Do you feel that playing covers (only) limits development and/or personal satisfaction?

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I wonder if I am missing out on some joy by not working on original music more. My only competition would be myself so there's some relief in that but more importantly, my own style would develop if I worked on originals. Right now that isn't really happening.
The word style is the operative one here. I've heard this discussion a few times before within my drumming crowd & it's always the same two sides: "Not playing the song note for note is disrespectful to the original drummer. They spent a lot of time getting that right only for you to mess it up".

Or:
"Play it as close to the original as you can, but put your own flavor into it. Trust me, the original drummer was just doing the same & that's how it came out on tape".

I currently play covers in a blues band & I assure you the latter is the way to go. You don't want to stifle your skills by just going through the motions of another player. The audience won't know (or care) as much as you think they do.
Now...that being said, if you decided to "go all Neil Peart" during a Johnny Cash song, they might have issue, but I doubt you're like that. ;)
 

River19

Senior Member
No. Not really. Maybe. Yes......it depends

Let me expand slightly, if that makes someone happy and blows their hair back.......go nuts. Everyone is different. It all depends on what muscle you want to develop. There is a whole world of music out there of different types, enough to keep everyone busy.....BUT if you want to grow your "creativity" muscle......at some point you will need to do something original.
 

GretschedHive

Gold Member
ort of different topic - Peart wasn't frowned at for not playing more like Buddy, but for simply not playing the music that well. None of the other drummers on those tributes played like Buddy at all - but they did play the music well.

And I guess that is the main point - playing the music well.
Meanwhile, Rush released their Feedback EP, which was a collection of covers of some of their favorites from the 60s. No one's going to listen to their version of, say, "Mr Soul" and for one moment think it's the Buffalo Springfield (even when Geddy's not singing) or "Crossroads" and think it's Cream...but they kick, which is the important thing. They knew this music, they got this music, and they played it wonderfully, if not (or because it wasn't) note-for-note.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Playing covers doesn't effect my playing at all. I do all my pad work and technical stuff off stage.

If anything it allows me to play within myself very easily. Covers or original I try and play what the song needs.
 

Sonar Dave

Active Member
And originals don't? Usually, the person who wrote a song is the first one to get bored with it and say they don't want to play it anymore.
Our originals weren't boring. At least to the individual musicians. We wrote songs in odd-time, challenged ourselves. And the crowds seemed to like it.
 

TMe

Senior Member
Our originals weren't boring.
I hear ya. I was in one original band that had a lot of enthusiasm for practicing and playing. That ruined me, because I kept expecting other original bands to be the same. But nope. Every other original band I've played with had an artiste who wanted to spend all our time working on songs, but had no interest in practicing them once they were finally finished, and kept tweaking them forever so they were never really done. That's why my next project will be a jam band or a cover band. I'm done with the artiste thing. The only way I'd do an original band now is if I were asked to join a band that was already up and running, with some established credibility. No more startups.
 

jda

Gold Member
I know of 69 year old drummers who play in cover bands the same set of tunes they and their band did---when they were 17.
Black Magic Woman etc

I'd have to be paid an extremely exorbitant amount
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I don't understand the delineations between covers and originals. If I write an original tune, the 2nd time I play it, I consider myself covering my own song. So the major proportion of live music are covers...in my mind. All jazz standards in my mind are covers. A lot of orchestral pieces are covers, written hundreds of years ago. I get exactly as much satisfaction from covers that I do from originals. There's no difference in my mind. It's all music. A good piece of music is a good piece of music, period. I like playing what I consider to be good music, origin notwithstanding
 

jda

Gold Member
I had a Guitar player that wrote songs and he called me. I felt they "were fantastically" fun and interesting to play. So they weren't "my" songs they were his compositions. Very compatible. I was free to bring all my experiences into them.
that's not something you can do with " da da dada.. cocaine.."
With one you are really creating in within your limits and taste and a certain amount of freedom

Second and maybe equal is to play with, really schooled/ experienced players that can cover songs your band (and you) in high school and a little later, could only dream of.
When I have played "Black Cow" or "Lowdown" with really talented Keys/singer, bass, horns etc. it's pretty much heaven.
It's playing the same hack covers or simplistic covers that has me wanting preferring a seat at the bar.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I also think that "covers" tends to allude to Classic rock/country/Americana...."juke box music". I learned growing up that that is not always the case.

as a young metalhead/punker, that was a living nightmare to me. To be "punished" by having to play that kind of crap. Not even having the gusto to write your own stuff and try to get it out there. I always thought cover bands were guys who just gave up, or were half assing it. My original band still learned covers to play at shows, but b/c they were covers of our fav bands (and not "old people music") it was ok in our brains.

now, if someone had said:"dude, we are doing an Anthrax/Venom/Fates Warning/Minor Threat etc cover band, I would haver been all over it because of - well - the stupidity of youth

as I got older, I realized that I was wrong about that youthful attitude, though I still thought covering "juke box music" was sort of redundant, but I realized that the musicians were not always hacks like I thought they were when I was younger.

and now, I am one of those "juke box music" cover band drummers, ,and I realize that you do it for diferent reasons now. I do my bands b/c I like the guys I play with. I still really don't like country music, but I respect the history of the genre, it's players, it's venues and what it did for the music industry.

I still play in an original metal band - who does 2 fun covers or every show (mostly to see if we can pull them off) so I think that helps scratch that itch
 

Sonar Dave

Active Member
I hear ya. I was in one original band that had a lot of enthusiasm for practicing and playing. That ruined me, because I kept expecting other original bands to be the same. But nope. Every other original band I've played with had an artiste who wanted to spend all our time working on songs, but had no interest in practicing them once they were finally finished, and kept tweaking them forever so they were never really done. That's why my next project will be a jam band or a cover band. I'm done with the artiste thing. The only way I'd do an original band now is if I were asked to join a band that was already up and running, with some established credibility. No more startups.
When we were playing bars and clubs we did about 75% covers. Our competition (many bands) played all originals. A lot of them thought they were going to make it big. That was not our goal. We played music that people loved to sing along with and dance to. Many times we were asked to return when the headliner (originals band) was not.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
When we were playing bars and clubs we did about 75% covers. Our competition (many bands) played all originals. A lot of them thought they were going to make it big. That was not our goal. We played music that people loved to sing along with and dance to. Many times we were asked to return when the headliner (originals band) was not.

that also sounds like those original bands were looking to play in the wrong venues

here in town, back in the day, there were distinct places where the original bands would play. Cover bands were not even considered for booking. Same the opposite way. There were a few places where both could coexist, but man, if you did not know the "lay of the land" it could be a dead night for you.

most of the original music clubs were on Ohio States campus and in the surrounding areas surprisingly. Most of the cover band places were out in the suburbs. Now it is almost all cover bands or DJ's. 😑
 

_Leviathan_

Senior Member
"Every other original band I've played with had an artiste who wanted to spend all our time working on songs, but had no interest in practicing them once they were finally finished, and kept tweaking them forever so they were never really done."

So much this. Artistes who take forever tinkering, and always re-defining when songs are "finished" were really frustrating for me. It would be months of little changes, and then barely playing the finished material when it was done. I wanted productivity and rehearsing sets of songs that people felt confident enough to record and play live instead of meandering month(s) long writing sessions. Some people don't know how to step away from the canvas. I wonder how much is out of fear that it won't be good enough or a fear of what a finished song would look like.

Someone said a long time ago to me in original bands, there are "tinkerers" and "do-ers", and there will always be conflict between these kinds of people. That has rung true in some of my originals bands for sure. I'd much rather jam than watch people tinker around too.
 

TMe

Senior Member
...there are "tinkerers" and "do-ers"...
Some people like the creative process, but don't like practicing. They should probably give up music and start painting. When they finish a painting, they'll never have to do it again.
 
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