Why do 'original' bands hold 'cover' bands in such low regard?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by dacookster, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Apples and oranges, I think. Representing yourself isn't in and of itself an artistic endeavour, anyone who's ever been to a job interview knows there's right and wrong ways to act/dress professionally. I'd equate the "image" of a cover band to that. The image of someone like Björk, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols or Meshuggah is something else entirely. For original artists that presentation is an integral part of the art, whereas for a cover band it literally is just a matter of looking professional and not turning anyone off. Two entirely different things in my opinion.
     
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  2. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    Well said - it's 2 different end goals, 2 different services even. Cover band's job is to make sure the patrons at whatever establishment they are playing enjoy themselves, plain and simple. You do what you have to do. I've probably hindered a few cover bands i've been in because there is some stuff i just wont play, because i want to enjoy myself as well and once we hit like 50% songs I can't stand, I have to move on. Next cover band i join i'll probably say eff it and just play the so called "panty droppers" - because you can be playing a shit song, but if the crowd is rocking, that will make up for it!
     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Different sure. My point is not that those two are comparable directly, but that one stands in a similar place to the other for each type of band just in terms of doing-what-needs-to-be-done. In other words, as a response to "cover bands have it so easy cause they don't have to market themselves or have an image". They certainly do. And it's not necessarily easier. It's just a very different process.
     
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  4. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    I would say it's a million times easier, but to each their own :) I just rate creativity/innovation as inherently more difficult than anything that can be mimicked, practiced or conformed to, so in my world playing Flight of the Bumblebee at 300bpm is easier than coming up with the "Got Milk?" slogan, but that's just how I look at it. You certainly don't have to agree, we already established they're so different that it's hardly comparable. :yesway:
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't reaaaally agree, but you're right, it's not a meaningful comparison.

    The meat of my point is just that I'm not big on being dismissive of cover bands as being "below us" for whatever reasons.

    Edit: Arguably, I try not to be dismissive of whatever people like to do just in general. Because why sh*t on people for doing their thing?
     
  6. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    Here's my take:
    Cover bands don't get the 'rep' because it's kind of phoning it in.

    If you want to make music, you have two options. You can either make your own, or play other people's. Both are a blast. Both take talent and ability, but different amounts of both.
    I would argue that to create original pieces takes more talent, and to play covers (well) takes a bit more ability. Your phrasing needs to be dynamic and on point, your playing needs to be flexible, you need to be able to tone-match, etc. Doing your own thing doesn't necessarily require as much flexibility in the skill department.

    What it does require, however, is a whole lot more work.
    If you're creating and gigging your own music, it says something. Because in order for that to be, you need to create the music in the first place (already lost people like me, can't do it), then you need to record it which is either a significant time investment, or a noticeable monetary investment. Then you need to play show after show after show after show to amass any amount of following. GETTING that number of shows as a newer original band has got to be difficult, let alone managing to grab the interest of enough people to create even a local demand for your band. Your genre is polarizing, I don't care which one it is. There will be people that hate it. Your list of venues that will have you is limited. Getting your foot through the door taking this route is a pretty substantial undertaking.

    If you're gigging with covers, it's a whole different ballgame.
    You still need to play show after show until you make a name for yourself, but as a whole, you're a much safer quantity. If I own a bar and I want live music, am I going to bring on some guy's band that most of my patrons probably don't know and may not like? Or am I going to bring in the guys that are going to play Aerosmith and GNR?
    With cover bands, you know that nobody is going to dislike the music, and that's the biggest part- you want people to associate happy thoughts with your venue. As a result, it's easier to get your foot through the door with a cover band. To pile on to that, it's a lot easier to get into mid-sized venues as well since the material is almost universally enjoyed. The end-game ceiling is way lower for sure, but now you're only talking about a sliver of bands. You also don't have to deal with recording, since none of it is even your material. There's less investment. It's lower risk for you, it's lower risk for the venues, and it's lower risk for the patrons. It's essentially gigging on 'easy mode,' and that's fine. Great way to jam with some mates, meet some people, enjoy your instrument, and make some side cash.

    That's not to say that both don't take effort, and that making either one work is a small feat at all. They're just different animals.
    And I don't think that it's 'hate' so much as it is just 'different.' Most musicians that I know think it's just the absolute shit that you play music at all, end of story (and take the occasional jab at studio wizards, I guess :lol:). But I don't think anyone would argue that being an original band doesn't take just a little bit more, and people tend to recognize that.
     
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  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm going to disagree. It doesn't take more. Different, yes. More, no. Just my :2c:.
     
  8. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    I suppose, to an extent. That's largely the theme of what I was trying to say.
    Different people find different things to be different levels of difficult (say that 10 times fast :lol:)

    I stick to my stance that being your own band takes a bit extra, but I totally see what you're saying. It's a personal thing for each player, I think.

    This is the take-home line from that post. Do you and don't trip about what other people are thinking because odds are they're actually in your corner on this one.
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    When you look at how many original acts out there consist of at least one member who doesn't have the foggiest clue of any music knowledge beyond the name of the instrument on which they are banging, I don't think you can really make any universal statements about how hard it is to be a part of an original band. :2c:

    In a cover band, if you are faking it, people will figure that out pretty much instantly, and your band will promptly run out of opportunities. In an original band, it is possible to fake it for decades without tipping anyone off. Just look at Courtney Love's career. :lol:
     
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  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Or, option three, you do both like just about every musician in a "professional" cover or tribute band I've ever known or talked to.

    I don't know why everyone seems set on making this an "either/or" situation.

    If you want to be a professional musician you need to branch out and take all kinds of gigs, whether that means being a bar cover band, doing weddings, recording, being a touring hired gun, etc. They're all tools to keep making money from playing.
     
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  11. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    I don't disagree, the question is just phrased in a binary fashion.
    And either way, realistically, you have your 'main' project that you prioritize.
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not me. :)

    I spent pretty much my entire teens and twenties in both cover and original bands. Playing music is fun, playing music with other people is more fun. Playing music with other groups of other people is most fun. :2c: I even played in a country band for a time, and I am certainly not an avid listener of the genre, but playing 4 different instruments with the same band was really fun, even if most of the songs only had 3-5 chords total in them.
     
  13. AlexCorriveau

    AlexCorriveau I am the liquor

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    I don't hold these bands in low regards. They want to play the classics and they love playing their instruments. They'll play gigs, parties, wedding, local fests not related to music and have a blast doing it. That's fine.

    I'm more sad/jealous about people not giving two shits about a local artist pouring his heart and soul into creating something because they only want to hear the Enter Sandman/Back In Black/Smell Like Teen Spirits kind of songs that a bazillion cover bands already play.
     
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  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    On some level I think I have almost more respect for people who pull off the cover band thing. The members of original bands I've spent time with, on average, are more lazy (in terms of music, not in general per se), have much less realistic goals, expect a lot more of the people around them without giving them much to work with, etc. I'm generalizing of course, but most of the people I've met who play original stuff don't treat it very professionally at all. Some do, of course. But in my very limited experience, most don't.
     
  15. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    This hurt. :(
     
  16. Riffer

    Riffer PRS SE Inspector

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    I'm in a successful cover band and it's really just a ton of fun but also a shit ton of work. We play clubs/bars/casinos and in the last 2 years gotten into more weddings and private events. Dealing with a constant changing song list can be very daunting. Trying to learn new songs fast and have them ready for gigs while also making sure we still can pull out any of our other 150-200 songs at a moments notice takes a lot of work from each member of the band. We sometimes travel 2 1/2 hours one way to play at a club that doesn't provide sound or lights. We invested in our own lights so we have to lug those around and set everything up ourselves. Sometimes its a 12 hour (or more) day when doing a wedding or private event after travel time, setting up, waiting around to play, playing for 3-4 hours, tearing down, loading out, and traveling back home. I am regularly getting home at 4-5am.

    Someone mentioned the pay that cover bands get. For clubs we make anywhere from $1,300-$2,500. For weddings/privates we make anywhere from $4,000-$10,000. I love being in a cover band. It has helped me pay for a lot of cool stuff I've wanted and I've made tons of great friends from playing out in the cover scene and I've gotten a lot better as a player just being able to play a wide range of songs from different genres. All the players in my band are great at their instruments and all have music theory training. I'm actually the only one that was self taught. We combine songs and make mashups or long medleys and bring it every night when it comes to energy. You have to keep the party going for 4 hours and that can be tough sometimes but with the money we get paid we need to be on our game at all times.

     
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  17. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    I know that's all true, but basically what you're saying is mostly still true of being in a band that plays original music, only you get more gigs, get paid a lot more, and don't have to devote any time to writing! Well, the 4 hour gig thing isn't true, no one would want to listen to an original band for that long and they wouldn't have enough material besides. And, obviously you have more songs to draw from. :D If I was in a cover band again I'd have to put together a "real book" that had all the riffs. My memory sucks compared to when I was a high schooler.
     
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  18. sevenfoxes

    sevenfoxes SS.org Regular

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    I actually think it's way easier to write and play your own songs. You get to do whatever you want to do. There's a certain freedom to it that makes it a lot more enjoyable.

    With covers, you have to spend time not just learning all the notes of a song, but how those notes are played, and what techniques are being implied. It's difficult because every musician has their own style, and you have to learn how to mimic that style. You have to memorize the song so well that you actually get sick of hearing it. It can become fatiguing. You also have to have a versitile rig, and figure out what sounds, settings, and fx work best for any given cover. Of course, none of this is true if you are just doing some crappy garage band rendition, but to be a serious cover band, you have to care about attributes of asong that you never really thought about before.
     
  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    You could sort of do the same thing the other way around. Original bands don't need to organize constantly-rotating set lists, play really long sets, less often need to provide full PA/gear, spend less time nailing riffs that people are going to be criticizing them for "playing wrong", spending time tone-matching a bunch of different sounds, marketing yourself out to event organizers etc. I sort of see it being a lot more formal and business-like, as opposed to the very loose approach of original bands where you can just chill and play music when you feel like it for the most part.
     
  20. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    Well, there are some cover bands out there, mainly ones of 80s hair metal or like, Kiss songs, that do have to be all about the look as well. I guess they didn't have to come up with it themselves, though?
     

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