CD at home and learned your songs and are therefore 'familiar' with your set.
Now you can leave the covers out of the set, (they've served their purpose) and play original songs all night, then sell them a t-shirt at the end of the night.
The next time you play this town, you should be playing in a larger venue where you can sell more CDs and t-shirts to a larger crowd.

That's because you're only concentrating on these huge bills that have so many bands on them.
Did you know that promoters of such gigs usualy make a LOT of money at your expense?
They pack 8 or 12 bands onto one bill, who in turn bring all their mates with them and between them all fill the venue. If the ticket price is 5 and the venue holds only 200 people, that's 1000 that's come in over the door, yet most of the bands usualy only get expenses of around 25 if they get payed at all.
If there are 8 bands on the bill and they all get 25 each apart from the headliner who gets 200 if they are very lucky, the promoter is still making 600 profit just on the door takings alone, and this is before they've sold beer and other refreshments to the audience.
If your in a 5 piece band, you've just made 5 each. :(
On stage, the changeovers between bands are so quick in order to get everyone on, no one has time for a proper soundcheck, so your front of house sound is usualy sketchy at best (that's if there's a competent sound engineer on the desk) and getting any kind of decent mix from the on-stage monitors is as rare as rockin' horse sh!t.
Wouldn't you rather be the band that is either headliner or maybe supporting act on a bill of two, in a larger venue like maybe a theatre, where you get a decent soundcheck before the doors open to the public and a chance to talk about your sound with the sound engineer and show the audience every single facet of your band's sound, as it's supposed to sound? And have a proper backstage area with hot and cold running water and a TV and DVD player and comfy chairs with a crate of beer thrown in as well (known as a 'rider') and even being put up in a local hotel at the expense of the concert promoter?
And then after all that, get payed properly for it?
This is your reward for playing the toilet circuit and playing a few covers at first to draw the audience in and playing small pub venues where you're the only band on and it's your job to entertain the audience for the entire night, then moving it on to a different town, then another, then another, then moving on to larger venues when you have become better known.
It's a lot of hard work, but the rewards are worth it.
Like I said, the cover songs are just a tool to get you to this position, a way to make the audience, from those first few gigs in new towns, remember you when they've gone home after your first gig in that town, and a way to make sure they come back to your next gig in that town which will eventualy lead to you being in the above position of being able to play a properly mixed gig in front of an audience where half of them are already familiar with your material and the other half are about to buy your CD and t-shirt after they've heard your set and seen all the facets you have to show them.

say what now? i'm not talking about bills that have 8-12 bands on. i'm talking about the average sized gig that has 3 or 4 bands playing between the hours of about 8 and midnight. i'm honestly somewhat bemused by what kind of gigs you're talking about, because in your world gigs seem to have either a single headliner playing all night or 10 bands with the gig lasting all day. these are very rare things.

You obviously usualy only see bands in a city, because that's how it's generaly done in the lower end of the gig market in cities, and that's why there are so many rich promoters in the city. :D
Heh, they even have something called 'pay to play' (*spits*) where you buy so many tickets from the promoter for your own gig and then you have to sell them on to make any money. :haha
Seriously, can you imagine anyone falling for that? But they do apparently, all the time.
In venues up and down the rest of the country, it works slightly differently.
You gig around the country, building up a nationwide following as you go (and getting them all talking to one another via your website) then you move into the cities last of all when the rumours of what a damn good band you are starts filtering through to the cities. This way, you are offered a much better deal to play there than you would if you play your first few gigs there on the same bill as 7 other bands with nothing more than a fiver each to show for it.

yes, i am talking about seeing bands in cities. you do realise that the majority of this population of this country lives in cities, don't you? now who is the one ignoring a large 'demographic'? on a side note, information about good bands doesnt tend to trickle from small towns to cities, because most people in cities look down on people from small towns. being big in s****horpe doesn't mean people in leeds will assume you must be great. on a further side note, ever noticed how people from small towns often go to cities for gigs but almost never vice-versa? funny that.

you're right about pay to play though. absolutely appalling, frankly.

and you're totally right that there are some awful, awful promoters. but there are good ones too. its usually fairly apparent which are which.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-30-2007, 05:41 PM
Continued....


Nope, this works regardless of whatever field of bands you're into, if you're into death metal or something, you play around the venues that specialise in that field, (and there are lots) if you're more of an indie type of band, your in luck because there's absolutely thousands of indie friendly small venues out there at the moment.
Remember, there are a hell of a lot more small towns out there than cities, which means that the way it's done in cities is indeed 'the exeption'

this post is illogical. people who like indie music (and i mean actual indie music here, not daytime radio's perception of it) are exactly the kind of people who would rather see original bands than cover bands. furthermore, if you're playing genuine indie music, the majority of the people who would rather see covers bands probably wouldnt be interested in genuine indie music.

You're looking at it all wrong.
The majority of people who go to an original material only venue are elitists. This means they are harder to please because they already have an idea of what they want to listen to and quite often, if you don't exactly match that model they are imagining, they ain't gonna take much notice of you.
They may be polite and tell you they respect your stance on not doing covers, but that doesn't mean they'll buy your CD, t-shirt, or a ticket to see you again.
On the other hand, people who go to gigs to just drink, soak in the atmosphere and have a listen to whatever band is on are more open to something new, once you have their attention, (which is where the covers come in) and are therefore 'more' responsive than most audiences at an original material only venue that doesn't contain all your mates.

yes. you're clearly right. the people who go out with the intention of seeing bands they haven't heard before are clearly people who aren't receptive to new music. definitely. that makes complete sense. :rolleyes:

Yes, you're coming from a hobbyist musician's point of view and I'm coming from a professional musician's point of view, where people have to earn enough money to live on and provide for their families.

thats great that you're coming from that background. but plenty of people aren't doing. it doesn't make it any less valid, but it does mean you don't have to do **** you don't want to do. and, for the record, i'd say the majority of the bands i enjoy listening either started as 'hobbyists' or at the very least didn't pin all their hopes upon being musicians.

But they are listening to it on your terms. They're listening to a tiny amount of your stuff on the promoter's terms.

If that's what you want to do and you're happy to continue to do so, then good for you. But I'm on this thread to advise from a 'professional' point of view because to most musicians, the ultimate dream is to actualy make a living from it.

thats great for you. but funnily enough, some people would rather not play covers. yeah? and funnily enough, its perfectly possible to be successful without doing them. i'm not the one who's saying there's only one way to do things, that is you. i mean, personally i think it's stupid to do things your way, but hey, whatever, i'm sure it works for some people. but the model you're talking about is most certainly NOT the way most people do it.

No, you've just said that you are only doing this part time until you finish school and get a job, and obviously your experiences, reflect that.
Major labels are much more interested in a band that will get out there, draw the audience in by whatever means and sell themselves to that audience, why? Because they're businessmen and they wish to make money out of you. If they don't see you as a band that take it seriously or a band that plays nothing but venues that are swamped with other acts, then they'll ignore you. Labels like bands that can prove they have a decent knowledge of how to build up a countrywide following and how to play an audience.
Just playing in the odd city here and there on bills that only give you an average of a half hour set just isn't going to cut it for them. They want to know that you have the ability to make money, so that you can then make them money once they've invested in you.
Yes, there is a slight possiblity that you may be 'discovered' like Oasis were by Alan McGee at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut club in Glasgow in 1993, but remember, Oasis had been constantly gigging around the country's 'toilet circuit' for two years by then.
Fairy stories very rarely happen over night and most bands that have 'made it' have done so off their own backs due to hard work and throwing the occasional cover in the set early on in their career.
If you're going to be 'discovered' it'll probably happen in a city, but only if you've put the hard work in touring the rest of the country first, and believe me, to someone who signs bands up to a label, the difference will be apparent.

It may be ugly, but it's the truth.

this post is really lovely and all but it completely sidesteps the point. i'm not disputing that bands have to work really hard to be successful. no-one has done. i'm saying that suggesting that playing covers is an incredibly important part of this is just false.

btw, kudos on the amusingness of how you're 'someone who signs bands up to a label'. i think the meaningless of this sums up how out of touch you seem to be with new music in this country, despite the protestations you make to the contrary.

however, the biggest laugh has to go to the comment about major labels. you do realise that very few bands actually get picked up by major labels or large independents without having previously released singles, eps or albums on small independents, don't you? because that's how these things work. furthermore, since most small indies are more motivated by putting out good records than making a lot of money, and since they're almost always based in cities, playing a cover laden set to bars in backwaters isn't going to improve your chances with them.

i find this entire thread bizzare because i am, frankly, bewildered. i honestly don't know what kind of venues or promoters you're talking about here, because i don't really see them outside of crappy working mens clubs and a few dodgy pubs. i mean, i have seen a lot of bands who are now signed to labels and doing well before they were signed. i can't remember any of them playing covers. i pay a hell of a lot of attention to new music, and the model you're talking about is one which is alien to me. i'm sure it is useful if you're trying to do certain kinds of things, but if you think its the norm, i think you're kidding yourself. i'm sure you'll respond to this saying something about how you've been playing music for blah blah blah and how you know that hard work is necessary, ignoring the fact that no-one denies that it is, but rather that the way you're talking about just isn't how bands do things.

RedMoonMan
12-30-2007, 06:04 PM
god that is a lot of reading, but i would suggest it all to any one who is confused.

axemanchris
12-30-2007, 10:03 PM
Man.... you're both right, but looking at it from different perspectives.

"You're holding up the hand on the left side"
"No, I'm holding up the hand on the right side."

that sort of thing....

Gurgle's point-of-view represents a typical "indie rock" philosophy. Taken to extremes, I use the derogatory "indie-for-indie's sake" mentality, because some of them would truly cut of their nose despite their face.

To overgeneralize a bit, the indie-rock demographic hates being referred to as a demographic. They hate anything commercial/consumer/corporate. Anything that is done to please someone else before pleasing yourself is seen as selling out. That would include covers, unless it was a cover of a song your friend's band did or something communally hip like that. DIY is cooler than sponsorship. Being broke is cooler than making money. This demographic tends to be clique-y a lot of the time, and is by its own design a sort of closed group. You either buy into the philosophy and be embraced by the clique, or you don't and are shunned.

As a result, the clubs that cater to this demographic have a certain vibe that reflects the philosophy. The people, then, who go to those clubs expect to have their indie-DIY aesthetic catered to.

Most of the bands from this group who "make it" as defined as selling platinum on a major label are later rejected by the people who embraced them whole-heartedly while they were still "one of the boys." They're accused of selling out. Nickelback used to be indie-rock darlings before they released Silver Side Up. These bands either did sell out or just played smart and catered to the market that supported them while they were an indie band, reserving their right to cater to a different market if it meant greater gains later. Listen to most of the indie bands. There's a reason why 99.9% of them don't go anywhere.

It's interesting how, despite this indie aesthetic, that they'll get on message boards and complain that people don't show up to shows, etc. As soon as you start preaching to them about the business of music, they get all righteous and say "I'm staying true to my art, man." So..... do you want to sell CD's and get attendance at shows, or do you want to be an artist? :shrug:

This is where Slacker comes in....

The "I'm a working musician and I need to eat too" set. If it puts food on the table, you do it. If it means playing part-time in a wedding band and playing the Bird Dance, you do it. And then you bring home your $400 (not the band's $400... YOURS), and laugh at the so-called artist who was happy to come home with $40.

In business you have to make concessions to please your clients. If people want to hear something familiar, then play something familiar!

In Slacker's world, he is talking about the bars that AREN'T the indie-rock bars. There are a number of clubs that host live music, and the patrons just want to be entertained with something they like. These patrons are typically NOT the "let's go check out some new music" folks. They just want to drink and dance to White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, and Green Day. If you're going to throw originals in, they better be good.

True story.... and not an unusual one.... I was at a new years eve show and the opening band was really average at best. BUT!! They played ten songs that were all current, and all hugely popular. This band knew how to pick at set list. The audience, after the ten songs, were so stoked, the opening band got an encore. They came out and did one more cover, and then two originals. By the time they got to the originals, in the audience's eyes, they could do no wrong. People LOVED them.... and they were only an average band!

From then on, their shows were consistently well-attended, the band was consistently well-paid, and their name got around. No, they didn't get signed.

CT

RedMoonMan
12-30-2007, 11:28 PM
i think this should be stickied, or at least made into a column of some sort.

ibikinz
12-31-2007, 07:09 AM
THis forum contains too much reading.

SlackerBabbath
12-31-2007, 10:01 AM
Man.... you're both right, but looking at it from different perspectives.

"You're holding up the hand on the left side"
"No, I'm holding up the hand on the right side."

that sort of thing....

Gurgle's point-of-view represents a typical "indie rock" philosophy. Taken to extremes, I use the derogatory "indie-for-indie's sake" mentality, because some of them would truly cut of their nose despite their face.

To overgeneralize a bit, the indie-rock demographic hates being referred to as a demographic. They hate anything commercial/consumer/corporate. Anything that is done to please someone else before pleasing yourself is seen as selling out. That would include covers, unless it was a cover of a song your friend's band did or something communally hip like that. DIY is cooler than sponsorship. Being broke is cooler than making money. This demographic tends to be clique-y a lot of the time, and is by its own design a sort of closed group. You either buy into the philosophy and be embraced by the clique, or you don't and are shunned.

As a result, the clubs that cater to this demographic have a certain vibe that reflects the philosophy. The people, then, who go to those clubs expect to have their indie-DIY aesthetic catered to.

Most of the bands from this group who "make it" as defined as selling platinum on a major label are later rejected by the people who embraced them whole-heartedly while they were still "one of the boys." They're accused of selling out. Nickelback used to be indie-rock darlings before they released Silver Side Up. These bands either did sell out or just played smart and catered to the market that supported them while they were an indie band, reserving their right to cater to a different market if it meant greater gains later. Listen to most of the indie bands. There's a reason why 99.9% of them don't go anywhere.

It's interesting how, despite this indie aesthetic, that they'll get on message boards and complain that people don't show up to shows, etc. As soon as you start preaching to them about the business of music, they get all righteous and say "I'm staying true to my art, man." So..... do you want to sell CD's and get attendance at shows, or do you want to be an artist? :shrug:

This is where Slacker comes in....

The "I'm a working musician and I need to eat too" set. If it puts food on the table, you do it. If it means playing part-time in a wedding band and playing the Bird Dance, you do it. And then you bring home your $400 (not the band's $400... YOURS), and laugh at the so-called artist who was happy to come home with $40.

In business you have to make concessions to please your clients. If people want to hear something familiar, then play something familiar!

In Slacker's world, he is talking about the bars that AREN'T the indie-rock bars. There are a number of clubs that host live music, and the patrons just want to be entertained with something they like. These patrons are typically NOT the "let's go check out some new music" folks. They just want to drink and dance to White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, and Green Day. If you're going to throw originals in, they better be good.

True story.... and not an unusual one.... I was at a new years eve show and the opening band was really average at best. BUT!! They played ten songs that were all current, and all hugely popular. This band knew how to pick at set list. The audience, after the ten songs, were so stoked, the opening band got an encore. They came out and did one more cover, and then two originals. By the time they got to the originals, in the audience's eyes, they could do no wrong. People LOVED them.... and they were only an average band!

From then on, their shows were consistently well-attended, the band was consistently well-paid, and their name got around. No, they didn't get signed.

CT
:cheers:
Cheers axemanchris, I couldn't have put it better myself. (apart from the 'Birdy Dance'... I do have some standards y'know. :D )
What I'm talking about is limiting yourself by being eliteist. It doesn't matter what genre you follow. It's all just 'music.'
It doesn't matter if you're a classical string quartet or an all out thrash metal band. If you learn to play gigs by travelling around venues other than the ones that specialise in your own genre, you learn how to entertain an audience, any audience. And that ability is worth it's weight in gold, because that's what sells product on the front line, (the gigs) which in turn get taken home by the punters and played to friends who, (if they like it and if you or your management team have done your/their job properly) can then buy it from their local music shop, which guarantees a larger crowd next time you hit that town.
Playing a couple of covers is just a part of giving that crowd the entertainment they crave to get them hooked. Once you have 'em hooked, then they're more open to your original stuff.
You can play to the same eliteist audiences all you want, but unless you get signed up, you're going to have to move on to different audiences at some point, audiences that may not hold the same views on music as you do, just to make a living.
Or you can REALY sell out and get a proper job instead. ;)

Gurgle.
'Indie' is short for 'independant' isn't it? So surely if your a 'genuine' indie band that gets signed up, you are no longer a 'genuine' indie band by definition, because you are no longer 'independant', so why would you want to sign a deal anyway? :D
Anyhow, what exactly do you mean by 'genuinly' indie? Is this just a style of music and fashion or is it simply any band, regardless of genre, that is signed to a 'genuinely' independant label that simply isn't a subsiduary of a larger label?

SlackerBabbath
12-31-2007, 11:04 AM
this post is illogical. people who like indie music (and i mean actual indie music here, not daytime radio's perception of it) are exactly the kind of people who would rather see original bands than cover bands. furthermore, if you're playing genuine indie music, the majority of the people who would rather see covers bands probably wouldnt be interested in genuine indie music.
In all of this, have I ever mentioned being a pure covers band? All I'm saying is that 'professionaly' it's a good idea for an original band, when playing to a new audience, to play the odd cover song to get their attention, then play them your original stuff, this way, you reach a wider audience and therefore, open your financial opportunities up a bit. Jeeze, anyone would think I'd said everyone should kill babies or something.

yes. you're clearly right. the people who go out with the intention of seeing bands they haven't heard before are clearly people who aren't receptive to new music. definitely. that makes complete sense. :rolleyes:
I'm just saying that anyone who goes to the extent of labeling music like 'genuine indie' (and, I should imagine, 'false indie' too :rolleyes: ) may just be a little too set in their ways to be completely open to anything new.

thats great that you're coming from that background. but plenty of people aren't doing. it doesn't make it any less valid, but it does mean you don't have to do **** you don't want to do. and, for the record, i'd say the majority of the bands i enjoy listening either started as 'hobbyists' or at the very least didn't pin all their hopes upon being musicians.
That's fair enough.

thats great for you. but funnily enough, some people would rather not play covers. yeah? and funnily enough, its perfectly possible to be successful without doing them. i'm not the one who's saying there's only one way to do things, that is you. i mean, personally i think it's stupid to do things your way, but hey, whatever, i'm sure it works for some people. but the model you're talking about is most certainly NOT the way most people do it.
Gurgle, I'm NOT saying that there is only one way to do things, I'm just saying which is the best way to do things if you just want to be a jobbing musician that makes enough money to live on and provide for your family.
As a family man that's been making a living from music for 25 years, I dunno, I just thought that made me qualified to comment. :rolleyes:

this post is really lovely and all but it completely sidesteps the point. i'm not disputing that bands have to work really hard to be successful. no-one has done. i'm saying that suggesting that playing covers is an incredibly important part of this is just false.
Which again is a mis-quote. I've never said that it's 'incredibly important' to play covers or that playing covers is the 'only way.'
All I've said is that when you're playing to a new audience, it's a good idea to throw a couple of covers into the set to get the audience's attention, and suddenly you're gettin all 'genuinly indie' on my ass. :eek:

btw, kudos on the amusingness of how you're 'someone who signs bands up to a label'. i think the meaningless of this sums up how out of touch you seem to be with new music in this country, despite the protestations you make to the contrary.
Are you reading the same posts as I've written? Are you on better drugs than I am or something? Are they special drugs for 'genuine' indie people only? ;)
Where did I say I was 'someone who signs bands up to a label'?
I've had a couple of contracts with labels myself in the past, and I've worked with a hell of a lot of promoters and agents, so again, I'm just speaking from experience.

however, the biggest laugh has to go to the comment about major labels. you do realise that very few bands actually get picked up by major labels or large independents without having previously released singles, eps or albums on small independents, don't you? because that's how these things work. furthermore, since most small indies are more motivated by putting out good records than making a lot of money, and since they're almost always based in cities, playing a cover laden set to bars in backwaters isn't going to improve your chances with them.
Yes I do, and do you realise that those very same indies still need to make money in order to just keep the label going. It just makes perfect business sense that a small label is going to be more interested in a band that not only records great new material but also can go out and entertain almost any audience.
But this is all besides the point anyway because by the time you sign to your first small label, you would have given up playing any covers that you used to do.

i find this entire thread bizzare because i am, frankly, bewildered. i honestly don't know what kind of venues or promoters you're talking about here, because i don't really see them outside of crappy working mens clubs and a few dodgy pubs. i mean, i have seen a lot of bands who are now signed to labels and doing well before they were signed. i can't remember any of them playing covers. i pay a hell of a lot of attention to new music, and the model you're talking about is one which is alien to me. i'm sure it is useful if you're trying to do certain kinds of things, but if you think its the norm, i think you're kidding yourself. i'm sure you'll respond to this saying something about how you've been playing music for blah blah blah and how you know that hard work is necessary, ignoring the fact that no-one denies that it is, but rather that the way you're talking about just isn't how bands do things.

And yet I know what kind of venue and promoters you're referring to, as well as what I'm referring to. Could it be because I've toured the whole UK constantly and seen all the different scenes it has to offer?
You're referring to a specialised market for a particular genre, I'm referring to the rest of the musicians market. That includes everything from working mens clubs, dodgy pubs, ect right up the biggest theatres in the land and even 'session' recordings.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-31-2007, 12:41 PM
In all of this, have I ever mentioned being a pure covers band? All I'm saying is that 'professionaly' it's a good idea for an original band, when playing to a new audience, to play the odd cover song to get their attention, then play them your original stuff, this way, you reach a wider audience and therefore, open your financial opportunities up a bit. Jeeze, anyone would think I'd said everyone should kill babies or something.

but in all of this i want to point out your exact words in your initial post: 'thats how it works'. i'm just trying to say in all of this that the way you're talking about things is not 'how it is done'. plenty of bands don't do it. it isnt a common thing to do.

I'm just saying that anyone who goes to the extent of labeling music like 'genuine indie' (and, I should imagine, 'false indie' too :rolleyes: ) may just be a little too set in their ways to be completely open to anything new.

i don't think its inappropriate to use the term 'genuine indie'. the term is often misused, and i wanted to be clear in what i'm referring to. and again, i think that often a lot of indie kids are pretty set in their ways in some regards, but stylistically i think they tend to be open to a fairly broad range of things.

Gurgle, I'm NOT saying that there is only one way to do things, I'm just saying which is the best way to do things if you just want to be a jobbing musician that makes enough money to live on and provide for your family.
As a family man that's been making a living from music for 25 years, I dunno, I just thought that made me qualified to comment. :rolleyes:

my issue though is that aiming to be a 'jobbing musician' isnt what a lot of people do. and it isnt appropriate for a lot of bands. i mean, i know guys who've come back from touring in japan and gone back to working temporary office jobs. there are a lot of genres where it just isnt realistic to do things your way. to give an example, if you're playing math-rock it doesn't matter whether you stick covers in your set or not, because the kind of people who would want to hear covers are not the kind of people who will want to listen to math-rock.

Which again is a mis-quote. I've never said that it's 'incredibly important' to play covers or that playing covers is the 'only way.'
All I've said is that when you're playing to a new audience, it's a good idea to throw a couple of covers into the set to get the audience's attention, and suddenly you're gettin all 'genuinly indie' on my ass. :eek:

'this is how its done'.

Are you reading the same posts as I've written? Are you on better drugs than I am or something? Are they special drugs for 'genuine' indie people only? ;)
Where did I say I was 'someone who signs bands up to a label'?
I've had a couple of contracts with labels myself in the past, and I've worked with a hell of a lot of promoters and agents, so again, I'm just speaking from experience.

oh, my bad, i read 'to someone who signs bands....' as 'as someone who signs bands...'. apologies on that.

Yes I do, and do you realise that those very same indies still need to make money in order to just keep the label going. It just makes perfect business sense that a small label is going to be more interested in a band that not only records great new material but also can go out and entertain almost any audience.
But this is all besides the point anyway because by the time you sign to your first small label, you would have given up playing any covers that you used to do.

oh i realise that small indies need to make money. but that isnt the intention behind small indies, or at least it isnt behind the successful ones, because the ones set up to make money invariably fail when they make a loss on their first release. besides anything though, i feel like your entire argument is that you should spend ages building a fanbase up in small towns before then going and trying to play gigs in cities which are filled with people who probably don't care that you can draw a big crowd in doncaster. i think its a little, odd, thats all, and i don't like that phrases like 'this is how it works' imply that this is the norm, because i really don't agree that it is.

And yet I know what kind of venue and promoters you're referring to, as well as what I'm referring to. Could it be because I've toured the whole UK constantly and seen all the different scenes it has to offer?
You're referring to a specialised market for a particular genre, I'm referring to the rest of the musicians market. That includes everything from working mens clubs, dodgy pubs, ect right up the biggest theatres in the land and even 'session' recordings.

thats nice. but it isnt necessary to play all these places. if you're okaying indie rock you play the places where people want to hear indie rock. if you're playing death metal you play the places where people want to hear death metal. if you play hardcore you play the places where people want to hear hardcore. these places generally are not working men's clubs and they aren't the kind of places where people go to hear covers. realistically, unless you're playing a commercial genre of music (and i include classic rock as a commercial genre), the way of doing things you're talking about just isnt that helpful, because if a person expects to hear covers and needs them to access a band, then they just are very unlikely to like the genre you're playing, because there is, to an extent (and at the risk of sounding poncy, but its the best term i can think of), an ethical clash.

axemanchris
12-31-2007, 12:51 PM
if you're playing math-rock it doesn't matter whether you stick covers in your set or not, because the kind of people who would want to hear covers are not the kind of people who will want to listen to math-rock.

...if you're okaying indie rock you play the places where people want to hear indie rock.

... these places generally are not working men's clubs and they aren't the kind of places where people go to hear covers.

These three points here are the essential crux of your arguement and point of view. From that given point of view, you are entirely correct.

Whereas:


realistically, unless you're playing a commercial genre of music (and i include classic rock as a commercial genre),

Which is exactly where Slacker is coming from. It seems to me that the indie-rock aesthetic is largely unfamiliar to him, whereas the 'pro/working musician to put food on the table' is largely unfamilar (or at least an aesthetic that is actively rejected by your philosophy) to you.

Therein is the source of your disagreement.


if a person expects to hear covers and needs them to access a band, then they just are very unlikely to like the genre you're playing, because there is, to an extent (and at the risk of sounding poncy, but its the best term i can think of), an ethical clash.

This would apply to the indie-rock set. For anyone else, as long as you choose covers that are within your genre, there will be no clash, and your audience WILL possibly like your original stuff.

CT

Gurgle!Argh!
12-31-2007, 01:00 PM
^you're quite right. thats the ultimate difference.

the point i've been trying to make here is largely that there isn't just one way and 'thats how it works'. if you want to do certain kinds of things, then slackers way of doing things is definitely a good model to follow. but a lot of people aren't trying to do those things, and a lot of bands, if not most bands who achieve 'success' (if you view success as putting out records on some great labels and playing with some great bands to people who really appreciate your music, or even if you view success as signing to a major label and doing worldwide stadium tours) don't do it that way.

Blind In 1 Ear
12-31-2007, 01:09 PM
i was just wondering if any one had any problems playing gigs and stuff if the band didn't do cover songs, because i prefer not to play covers at all, and i was wondering if that would hinder the bands ability to make and steps towards success. I just think its more fun to write and play your own creations, because playing other peoples songs sorta makes me bored for the most part and in my opinion i write good guitar stuff for my genre. Anyways just wondering if this would become a problem at all in the future.

well covers can be boring if you do them exactly how they are played. just get the words and the general progression and make it your own. like the famous crossroads by cream. the song by robert johnson isnt like that at all. but they took the blues progression and the lyrics and made it their own. or like hendrix with all along the watchtower. try just taking the words of a song and twisting the progression a bit. covers dont have to be boring. you just have to spice it up a bit. my friends band did a cover of no quater by led zeppelin. but they play it so different. its not as slow as the original. its more of a faster paced, rock out tune. and because they dont have any effects really, just the drums, bass and guitar players, it sounds different. they put a new edge on it and made it their own and i like it better than the original actually.

SlackerBabbath
12-31-2007, 01:21 PM
but in all of this i want to point out your exact words in your initial post: 'thats how it works'. i'm just trying to say in all of this that the way you're talking about things is not 'how it is done'. plenty of bands don't do it. it isnt a common thing to do.
OK, I said that, and I stand by it as a phrase meaning, this is how it's 'generaly' done.

i don't think its inappropriate to use the term 'genuine indie'. the term is often misused, and i wanted to be clear in what i'm referring to. and again, i think that often a lot of indie kids are pretty set in their ways in some regards, but stylistically i think they tend to be open to a fairly broad range of things.
As long as all those 'things' are 'indie.' :rolleyes:

my issue though is that aiming to be a 'jobbing musician' isnt what a lot of people do. and it isnt appropriate for a lot of bands. i mean, i know guys who've come back from touring in japan and gone back to working temporary office jobs. there are a lot of genres where it just isnt realistic to do things your way. to give an example, if you're playing math-rock it doesn't matter whether you stick covers in your set or not, because the kind of people who would want to hear covers are not the kind of people who will want to listen to math-rock.
This is what I'm saying, if you want to stick to just one genre for the rest of your life, you're gonna have to get a normal job as well because you're limiting your earning ability.



'this is how its done'.
This is how it's 'generaly' done if you're not tied to one genre.

oh, my bad, i read 'to someone who signs bands....' as 'as someone who signs bands...'. apologies on that.
Fair enough.

oh i realise that small indies need to make money. but that isnt the intention behind small indies, or at least it isnt behind the successful ones, because the ones set up to make money invariably fail when they make a loss on their first release. besides anything though, i feel like your entire argument is that you should spend ages building a fanbase up in small towns before then going and trying to play gigs in cities which are filled with people who probably don't care that you can draw a big crowd in doncaster. i think its a little, odd, thats all, and i don't like that phrases like 'this is how it works' imply that this is the norm, because i really don't agree that it is.
No, my argument is that cities are just a small part of the national circuit, and to make a living from gigging you have to play Doncaster and a whole host of other places too.
This may not be the 'norm' to the average city band that's never known any different, but it's the norm for the rest of the country and musicians that aren't genre obsessed.
And seeing as how the rest of the country is a lot bigger and contains more musicians than just a few cities that have their own parculiar scenes, that makes the countrywide 'norm' a bigger norm than the city norm.

thats nice. but it isnt necessary to play all these places. if you're okaying indie rock you play the places where people want to hear indie rock. if you're playing death metal you play the places where people want to hear death metal. if you play hardcore you play the places where people want to hear hardcore. these places generally are not working men's clubs and they aren't the kind of places where people go to hear covers. realistically, unless you're playing a commercial genre of music (and i include classic rock as a commercial genre), the way of doing things you're talking about just isnt that helpful, because if a person expects to hear covers and needs them to access a band, then they just are very unlikely to like the genre you're playing, because there is, to an extent (and at the risk of sounding poncy, but its the best term i can think of), an ethical clash.
In other words, just play at the safe places and don't take any risks. :rolleyes:
Oh it isn't necessary, especialy if you only want to specialise in one genre, but all the greatest musicians eventualy break out of the genre they're in and create their own.
That's just not going to happen in front of a genre obsessed audience is it.
'Commercial' just means it makes money, and if being a musician is your chosen profession, what's wrong with making money by just being yourself instead of slotting into, and limiting yourself to a particular type of genre, venue and following?

Strangely enough, I consider most indie music I've heard as 'Classic Rock' because it sounds so much like what was happening in the sixties and seventies. ;)

Gurgle!Argh!
12-31-2007, 01:23 PM
Strangely enough, I consider most indie music I've heard as 'Classic Rock' because it sounds so much like what was happening in the sixties and seventies. ;)

i'd suggest you're perhaps not listening to the right stuff... ;)

you mentioned breaking out of your genre, and thats true, bands do. but that doesn't tend to happen when you're playing the toilet circuit.

again, if you want to be, essentially, a bar band, i agree, do what you're talking about. play bars, play whatever you need to play to be liked. but for a lot of genres, it isn't necessarily a better path.

SlackerBabbath
12-31-2007, 01:37 PM
i'd suggest you're perhaps not listening to the right stuff... ;)

you mentioned breaking out of your genre, and thats true, bands do. but that doesn't tend to happen when you're playing the toilet circuit.
No, but as I said earlier, do the toilet circuit right, and you end up playing in much better venues that don't specialise in a particular genre that would be just as equaly hard to break out of.

again, if you want to be, essentially, a bar band, i agree, do what you're talking about. play bars, play whatever you need to play to be liked. but for a lot of genres, it isn't necessarily a better path.
I'll agree with that. But I'm only talking about using bars to gain experience for later on.

JW123
12-31-2007, 03:06 PM
What planet are some of you dumbass's from?

How do you learn how to play music without playing covers? Playing a good selection of covers can only help you as a musician and once you learn how to handle an audiance, then sprinkle in some of "your" songs. The Beatles, probably the best rock songwriters of the last 50 yrs played in the Hamburg Germany club circuit for 10-11 hour stretches playing COVERS.

How do you get anyone to listen without playing a few covers? Ive been in all original and cover bands and even the original bands we still played a few covers to "warm" people up.
Someone on here says its different now, bull crap, if anything these days you have to be more professional than ever to get attention. The only way to learn to handle an audience is to get in front of an audience. Original gigs are few and far between. My old band is called Chemical Zoo, look them up on myspace, they have chops and they sound good. Lately tho theyve been getting the old cover group back together to close shows. They play the prime time slot for an hour of originals and then we close it out with covers. Who do you guess gets more attention?

I am a musician, I go and watch a lot of different bands. I still want to hear a bands take on a cover song or two. You are in a consumer market and most people want to hear something they are familiar with. If all you want to do is play your own music, Im 99.9 % sure you will ultimately be a garage band playing to yourself. Hows that for lowest common denominator.

The crazy thing is this is an information site, and someone puts up a good framework of what to do, and obviously knows what hes talking about and someone comes on here and rips him apart. Times have changed my tail. Some folks need to get out and see what its really all about.

JW123
12-31-2007, 03:11 PM
I love that term toilet circuit.

Im going to ask the club owner tonight how he feels running a toilet! This dude would kick my teeth out.

You might should learn not to bite the hand that feeds, cause you might get huge you might not but a whole lot of biggies wind up playing the toilet circuit on their way down.

SB there is whole lot of truth and common sense in your post. Some of these young bucks would be better served to listen to what you have to say.

SlackerBabbath
01-01-2008, 12:18 PM
What planet are some of you dumbass's from?

How do you learn how to play music without playing covers? Playing a good selection of covers can only help you as a musician and once you learn how to handle an audiance, then sprinkle in some of "your" songs. The Beatles, probably the best rock songwriters of the last 50 yrs played in the Hamburg Germany club circuit for 10-11 hour stretches playing COVERS.

How do you get anyone to listen without playing a few covers? Ive been in all original and cover bands and even the original bands we still played a few covers to "warm" people up.
Someone on here says its different now, bull crap, if anything these days you have to be more professional than ever to get attention. The only way to learn to handle an audience is to get in front of an audience. Original gigs are few and far between. My old band is called Chemical Zoo, look them up on myspace, they have chops and they sound good. Lately tho theyve been getting the old cover group back together to close shows. They play the prime time slot for an hour of originals and then we close it out with covers. Who do you guess gets more attention?

I am a musician, I go and watch a lot of different bands. I still want to hear a bands take on a cover song or two. You are in a consumer market and most people want to hear something they are familiar with. If all you want to do is play your own music, Im 99.9 % sure you will ultimately be a garage band playing to yourself. Hows that for lowest common denominator.

I love that term toilet circuit.

Im going to ask the club owner tonight how he feels running a toilet! This dude would kick my teeth out.

You might should learn not to bite the hand that feeds, cause you might get huge you might not but a whole lot of biggies wind up playing the toilet circuit on their way down.
Totaly agree with all of the above.


The crazy thing is this is an information site, and someone puts up a good framework of what to do, and obviously knows what hes talking about and someone comes on here and rips him apart. Times have changed my tail. Some folks need to get out and see what its really all about.

SB there is whole lot of truth and common sense in your post. Some of these young bucks would be better served to listen to what you have to say.
Thank you, that's very much appreciated.
:cheers:

Sonic Blast
01-01-2008, 01:02 PM
this is just wrong. sorry. i promise you, if you go and look at most of the bands right now who are doing something interesting, they have never been a covers band. maybe things used to be like that. funnily enough, music has moved on since the '50s.



dude, Guns N' Roses has a complete cover album! even though it was later in their career, they still did it and are still complimented on it today.

and whatever happened to playing a fun song for the heck of it?

axemanchris
01-01-2008, 02:16 PM
Within the indie aesthetic/demographic, Gurgle IS entirely right. Those crowds, those clubs want to hear new and cutting-edge music, that is purposefully NOT commercial sounding. To you (and in a lot of cases, to me too), the music will suck entirely, but if it is what those patrons and those club owners want to hear, and what they are willing to financially support, then great for them.

This indie-rock ethic is much stronger in the last 5 years or so, so those of us (mine included) whose experience goes way past that, don't typically appreciate how that culture works.

Of course, all things being equal, "making it" to them is not the same as "making it" like Green Day. To them, and by their definition, they can "make it" by being on an indie label, getting distro, localized marketing/publicity among campus crowds, play the odd independent music festival, tour a bit, and then return home to a "real" job. They are successful entirely on their terms.

Of course, the trade-off is, exactly as Slacker said, it is less lucrative and much shorter-lived than most of us who aspire to be "professional musicians" envision as being successful.

My current band (and I'm an old-school guy) has only done covers for special events. We played a fundraiser for AIDS where everyone got up and did a couple of Queen tunes. That sort of thing. Otherwise, we are 100% original. We're looking at throwing a couple of covers in for the reasons well-discussed already. But at 100% original, we play large outdoor festivals, the local indie-rock club circuit (some of those clubs book recording acts too, but the "cover band" clubs won't take us, obviously), and have twice played a large theatre. We've been played on both campus and commercial radio, gotten print press, and have gotten both community and network TV coverage. Not playing covers hasn't hurt us. We all have families and day jobs, so we can afford for it to be a hobby. That is surely a significant point worth mentioning.

CT

NSG
01-01-2008, 06:20 PM
Woah there kiddies... are we aging gracefully now? :no:

Play covers because you like the songs, not to please your grandparents or to 'make it big.'

Dunjma
01-01-2008, 07:32 PM
basically, music has changed a lot. for the better.

are you... are you even on the same planet as the rest of us? for the better? did i really
read that right?

all your opinions just become null and void. you lose.

NSG
01-01-2008, 07:34 PM
are you... are you even on the same planet as the rest of us? for the better? did i really
read that right?

all your opinions just become null and void. you lose.
BAWWWWW :rolleyes:

:haha :haha :haha :haha :haha :haha

Gurgle!Argh!
01-01-2008, 08:32 PM
are you... are you even on the same planet as the rest of us? for the better? did i really
read that right?

all your opinions just become null and void. you lose.

you're a fucking idiot.

SlackerBabbath
01-02-2008, 11:37 PM
Within the indie aesthetic/demographic, Gurgle IS entirely right. Those crowds, those clubs want to hear new and cutting-edge music, that is purposefully NOT commercial sounding. To you (and in a lot of cases, to me too), the music will suck entirely, but if it is what those patrons and those club owners want to hear, and what they are willing to financially support, then great for them.

This indie-rock ethic is much stronger in the last 5 years or so, so those of us (mine included) whose experience goes way past that, don't typically appreciate how that culture works.
Yeah but it isn't really any different to any other genre that have had a faction that demanded nothing but original compositions, which is practicaly all of them.
Punk, when it first started was all about being different and original and for quite a while, if you were in a punk band, it was really frowned upon to do a cover tune, same with metal in the eighties, it also had it's 'originality' faction during the N.W.O.B.H.M years.
But both of these genres end up with factions that play covers in the end. Just as soon as someone classed as punk or metal charted with a cover tune, everyone else started doing them. Just to grab a bit of publicity and attract more people to their gigs, now everyone's doing it. I bet a large percentage of the top selling 30 tunes in the UK at the moment are cover songs. Infact, it often seems to be that the bigger the name, the more likely it is that the tune they're doing will be a cover.
The indie scene is no different. It has it's purist, original factions and factions that don't see a problem with covers and meanwhile, 'indie acts' are charting with cover tunes. Of course, these may not be 'genuine' indie acts. :D

Of course, all things being equal, "making it" to them is not the same as "making it" like Green Day. To them, and by their definition, they can "make it" by being on an indie label, getting distro, localized marketing/publicity among campus crowds, play the odd independent music festival, tour a bit, and then return home to a "real" job. They are successful entirely on their terms.
Agreed.

Of course, the trade-off is, exactly as Slacker said, it is less lucrative and much shorter-lived than most of us who aspire to be "professional musicians" envision as being successful.

My current band (and I'm an old-school guy) has only done covers for special events. We played a fundraiser for AIDS where everyone got up and did a couple of Queen tunes. That sort of thing. Otherwise, we are 100% original. We're looking at throwing a couple of covers in for the reasons well-discussed already. But at 100% original, we play large outdoor festivals, the local indie-rock club circuit (some of those clubs book recording acts too, but the "cover band" clubs won't take us, obviously), and have twice played a large theatre. We've been played on both campus and commercial radio, gotten print press, and have gotten both community and network TV coverage. Not playing covers hasn't hurt us. We all have families and day jobs, so we can afford for it to be a hobby. That is surely a significant point worth mentioning.

CT
Yes, well worth mentioning.
Obviously, there are different degrees of what each band wants to get out of their music, and it really is a case of each to their own. Do whatever suits you.
At the end of all this, the main point is that covers are a great tool to use early in your career to get you noticed, and if you are a musician that is trying to make a living from music without any backing from a label, they are sometimes a neccessity, depending of course upon the situation of the gig you're playing.
I've played in bands that have done no covers whatsoever, bands that do just a few covers, bands that do mainly all covers with just a few originals and obviously, being in a tribute band now, a band that does 100% covers.
In my youth, I wouldn't have even entertained the idea of being in a band that did all covers, let alone one that just covered one act, but as I got older and had a family that relied on me to bring home a wage, needs must.
But, y'know what? It's a hell of a lot of fun, and it doesn't matter anyway, because that's just my day job. I can still write, I can still record and I can still do the odd gig with an 'original' side project.
Well, mainly original, as soon as an audience finds out I'm in a Sabbath tribute, they always ask for War Pigs. :rolleyes:
;)