How to get a covers band to play original material?

Chromium

Senior Member
How do I get my covers band to consider original material?

I'm the drummer in a covers trio and we've gone down very well at the couple of gigs we've played so far. We're all over forty and all experienced musicians. We're working together very well and adding to our repertoire very quickly. We have around 50 Rock 'n Roll classics which we can build a set list from, everything from The Everlys, Roy Orbison and Chuck Berry to ELO, UB40 and even The Proclaimers. All good so far. Pub gigs and weddings are our target market.

However, I've been a musician for over thirty five years in one capacity or another and I have written a lot of original songs in that time; material from punk and rock to country

I would like to do original material, so I can upload our efforts to sites like ReverbNation etc. and in the future play festivals etc. I don't want to upload our recordings as it will effectively breach copyrights.

But it's so difficult to convince them to attempt original material as the other band members are very set in their ways and seem reluctant to even consider original material. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I don't want to leave the band as I think we're good together and have a real commercial offering.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
If that orig. music is good/interesting enough (I assume so) it's worth being played. So I don't comprehend why your fellow musos don't want to even take a listen and maybe get surprised.

Now if your band isn't willing to implement some orig. music - I'd form another band additionally to do so.
(You know, being in contact with various musos = having more influence to draw from and ultimately, a broader genre/opinion pool to work with.)
Else I see that conflict going on - which would frustrate me in the longer term.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
How do I get my covers band to consider original material?

I'm the drummer in a covers trio and we've gone down very well at the couple of gigs we've played so far. We're all over forty and all experienced musicians. We're working together very well and adding to our repertoire very quickly. We have around 50 Rock 'n Roll classics which we can build a set list from, everything from The Everlys, Roy Orbison and Chuck Berry to ELO, UB40 and even The Proclaimers. All good so far. Pub gigs and weddings are our target market.

However, I've been a musician for over thirty five years in one capacity or another and I have written a lot of original songs in that time; material from punk and rock to country

I would like to do original material, so I can upload our efforts to sites like ReverbNation etc. and in the future play festivals etc. I don't want to upload our recordings as it will effectively breach copyrights.

But it's so difficult to convince them to attempt original material as the other band members are very set in their ways and seem reluctant to even consider original material. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I don't want to leave the band as I think we're good together and have a real commercial offering.
I think you need to use guile and try to slip just one or two originals in...then a couple more.

But, beware, you've a job on your hands there because many people who are in the mindset of a covers band seem to be welded to it. It makes good money, so why not? Why do originals when there's more money to be made from covers is the general attitude.

We've just started with a new singer. He's been dying to sing in an originals band and we're apparently a 'dream come true' for him (feelings mutual...he's a great punk singer). He's also in a covers band. He's finishing gigs with them then joining us fully and parting company with them. Why's he doing this? For exactly the reasons above.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Is one of the other members more open to trying new things? I write tunes on a DAW and send them to the bass player and he learns them. Meanwhile I work out a drum groove and we present it at a practice and the guitars/vox follow along once we've laid down the basis of things for them
 

toddmc

Gold Member
If your band mates wanted to be in an originals band, that's what they'd be doing. You sound like you don't hate the covers scene but you feel you have more to offer. If the other guys are perfectly happy just being weekend warriors I personally think you need a creative outlet from another band on the side rather than trying to convince the cover guys to do something they don't want to do. My 2 cents...
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Also, keep in mind who comes to a gig to hear covers versus all originals. Covers bands make their money being like a live version of a jukebox or classic rock radio station, so that people will come listen to songs they know and dance. Originals bands have a different scene, play different places, and it's a little harder to draw crowds until you build a following. So there may be a very good reason or two they are not interested in throwing originals into their set.

I agree with some of the other posters: It's easier to join or form an originals band separately than it is to sneak some into your covers band.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
How do I get my covers band to consider original material?

.
Ask them.

Could they really be so selfish as to refuse to spend a little time to work on some of your songs? If so, tell them I said they suck.

What I do is get about 80% of the song written. I will record a simple bass line, keys, horns, lyrics/vocals, drums and sometimes a general idea for guitar (not my strong suit),

Then, all I have to do is ask the guitar player to help me out a bit.

It only takes a few minutes to run thru a song at rehearsal so tell them to quit whining and be part of the team.
 

spireblade

Junior Member
Many people (myself included to a point) haven't got the confidence to try something outside their comfort zone. Playing covers, you already know how the song should sound rather than thinking "what can I play to this?" Not everyone is good at developing their own ideas.
I am in the "set up another band" camp. You can enjoy the best of both until the gigs clash of course.
Also playing original stuff to an audience who just want to hear stuff they know can be a problem.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Also, keep in mind who comes to a gig to hear covers versus all originals. Covers bands make their money being like a live version of a jukebox or classic rock radio station, so that people will come listen to songs they know and dance.
+1.

Chromium, keep in mind that there will be some gigs that should not include originals, such as at weddings where the audience (read: the band's bosses) wants to hear familiar songs.

But pubs are a slightly different matter, and you could get away with introducing a few likely songs once the crowd gets going. But they should fit with the other songs you're already playing, avoid playing a deeply personal ballad when the crowd is dancing to an energetic rocker.

As for getting the band to agree to the originals, you'll need to convince them that it's not your intention to lose gigs over the proposition, and that not every gig will be correct for the new songs. As long as they're comfortable with the direction, it shouldn't be an issue.

Bermuda
 

Chromium

Senior Member
Thanks for all the comments... I'll take them all on board.

Perhaps in time a second band will be the answer. Meanwhile as quite a bit of the material we're playing is what I would call 'classic rock 'n roll' such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Beach Boys etc. I've written a number of songs 'in-the-style-of', in the hopes that this will be less of a bitter pill to swallow for my compatriots. I'll try to add just one or two to our set.

Again, thanks for your comments, all valid.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Agree with what's said. The truth is that if the other guys wanted to play your songs as much as the ones they are playing they would.

If you have enough quality songs then you should be able to find musicians who want to play those songs.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Many people (myself included to a point) haven't got the confidence to try something outside their comfort zone. .
The beauty of playing your own music is that, you can't play it wrong :)

I have met a LOT of players over the decades that never ever write anything. That seems odd to me because music is always bouncing around in my head. If I were a guitar or piano player insted of a drummer, I would have written hundreds of songs over the years,

It's only with todays technology that I can easily sit down and get something recorded without depending on real musicians :) to help me out.
 
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