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 It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers

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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:13 am

I remember placing ads on craigslist looking a for drummer for our original project, and all I heard back was crickets chirping. Yesterday I placed an add for musicians looking to form a cover band to make some extra cash and I've had over 50 responses so far. What a sad state of affairs! I hate playing covers but work is slow and could use some extra cash. One positive note is there will be lots of auditions and I can afford to be picky.

Are your areas like this?
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Chowderboots

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:25 pm

I don't know...but everyone seems to be looking for a bassist. I actually came upon a group who might be interested in having me play with them last week.
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Kugelspot

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:39 pm

^ I know. I chose bass because there are so few of us. Kind of a supply and demand thing. I was asked to join a punk band because I met the drummer at a camp 2 years earlier. I don't even like punk very much, and I'm pretty sure he knew that.

Anyway, I think some people just don't really like to write their own songs, or at least have trouble with it. I still can't write vocal parts. Kinda weird that the you couldn't find a drummer for that, though. Writing drum parts should be easy enough.
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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:40 pm

Decent drummers are hard to find around here, the ones I do find are dysfunctional or total drunks.
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EricHaven
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:43 pm

Let me begin by stating that I don't have any problem with folks wanting to do original material. My thoughts here are just my own feelings about the subject, and I don't consider them to be any more right or wrong from what anyone else wants to do. Forgive me if this is long, but I have some very deep feelings on the subject.

I must confess Jeff that I am one of those that are a little less-than-enthusiastic about doing original material, but with good reason. I spent many years doing originals, and I even wound up on a record label with an awesome band that had a lot of touring potential ahead of it. But when the label went under (it was just an indie, but still...), the whole thing fell apart. And after having spent so much time/money/energy, I grew really cynical towards the process, and decided that I didn't ever want to work that hard again, only to be disappointed. I play bass because I enjoy it, and I don't ever want music to become my job (unless, of course, I get tapped on the shoulder by an established national act).

Now, I have nothing against doing originals for fun now, and my current project does just that. But I am very much a "live" guy, meaning that I play bass to get in front of people and perform. To do so by playing originals takes time to build a loyal fan base to fill the clubs, and again, I don't want to go through that much effort anymore. Too old, too cynical, too jaded by my experiences. I recall the times that people didn't show up because of this or that, and we'd end up buying back a lot of our own tickets. It's not that we weren't good, just that people seem to have a different attitude towards following a local original act.

But when I did covers, filling the bars was cake. And when I did/do tribute bands, getting folks lined up at the door was/is child's play. I would much rather play covers I enjoy to a filled house, then originals to only a handful of people.

I once got into an argument with a guitarist from an original act who was slagging on me for doing tribute bands, claiming that my role as a genuine performer was somehow diminished since I didn't do original material. I was in the Van Halen tribute the Atomic Punks at the time, and I knocked him off his perch when I said "yeah, you guys play for about 30-40 people a night, whereas we fill the clubs to overflowing, and keep it that way all night!" Believe me, he was an arrogant SOB who deserved what I told him.

From where I'm sitting, in playing covers, it's easier to get gigs, and get out in front of people. And in that arena, you can introduce original material to see how it flies.

Now, my brother-in-law Kurt absolutely refuses to do covers. He and my buddies do a lot of recording, and in fact, I did record a bass track for them (which I think I had posted on the old site). And they are happy to just do originals, post them on the web, and see what kind of reaction they get. But it has been years since they ever did a live show. For me, I would lose my mind if I couldn't perform live. And at this stage in my life, music has to be easy. Not easy to play, just that the logistics need to be as simple as possible, otherwise I don't want to do it.

I suppose there is more of a virtue in performing your own material, and again, if that's anyone's goal, more power to them! It's just not a path I personally want to pursue all that much anymore at this age.

So Jeff, I completely understand, sympathize, and believe in your plight, and I will always give you all the support I can. I'm just trying to outline my own perspective.

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:11 pm

Hmmm, I honestly don't care one way, or another.

I'll play my own stuff, I'll play on anything someone asks me, I'll spend the night jammin' covers.
Just happy to be playing, dosn't matter much after that.

Of course, I pretty much don't bother learning basslines for most stuff I cover, just get the chords and do my won thing, a combo of roots and walking.
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EricHaven
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:17 pm

Indeed!

Again, PLEASE don't misunderstand me here, Jeff. I am, in no way, criticizing your views at all. I'm just venting my own personal frustrations based upon what I've been through.

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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:00 pm

There's pros and cons either way you go. Cover bands makes more money but that sense of accomplishment of performing your own stuff isn't there. You have to travel much more with originals too. Boston has a great scene, All That Remains and Killswitch Engage are just a couple of good local products.

My original post pretty much meant that I'm disappointed that that there are so many local musicians but very few want to do their own stuff, be creative and go for it. I'll take one Ozz Fest tour over 1000 paying gigs as a cover band.
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:03 pm

I can understand what you mean, man. I got a ticket for a local concert tonight...but I don't think I'm going to make it to see them play. So much work and I feel bad for having to miss it...
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I would also enjoy doing an Ozzfest. Wink

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madmike

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:09 pm

i write original music. 40wattsun isnt just a band ... its a show. i want people to come to a gig and say afterward, "wow! never seen anything like that before!"

i do play covers ... four reasons ...

for fun. we come to practice and just mosh while playing "for whom the bell tolls" real moshy sloppy like.

theory. no better way to learn things to put into my music than to learn what those have done before me.

part of the show. we'll cover anything that isnt typical rock and roll band type stuff and cover it in a way that unlike anything anyone has ever hear before ... 40wattsun style. sweet caroline, the whats happenin theme song, mr. sandman, like a virgin and 49 goodbyes are all nuggets that we've 40wattsunitized. more fun!

auditions ... everyone knows that song. we usually throw led zeppelin and aerosmith at them.

craigslist? there are no vocalists and very few drummers. i understand, few bassists as well ... i've had people beg me to come out and play for them. no thanks ... i just dont wanna sound like nickelback or pantera. there are plenty of guitar players ... too many. i have franchise chain music stores to thank for this ... whats the first thing a young person sees when they walk into guitar center (ok, it is guitar center, i get it) or sam ash?

i gave up trying to find a synth / fx / sampling musician.

cragslist also offers people who think they are musicians and know they arent the opportunity to anonymously post classifieds. thats cool ... an ameture may have the opportunity to come out and discover they have talent. i say run, dont walk to that adventure. but it also leads to people who arent obligated to a commitment. we'll triple book auditions and none will show up.

my recomendation ... find more classified posting places other than cragslist or myspace. you'll get a better response with bigger numbers.
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Chowderboots

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:40 pm

Man...kinda weird thinking about pickuing up guitar as a first instrument. My first was Scottish bagpipes. I was interested in maybe playing drums, but too loud for my parents' apartment in Germany. I got the Who's album Live At Leeds one winter and wanted to play drums even more, but no space. Then I heard the bass...guitar was out of the picture. What an alien instrument that was, but bass sounded like it could be something that I could grasp, so I went for it. What a Face Haven't looked back. Not once.
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madmike

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:33 am

funny ... i owned a fender strat first and wanted to be ritchie blackmore.

wheres ritchie these days????????

i wasnt very good and lacked any kinda dicipline to learn when i was 14. if ide stuck with it ... who knows.

then i saw steve harris play on the mtv. i wanted to do that! so i did.

but i pick up dominics sg every now and again to play around .....................

........... i cant play guitar if my life depended on it.
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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:28 am

One thing that's always got to me is, the club owners dictate what you play in the cover market. You have to play certain things to make everyone happy. I don't go out to see cover bands much anymore because they're all playing the same songs. It's almost like a contest. A good amount of back stabbing goes on as well.
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:44 am

Oh man, Ritchie Blackmore is so fantastic!!! I love Deep Purple...
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:51 am

Mo Beach wrote:
One thing that's always got to me is, the club owners dictate what you play in the cover market. You have to play certain things to make everyone happy. I don't go out to see cover bands much anymore because they're all playing the same songs. It's almost like a contest. A good amount of back stabbing goes on as well.

This is why I loved playing the tribute scene, because it didn't matter one bit what the club owners wanted. Since we were packing places to overflowing, we were always in demand, and we still got to play music we enjoyed.

MadMike, you were asking where Ritchie is these days? He's right here:

http://www.blackmoresnight.com/

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madmike

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:56 pm

yeah ... i'de heard he was doing this with his wife. thats cool.

couldnt say i'de do anything like go out and buy it ... but entertaining none the less.

its just not deep purple. i miss that warm low tone moaning strat sound (speed king) ... hammett messed around with it for a while (orion). i havent heard it since. i'de love to give my guitar player a strat so he could mess with that 5 way sound, but he just couldnt live with single coils ... go figure.

yeah mo ... i agree ... it does all kinda sound the same. members of our band have started to notice the original bands all starting to sound the same as well. we call it the shrink wrapped, guitar center sound. its all routine and the same tricks. they are all fine musicians, but i think as a musician ... i just expect more. this is why we strive for a bit more.

i like erics approach with a tribute band. i've always wanted to sing in a black sabbath tribute band ... or play bass ... either way ... sabbath!
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:07 am

Good way of putting it. Shrink wrapped Guitar Center sound. How true. All I want to do is do something different. I want to do what's in my mind, which is different from what most people are used to...
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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:26 am

I had fun with the tribute band we had, but it seemed all at the same time everyone in the band thought it got old and wanted to do originals. That was my last cover band! 1996. We had to do a lot of traveling in order to get a lot of work so we figured if we were going to travel a lot let's do our own stuff.
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madmike

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:02 am

... and i think thats where it comes down to most people doing cover projects. its not that its not hard work ... it is. having a successful original project is that much more work. like eric was saying, people would much rather come out and see a band play music they already know ... aerosmith, black sabbath, van halen, led zeppelin. its about the comfortable familararity with that music. those bands already did the hard work to make their music familiar. the difference in the more, harder work with originals is, writing obviously, and then having to market, promote and make that original music familiar so people desire to hear you play it live.

why would i desire to go hear an original band that sounds like everyone else? this is why we strive to have something entirely different than whatever everyone else is doing. some of you have heard some 40ws stuff and i think we've accomplished that.

and i think this is why people like us come together on the bass tremolo fanatics page ... we are all into trying something different from the norm. i for one encourage that to everyone here and say, run, dont walk to that goal.

i also understand that as bass players ... we just want to play in a band. if cover bands are whats available ... do that ... and do it the best you can so you can enjoy it and be proud of it. if its not fun or enjoyable ... have patience and do what is fun and enjoyable ... not what the status quo demands of you.

patience ... i'm 2 years into the 40ws project and besides a dependable guitar player, we have had multiple other members come and go. we are still seeking a drummer and a vocalist. i'm being patient. when its supposed to happen ... it will.
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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:41 am

Those are great words, Mike! Very Happy
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Mo Beach

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PostSubject: Re: It's amazing how many musicians will only do covers   Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:14 pm

It varies from area to area of what you can get away with for covers. Around here you have to do what's popular on the radio. The majority of the club goers are 21-25 so a lot of your material has to be what they listen to. In the larger cities you can get heavier with the covers. The heavy tribute bands don't play around here either, no one will book them.
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