HELP: Which road do I take?

Torkerz

Senior Member
Hey Folks,

Just wanted to have your opinions on the following...

I have recently been for an audition with a covers band and I have been offered the spot of being their drummer. They already have around 50+ gigs booked on the local circuit and each would be pretty well paid (getting around £80-100 on average per gig, no less but with the prospect of earning more on bigger shows). They also have the prospect at playing at a local festival for a few thousand people and a couple of biker shows in the summer. It is however over a lot of weekends and as I work during the week, it really would eat into my time a lot and its something I worry about.

The only trouble is, it would mean that I would now have to quit my originals band if I took the gig. We do have regular local shows, but I usually never get paid and we're usually on first. Even though we have a good set of songs I feel we're not really having the same type of success as some other bands in our local area.

The problem is, we have a new EP recording next weekend and I have said to myself if I were to leave, I would record the EP first, just to at least have some form of recorded material for my year long tenure in the band. I do know however it would probably mean losing the members as friends and cause some pretty bad hostility towards me, even if I tried to leave on amicable terms. There is also the worry for me that if I left and they replaced me, that they would go on to be successful...


At the moment I really just don't know what to do. I aspire to become a session musician like the greats and I feel like I don't know which road I should take... Some help would be great.

Thanks

Torkerz
 
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mikel

Platinum Member
What do you enjoy doing the most, the covers or the originals? only you can answer that.

If its just about money then its a no brainer.

Dont know what you mean about taking up your weekends, that is when most gigs are on. If you love music and love giging then its the price you pay. I would gig every weekend if I had the opportunity.

Do what you enjoy.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Hey Folks,

Just wanted to have your opinions on the following...

I have recently been for an audition with a covers band and I have been offered the spot of being their drummer. They already have around 50+ gigs booked on the local circuit and each would be pretty well paid (getting around £80-100 on average per gig, no less but with the prospect of earning more on bigger shows). They also have the prospect at playing at a local festival for a few thousand people and a couple of biker shows in the summer. It is however over a lot of weekends and as I work during the week, it really would eat into my time a lot and its something I worry about.

The only trouble is, it would mean that I would now have to quit my originals band if I took the gig. We do have regular local shows, but I usually never get paid and we're usually on first. Even though we have a good set of songs I feel we're not really having the same type of success as some other bands in our local area.

The problem is, we have a new EP recording next weekend and I have said to myself if I were to leave, I would record the EP first, just to at least have some form of recorded material for my year long tenure in the band. I do know however it would probably mean losing the members as friends and cause some pretty bad hostility towards me, even if I tried to leave on amicable terms. There is also the worry for me that if I left and they replaced me, that they would go on to be successful...


At the moment I really just don't know what to do. I aspire to become a session musician like the greats and I feel like I don't know which road I should take... Some help would be great.

Thanks

Torkerz
I'd carry on with the originals because a) I prefer playing originals, b) value my friends and wouldn't want to drop them for a better offer and c) I don't need £80-100 per gig as I have a well paid day job.

The choice you have to make depends entirely on your circumstances.

"There is also the worry for me that if I left and they replaced me, that they would go on to be successful..." sounds incredibly churlish and selfish. They're supposed to be your friends. If you leave and they make it you should feel delighted for them, else you're not much of a friend.

Good luck. Getting £80-£100 paid gigs is not something to be sniffed out round Manchester area.
 

Torkerz

Senior Member
Well,

I am not too sure this is the problem. Each side has it's pros and cons, I enjoy both. I would say though the extra stress of the originals band probably wouldn't exist in the cover band...

Just don't know what to do.

Thanks
 

Torkerz

Senior Member
I'd carry on with the originals because a) I prefer playing originals, b) value my friends and wouldn't want to drop them for a better offer and c) I don't need £80-100 per gig as I have a well paid day job.

The choice you have to make depends entirely on your circumstances.

"There is also the worry for me that if I left and they replaced me, that they would go on to be successful..." sounds incredibly churlish and selfish. They're supposed to be your friends. If you leave and they make it you should feel delighted for them, else you're not much of a friend.

Good luck. Getting £80-£100 paid gigs is not something to be sniffed out round Manchester area.
I agree with the above but at the end of the day, I don't feel like I'm a valued member of the band other than being the drummer. I feel if I left it would just instantly break ties with them due to the way certain members react to situations.

I would also add I would be personally getting the amount quoted, not for the whole band. do you think that's a bad deal? I get nothing from my originals band, if anything it is draining money.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I agree with the above but at the end of the day, I don't feel like I'm a valued member of the band other than being the drummer. I feel if I left it would just instantly break ties with them due to the way certain members react to situations.

I would also add I would be personally getting the amount quoted, not for the whole band. do you think that's a bad deal? I get nothing from my originals band, if anything it is draining money.
Agree with you. They'd probably be really pissed off with you. But, if you are actually friends with them (rather than just a passing musical acquaintance) then I can guarantee to you that those feelings pass. I regularly go watch bass and guitars from a previous band I played in even though we all had a terrible argument when we split up, and vice versa. Feelings eventually pass when everyone's calmed down.

£80-£100 for you per gig is a very good amount around Manchester area. I play in an originals band now and I know how hard it is to get paid for the hard work that goes into it. I've done the 'getting paid in a covers band' also and earned reasonable sums, but not £80-£100 per gig. Still, it drove me mental and bored me silly.

Nothing beats playing in an originals band (in my opinion). Depends entirely on what you want here. Do you want to drum as a 'job' or as a 'hobby'. Jobs get paid, for hard work. Hobbies often don't get paid, for fun.

Personally I wouldn't worry too much about the originals band making it. Because it's almost impossible for them to do so. Especially in Manchester where there are quite literally thousands of very accomplished originals bands who also will never make it big. And if you left, made some cash, and they DID make it, just doff your cap to them and say well done because Jesus they will have earnt it.

Good luck with this.

Is it IMPOSSIBLE for you to do both? We had a singer in our current (originals) band who did originals for the joy of creating music and covers for the money. He was able to work it. He ultimately ditched the covers band to create originals only. Like me, preferred that than the alternative of getting paid.
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
Is it possible for you to do both? I work with plenty of muscians who are multitasking. You may be surprised, talk to the original band members. Be up front with them, tell them you may take a paying gig because you need the money, whatever!

If you really enjoy the original thing and you think it has potential how much time is involved? It seems it would be mostly rehearsing, propose a schedule to them. Maybe they will work with you?

I had to make choices back in my 20's and sometimes I wonder what could have been, but the odds were so stacked against me I decided to go the comercial route and gig. I have no regrets and lots of great memories and made lots of money too.

You learn an awfull lot working out in the trenches and you meet many people along the way.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'd take the cover gig and do the originals band too. Do them both. You are not under contract to the originals band (I'm assuming). As long as you can meet the commitments of the original band, they have no say about who you can and can't play with. Nothing beats stage experience. You will be a better all around drummer for the originals band if you can play live regularly.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Ultimately it is up to you. I know a lot of players that got burned out on cover bands and do originals. But around here at least, that means a one hour set with little or no money. I am not in it for the money but I do like to get paid at least to help defray the cost of my equipment. Personally I would not worry about them making it. That is so difficult and happens to so few.

And if these guys would be so mad to break ties, then you probably are not really risking friendships.

Life is definitely too short to do things you don't enjoy so only do covers if you can enjoy getting tight with the band and making people smile and bob their heads to your music. I play some songs I would never listen to but enjoy them for that very reason.

Ask your self this. If you were currently doing both and one canned you, would you be bummed? If equally bummed try to do both.

And the weekend thing, I'm confused on that because that is how it goes.

Oh and I would kill to have 50 gigs lined up.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
Echoing what others have said, why not do both?

However, I have questions for you: do you see yourself playing other people's music for a long time happily? Do you enjoy making your own drum parts and playing a major role in your original band?

Personally, I couldn't do the cover gig your just described, because at some point you will end up playing something you don't like, and more often...
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Echoing what others have said, why not do both?

However, I have questions for you: do you see yourself playing other people's music for a long time happily? Do you enjoy making your own drum parts and playing a major role in your original band?

Personally, I couldn't do the cover gig your just described, because at some point you will end up playing something you don't like, and more often...
About your band's "future success"...

What's your arrangement with the original band? Are you an equal owner of mechanical and publishing rights? Is your cut of the pie smaller, because the chief songwriter gets a larger share? You don't need a contract at this point (because the band isn't making any money), but it would be best if you had at least a verbal agreement about where you stand as a partner in the group. Even Kurt Cobain re-negotiated with the other two Nirvana members, in order to get more than a third of the rights.

What is the scale of your band's future success? Are you going to be the next Maroon 5, or the next Meshuggah? Does your band create a niche sound, enjoyed by a small but faithful few, or a universally adored craze, fronted by an undiscovered combination of talent and sex appeal? If you feel your band has the potential to sell out arenas (and not small clubs), you might stick with it and see where it goes.

(I bring up Maroon 5 not because they're particularly awesome, but because they made $22 Million last year, which certainly must be more than what Meshuggah has made in their entire existence.)

About you as a player...

Are you as good as you want to be? Are you being creative in your own band, or are you struggling to keep up? A cover band is a great place to work on fundamentals, explore different styles, and network with other players. The great session drummers didn't get awesome by working exclusively with one band, creating one sort of music -- they were schooled, played everything, and then great musicians called on them. It usually doesn't work the other way around -- where you have success early on, and then establish yourself as a session drummer.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
The guys in the originals band should understand - it's everybody's goal to be able to put food on the table with their passion (playing drums in a band). Out here in SoCal, it's a no-brainer and one of the reasons my personal projects take hiatuses - if there's a chance to make $$$, that's better than making no $$$ at all doing what you love.

This is why I agree with Larry that you should be able to do both. The originals band should understand and work with you. It's unrealistic to expect a guy to stick around and make nothing when you could be making your art pay you back for a change.
 

markiet1966

Senior Member
I did this exact thing about 6 months ago, I had been dipping in a covers band for a while, when they're drummer decided to call it a day I was asked to join. Like you I had to think about it, I decided to join, six months later I'm playing every weekend, earning some money for my gear addiction and having a ball. I left the two bands I was playing in at the time and I must admit they didn't take it well (unjustifiably in my opinion).

For me it's all about getting out there and playing live, I guess that you need to ask yourself what you enjoy.

Mark
 
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