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  #1  
Old 06-02-2018, 08:19 PM
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Default Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Thereís been an ongoing theme with cover bands with everyone playing the same song lists regardless of venue or band, mostly played average or best, and Iím not singling out the drummer. You could go into a park, bar or festival and hear the same 20 song playlist day after day and month after month. This doesnít seem to be limited to my area as much as I thought. In contrast, the music scene seems quite different, when I visit either coast with far greater variety and quality.

Now, youíd think thatís all Phoenix wanted, but itís not the case. There are a few and I do mean few bands who are gigging the high end venues every weekend and drawing a big crowd, but everywhere else is about as predictable as possible.

I keep reading about how you are only expected to play Sweet Home Alabama or Mustang Sally at every gig, but why is that, if at least a few bands are getting cool gigs doing way more?

Iím posting this due to all this conversation about the money beat, but the better bands Iím referring to are playing songs from Dave Mathews to Zeppelin to James Brown, Pretty much every genre in the top 40 categories across the last 4 decades and some far from the money beat. The crowds respond well regardless.

So, why arenít more bands aspiring to play all of the above, instead of the same 20 songs, when thereís obviously a call for them when other bands are making money getting great gigs? Is it because they figure itís better to be a stage whore than do something better? What is it and why would someone hire one band over the other, when thereís really no variety?
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Because playing Dave Matthews, Zeppelin, and James Brown requires talent.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

I always waved the flag to do stuff out of the norm and usually got shot down with the phrase "you have to play what people want". OK...I can see that point, but I got it slapped in my face when any time we did something not in the "worn out/classic rock" song list we heard dead silence. Fire up Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps, Can't You See, Rock and Roll All Nite, or Bad Moon Rising and people cheered and clapped.

I love to hear bands deviate off the norm and not do the same ten songs that every other band (and classic rock radio) have driven in the ground.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by Masheanhed View Post
I always waved the flag to do stuff out of the norm and usually got shot down with the phrase "you have to play what people want".
And if you're playing a gig to a typical crowd and you expect to make money, that's the drill. If people dig hearing the same songs again and again - and they do - you have to blame them, not the bands.

Quote:
Fire up Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps, Can't You See, Rock and Roll All Nite, or Bad Moon Rising and people cheered and clapped.
I love to hear bands deviate off the norm and not do the same ten songs that every other band (and classic rock radio) have driven in the ground.
To be fair, there are WAY more than 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 songs that satisfy an audience. Anyone who believes the list begins with Mustang Sally and ends with Brown Eyed Girl is just not even trying to create a realistic playlist. A band playing 5 nights a week, 4 sets a night, 10 songs a set, should have enough hit songs to not repeat any all week. That's right, 200 songs that everyone loves.

Given the number of prolific artists and one-hit-wonder songs in the pop/rock era (1955-present...) I'm amazed that musicians complain about the lack of variety.

Bermuda
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
To be fair, there are WAY more than 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 songs that satisfy an audience. Anyone who believes the list begins with Mustang Sally and ends with Brown Eyed Girl is just not even trying to create a realistic playlist. A band playing 5 nights a week, 4 sets a night, 10 songs a set, should have enough hit songs to not repeat any all week. That's right, 200 songs that everyone loves.

Given the number of prolific artists and one-hit-wonder songs in the pop/rock era (1955-present...) I'm amazed that musicians complain about the lack of variety.

Bermuda
That’s is my point. I could easily come up with a list of 100 songs or more that people love to hear, but to everyone around me, the song list is always the same 20. Just met up with guys who said they play different stuff than everyone else. Got the set list and yup, same 20!

Last edited by AzHeat; 06-02-2018 at 10:19 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2018, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Interesting thread - We tend to play what the guitar player already knows, which bugs me no end. It would be neat to see a list of the worst of the over played songs so I could argue against them in my band.
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2018, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Some bands are hired more due to their networking and connections, even though they have similar setlists. I'd agree there are a 'very common 20' in the setlists of many bands. Mustang is surely in that 20. I'm still fine playing Mustang 1000 times, but its Margaritaville that grates me.

Quite a few notables on this guys list
http://nashvillemusicianssurvivalman...m/Blog/?p=1351
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post

To be fair, there are WAY more than 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 songs that satisfy an audience. Anyone who believes the list begins with Mustang Sally and ends with Brown Eyed Girl is just not even trying to create a realistic playlist. A band playing 5 nights a week, 4 sets a night, 10 songs a set, should have enough hit songs to not repeat any all week. That's right, 200 songs that everyone loves.


Bermuda
I don't think I ever played in a band that had more than 40 songs on their playlist. I think people get comfortable, or lazy.

If I only played the songs I liked, then I would have never had been able to play in any band!
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2018, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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I don't think I ever played in a band that had more than 40 songs on their playlist. I think people get comfortable, or lazy.

If I only played the songs I liked, then I would have never had been able to play in any band!
This is invariably why cover bands never work for me.

I'm actually fine with the idea of playing for the audience, but there's no reason why the typical weekend warriors can't add a new song to the library once a month at the least.

I don't often go out and see the cover bands in my area (I tend towards originals), but the ones I do see I can usually count on to have cycled in a few new tunes by the next time I see them. I have friends who's bands I haven't seen in a year or two because they've been playing the same sets for at least five.

Clearly it works for them because they're still booking gigs, and they're all still having fun, so that's a win. I suppose I'm not the typical audience or band member, because it just doesn't excite me.

side note:The upside is that it's very easy for me to get sub work with these guys, because I know how to play their sets from memory.

Last edited by calan; 06-02-2018 at 10:51 PM. Reason: added side note
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2018, 10:59 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

It probably depends.

Popular songs is also sorta regional.

In my experience, in that type of band, the issue is partly not wanting to put in the time to rehearse new material and partly not having the general skills to pull off other stuff. There is of course a connection between those two.

There is literally thousands of songs one could get away with.
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  #11  
Old 06-02-2018, 11:08 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by Masheanhed View Post
I don't think I ever played in a band that had more than 40 songs on their playlist. I think people get comfortable, or lazy.
It's both. Working up new songs takes at least a little effort, and honestly, unless playing to the exact same audience at each gig, crowds are satisfied with the same 40 songs for years to come. But bands need to stretch out a bit for a few reasons.

First, it's smart to have a large repertoire. Bands that can play requests are liked better, and receive tips. Second, more songs means more fun for the players. They don't get bored as quickly, and complain less about Mustang Sally and other 'dreaded' covers.

Bermuda
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

It is beyond me why bands think they have to do those tunes that are so ground in the dirt. There are SO many great songs to pick from. Hey my band is no exception. Despite reports of doing the same songs for years from the regular audience members, it's an unspoken rule that we MUST do the songs other's have listed at every gig.

We have at least 300 songs to choose from. Yet we only play about 25% of them in rotation at 90% of my gigs. There's only 2 rooms left where we can play what we do best, blues. All the other gigs are cover band stuff. I enjoy the cover band thing because the girls dance and I love seeing that. I just wish we could drop about 10 of our beat to death songs and substitute them with different songs already.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

I've never been a big fan of Juke Box style cover bands, although I can appreciate the good ones for a while. It's just the propensity, of late, for hitting everything note for note and tone for tone just kills it for me. That seems to be what the higher acclaimed groups around here are doing. Not that I can be considered an expert from seeing them much. Maybe that's why they have resorted to wearing goofy costumes (giant comical hats and sunglasses, stuffed animal costumes, and whatever anyone?)
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  #14  
Old 06-03-2018, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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I've never been a big fan of Juke Box style cover bands, although I can appreciate the good ones for a while.
That's a common perspective for musicians. You have to understand (and accept) that the vast majority of people that musicians play for in bars, clubs, corporate events, weddings, etc., are not other musicians. Conversely, jazz and funk venues tend to cater to musicians as a core audience.

If you want to make money - and I think that most musicians would like to make money from their craft - you give the people what they want. In fact, even if you're doing original, eclectic music, it still has to appeal to people, or nobody will want to hear it. You have to give the eclectic crowd what they want, too.

Personally, I enjoy most juke box music. I've never let being a musician get in the way of my enjoying music. I see that a lot in other players, and I honestly don't get it. It's like they lost something along the way. Or they've become cynical about music, or maybe too self-absorbed with their own art. I still enjoy playing everything that comes my way. Give me Mustang Sally, Midnight Hour, Brown Eyed Girl, Chain Of Fools, Grapevine, Proud Mary, etc and I'm happy. I guess because I just enjoy playing.

Bermuda
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Variety in live music has reduced dramatically where I live in Sydney, with only a fraction of the big live venues that were there in the 70s and 80s. This is largely due to gaming machines, laws related to crowded living (lockout, noise, drink driving), difficulty parking and a shift from music to multimedia and gaming as the "coolest" entertainment for the young.

You need a big and thriving scene to support original, or even slightly uncommercial music. Musicians and bands in a lean and struggling scene have to focus on paying bills first.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Iím in a band called The Flipside Blues Band. We are very good musicians with over 140 years of collective experience. We do very few standard songs. Mostly we play the ďFlipsideĒ of standard hit songs. We canít get a gig to save our lives. The audience hears us play In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, done flawlessly. Musicians in the audience all say WOW. The rest of the audience say what song was that?



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Old 06-03-2018, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
That's a common perspective for musicians. You have to understand (and accept) that the vast majority of people that musicians play for in bars, clubs, corporate events, weddings, etc., are not other musicians. Conversely, jazz and funk venues tend to cater to musicians as a core audience.

If you want to make money - and I think that most musicians would like to make money from their craft - you give the people what they want. In fact, even if you're doing original, eclectic music, it still has to appeal to people, or nobody will want to hear it. You have to give the eclectic crowd what they want, too.

Personally, I enjoy most juke box music. I've never let being a musician get in the way of my enjoying music. I see that a lot in other players, and I honestly don't get it. It's like they lost something along the way. Or they've become cynical about music, or maybe too self-absorbed with their own art. I still enjoy playing everything that comes my way. Give me Mustang Sally, Midnight Hour, Brown Eyed Girl, Chain Of Fools, Grapevine, Proud Mary, etc and I'm happy. I guess because I just enjoy playing.

Bermuda
Ditto.

I don't complain about the music being played. Music to me is one of those things you either do, or don't. It's the only way you can survive and have a good attitude about playing for school groups like show choirs (who paid pretty well), or church groups, or subbing in the occasional local playhouse musical. You guys are complaining about cover band gigs? Wait til you get a gig where you show up and they hand you charts that are so marked up you can't really see any roadmap, and they tell you you're in charge of starting and stopping the group. Or, even rarer, somebody tells you to put on a human-sized rodent costume and you're drumming to whatever is in your in-ear monitors and playing it up for the kids in the audience. You may or may not give up drumming altogether, right?

So, like Bermuda, I love to play. Given the choice of going out and playing or not, I'd rather go out and play. I don't care if Mustang Sally is on the list or the fact that I have to be ready to play The Beatles' Happy Birthday a few times during the night. It's all good. I'd rather be the guy on the throne making anything happen, rather than be the bitter guy in the venue having dinner with his girl without a gig that evening.
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Hollywood Jim says: Iím in a band called The Flipside Blues Band. We are very good musicians with over 140 years of collective experience. We do very few standard songs. Mostly we play the ďFlipsideĒ of standard hit songs. We canít get a gig to save our lives. The audience hears us play In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, done flawlessly. Musicians in the audience all say WOW. The rest of the audience say what song was that?
And, would you expect it to be any different? Most audiences are about the song, not (necessarily) how well it's played, and not how adventurous the band is in choosing something obscure to them. The audience doesn't come to a bar to be educated with unfamiliar music, and bar bands that think it's their job to expand an audience's musical horizons are misguided and destined to not work much.

There are a few - very few - musical situations where the execution and musicianship is perhaps more important than the song itself. That's fine, I also appreciate great technical playing. But it's not what I listen to for enjoyment.

Bermuda
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Iím in a band called The Flipside Blues Band. We are very good musicians with over 140 years of collective experience. We do very few standard songs. Mostly we play the ďFlipsideĒ of standard hit songs. We canít get a gig to save our lives. The audience hears us play In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, done flawlessly. Musicians in the audience all say WOW. The rest of the audience say what song was that?


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Old 06-03-2018, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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..Is it because they figure itís better to be a stage whore than do something better?..

If we speak about a coverband who's main idea is to please the audience and having a filled agenda, then yes, thats the term to use in my opinion..

I played many years with such people and i wish many times that i made another decision regarding that..But i also liked to earn quite a lot and i also thought 'hej at least i am playing drums'..

Problem is that working with such people just kills all creativity..

There is completely nothing creative about playing in a coverband..Like, really nothing..There is nothing creative on learning how to play Jump and maybe adding a few 'own' notes to that..Alex van Halen was creative (and still is) when he played Jump, not all the people that just try to reproduce his part..

There is ofcourse some education in figuring out how other drummers played their parts, but to just plain cover them is useless..

That being said, regarding covering songs i make an exception for people who really turn a cover into a almost complete new song, like for example this one..Otherwise a coverband for me is as boring as boring can be..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z84rtbVbIEQ
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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There is completely nothing creative about playing in a coverband..Like, really nothing..
If you mean in the literal sense to create, you're right. A cover band is about re-creating (see below.)

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There is ofcourse some education in figuring out how other drummers played their parts, but to just plain cover them is useless..
I make my living figuring out how other drummers play parts, and how producers program them. And it's not just about copying their parts, it's about getting inside their head to figure out what they would play if they were called to play on a track.

As for just plain covering parts being useless, I'd like to meet the drummer who's going to come up with better parts than anyone whose song they're covering. Please think about that for a minute.

Nobody has ever said to me "Hey, you played just like the guy on the record! Whattsa matter, can't think for yourself?" Indeed, my willingness to play covers like the original versions is what keeps me working. I've replaced more than a few drummers who couldn't or wouldn't grasp the concept. Just sayin'...

Bermuda
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Old 06-03-2018, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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There is completely nothing creative about playing in a coverband..Like, really nothing..
Yeah there is. Ignore the note-for-note, and you can do all sorts of things with cover bands. I lead a rockified Lady Gaga tribute group where we play all her songs with sweeping guitar solos and heavy guitar/organ sounds and people *LOVE IT*. You get the recognition of the songs themselves while also being creative and slightly experimental at the same time.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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There is completely nothing creative about playing in a coverband..Like, really nothing..
Then you've never played the blues. If your band covered a jazz standard note for note from the original recording then you ain't doin it right
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Old 06-03-2018, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Word on the street is that some bands don't get called back if they use the same set list at the same venue more than once. At this point it's just a rumor I heard once about what a restaurant owner said about a band in the area, but from a restaurant owners perspective if you want return clientele then you better not have stale entertainment.
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Old 06-03-2018, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Call me....just a little...confused?

If you don't like hearing cover band standards don't go to those venues.
If you don't like playing cover band standards quit the band.
If you want to play a broader range of tunes form your own band with like-minded musicians. (With the responses in this thread seems like there are a lot of them out there).
If you want to play originals and lack venues get together with a bunch of other original bands and start renting venues to play at a make your own scene.

But don't blame the people that just want a night out to blow off a weeks worth of stress by getting sweaty to Play that Funky Music and Jump.

Also-what I see around here (NJ 20 min from Philly) locally are established bands that are able to stretch their set lists because they have the respect of the regular crowd. So you get Mustang Sally-BUT you will also get Peg from Steely Dan and other gems thrown in at times. Also, the age of the crowd here average ls around 45-50 so that is one of the main reasons for the choice of material. That demographic has more money to spend than say 20 somethings so it pays to keep them happy if you want steady work.

Bottom line if you don't like the scene-change it!

Last edited by Mongrel; 06-03-2018 at 04:01 PM. Reason: typos....grrrrrrrr
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

The cover band Iíve been in for 20years has 150+ songs on our list, and if we play the same venue regularly we try and do a completely different set list every second gig. Alabama, Brown Eyed Girl, Hotel California, Mustang - are all in there, but not every gig.

Weíre doing an eight hour gig next weekend, 9 different 40 minute sets from 9.30am to 5.30 pm at a winery. Will be exhausting, but also a chance to play a lot of different songs and see which ones work the best.
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
That's a common perspective for musicians. You have to understand (and accept) that the vast majority of people that musicians play for in bars, clubs, corporate events, weddings, etc., are not other musicians. Conversely, jazz and funk venues tend to cater to musicians as a core audience.

If you want to make money - and I think that most musicians would like to make money from their craft - you give the people what they want. In fact, even if you're doing original, eclectic music, it still has to appeal to people, or nobody will want to hear it. You have to give the eclectic crowd what they want, too.

Personally, I enjoy most juke box music. I've never let being a musician get in the way of my enjoying music. I see that a lot in other players, and I honestly don't get it. It's like they lost something along the way. Or they've become cynical about music, or maybe too self-absorbed with their own art. I still enjoy playing everything that comes my way. Give me Mustang Sally, Midnight Hour, Brown Eyed Girl, Chain Of Fools, Grapevine, Proud Mary, etc and I'm happy. I guess because I just enjoy playing.

Bermuda
Make money? Playing music? I've heard about that. You are a professional, and a wealth of knowledge BTW. I have learned much from reading your posts. I have only had periods of time where my attempts to express myself musically have paid the expenses of the endeavor. And not feeling bitter about that. We both love music and the world needs both of us. I have been playing some instrument (whether publicly or privately) for almost 50 years and will continue to do so. We should celebrate each others endeavors and not always make this a covers vs. originals fight.

So last night I went out - a somewhat rare occurrence these days - and saw 3 original acts at two different bars. Knew most of the players, had a few beers and had a great time hearing their songs and chatting. I really appreciate the folks from my generation of musicians that are still out there and kicking it out.

Last weekend I went to see a band that plays Southern Rock, Americana, Country style covers in their own way. The crowd loves 'em. They have been ending the night with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Working it out in it's entirety as time goes on. They are nailing it in their own way and I love it.

So what's my point. We have choices for what we want to see or play. I can go and see originals or covers done creatively and my friends can go and see note for note covers. It's not like we are in N. Korea where we only get to listen to what Dear Leader wants to hear
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:21 PM
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AzHeat AzHeat is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by Morrisman View Post
The cover band Iíve been in for 20years has 150+ songs on our list, and if we play the same venue regularly we try and do a completely different set list every second gig. Alabama, Brown Eyed Girl, Hotel California, Mustang - are all in there, but not every gig.

Weíre doing an eight hour gig next weekend, 9 different 40 minute sets from 9.30am to 5.30 pm at a winery. Will be exhausting, but also a chance to play a lot of different songs and see which ones work the best.
This is exactly what Iím referring to. Having a list, a real list where you can play a punch list of songs to call from depending on the venue, the crowd, etc. Iíve been in original bands in the past. They are way fun and you can build a pretty good following if you have a catchy sound. Thatís way more work than most with full time jobs and other responsibilities can dedicate to. Itís not about not playing Mustang Sally or Brown Eyed Girl, but mixing things up. If people like them, Iím good with playing them, but not every time. The last band I was in, I tried to convince everyone we needed an expanded playlist, but the argument was we play what people want most and have enough for a three hour set. We did a gig one night and was asked to cover for another band that canceled the following night. We were never contacted again. I think it was a combination of both a limited set list and sloppy execution that led to the decision. Kinda proved my point and trying to avoid the same.

I attended a wedding last night and the music was provided by a DJ. Everything he played was popular songs from the 50s all the way to today. The dance floor was filled the whole night with young and old alike, except for a couple of occasions where rap songs drew out only the few with seriously funky dance moves.

This confirmed it for me. So long as itís danceable and people identify with it, they donít care. Some of the songs would arguably require the right singers or it would be a no go, but thatís just a few.

Itís been said already and I agree. It has to be laziness to be better at your craft. There are great popular songs out there, but require technique. Iíve seen bands pull them off, but they are only a few Iíve seen do anything outside of the standard, done by every other band in the valley (classic rock) playlist.
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  #29  
Old 06-03-2018, 06:48 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Punters are more clued up than most covers band musicians think. They dont always want to hear Mustang Sally, yet again. If you have a vocalist with an absolutely amazing soul voice, or you do it in a different style, then fine. We do covers , but we find different versions on youtube or give the song a twist of our own to make it memorable, or we do popular songs that other local bands dont do. If you play the same stuff as everyone else how are you going to stand out and get more gigs?
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  #30  
Old 06-03-2018, 07:42 PM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

A year ago last month I joined a covers band, mostly because I enjoy the company of both the other guys in the band. Prior to that, I was part of two originals bands, both of whom had CDs full of originals (and I'm still in one of them). And both have their upsides and downsides. Long ago I accepted that I was not ever going to be writing a speech for induction to the RRHOF, nor was I going to be buying luxury yachts with my music earnings. I also choose not to live in a major market like Nashville, NYC, LA, or even Seattle (3 hours drive from me), so my income for music basically sustains my ability to play (heads, sticks, the occasional cymbal or bit of kit here and there). So the only thing that really matters to me is enjoying the experience of playing music with and for other people.

One of the secrets about playing covers is that they're songs that somebody, somewhere, already has liked enough to buy. Even if you're a Nickelback tribute band. They have a lot of instant recognition and their content is generally tried and true. Meanwhile, your originals - how indispensable are they, really? What sets them apart from other music? Are you saying something worthwhile? Or are they the same old pop tropes set to only very slightly different beats and riffs? And how many people know them, can sing along to even one line, let alone the entire song?

Another secret about playing covers is that if you are well-versed in enough musical history and theory, you can quickly amass several hours' worth of material between your band members. Someone already went to the effort of writing that hit song, so you don't have to - you just need to learn it.

The third secret about playing covers is that you can play nearly anywhere, to anyone, at any time. My covers band has a repertoire spanning six decades and over twice that time in accumulated performance experience. If we play certain songs more often, it's because they're proven crowd pleasers. You better bet at the RV rally we played at last night, we opened with "Brown Eyed Girl" and closed with "Mustang Sally". But we also dug deep into our collective pockets and pulled out some Elvis, some swing tunes, and a bunch of country waltzes, because that was our audience. When we have a younger audience, we throw in White Stripes and Cake tunes. For the Seattle retiree vacationers at the wineries, we pull out a lot of 80s tunes. Every July, we become a blues band for a local Humane Society benefit concert. We've been invited to cafes, concerts in the park and car shows.

Do I get to indulge my muse at all these gigs? No, but I have a blast. Who would you rather play for, a bunch of folks who are dancing and cheering, or twenty people with their arms folded?

Covers bands get a lot of flack for not being "as good" as originals bands, but I've seen plenty of both kinds of bands (from the inside and the outside) where the work ethic is lacking, the musicianship is lazy, and the commitment simply doesn't match the ego. If the shoe fits, wear it well. We *all* have a responsibility to present our craft professionally and proficiently, otherwise the DJs and mp3 setlists will win. Covers bands, learn a bunch of songs and perform them well. Originals bands, same thing, except get to writing too.
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  #31  
Old 06-03-2018, 07:45 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
Punters are more clued up than most covers band musicians think.
+1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

That one annoying dude asking for some Creedence tunes isn't representative of everybody.

In most cases, changing things up, doubling up on a solo etc... There's nothing wrong with it.

Really, though. Just gauge things based on the last gig and do some obectively based improvements.

Honestly, I just think it's more professional to want to change things up and improve all the time. There may seem like there are many reasons why some want to keep stuck in their old ways, but really, there's just one.

In general it shows a lack of caring.
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  #32  
Old 06-03-2018, 08:45 PM
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oldskoolsoul oldskoolsoul is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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..If you mean in the literal sense to create, you're right. A cover band is about re-creating..

Thats the essence of what i said..

If you want to become a creative drummer, then playing in a coverband where people try to play a song as close to the original as possible is not the best idea..Especially when the bandleader of that coverband speaks a lot about having a full agenda and pleasing the audience..And i speak about the typically (at least in my country) wedding bands, discotheque bands, business party bands, etc..

However, once you are actually in such a coverband, then yes, i agree that you should try to play those songs as convincing as possible..

But again, if you want to become a creative musician, then in my opinion such a band is useless and i would advice to stay out of that world..If you want to just have a nice time playing drums, earning a lot and entertaining people, then is perfect..

Personally i can be very jealous when i see a guy like Han Bennink play drums..or..Brian Blade..A guy that can go on a stage with just a piano player, to close the eyes..and..just play..To just play and make a conversation through your instrument with eachother..

I dare everyone here who plays in a coverband to suggest to try that at the next rehearsal..And then see if your bandleader takes this serious..or..just starts laughing..

Thats what i meant..

Quote:
Originally Posted by williamsbclontz View Post
..Then you've never played the blues. If your band covered a jazz standard note for note from the original recording then you ain't doin it right..

I was speaking about the typical (rock-) coverbands that only want to please the audience..

When you speak about covering songs in genres like blues and jazz, then you are right..But people that play blues and jazz are in general focussing much more on being creative than people who only want to please..
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  #33  
Old 06-03-2018, 09:18 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

I'm not sure about cover band musicians not being creative. In fact, I don't think I've ever been in a note-for-note cover band - there was always some stretching and spontaneous improv or structure change going on. We just didn't come up with the idea for the song - which isn't a bad thing. We stick with the basic idea, but there's nothing wrong with making it your own.

So should there be degrees of separation that we're talking about here? Are there actually note-for-note cover bands out there? If I was hiring a cover band, I don't mind spontaneous improvisation, and if I wanted note-for-note perfection, don't you think I'd hire a DJ instead?

This was one of my cover bands from years ago - ace players - other than the song being familiar, our execution was our own:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKhRyuFkcgM
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  #34  
Old 06-03-2018, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Obviously, there are many top-notch cover bands out there with skilled players. I know many players who had a very wide repertoire of songs they can reproduce flawlessly with no rehearsal at a moments notice.

But there are many more with players of limited skill set. Or bands who are held back by the one player who just can't be bothered to learn more than 20 songs.

A lot of cover bands are players who work 9-6 all week and have players who don't' strap on their guitar/instrument until they get to the bar. The gig isn't about making money or doing a fabulous job, it's just about blowing off steam and reliving a bit of their youth for 4 hours. They don't do much variety, because they don't know how. So they just repeat what the last cover band they saw did.
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  #35  
Old 06-03-2018, 09:41 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I'm not sure about cover band musicians not being creative. In fact, I don't think I've ever been in a note-for-note cover band - there was always some stretching and spontaneous improv or structure change going on. We just didn't come up with the idea for the song - which isn't a bad thing. We stick with the basic idea, but there's nothing wrong with making it your own.

So should there be degrees of separation that we're talking about here? Are there actually note-for-note cover bands out there? If I was hiring a cover band, I don't mind spontaneous improvisation, and if I wanted note-for-note perfection, don't you think I'd hire a DJ instead?

This was one of my cover bands from years ago - ace players - other than the song being familiar, our execution was our own:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKhRyuFkcgM
That was fun and awesome! Although, Id be more comfy in the 28"
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  #36  
Old 06-03-2018, 09:42 PM
Ghostin one Ghostin one is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

I think covering thirty or forty different drummers with one drum set requires creativity, especially bands with multiple drums and percussion like Allman Bro's and Santana.

My cover band tries to play more B side singles than big hits, in hopes of keeping it more interesting.
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  #37  
Old 06-03-2018, 09:43 PM
New Tricks New Tricks is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Im in a cover band and we create our set list based on three things.

1) Our 80s rock/pop genre

2) the popularity of the songs via youtube hits

3) our ability to cover them closely.

There is no mustang or sweet home on the list but when i listen to an 80s radio station or streaming platform, our playlist is significantly represented. We have to avoid using spotify etc for break music because its guaranteed that a couple off our list will play in that 15 minutes.

Do I care about any of this? Nope. Play whatever you want. Its all good. Im just sharing what we do.
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  #38  
Old 06-03-2018, 10:18 PM
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Rattlin' Bones Rattlin' Bones is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

Don't play in a cover band. Find a jazz-oriented or blues-oriented or NOLA group. Find a group that does more originals. Plenty of band genres besides covers of Top-40 and Oldies.

When my wife & I go out to listen to music we avoid these kinda shows, and try and find jazz or blues oriented bands. And by Blues I'm not talking Allman Brothers I'm talking about NOLA and Chicago blues that isn't the stuff typically heard.

That's the kinda band I'm in and we mix a bit of jazz and blues. Even some non-original material we re-arrange to make it our own sound.

Groups and artists like Ricky Nye's group in Cincinnati. Or the West Market Street Stompers in Louisville.

It ain't all covers. Think outtathebox.
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  #39  
Old 06-03-2018, 11:09 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by oldskoolsoul View Post
If you want to become a creative drummer, then playing in a coverband where people try to play a song as close to the original as possible is not the best idea..
I think there's a lot to be learned by listening to a variety of other drummers who've enjoyed some success. All of those ideas go into our library of parts and fills, far exceeding what we could come up with on our own. We can create based on that, although sometimes there's just nowhere else to go with a song - you play the part, or you're not playing the song.

I don't know if I'm creative or not, I have so much collective experience to draw from, I can't think of a time where I was stuck for an appropriate part or two or ten.

Quote:
Especially when the bandleader of that coverband speaks a lot about having a full agenda and pleasing the audience..
Let's not look at pleasing the audience as a bad thing. Without an audience, and this applies to any type of performance art, is there a reason to attempt do it at all in a public place?

It's not selling out or catering to people who may not be as educated about music as we might be, it's about bringing the joy of music. It's kinda futile if there's nobody there to hear it.

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Old 06-03-2018, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Why the same songs, when so many to choose from?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I think there's a lot to be learned by listening to a variety of other drummers who've enjoyed some success. All of those ideas go into our library of parts and fills, far exceeding what we could come up with on our own. We can create based on that, although sometimes there's just nowhere else to go with a song - you play the part, or you're not playing the song.

I don't know if I'm creative or not, I have so much collective experience to draw from, I can't think of a time where I was stuck for an appropriate part or two or ten.



Let's not look at pleasing the audience as a bad thing. Without an audience, and this applies to any type of performance art, is there a reason to attempt do it at all in a public place?

It's not selling out or catering to people who may not be as educated about music as we might be, it's about bringing the joy of music. It's kinda futile if there's nobody there to hear it.

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At church today, the sound guy said that you and the Weird Al band are the best touring musicians because of all the different styles you cover.
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