#1
I have a pretty simple question: Can a band start out with doing Originals straight from the first gig and actually get anywhere?
#2
It's harder to get gigs with many people at first, but the vast majority of successful bands focus souly on writing and performing original material from the get go. That doesn't mean you can't do the occasional cover or two (they're always fun) but the bulk of your material needs to be original.
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#3
yes

my band did it, and i know loads of bands that did it. i know one band who have yet to do any covers, actually.

admittedly, my band did a fair few covers as well as original material, but it depends how good your own stuff is, and how many people are actually going to the gig to see your band specifically.

usually, a good first few gigs would have about half well known covers and half really strong original material.

if you do do covers, make sure that they fit with your sound, and maybe take songs from other genres and change them to suit your band.
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#4
It's the first step that's the hardest then, i guess. I ask because I dont want to waste my time, and I'd rather have a strategy than just jump in and spend 5 years trying to get 'out there'
#5
Yes, you can do it that way, but it's really hard to get going and build up a following with purely original material from the beginning, and it will probably take longer, which is why many bands start off playing mainly covers with a few originals to build up a following, then slowly replace the covers with more originals until eventualy they have practicaly a complete set of original numbers and a following that have been with them through the change from covers to original band.
The covers establish you on a scene, then once you have a decent following, as long as your originals are of a similar vein to the covers you choose to do, you can change your set while retaining your following.
This is generaly a much quicker option than playing pure originals from the beginning which ends up with the same result anyway, a band that does original music with a decent following.
#6
This is one point where Slack and I respectfully disagree often.

Venues will either book original bands or cover bands. Both bookers and audiences are wary of any band who tries to mix them up unless that band already has a good following. Given that, I say just start out being an original band. You will have opportunities that cover bands don't get, and you'll get those opportunities sooner, because you're not a cover band. I'm thinking media exposure (print, TV, radio) at both the local/community level and at the corporate level. Most festivals and concert theatres want original bands - especially if they are booking you to go on beside a recording act.

You can build a following by playing covers, yes. But you can also build a following through on-line activity, etc. and the opportunities I mentioned above. Of course, and playing shows.

As an original band, you will start off playing to a room of 10 people and walk out with $25 or something, and you really have to hustle to get people out to shows and stuff. (usually) As a cover band, the crowds are bigger and the money is better.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

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#7
Its a lot easier for people to like listening to a band that does popular cover songs. If the band is just starting out I would suggest doing at least some covers and make sure the originals are really good ones.
#8
Again... depends on where you play. There are clubs out there who cater to a clientel that wants to hear original music.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
Quote by axemanchris
This is one point where Slack and I respectfully disagree often.

Venues will either book original bands or cover bands. Both bookers and audiences are wary of any band who tries to mix them up unless that band already has a good following. Given that, I say just start out being an original band. You will have opportunities that cover bands don't get, and you'll get those opportunities sooner, because you're not a cover band. I'm thinking media exposure (print, TV, radio) at both the local/community level and at the corporate level. Most festivals and concert theatres want original bands - especially if they are booking you to go on beside a recording act.

You can build a following by playing covers, yes. But you can also build a following through on-line activity, etc. and the opportunities I mentioned above. Of course, and playing shows.

As an original band, you will start off playing to a room of 10 people and walk out with $25 or something, and you really have to hustle to get people out to shows and stuff. (usually) As a cover band, the crowds are bigger and the money is better.

CT

I see your point chris, but I'm basicaly talking about the same thing, but doing covers right at the very beginning of your career, just to get you started and to get a few people coming to see your shows, who you can then play your original tracks to, so that as an original band, you're not starting off playing to a room of 10 people and walk out with $25 or something but starting off with a following already built up so you can actualy earn some proper money while playing your original material.
My method is basicaly preperation for your method.
Once practicaly all of the covers set has been replaced with originals, then you can start building on that online activity and media exposure.
#10
Can you not just promote your own music by demos, and radio before you gig, cause by doing that you can gain alot of people's attention, and people will know you as a band that has their own stuff rather that playing other peoples stuff. While covers are all well and good, isn't it better to get yourself 'out there' before you go out there.. if that makes sense? I'd much rather see a band that had their own songs, and you can get to know them, rather than a band that might be good at covering- but could have really crap writing skills. I'd say, if your original stuff is awesome enough, don't do covers - and you'll probably be respected for it. I would.
#11
my band never bothered with covers, weve played some pretty decent sized gigs, carling academy, barfly, gigs away from our city and a festival

make sure your set is strong and your tight as a band

putting some decent demo's together is essential, noone is going to take a chance putting a original band on that theyve never heard

go to lots of shows, get to know the other local bands and the local promoters and make it known that you are gonna put effort in promoting any gigs you get booked on.

if your songs are good and you can put on abit of a show then theres no reason you wont get offered some opening slots at local band nights and can then work your way up
#12
Quote by katebassist
Can you not just promote your own music by demos, and radio before you gig, cause by doing that you can gain alot of people's attention, and people will know you as a band that has their own stuff rather that playing other peoples stuff. While covers are all well and good, isn't it better to get yourself 'out there' before you go out there.. if that makes sense? I'd much rather see a band that had their own songs, and you can get to know them, rather than a band that might be good at covering- but could have really crap writing skills. I'd say, if your original stuff is awesome enough, don't do covers - and you'll probably be respected for it. I would.


You could, but you'd have to be something really special to get radio airplay before you play any gigs.

Y'see, it's all a bit of a vicious circle. You need to play gigs, to gain attention to your music, to get airplay and other media attention, to get gigs.

You have to start somewhere.

Yes, you can play nothing but original songs from the very beginning, and eventualy build up your band to a point where you're comfortable (let's not say 'famous' because that's something that only a very tiny fraction of bands ever accomplish) but usualy it's easier if you start with covers, which will get you instant gigging work, then as you gain a following, make a steady transition to an all original band.

There's basicaly two gigging circuits, the cover band circuit and the original band circuit.
The cover band circuit venues will very rarely book original bands and the original band circuit venues will never book cover bands
On the original circuit, you hear band after band after band that are just starting out, inexperienced both playing wise and songwriting wise, and playing songs that no one's ever heard before, they might get a polite round of applause but they won't actualy get noticed too quickly. Apathy sets in, bands split, people join other bands, yadda yadda and the whole process of getting somewhere is just so slow it's mind numbing.

On the covers circuit, you get bands that are equally inexperienced, only they play songs that the audience know and love, but the thing is, they better not mess these songs up because to many in the audience, this would be an insult to their favourite tunes. So it makes them knuckle under and really learn the songs properly and learn the same techniques that the original bands that they are covering used, in short, it forces them to improve.
This is what is known as 'paying your dues.'

Now, we have a covers band that have done the work and built up a decent following. They will be entertaining to watch, will have learned all the techniques and tricks used by all the greats and they will be as tight as a duck's arse (and that's watertight) To put it another way, they will be gig experienced.
If this band were now to change their name, write original numbers and get a gig at one of the venues on the original circuit, although they will be a completely unknown act on this circuit to start with, they'll be so much better than the usual bands in that venue, they'll soon be playing headline spots at original venues all over the place, and shifting quite a bit of merchandise as well.

I know not everyone is gonna agree with this and I can totaly respect that, each to their own eh?
This is just my personal opinion and you do have a choice.
It's just that I've noticed that many people who wish to play original songs will refuse to play covers out of some sort of misguided morality.
(Listen, even the biggest bands in the world play the occasional cover, I promise you won't be struck by lightning or cast into hell for playing covers.)
Which I think is a great shame because playing the covers circuit teaches a musician who's just starting out so much, I would consider it a disadvantage to not play the cover circuit.

Original or covers? I say do both, covers first, originals later, and gain advantage and experience from both circuits. (which will also double up your contacts list as you go)

I've personaly been in a band that did both, literaly. We had two bands at the same time, same line up but different names, one played covers, the other played original numbers and we cleaned up with the amount of work we were offered between the two.
We even supported ourselves a few of times, and earned two wages on the same night.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Sep 19, 2008,
#13
Cover bands play cover band gigs and original bands play original band gigs. Cover bands are usually at bars or other stuff just as like a background entertainment thing. Original bands usually play at music venues where it's just a show with bands.

Personally, I think being a cover band is a waste of time. Though the money will be better in the beginning.
#14
it depends. my band have our demo coming out in 2 weeks, we've never played a gig as of yet, but once our demo is out we plan to play original-only sets. We've got 45 people who have pre-ordered demos, and i've organised for a few bands for us to open for.

So basically, if you want to play mainly originals, a few good ideas are for you to firstly get a demo out before you begin gigging, make sure they get out to an absolute shitload of people, even if it means selling them for free (which luckily, we aren't needing to do ) and make sure virtually everyone who knows of you knows about your band.

Some people think that having a myspace with no music is pointless, but really, if you add over 100 people, think of the free advertising you'll get for all of your band's events. I know that thanks to myspace our band is making money out of our demo, and will continue to do so into the future hopefully.
#15
Its a bit diffrent over here in Poland, or at least in my city. Cover bands are extremely rare, and venues (there are a few) don't see a problem with booking an all original band. Most of the bands from my city started by doing 90% originals and got a good following (one band is now quite big in the country). Basicly, over here cover bands aren't much popular.
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#16
Quote by AwesomeDrummer


Some people think that having a myspace with no music is pointless, but really, if you add over 100 people, think of the free advertising you'll get for all of your band's events. I know that thanks to myspace our band is making money out of our demo, and will continue to do so into the future hopefully.


that is one of my personal pet hates

if a band adds me or my band on myspace and they have no music then unless i know someone in it their 100% not going to be accepted, i see pages like that all the time with thousands of friends, its retarded and theres no advertising advantages because the people who accept you dont care about anything but their friend count.
#17
Quote by FuzzyBear
that is one of my personal pet hates

if a band adds me or my band on myspace and they have no music then unless i know someone in it their 100% not going to be accepted, i see pages like that all the time with thousands of friends, its retarded and theres no advertising advantages because the people who accept you dont care about anything but their friend count.


well its your opinion, but it seems to have worked for my band, just putting ideas out for the TS chief.
#18
Quote by Gargan
I have a pretty simple question: Can a band start out with doing Originals straight from the first gig and actually get anywhere?


To answer this question: Yes, an originals band can get started out doing only originals, and get somewhere. However, it is much harder than if you were to do covers from the start, and then slowly transition over to originals.
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#19
I think Myspace is really over-rated. Sure, I can see the usefulness, but here is my experience:

I check Myspace about every other week. I get friend requests, and just blindly accept them. I check my messages, reply to them usually, and get the heck out for another couple of weeks. (I gave up pursuing friend requests ages ago) I have found a couple of bands I quite like (ages ago) that I wouldn't have known about if it weren't for myspace, but on the whole, I don't even bother listening. I don't have time. At least..... the time I have, I spend doing other things. I have no motivation to listen to some dude's band that is from Phoenix Arizona or something that I know I will never get a chance to see. I don't care, really.

My loss.... probably.... Maybe I'm just jaded, or over-taxed. I dunno.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#20
Myspace is like one of the most useful tools ever for building your local fan base, finding other local bands, and finding venues.
#21
I in no way think you become "better" by playing covers like Slacker said; I DO believe good musicians make fairly well written and constructed music but from my own career I've seen that experience really counts. Get a group of experienced band members together and form a new band, they can easily acquire shows, play only originals and still have a strong fan base. Going to shows your not playing at and talking to the promotor and the bands playing can help ANY band get a show regardless of what they play. that's just how our music scene works in Illinois and I'm very active in it currently and have been for many years so I know the ins and outs of getting hooked up.

New band /=/ Begging musicians

thus lack of musical writing prowess cannot implied.
#22
Quote by JohnnyOnFire
I in no way think you become "better" by playing covers like Slacker said

My reasoning for that is that people who play covers quite often find themselves playing occasional songs that are fairly different to their own style, which widens a musician's perspective, and that many people will choose cover songs that are just slightly above their ability, which makes you improve your ability, kinda like having a target to aim for.
Yes, purely original players can strive to improve themselves, but without having that particular target, it's a slightly harder slog.
I've found in my own experience that a musician who has never played a cover song will be limited to his/her own style whereas those who have lots of experience at playing covers can switch styles without even thinking about it.

Cover players also tend to play by ear a lot better than original players too.

A prime example.
I used to be in a band with two guitarists, one was a covers player and the other was an originals player. If I came up with an idea for a tune, I could pick up a guitar and show them exactly what I was thinking.
The covers guitarist would invariably pick it up first time because he's used to copying someone, but the originals guitarist would need me to go over it a few times before he got the hang of it.

Now, I'm not saying that either one is correct, original or cover is simply a personal choice, but I'm saying that a musician who is grounded in both covers and writing originals is obviously at an advantage to someone who has never played a cover in their lives.
And it goes both ways, someone who is grounded in both is also at an advantage to someone who's only ever played covers too.
It's all just experience, and the more experience you have in general, the better you become as a musician.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Sep 23, 2008,
#23
I see what your saying now and I agree. Experience is experience and I would also suggest as an individual musician to go and do both covers and originals for practice. I have done that in my personal training but when it comes to a band (cover or original) pick whichever one you'll enjoy more.
:P
#24
Quote by JohnnyOnFire
I see what your saying now and I agree. Experience is experience and I would also suggest as an individual musician to go and do both covers and originals for practice. I have done that in my personal training but when it comes to a band (cover or original) pick whichever one you'll enjoy more.
:P