cover band song choices

davor

Senior Member
Hi all, I’ve recently joined my first band, my first rehearsal went really well, I played most of the songs solidly keeping it simple. It’s a covers band and I practiced a lot before the rehearsal.

There were a few songs I didn’t go anywhere near, due to time constraints really. I basically picked off the ones I deemed ‘easier’ to learn and said I would learn the rest for next rehearsal.

Anyway, now the band have a drummer, they’re looking to add more and more songs. Which is fine, learning songs is really bringing on my playing…but…. they don’t seem to give any consideration to the drum part – anything is fair game! Sure it might have only 4 chords and be easy for them to learn guitar/bass but that’s not necessarily the case for the drum part.

Is this a common plight for a drummer, or am I just being a whiney b**ch?!

Anyone come across this before?
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
What songs specifically are they proposing, that might help us shape opinions
Also the most important factor in choosing cover band songs are that they're familiar enough to get audiences interested but not so overfamiliar that every other band is playing them and the audience are bored by them. This is an incredibly difficult balance to achieve!!
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Congrats on the gig dude!

Nothing new at all. Wait until you have a dep gig to do and you have to do 40 songs without a practice.

If you're new to it then you'll need a bit of time to learn new songs. It is quite daunting when you look at all the songs you need for a full 2 hours.

Once you've done it for a while you'll get the 6th sense of how a song is structured, feel and you'll learn it just by listening to it.

Your muscle memory will improve as well, never mind a part of your brain that will store all these songs.

Stay in the pocket and you'll never be short of work!
 

davor

Senior Member
Hey, thanks for the replies!

To give an example, Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis) has lots of ghost notes, fills, pre-chorus change in pattern vs Billie Jean which is nice and steady throughout. Huge difference between these songs in terms of learning how to play.

Obviously playing a steady beat like Billie Jean for a full 5 minutes is a skill in its own right (which I’ve got down pretty good). But the other song will take me much longer to get to grips with. (bearing in mind I've only just graduated from my bedroom to a band setting!)

Based on what you guys are saying, looks like I just get on with it haha! simplifying where I have to, and work on details later
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
A lot of songs have very specific guitar riffs, and many have distinctive guitar solos too, so I think it's a lot harder for the guitarist. Strumming along on four chords isn't going to sound like Hotel California or Sweet Child of Mine.

The hardest thing for me is when several songs have almost the same beat, like Valerie vs Walking on Sunshine vs You Can't hurry love, all at slightly different tempos.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
The hardest thing for me is when several songs have almost the same beat, like Valerie vs Walking on Sunshine vs You Can't hurry love, all at slightly different tempos.
We do all those 3 in a medley, that's how to get round one. If you do it Walking on Sunshine/Can't Hurry Love/Valerie, the drums bring the last 2 in so you haven't gotta worry about key changes just change the tempo.

Gotta love a good medley! Still trying to get my guys to do play that funky music and sledgehammer in a medley, pretty much the same riff.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
setup a playlist on yer phone with all songs back to back

Then play them over and over - this will help you switch from one style to another.

Don't look back in anger is fairly straightforward. Once you've done it a few times, it'll be like muscle memory.

It'd be more inclined to worry if they asked you to play Pantera - Becoming :)

Just be confident dude, going over the songs time and again will give you that
 

davor

Senior Member
Hey Johnoworld :)

Lots of listening has been done, I've got the basic groove down for the song, and most of the fills. But a couple of the fills require some hand speed that I just don't have yet. And as you know, it doesn't come overnight!

But I guess that's where simplifying comes in, until I've got the skill/technique and then add in later

We're not looking to have our first gig until early next year, so plenty time to learn. It's just the song list is getting bigger and bigger haha!
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
sounds like you are on the right track. and yes simplify what you have to. its better to simplfy or eliminate a fill than over do it and rush it or go too long.

You can play a whole night without a drum fill and no one notices sometimes with some bands. Other guys want everything note for note.
 

Dj magic d

Senior Member
Maybe its a good thing your bandmates have full confidence in your ability to pull off any song they choose! I'm also in agreement with the "medley" idea as a compromise. As long as the tunings are the same from song to song, it can be made to flow smoothly. In my experience your general drinking crowd has a short attention span anyway. Usually a medley has a far greater impact that each song individually.
 

Mozart1220

Senior Member
For me, playing ANYTHING by Wacko Jacko takes skill. It's hard to play when you have never heard the song and never will. LOL.

Come to Cedar rapids. You only have to learn about 50 songs, most of which are Skynard and ZZ Top, and if you leave that band you can join any other because they ALL play the same crap here.

Whatever you do, don't try and play ANYTHING that's not on the radio 24/7 or on the jukebox. Folks will walk out.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
It’s been my experience that cover songs, if the goal is to play out, need to be:

1. Recognizable - at least a significant majority. Put the B side and back catalog songs away. It’s about the audience.

2. Danceable - at least for most songs. If the girls are moving, the guys will follow and that means they’re drinking. That’s how you get asked back.

3 Low Hanging Fruit - songs that don’t take long to master. This speaks to the matter that the op is experiencing. Putting together a full night’s worth of songs is a daunting task. Band members need to work together to select songs that can be be mastered quickly without the need for intense woodshedding. For every startup band that eventually gets out gigging, there are a half dozen that never reach the finish line. Convince your band members to be smart about song choices. That’s key.
 

Mozart1220

Senior Member
I like a ratio of about 75% well known and danceable songs, hopefully not TOO overplayed and 25% fun danceable tunes that might NOT be on another band's set list.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
Hey Johnoworld :)

Lots of listening has been done, I've got the basic groove down for the song, and most of the fills. But a couple of the fills require some hand speed that I just don't have yet. And as you know, it doesn't come overnight!

But I guess that's where simplifying comes in, until I've got the skill/technique and then add in later

We're not looking to have our first gig until early next year, so plenty time to learn. It's just the song list is getting bigger and bigger haha!
Cool man, just drop out the bits you can't do and play something simple and full bodied.

I jam a lot to covers, it is my usual practice routine actually and there are many things I can't do. Most of the time I just find the groove and play my own fills.

You'll be fine I'm sure dude
 

Matty1977

Senior Member
To give an example, Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis) has lots of ghost notes, fills, pre-chorus change in pattern....
The guys I jam with also wanted me to learn this one for my first rehearsal. It's relatively simple but there are lots of subtleties that only come with time, practice and experience.

Of all the songs they wanted to do, this is the one that daunted me the most. As per everyone else's advice, I just simplified the whole thing and played as solidly as I could while staying as close as possible to original vibe.

The more I have played it, the more I have grown in confidence and memory to the point where I am now finding that some of the ghost notes are almost falling into place naturally.

I am constantly finding myself out of my depth when I play with these guys but it's really great at driving my playing forward.
 
I feel your pain lol!

I'm in a similar situation, although in a very new band where we are all learning together. However, several times I have to say, "Stop, lets concentrate on these x songs and get them right before adding more to the mix"!

Everyone gets overexcited and starts throwing new songs in. I had to tell them that doing that overwhelms me, and right now I can only really learn a couple of new songs at a time. I prefer to learn from written music (sometimes that's my own notation written down by listening to the songs), and then memorise until I can play without te music. It's at that point that I simplify some bits that I just cant remember note for note.

I'm hoping that with time, my recall and my speed of learning will improve!!

We started with 6, and then are adding 2 a month. Well we were, until the bass player, having bailed out of the last 2 rehearsals, today said he couldn't commit to a band! Oh well, at least we now have a set list of 10 songs to put forward to any prospective bass players!
 

Matty1977

Senior Member
"Stop, lets concentrate on these x songs and get them right before adding more to the mix"!
Yep!

I can relate to this completely plus..... "There are 20 - 30 songs on the list so let's rattle through all of them in a 3 hour session"

I would much rather focus on spending 20 minutes on all the songs where we are rusty than rattling through everything.
 

Mozart1220

Senior Member
I feel your pain lol!

I'm in a similar situation, although in a very new band where we are all learning together. However, several times I have to say, "Stop, lets concentrate on these x songs and get them right before adding more to the mix"!

Everyone gets overexcited and starts throwing new songs in. I had to tell them that doing that overwhelms me, and right now I can only really learn a couple of new songs at a time. I prefer to learn from written music (sometimes that's my own notation written down by listening to the songs), and then memorise until I can play without te music. It's at that point that I simplify some bits that I just cant remember note for note.

I'm hoping that with time, my recall and my speed of learning will improve!!

We started with 6, and then are adding 2 a month. Well we were, until the bass player, having bailed out of the last 2 rehearsals, today said he couldn't commit to a band! Oh well, at least we now have a set list of 10 songs to put forward to any prospective bass players!
I was in a band with a drummer who was also an "executive" at a large company. He LOVED paperwork. He showed up at practice with spreadsheets and we kept track of which songs we worked on each night. It illustrated pretty quickly which ones we were neglecting ad which we were overkilling. He also assigned them "ratings" based upon how good the songs were, so if we had something we worked on every week and it was still a "3 out of 10", it might be time to knock that one in the head, but if there was an "8" we could let that one slide most of the time.
 
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