Preparing for a covers band

WhoIsTony?

Member
10 days is an eternity and an absolute luxury

I've gotten 2 hour set emails the night before .... luckily I had heard about half the tunes before

sketch out some quick charts in some chaotic undecipherable short hand and get to work

... thats what I did anyway

then at rehearsal you will find out how they end them and how and if they tie tunes together or work medleys

I guarantee that you are not expected to learn 450 tunes in 10 days
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
Write every song down and read (just like tommy ihoe's book). Main grove at beginning , number of bars, important fills and stops , Dc al capo/al coda and you'll be good to go.
 

gretschandy

Junior Member
Yeah, a Spotify playlist is a good idea! Personally, I like writing out a chart; not because I'll use the chart, but because in the process of writing the chart I learn the song. It makes me break down fills, consider counts for accents etc. I always keep the charts so that if I ned to play it again years down the line I can dig it out and go!

Enjoy the band!
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Youtube is your friend. Create a playlist in YouTube that you can find the songs and then add them.

Classify tunes by tempo, feel (Straight 8, halftime, shuffle, 7/8, etc) and familiarize yourself with them daily.

If you can read that's great, write out your cheat sheets but definitely, take notes and have some sort of reference to take to the gig. You may not know all 500 songs at once and one thing I've learned is that bands will usually stick to a set of common core tunes that get played every gig. Figure out which ones those are and bone up on them. Hard.

Also, make sure that every opening song you do for every set is strong. Don't come out halfway, nail that sucker. It's better to be a bit less familiar with a song in the middle of the set but that first tune... actually first three... that's the crucial time.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
Here's your best bet: make charts. It doesn't matter if you don't write notation, just write something that will help you identify arrangements, basic or specific parts, or other aspects of the song (such as watching for pushes or stops, ritard on the ending, etc.)

The very act of scrutinizing the song in order to make notes will help ingrain it into your memory in a way that repeated listening does not. I'm not saying that one listen will do the trick, or that you won't need to refer to your charts on the first few gigs, but charting will put you way ahead of the game whether you have 10 days or 10 weeks.
I'd like to second this. I know that people learn differently, but I've written a lot of cheat charts in my day, and I've found that for me just the act of writing them down helps solidify the arrangement, even if I never read the chart on a gig.
 

denisri

Silver Member
All good advice..after individual songs charts are complete. Do all the songs you know 1st. Make a set list or get a copy of the band set list. Write tempo, intro comments( ie drum intro, guitar intro etc type beat etc)next to each song. Text needs to be large eniough to read in a poorly lite area and not toooooooo many comments!
Get a copy of all the songs on CD and listen to them in your car. You should be prepared to tell what you have not work on. Denis
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
Dre25, no matter what you will do well!

I can't imagine dragging around charts for 450 songs. It would be several binders and usually when the song is called its 1, 2, 3, 4. No time in that kind of band to look for charts as they have to keep the dance floor full.

What are the other band members doing?

Maybe a table with song title, tempo, feel can cover most songs and you only chart those that are hard to remember.

You gotta start rotating those songs on your music player -)


thx

jorn
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
They have about 450 songs apparently (!!),
They're not going to play all 450 on one gig, so get a set list from them, and ask that they stick to it, at least for this one gig. They need to help you help them.

Better to read charts, and astonish the band with your preparedness, than to wing it.
 

WaitForItDrummer

Senior Member
I auditioned for a covers band tonight.. got a text on the drive home to say I'm in... seems like a fairly professional outfit and the pay is alright... I'm no longer worried about saving enough $$ for my US trip, I'm pretty chuffed!
Congrats, Dre on getting the gig! That's awesome.
Have fun :)
 

STXBob

Gold Member
They're not going to play all 450 on one gig, so get a set list from them, and ask that they stick to it, at least for this one gig. They need to help you help them.

Better to read charts, and astonish the band with your preparedness, than to wing it.
This. Oh, my happy plastic Jesus, THIS.

[rantypants=ON]

If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's "winging it". Yes, music is art, and it's liberating to be free-form. But if you're getting paid, you need to present a quality product. If you're standing around on stage asking each other what to do next, you're not doing that.

If you rehearse a set, you can develop transitions. You can develop medleys - often with amusing and crowd-pleasing consequences. You can polish your show, develop your showmanship, and get more gigs.

I have a friend who is an excellent guitarist and singer-songwriter. But he's played solo for so long that trying to nail his foot to the floor to actually rehearse - and to rehearse usefully - is like trying to hammer in a nail made of strawberry Jello. Add in that half his show is originals, and... Weeks ago he invited me to play with him at a pretty good venue this weekend (it's an annual festival with good exposure for acts) and I refused. I knew we wouldn't be able to pull together a quality show. And I've been doing this for too long, have too much emotional and financial investment in my music, to go out and suck.

[rantypants=OFF]

The moral of the story is that sometimes you have to put your foot down. Yeah, you just got the gig - congrats and WELL DONE, by the way! - but if they're not giving you the tools you need to do the job they've hired you to do, you have to actually ask for them, demand them if necessary. They can afford to relax. They've been playing together for a while, know all the tunes, and all that. You don't. They should care enough - be professional enough - about their act to be falling all over themselves to help bring you up to speed.

Anyway, I'm probably erroneously assigning blame in your situation, as well as projecting my own frustrations. ;) I just hate this lackadaisical "Oh, wow, man, just be groovy" behavior. And if you're playing out and getting paid - even if it's for $100 one night a week - you're a professional. Act like one. (That's aimed at your new bandmates, not you.)

P.S. Mr Major, your charting system rocks so hard words cannot express how hard it rocks. Thank you!
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Dre, if I'm right you have a day job, which means that realistically over the next 10 days you have about 2 hours a night for 7 days plus maybe 16 hours over the weekend to chart the songs and do some practicing at the kit.

If you have kids, half that instantly! ;)

Perhaps though if you could take a couple of days off work, thats probably the best advice I could give. Spend those two days at the kit playing through the set list. Then spend your other free time listening and charting and when you get up there on stage with your charts next to you, I reckon you will be good to go!

10 days is not a long time if you can't spend 12 hours a day on it!
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
Ten days to me would hardly be enough. I honestly don't know how Bermuda and Tony do it. Unless you sight read music. I play by ear which means reps and like Diet Kirk pointed out, it can be difficult to get as many as you need, and even harder to get all band members together. A lot of good advice given on this one. My advice is to do all of the suggestions. Stuff you know can be skipped, stuff that is your strong suit can be glanced over, stuff that gives you fits, YouTube a drumpad and as many reps as you can get. Focus on the trouble spots and the signature spots and listen to the songs constantly when you cannot be practising them. This is my routine. Best of luck with yours.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I wonder what Gil Gilbert would do?
lol who's that?

I finally got a cut down setlist tonight...

I could have predicted this but man, there are some uninspiring pop songs and I do feel a bit soul-less playing them. I'm not a contrarian or a rebel but I genuinely dislike alot of pop. Some songs are good though. Anyhow the game face is on and I'll be doing my best.

Went to setup spotify and decided I'd be better off downloading the songs from youtube as audio mp4, converting to mp3 and then I'll be able to play the songs wherever I am.

Thanks for all the advice and well wishing... I haven't decided how to chart/write notes just yet but I'll be coming back to draw on this thread.

xx
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
lol who's that?

I finally got a cut down setlist tonight...

I could have predicted this but man, there are some uninspiring pop songs and I do feel a bit soul-less playing them. I'm not a contrarian or a rebel but I genuinely dislike alot of pop. Some songs are good though. Anyhow the game face is on and I'll be doing my best.

Went to setup spotify and decided I'd be better off downloading the songs from youtube as audio mp4, converting to mp3 and then I'll be able to play the songs wherever I am.

Thanks for all the advice and well wishing... I haven't decided how to chart/write notes just yet but I'll be coming back to draw on this thread.

xx
Only 200 songs now!!???

Yeah some songs suck but try and find something in each of them to keep your interest. Maybe the feel or a certain fill. One such tune for me is blurred lines...so i try and play the cowbell part with my left hand on the bell of the hi hat.

Spotify is a good idea and you can get it on your phone (at least you can in the UK) so songs on the go.

D
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Only 200 songs now!!???

Yeah some songs suck but try and find something in each of them to keep your interest. Maybe the feel or a certain fill. One such tune for me is blurred lines...so i try and play the cowbell part with my left hand on the bell of the hi hat.

Spotify is a good idea and you can get it on your phone (at least you can in the UK) so songs on the go.

D
Spotify would be good but in Australia we get hit pretty hard for mobile data, I think I'd go over my cap in a jiffy.

Playing to some of the tracks sucks but I think (hope) it's more fun when I'm actually creating the groove.

P.s I hate Guns 'n Roses. They should be called Bums 'n Posers.
 
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