#1
Hello all! I'm going to need some help an opinions here. In March, I will finally be 21... and what excites me more than buying alcohol legally is finally playing in some nice venues besides art shows and whatnot. I have a friend who is a KILLER singer and she is interested in starting a band. The covers would be around the terms of Flyleaf, old Paramore, Evanescence, and even some male bands like 10 Years and Chevelle. We ALSO will write originals around that genre but have the music a little more... proggy I guess I should say and vocals Flyleaf-esqe since that is her forte. I noticed that is something that is not really heard so it would be interesting to create that. I got a bass player who is solid, and a drummer who is 10 years older than us and has some serious experience that might be interested. So what I'm asking here is I need all the help I can get. What do we need in terms of gear.. (guitar and bass are covered, I have a 100w 2x12 tube and he has a 300w tube) marketing, getting into venues, etc. I'm a college student and most everyone else is besides the drummer so this of course would be a weekend band but I REALLY want to do this. Thanks all!
Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: Mike Mushok Baritone w/BKP Juggernaut's
Ibanez: RG321MH

Alvarez: MD-60C
Amp
Randall RM100C
Stock BlackFace Module
Modded 2004 XTC 101B Module
Stock Treadplate Module
#2
Great enthusiasm.

Don't mix covers and originals. You won't get work as a cover band and nobody will remember your originals.

Once you have decided, the most important thing you need are songs and a tight band.

For your original band try to aim for 30-45mins to start with. If you don't have enough songs, write more originals, don't learn covers just to fill in time. If you MUST learn covers, immediately start writing originals to replace them permanently.

Cover band, you'll want 3-4 hours worth of material. In real life this is usually around 55-60 songs.

The start of a band is the hardest part. Learning and writing songs takes time and dedication. It's not uncommon for bands to break up during this phase. If you can make it through, you can start gigging.

What do you need in terms of gear? Someone in the cover band should own a PA. Original venues usually supply the PA so it's no issue.

Feel free to hit me up for any further questions.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#3
My band uses a simple PA with a 400w powered mixer and two passive speakers for the vocals. It's more than enough for a band practice situation. We got it dirt cheap from a guy that was selling all his gear tho, so im not really sure how much it would cost you to buy new. You can also use monitor wedges instead of normal speakers (well they are actually just speakers that can be placed on the ground and angled up).

As for the covers, i agree with the guy above, one or two covers is good if you play original music, but more than that is just useless. I know a band that does a 50/50 ratio of covers, and i could only name you one of their original songs, eventho i saw them about 5 times now. They are mostly known for their Skyrim cover actually.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#4
Quote by AlanHB
Great enthusiasm.

Don't mix covers and originals. You won't get work as a cover band and nobody will remember your originals.

Once you have decided, the most important thing you need are songs and a tight band.

For your original band try to aim for 30-45mins to start with. If you don't have enough songs, write more originals, don't learn covers just to fill in time. If you MUST learn covers, immediately start writing originals to replace them permanently.

Cover band, you'll want 3-4 hours worth of material. In real life this is usually around 55-60 songs.

The start of a band is the hardest part. Learning and writing songs takes time and dedication. It's not uncommon for bands to break up during this phase. If you can make it through, you can start gigging.

What do you need in terms of gear? Someone in the cover band should own a PA. Original venues usually supply the PA so it's no issue.


Good answer.

For marketing you will want to get yourself a professional looking website and pictures made. Don't get some friend to take the photos, unless they are a professional, it makes a huge difference having great pictures to show people. If you have crap photos, and crap gear then people will assume your band is crap. Likewise if you have professional photos and professional gear they will work out that you are professional and will want to pay you for your time.
#5
Quote by AlanHB
Cover band, you'll want 3-4 hours worth of material. In real life this is usually around 55-60 songs.


On that note, have more. And, time yourself running through your setlist with short breaks, etc. so you know how long your set will be. Then, do it again as fast as you can. You want to make sure you don't come up short, especially if you're the only band booked for the night.

We lucked out during our first gig in that the bar was almost completely empty for the first half-hour or so, but then once it filled up and our set was over people called for encores; we'd ran out of material early as it was and now they wanted an encore... fortunately we just played the stuff from earlier in our set that no one was there for. But you do not want to be in this situation.
#6
Wow, this all is GREAT information thank all for your help! I gotta ask though.. I always heard a healthy mix of covers and originals are good, why are some of you saying not to go that route?
Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: Mike Mushok Baritone w/BKP Juggernaut's
Ibanez: RG321MH

Alvarez: MD-60C
Amp
Randall RM100C
Stock BlackFace Module
Modded 2004 XTC 101B Module
Stock Treadplate Module
#7
Whoever is telling you this obviously hasn't tried it in real life.

If you're playing a covers gig, the audience don't want to hear your original tracks. They want to get smashed to music they already know and like. Play Summer of 69. Now immediately follow it up with your original song and watch your audience leave the dance floor.

If you pull the same trick at your originals gig you won't be remembered for your originals. You'll be remembered as that band that played Summer of 69.

In reality the bands with a mix of originals and covers claim to be originals bands, but their originals weren't received super well by the audience so they started putting covers in. What they really should do instead is write better originals.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
Quote by IbanezRG2EX1
Wow, this all is GREAT information thank all for your help! I gotta ask though.. I always heard a healthy mix of covers and originals are good, why are some of you saying not to go that route?



I've heard lots of famous bands from the 60s 70s and 80s say they started out this way. I.e The Beatles, Alice Cooper, the list goes on.. It's true that they did, they used covers to hone their sound and tighten their playing and would throw some of their own tracks in here or there.

Nowadays I think society is a little bit different to back then. (I wasn't around back then) I haven't ever seen anyone successfully make any money doing this today (Other than touring originals bands who will play the odd cover in their own style, or pop bands on live lounge etc.)

Realistically if you want to make money in the short term then form a covers band. Original music is much more an investment in the short term.

Some people do both under two different names:

They will call their Original band one name (i.e the frazzles)
And then call their covers band by another name (The Smooth Criminals)

They market both separately. Having different photos, website, business cards for each. Then they use the short term financial gains of the covers band to continue to fund their original music. I hope this helps and gives you some useful ideas!
#9
1) The only gear you need is a PA for practicing. I would suggest getting familiar with some basic recording equipment as well ( interface, daw etc.) to get a demo going eventually.

2) marketing - I'd wait until you have an actual set and can play a venue before wasting any money on marketing. A facebook page is pretty much a necessity once you want to play venues - market through social media. An actual website or professional photos is overkill at the start, unless you have some extra money to throw around.
#10
Quote by AlanHB
In reality the bands with a mix of originals and covers claim to be originals bands, but their originals weren't received super well by the audience so they started putting covers in. What they really should do instead is write better originals.


There's a local band hereabouts called State Line Empire that, for various reasons, sounds almost exactly like Velvet Revolver. They're an originals band, doing quite well for themselves, but because they sound like VR, they throw a dead-on cover of "Slither" into their set. It fits right in with the rest of their material perfectly, and it's definitely not the highlight of their set because their originals are so good.

I'm totally on-board with the idea that you should either cover, or go original; I recently tried to argue our singer out of dropping originals into our cover set for exactly the reasons stated here - but it's mostly also because the originals we've written are not in the style of the covers we're known for.

I'd say what's been said here is a good rule of thumb, but if with experience you find your situation is different, feel free to mix it up.
#11
^^^ One or two covers in an originals set can be fine, if it enhances the set rather than detracts from it. If it is the case that the only time the audience is dancing or paying attention to the band is during the cover, it is not helping you.

Not sure what you guys are doing playing originals in a cover set.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#12
I find that, as an originals band, you can get away with one cover, at the end of a set, especially if the covered song is done in a style different from when it's originally recorded (usually a popular 80s song). I remember there was a local Ska band did a cover of Mother by Danzig (which was arranged so that the last chorus was really drawn out for dancing) as their closer.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
BOSS BD-2W
NYC Big Muff Pi
Last edited by kangaxxter at Dec 16, 2014,
#13
Quote by kangaxxter
I find that, as an originals band, you can get away with one cover, at the end of a set


I reckon that's a horrible place to put a cover.

The last song of a set is your final chance to make an impression, it's usually one of your strongest songs. Often bands will play their current single last.

You are choosing to play someone else's song in this place. So basically you are saying that the best material you have, the best chance you, as an originals band have to make a positive impression, is a song that someone else wrote.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#14
Quote by AlanHB
I reckon that's a horrible place to put a cover.

The last song of a set is your final chance to make an impression, it's usually one of your strongest songs. Often bands will play their current single last.

You are choosing to play someone else's song in this place. So basically you are saying that the best material you have, the best chance you, as an originals band have to make a positive impression, is a song that someone else wrote.


If you're relying on your closer to sell your sound, then you don't have a sound to sell. If you haven't made a positive impression by the end of your set, the last song isn't going to change that. The only bands that save their best song for last are well-established bands that already have a significant following.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
BOSS BD-2W
NYC Big Muff Pi
#15
I don't think I said anything about relying on the closer to sell the band's sound. I'm simply stating it is your final chance to make an impression, and as an originals band, your priority should be on promoting your own original songs. Instead you are opting to play a cover. It's a really bad choice.

Further, I don't think you need to see some level of success to play your "best song" last. You should be considering the running order of your setlist irrespective of how many fans you may or may not have.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#16
Quote by AlanHB
Not sure what you guys are doing playing originals in a cover set.


We're not. I managed to talk our singer out of it. I think it came up because we were all interested in doing original material, but my stance was we shouldn't combine them.

Unfortunately, since we're a classic rock cover band, I didn't have much of a comeback when the other guys brought up Zeppelin, the Stones, etc. - who got their start doing a lot of covers...
#17
Quote by CarsonStevens
We're not. I managed to talk our singer out of it. I think it came up because we were all interested in doing original material, but my stance was we shouldn't combine them.


Good

Quote by CarsonStevens
Unfortunately, since we're a classic rock cover band, I didn't have much of a comeback when the other guys brought up Zeppelin, the Stones, etc. - who got their start doing a lot of covers...


Comparing todays music scene against the scene 50 years ago is futile, and the audience's expectations have changed. Perhaps back in the day when amplified instruments were new and exciting it didn't matter what you played. Now it's quite clear that the audience doesn't want an originals song thrown into a cover set. They simply walk away from the dancefloor whilst the bar manager takes not note to book you again.

In any case if you saw The Stones or Zepplin at any time after they saw success you'd be pretty disappointed if they played mostly covers.

Then your bandmates will be like well Metallica and Rage Against the Machine released albums of covers that went really well. At this point you inform them that their bands were much bigger than yours at that time, and James Hetfield could do a show where he simply does a poo onstage and people will pay good money to watch. If you tried to pull the same stunt I don't think you'd get booked again.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#18
Quote by AlanHB
Comparing todays music scene against the scene 50 years ago is futile, and the audience's expectations have changed. Perhaps back in the day when amplified instruments were new and exciting it didn't matter what you played. Now it's quite clear that the audience doesn't want an originals song thrown into a cover set. They simply walk away from the dancefloor whilst the bar manager takes not note to book you again.


I think it also has to do with the fact that there's a difference between a straight-up cover and making a song your own. Like Smash Mouth's cover of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer" - you'd never mistake the latter for the former because they're entirely different bands.

The problem with my band using that analogy is that we do try to sound as much like the original band as possible with our covers, so when we do someone else's material we won't sound like us, because we don't have a sound. That's why I told them that if we were going to do original material we'd have to decide what we want to sound like.

And I'm pretty sure if our singer decided to poop on stage there's a club or two in San Fran that'd be interested.
#19
Quote by CarsonStevens
That's why I told them that if we were going to do original material we'd have to decide what we want to sound like.


That's not a good idea either. I don't think you guys have much experience in original bands.

Deciding on a sound is futile. The best result you will get is imitating a sound, just like you agreed to. It invariably comes of as second rate.

Instead you just play the music that you want to hear. The genre/sound sorts itself out. Everyone brings their own influences to the table.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
Quote by AlanHB
That's not a good idea either. I don't think you guys have much experience in original bands.


I'm a solo artist and our singer was in an original band. Our drummer and guitar player pretty much have zero experience as a band of any stripe. So, yeah. Our entire experience with doing originals is "hey, we should try writing our own material". We've purely gigged as a classic rock cover band until now.

Deciding on a sound is futile. The best result you will get is imitating a sound, just like you agreed to. It invariably comes of as second rate.

Instead you just play the music that you want to hear. The genre/sound sorts itself out. Everyone brings their own influences to the table.


True, but we all have wildly different influences. The drummer and guitar player are sixties acid-rockers, I listen to hair metal, and our singer is into heavy alternative and metal. I'm currently obsessed with surf-rock.

So we definitely have to decide what to sound like in that we have to at least decide on a vague genre; are we going to play metal, or pop, or surf rock, or what? Beyond that, yeah; it's all about our individual styles. I mean sure, maybe we'll come up with some wild surf metal fusion or something, but we have to start somewhere.
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Dec 18, 2014,