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#42647 by chip6
Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:59 am
It seems everybody (young players, clubs, dancers) seems to think that actually working at live music is some kind of dreadful sin, unless you are some kind of starving artist, willing to pay for a venue to hear your art.

I am a bass player, expert, not a songwriter, not a frontman, not a rockstar (well, I try a bit). I am in a band of players with equal skills, and we have great fun at what we do, and we feel we are filling a niche.

But we are not the next BIG thing, we just want to make a bloody living out of our fingers. Some of you would probably be horrified at the prospect of playing, say Brown Eyed Girl, for the rest of your life. Fine. but that is what I do. And I genuinley love all the classics I do.

I am a product of the 70's, and very proud of it. From Bad Company to Yes, I know a great deal of it. Recent stuff is, frankly ,not a stretch. My band has great goals, which certainly include making a living out of it, and we work hard at playing resorts and working on our following. Pics, graphic art, networking, it all takes time and effort.

I just have one bit of advice for you youngsters, learn a bit of engineering.What do watts mean, gain, ohms, how to get the most out of the least. Not easy, the good gear is not cheap, but if you are in it for the long run, do your research.

#42727 by gbheil
Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:08 am
You posted some good advice Chip6, but I'mnot too sure of the motivation.
The whole cover vs original thing has been debated to death on here several times.
I personally prefer my originals to doing covers. But if you took a poll of the Bandmix people I am confident you would find the cover bands get the most gigs.
I,d love to make a living doing my music. But I am not brave enough to risk my family and mortgaes on thowing my stuff in an old bus and hitting the road.

#42743 by fisherman bob
Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:58 am
If you honestly like doing covers AND you can make some money at it, then more power to you. I perform covers and originals. I play songs I like regardless of what anybody else thinks. I know it sounds like a bad attitude (yeah I"ve been accused of having a very bad attitude) but I"m in it for MY enjoyment. We play our share of gigs, not as many as most cover bands for sure, but I can honestly say I enjoy what I"m playing. I"ve developed a certain style and it"s working for me. Everybody should at least pursue something that works for them. Life"s too short not to at least try and achieve your dreams no matter what those dreams are. Some good advice chip6, I hope to see you contribute to this forum once in a while. Later...

#42749 by Bambamvdrumr
Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:57 am
From personal experience, I prefer to be in a cover band that likes to write their own stuff too. I toured with a Jazz Funk band that slowly worked in so many originals, that on an average 4 set night, ewe played so many more originals than we did covers, because over time, people not only got used to them, but because of how well we delivered them, they would usually request the originals.

I love to classics too, but only if they are played like the band really enjoys playing them. I just let go of a classic rock project, not just because we played classic rock, but because we played it so much between rehearsals and live, we sounded like we were really tired of playing them, and that was because half the band refused to learn anything new that people really liked to hear.

I believe that if you really don't like what your playing, its time to learn newer material, or at the very least, turn the existing music into something that sounds more like you really enjoy playing it.

That kind of flexibility must be there creatively throughout the band to some degree. Otherwise, it just gets boring over time.

I mean everyone plays a certain number of standards that everyone hears from most bands. But it's what they sound like when they play them. If they sound like they don't like them anymore, that's the way they will come across, and there goes the crowd. And,...then, there go the gigs...

Quite simply, if you don't motivate the crowd, the owner wont have you back. You end up sounding like every other "Jamm" band out there just looking to hang out and get paid for it.

Like everything else in life, get what you pay for,.....or you end up playing for free to an empty room.

Also, ALL original bands are only good if the material is really good to most listening to it. And for the most part, until you are well received, with your own originals, you don't get paid. It's a long walk between playing for nothing just to be heard, and ending up on the road with a top ten hit.

No offense to all the self proclaimed (undiscovered) rock stars out there, but I gotta eat. And covers,.......they pay the bills.

That's my 2 cents.


#42837 by gbheil
Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:51 am
No offense taken dude. Between selling guns and my RN gigs, feed my family pretty good. So I can play what I like. Paid or no.

#42855 by philbymon
Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:56 pm
Yep - I like to play covers, if I can do them myyyyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaaay...& then add in some originals to the mix, as long as they're good, of course. If ppl aren't requesting an original after a few gigs, I dump it.

#42866 by RhythmMan
Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:57 pm
At one time I liked Brown-eyed Girl. Then every place I went, they played it, and I tried to tune it out. Then I just stopped going to places where they played it, and went to more interesting places, instead.
I still am good friends with several people who perform that song. But I could not imagine being forced to play it for a living. Yuck. :)
But do whatch gotta do . . . I respect you for being one of the guys who's playing in a band in the public's eyes, and spreading the 'musical word.'
You're in a band, you're out there playing, and so that makes you one of 'the good guys.'

#43419 by chip6
Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:22 pm
Here's one for you: Mustang Sally.

My lead singer/keyboardist, from the City, never really knew the song before he came to upstate. He did not get the song's appeal.

We make it a deliberate point to not put it on our setlist, but if the crowd yells for it, we kill it! That is what we do.

It's a job, it's a job I love, there is no great mystique about it. It takes a great amount of skill to get even competent at it. We are the alternative to "tribute" bands. We are a tribute to the 70's and 80's and today.

Doing just your own "art" is admirable, but it does not pay the bills. And frankly, not everybody is John Lennon.

Will we do originals in the future? Likely, as our fans dictate, that is our motivation. Again, that is what we are about. Fans, not just our own egos.

DJ's are the true enemy. We have to be much bigger than a record. And what we do is much harder, four people pushing each other's buttons, making sure we are all going in the same direction, and pushing the audience at the same time.

In my band, we are all engineers, and we hate working with outside soundmen (some clubs having house systems), which makes us a pain in the butt. Our own system is compact yet powerful, and we like having complete control over it.

My point? Kids, learn how sound tech works, ohms, watts, db's. gain, power (a 300watt guitar amp is simply obnoxious, a 50 watt bass amp is wimpy). Crown Power pa amps rule the world!
Also, new music is not created in a vacuum, it all comes from somewhere before, embrace it, enhance it, twist it, that's where the new comes from.

Love, peace.

#43613 by fisherman bob
Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:02 am
chip6 I respect your opinions. They're based on your experience. I like your statement "we have to be much bigger than a record." I interpret that as "we don't do covers note-for-note, we IMPROVE on them." If you perform covers just like the cover then for crying out loud what's the difference between you and a DJ? I"ve always performed covers AND originals. I've been in bands that were mostly covers and bands that were mostly original, and some that were nearly 50-50. Sounds like you're in a position that's 100% cover and it's paying the bills. Would introducng a few originals cause you to lose your gigs? Probably not, especially if you sneak them in later in the show. If you gradually work up enough originals to record a CD and you promote the new CD at a few of your cover gigs I'm sure your fans wouldn't mind. Whenever we do the originals I don't even say to the crowd that they are original. We just play them right along with the covers. Nobody knows the difference. Good advice on learning how your equipment works. The best advice I could give somebody is learn the LIMITS of your equipment and NEVER exceed the limits. Too many new bands push their equipment far past what it can handle, and that also makes your band sound like sh*t. Anyway thanks again for your forum contribtions. Later...

#44261 by Meantooth Grin
Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:35 am
fact is covers pay the bills, I know alot of cover bands that make more than
all original bands simply because they are a living juke box that fans can hear all their favorite radio tunes.

In blues you sort of have to play covers, comes with the territory.
everyone from Buddy guy to BB king and Eric Clapton plays covers.
The ideal mix is to have some originals and some covers that way you
get your stuff heard but have some stuff that strangers may know.

I dont look down on cover bands by any means, Ive paid my bills with cover band money in the past. for me it isnt as fulfilling, but for some it is what they want to do. As long as a person is playing out and not sitting in their room hats off to them. Do what you love, thats why we do this anyway isnt it?

#44933 by Hayden King
Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:46 am
we hate working with outside soundmen

AMEN: I've been butchered so many times by hack soundmen. in fact at my last show the monitor mix was non existent and the house soundman wound up having to go set the monitors for the hack. (for the next act) I could only hear myself through the house. luckily it was my own stuff and i'd done em so many times I pulled it off.
(at least I think I did, you'd have to ask THE KIDD)

but back to the subject; I believe the crowd doesn't get enough credit for taste and would enjoy an all original set in clubs (if you feel em n do em well) but you cant get booked at most clubs unless you cover top 40 or classics.

#45479 by johnkaneiam
Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:06 am
Playing covers is more fun than ever before, now that I am old...45. We do 60/70's oldies and we only do the ones that float our boat. That's the difference..., if you like the tunes that you play. Top 40 sucks because you are obligated to play what the masses want. I suppose that is ok, if you want to play every Fri and Sat nite. We only take gigs that our wives and kids can go plus some corp events, on average 3-4 per month...I suppose if we had to make a decent living from music we would hate doing Top 40 covers...but the crowds always love hearing the songs that we do that most bands never play, like Green Tambourine, Mr Tambourine Man, Young Girl, Vehicle, etc.

#46366 by J-HALEY
Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:49 pm
I agree with chip6 110% and I may be a little bitter after persuing the original dream for 20 years and becoming very frustrated in the process. I play what the audience wants to hear because thats who I work for. I was listening to an interveiw with Lean Rymse when she first released Blue of coarse she doesn't write most of her music but she did say something that is relative "I pick the songs that I am going to record very carefully because I know I will be singing them for the rest of my career". Joe Walsh said at the Crossroads festival before he starts Rocky Mountain Way "If I would have known I'd be playin this song for the rest of my life I probably would have written something else". My point is when you write your own hits when the public buys the record, they more than likely will not listen to your favorite on the record, they usually pick your least favorite. I still write music good and bad I can't help it the music is just bustin to come out, but when I play live I play for the audience.

#46394 by Hayden King
Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:23 pm
J-HALEY wrote:when you write your own hits when the public buys the record, they more than likely will not listen to your favorite on the record, they usually pick your least favorite.

aint it so aint it so!
I haven't sold any records yet, but when I play my songs for people the one they pick as their favorite, is never the one I would expect.
and the ones that wind up most played or asked for are always ones that I never thought anyone would really like all that much!

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