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Semi-OT - cover band philosophy...


Griffinator

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I found myself having a convo with a would-be new singer for a cover band I'm assembling, and she mentioned that she'd really like to do "Panama" by VH (I already had us slated to do "Why Can't This Be Love") - and I kinda nixed it on the grounds that it would take me longer to learn the solo, and I feel like that's time that would be better spent knocking out half a dozen other songs that are within my immediate capacity to learn.

 

Where do you fall on this matter - confine a bit to primarily very easy tunes that can come together quickly (with the goal of getting out and playing faster) or go for the challenging material that will get a gee whiz out of the player crowd, but really wouldn't have a significantly greater impact on the drinking crowd?

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I'd say go for the challenging pieces, for the satisfaction of nailing them. The crowd will be impressed, not just the players. Of course, some guests will be oblivious to what you've done. Can't tell ya how many times I've been accosted offstage and told what a great bass player I am, and I don't even own one. When I pointed out I was playing lead, I was complimented on that too. Some folks just don't get it.....

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Learning songs for the sake of impressing people is an iffy thing. Folks coming to hear you because you're so friggin' wonderful is really rare. If you want to attract a crowd, give them what THEY want.

 

I think the thing most folks really want from a bar band is to make them want to dance. So, I think it's about playing music that get's the audience's butts pumpin', and that could be complicated or simple music.

 

To get a band off the ground, you probably want to do simpler stuff so you're not stuck rehearsing for months. Tell your wannabe singer(if she sticks around) that you'll work on Panama, but it's on the back burner till you can get the band really going. And, if it doesn't get folks up and moving, it's history.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Learning songs for the sake of impressing people is an iffy thing. Folks coming to hear you because you're so friggin' wonderful is really rare. If you want to attract a crowd, give them what THEY want.

 

I think the thing most folks really want from a bar band is to make them want to dance. So, I think it's about playing music that get's the audience's butts pumpin', and that could be complicated or simple music.

 

This is exactly my philosophy - so much that I'm tapping my wife's old strip club connections to get a feel for what they used to dance to on stage....

 

To get a band off the ground, you probably want to do simpler stuff so you're not stuck rehearsing for months. Tell your wannabe singer(if she sticks around) that you'll work on Panama, but it's on the back burner till you can get the band really going. And, if it doesn't get folks up and moving, it's history.

 

Yep. Exactly what I was thinking.

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Panama's guitar solo doesn't have a lot going on...it should be easy to learn pretty quickly. Also think of the sing along aspect with the audience during the chorus ("Panama...").

 

I don't know about the make up of your audience, but if you want danceable tunes, stick to stuff like Brown Eyed Girl, That's What I Like About You tunes. I see a lot of bands around here that play Rock and very few people dance. We Play KC, Lady Gaga, and Kool & The Gang and the floor stays packed.

 

You either have to decide between playing stuff you like playing (and nobody dances and you hope you get hired back), or dance stuff that's pretty Meh. That's how it is around this area.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

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Panama's guitar solo doesn't have a lot going on...it should be easy to learn pretty quickly. Also think of the sing along aspect with the audience during the chorus ("Panama...").

 

I don't know about the make up of your audience, but if you want danceable tunes, stick to stuff like Brown Eyed Girl, That's What I Like About You tunes. I see a lot of bands around here that play Rock and very few people dance. We Play KC, Lady Gaga, and Kool & The Gang and the floor stays packed.

 

You either have to decide between playing stuff you like playing (and nobody dances and you hope you get hired back), or dance stuff that's pretty Meh. That's how it is around this area.

 

Well, what we're attempting to put together here is a repetoire of songs that aren't necessarily "standards" that have the right groove, are still easily recognizable (most were #1 hits at some point in their lifespan), and yet are still far enough off the beaten track to give us a "signature" sound.

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Where do you fall on this matter - confine a bit to primarily very easy tunes that can come together quickly (with the goal of getting out and playing faster) or go for the challenging material that will get a gee whiz out of the player crowd, but really wouldn't have a significantly greater impact on the drinking crowd?
Why not have a"Let's learn this so we can start gigging" list, and a "Let's have these songs nailed in two months so we can add them " list. My theory is that since this is a new band, gelling around some standard bar band tunes will bring you all tighter, then you can move into the more ambitious stuff. 60 days into the same set list, you'll be itching to throw in some new tunes, and will give you something to work for when practices start getting stale.

 

IF you have a female singer and want to try something new with a classic rock feel, may I suggest covering this song by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals ?

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Ya, I think the way to approach that is not to say `no`-say that, fine, we can do that but the #1 priority is getting enough songs going so that we can fill an evening without stretching things to the limit. if you say no, that sounds like never and unless you hate the song that`s not necessary. I don`t think a band should rule out musician-friendly songs entirely, that`s excessive. Better to lay out priorities in order of importance. Impressing the insiders is not #1, unless they have contracts and pens.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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Why not have a"Let's learn this so we can start gigging" list, and a "Let's have these songs nailed in two months so we can add them " list.

 

That is exactly what our band did. We quickly learned a bunch of easy songs so we had enough to gig with, and now at rehearsal we work on the more difficult songs.

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Where do you fall on this matter - confine a bit to primarily very easy tunes that can come together quickly (with the goal of getting out and playing faster) or go for the challenging material that will get a gee whiz out of the player crowd, but really wouldn't have a significantly greater impact on the drinking crowd?

 

I would do this; I would learn as many songs as possible with the understanding that once you had your set list down, you would then try and learn some of the songs that other folks in the band want to do.

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Couple of thoughts -

First of all, you're not likely to playing for an audience of musicians - see back to Skipclone's post about playing for insiders - so you want to keep your crowd happy.

 

Along those same lines, if you have a good solid lead vocalist, largely drama-free, do whatever it takes, within reason, to keep her happy.

 

Finally, I have to agree with GuitarPlayerFL, 'Panama' isn't really that challenging to play, and, IMHO, it's a great song.

 

Good luck pulling in some gigs - let us know how it goes.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

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My ex used to work in a bar that had live music. The only band that got away with doing their own stuff was Toby Redd, mostly 'cause the stuff they did was jumpin'. The other "back by demand" bands became so because they played well known tunes that moved patron's feet. And came as close to the recorded version as possible. Most guys AND girls hit the bars to "hook up", not hear a concert. Like the man said in "That Thing You Do", "We came here to meet girls and dance!"

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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It really comes down to what your priorities are as a band. If your trying to make a living in the music industry you'd better be playing original tunes or really hot re-makes that sound original. Otherwise your doomed to a very low income as a cover band. Of course playing originals doesn't mean you'll be making much dough either... but as a cover band you definitely won't be.

My band is primarily a cover band but we do a 1/2 dozen or so originals as well. You have to slip them in and see how the crowd responds. But everybody has an alternate source of income which takes the financial pressure off. We play for the love of it and we're happy doing that... if you are trying to make a living at it... it soon becomes a job, and the "fun" element usually takes a back seat.

SEHpicker

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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If you could write an original tune or two that:

1) lots of people really liked and wanted to buy... in other words, a hit, it would certainly pay to do originals. Or 2) something that would attract a "cult following".

Once you do one of these two, THEN people will be interested in your originals... otherwise, maybe a small circle of friends.... God bless 'em, LOL!

 

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I'd say go for the challenging pieces, for the satisfaction of nailing them. The crowd will be impressed, not just the players. Of course, some guests will be oblivious to what you've done. Can't tell ya how many times I've been accosted offstage and told what a great bass player I am, and I don't even own one. When I pointed out I was playing lead, I was complimented on that too. Some folks just don't get it.....

 

Interesting! You state your opinion on the subject and then disprove it!

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she'd really like to do "Panama" by VH (I already had us slated to do "Why Can't This Be Love") - and I kinda nixed it on the grounds that it would take me longer to learn the solo
Could it be that she already knows "Panama" and it would take her longer to learn "Why Can't This Be Love"? Or could it be that Roth's "Panama" fits her voice better than Hagar's "Love"?

 

If you've got a good crew assembled I would think you would want to start gigging as soon as possible to retain them.

 

If the rhythm guys are any good they should be able to learn 40 hit songs in a week. Memorizing lyrics and nailing solos may take longer. That's why lead vocals/lead guitar should choose song lists (and often go with material they've already performed).

 

Without any further information I'd say run "Mustang Sally" (yes, I know, *groan!*) until a VH song is ready.

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Could it be that she already knows "Panama" and it would take her longer to learn "Why Can't This Be Love"? Or could it be that Roth's "Panama" fits her voice better than Hagar's "Love"?

 

Possible, but not likely. If she can do "Barracuda", she can do "Love".... ;)

 

If you've got a good crew assembled I would think you would want to start gigging as soon as possible to retain them.

 

Agreed.

 

If the rhythm guys are any good they should be able to learn 40 hit songs in a week.

 

Absolutely.

 

Memorizing lyrics and nailing solos may take longer.

 

Depends on the selection. I nailed 40 songs in a week to ready for an "emergency" audition for one band (their guitarist bailed with 4 shows still booked, including one the following week)

That's why lead vocals/lead guitar should choose song lists (and often go with material they've already performed).

 

Agreed.

 

Without any further information I'd say run "Mustang Sally" (yes, I know, *groan!*) until a VH song is ready.

 

I'd rather dramatically commit suicide on stage in front of a packed house.... :freak:

 

Seriously, one of the primary reasons I pulled "Love" was to throw the keyboard guy a bone, since I'm asking him to comp his way through a lot of songs that did not originally contain keys.

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Seriously, one of the primary reasons I pulled "Love" was to throw the keyboard guy a bone, since I'm asking him to comp his way through a lot of songs that did not originally contain keys.
The plot thickens!

 

Well, there's a compromise in there somewhere that everyone can live with. Oar knot.

 

Death, taxes and bands dissolving. Get them gigging and enjoy the ride (while it lasts).

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