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Maniac (V) Inmate

From: A little lower... lower... ahhhhhh, thats the spot
Insane since: Jun 2000

posted posted 06-14-2002 17:51

We went out to a bar here in KC last night and there was a cover band playing. They were pretty good really, they played all kinds of rock like Pink Floyd, Zepplin, Jane's Addiction, Tool, Alice in Chains, and others that fit that mold.

Here's what I don't understand though. Why would you spend so much time learning to play an instrument only to go and play someone else's music. These guys didn't play a single song that was original.

To me, that seems like going out and buying Photoshop, or traditional art supplies and then turning around and recreating the Mona Lisa or remaking something you've seen Wead/Peter/Doc do. Granted, the result might be good, but you'll never make your own name, and you'd probably receive lots of lynching threats from WebShaman.

I would think (if I had an inkling of musical talent) that I would want to write my own songs. If I couldn't write good lyrics, you can always hire someone to write them for you.

Any thoughts?

Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 06-14-2002 18:04

Part of performing covers is simply "On the Job Training". It's something that talent scouts actually like to see in a show. If you can master someone else's creation, at least you've proven that you can play your instrument/sing/whatever... Of course we all know originality counts for everything these days - and no one gets a record contract without some original material...
Personally, I've not heard of very many "cover bands" that actually SUCCEEDED as cover bands... most of them either fade eventually into nothingness or move on to their own creations...
I've also heard amature musicians claim that cover songs are more homage to the artist who made the piece famous than simply their own lack of creativity...

Bodhisattva: an enlightened being full of generosity who sticks around in this world to show others the way to enlightenment.

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 06-14-2002 18:26

I think most bars only hire cover bands, at least the big ones that pay money, so that is why people do it.

'It's all about the money, honey.'


Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

posted posted 06-14-2002 19:11

Some very valid points so far - learning experience/paying gigs etc..

As a painter, you wouldn't get anywhere painting reproductions, but many painters learn precisely by doing that.

It's also fun.

Playing covers is something you can do with relatively little expertise in most cases, pick up a couple extra bucks and have a good time while your at it.

If you spend all your time focusing on it, then it's a bit different...but many of the cover bands I've known do it as a 'spare time' type of deal.

Maniac (V) Inmate

Insane since: May 2001

posted posted 06-14-2002 19:38

Well I can certainly relate to this. I played in many bands in many bars.

Here is the thing. When people go to a bar to listen to a band, most of the people want to hear something they are "familiar" with. They have no idea who Johnny Fish and the Fins are but they do know who Alice In Chains and Led Zepplin are.

I did play in one band that did nothing but original music. It was much more fun but a lot of work and arguments went through the pipe line. We played out quite a bit and at the same bars usually. The regulars that came to the bar started to remember the tunes we did and started to really get into them.

The biggest problem that we had with doing original music was this: We had a 3-4 hr gig and only a hand full of original music. We wanted to play out REALLY bad so we put together a few sets and each set had a couple of original tunes. Eventually we had enough to do a whole show in original music. Before we broke up we had probably 50 tunes.

Ahh the younger days when I could stay awake for 36hrs.


~Binary is best~

Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Oblivion
Insane since: Sep 2001

posted posted 06-14-2002 23:18

Ok, I am in a band, I play rhythm guitar. Now for the longest time before I joined the band that band (my friends) would play cover songs, songs from mettallica, fear factory, led zeplin, deftones, that sort of thing. Well even today we play some cover songs, we are only about 2 years old. Just recently me and my friend (lead guitarist) played Purple Haze for a project we did on Hendrix. But I see cover songs as a way to practice, to know your good, before you start writing your own music. I have been writting riffs since before I was in the band and now I write amazingly when inspired. One of these days I'll find the time to move practice to my room with my PC mic and record us and put us on the asylum.

Also, I do oil paintings and sketches. My art teacher, well, I personally though was amazing, but she was, well, not "at her best" on portraits. I mean they were good but she did better with like landscapes and modes of transportation (trains, planes, and automobiles) but I remember seing her rendition of the mona lisa, and I swear to god it looked so identical it was almost like she was the re-incarnated Da Vinci. My point is, and as DL already pointed out, is that people do "covers" weather it is music or paintings, to learn from, to gain expirience and knowledge from.


Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: 100101010011 <-- right about here
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 06-14-2002 23:58

It's fun!

Actually I have a friend who makes a decent living in a cover band (he actually also has a day job for the cash and he's got a family, but he could live off the band) They're called the Wonderbread 5. Bunch of white guys who wear afro wigs and do cover's of Jackson 5 tunes, or other band's songs as the Jackson 5 would perform them (it's a sight to see 5 guys in afro wigs singing a bon jovi tune in the style of the Jackson 5 ).

Besides those kinds of things, cover gigs tend to pay more than a standard original's gig (let's say it pays, bonus!) and of course the reason I started playing guitar, chicks dig it!

But also you'd be suprised, a lot of bands have one main songwriter and while the other band members may contribute, they're still essentially playing other peoples music anyway.

Plus a lot of people realize that no matter how good they are as an orginal band the odds are against them getting signed anyway.

But I'd still bet if you asked the guys in that band most of them have (or the band itself) has other incarnations where they do original music.

.:[ Be Bert. Be Ernie. Just be. ]:.

Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

posted posted 06-15-2002 06:54

The ultimate cover bands are of course your basic symphony orchestra's.

Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

posted posted 06-18-2002 02:31

mmm...may Australian bands start off as cover bands. There are a few good ones around at the moment, the Voodoo Surfgods, just to name one. A good coverband play some covers and some of their own material though, and they make sure that their own material measures up to the standard of the covers that they're playing too...

Koan 63, written on the wall of cell number 250:
Those who Believe
Those who Try
Those who Love

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