by Craig Maxim
Fri May 30, 2008 5:57 am
Well, our band does a few covers each set on occasion, when the gig calls for it. We enjoy much more, reworking the cover and juicing it up, but if you aren't going to improve it, don't do that. Some covers we do pretty much note for note, very very close to the originals. We do that because some songs are just about perfect as they are. You aren't going to improve some covers by speeding them up, or making them reggae. And some people remember certain songs note for note, they grew up to them, got married to them, or whatever. It can be risky screwing with some songs.
And I don't think I understand the "playing for the audience" question? Unless you are a sadist or anarchist, ultimately you are ALWAYS playing for your audience's enjoyment or entertainment, otherwise, why are you playing in front of an audience? If you can play what you like personally, and the crowd digs it too, then yes, that is ideal.
We are an originals based band, but we have very good material, and just about every audience we have ever played for has dug them immensely. We had an exception to this at a gig not long ago. It reminded me of something out of the original Blues Brothers movie, where they play behind chicken wire in a country joint, and get bottles thrown at them, and they end up playing "rawhide" over and over, which the crowd seems to appreciate finally.
Our gig wasn't that bad, but after 2 songs, just 2, which were originals, some old dude literally comes up to the stage and says "Don't you guys know any Jimmy Buffet or something?"
It was an experience we had NEVER had before in this band. Yes, some people really dug the music, originals and covers, but there was very little screaming after each song, which we have been spoiled to enjoy on every gig we have had so far.
Later that night, after we had packed up, the sound guy told us we were awesome, and he absolutely loved all our originals. We mentioned that it was too bad the crowd didn't all seem to feel that way. He then conveyed to us, that the place was f*cked up, as far as the crowd goes. He said there was an internationally famous act which had been through there not long before, and the saxophonist had almost quit the band over their gig there. This sax man was one of the best he had ever seen, and he says he was so stunned by the cricket-like response from this crowd, that he almost quit the band over it. Can you imagine that? One gig and he was ready to throw his career away. I thought that was a little extreme, but damn, these people had me questioning myself as well.
So, hell, I don't care how good you are, you can't please every single crowd, every single time.