Learning songs for cover bands

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Sg-ocaster, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Sg-ocaster

    Sg-ocaster Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2020
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    115
    Sitting down tonight working out parts for a cover band I'm working with. It gets kinda annoying.For covers I'm the kinda guy who during solos learns the signature/key licks then finds my own licks that fit in/mimic kinda what's happening on the record for the rest.
    Most cover bands I've done we look for material that will both "go over" and suits the band and don't waste time beating to death a song that's "not coming together"....shit can it and learn something else. Make it sound tight together and close but a little your own.Been in several popular local cover bands this way.
    I'm kinda thinking this project is expecting note for note....i neither get enjoyment from doing so or playing so....with a handful of exceptions.....its tedious and plain out difficult to remember 40 songs worth of other people's licks note for note....to play clubs for drunks.....a tribute band yes....learning an act's own songs yes....hell when I write I'll spend hrs trying chord voicings and working out leads(on some songs)......ive spent long hours rehearsing to do shows for concert openers and small tours,but to play covers for a few bucks on weekends???
    Maybe just ranting here but I don't get it.
    Now I have vented....back to practicing.
     
  2. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    8,277
    Likes Received:
    9,816
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Canada
    Totally agree! It's what I do too. I play for fun so often I do mynown thjng as well as my own tone. Ask the other members what they think. If you play guitar inject YOU into it. If they don't like it F em and find another band. Weekend warrior is for fun. Life is too short for that bullshit.
     
  3. Sg-ocaster

    Sg-ocaster Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2020
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    115
    Zackly.....I put my all into a project that is at least trying to go somewhere but a weekend thing no. My main focus is trying to write and record....just doing this for a bit of fun and money really....I like to step up even a weekend thingy with nice pa and lights....but to split hair over....."that note right there"....ugh
    And as you mention your own tone....I have a bucker and marshall type classic rockish tone.......why are we talking about copying mark knopfler songs?? There are certain places you just don't go with that.
    Not to mention any national act that "covers" a song to record usually puts their flare to it making it their own....not flat out carbon copying it...
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  4. Sapient

    Sapient Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2020
    Messages:
    904
    Likes Received:
    1,723
    Location:
    Yes
    That's one of the main reasons I recently quit my band. Take it even further that they get played a few times then thrown on the backlist. It's such fun playing to all the people with their backs to the wall wanting to talk instead of listening too. Can't blame them because I'd be doing the same. RIP bands. My advice is to quit and forget about them. Sad but true, to me.
     
    lespaul339 likes this.
  5. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Location:
    Blue Springs Mo
    For a long time. Played music I didn't particularly care for. I was playing. I was playing every week. Gigging, to pay for studio time. Of course ended up being a way to feed the monster. Variety band, 6 part harmony. Top 40, Country of the day. Even went into Disco. Not a guitar players dream. But the girls would come out for it. Wasn't till around 2000 Started doing stuff I liked. Not dance music. Didn't play as much. But was much happier.
    I'm rambling. Learning the leads. All you need is the first lick and the last lick.
     
  6. IOSEPHVS

    IOSEPHVS Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2020
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    Ohio
    The reason to take the time to learn how to play a song as it was written is not to impress someone else, but rather to absorb what was created and become a better musician.
     
    Relic61, Trumpet Rider and Derek S like this.
  7. Marshall50w

    Marshall50w Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    129
    Location:
    Manchester
    For me doing Covers is down to personal preference. Certain solos I like to hear played as the recorded versions but without being anal retentive about it. If I can also fit in my own solo in the style of plus add some of my own thing, its the best of both worlds. If I think I can improve (rarely) upon the original solo I may just do my own thing. I don't think the majority of listeners are overly concerned so long as the vocals are in tune and most of the lyrics are remembered !

    Time also comes into play and sometimes just have to do the best you can in the circumstances.
     
  8. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2019
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    1,647
    Location:
    South of France, Europe, Earth
    Depends on the song and how "signature" the solo is.

    Some of them just need to be played note for note, that's what the audience expects to hear. Some examples (from tunes I play or have played) would be Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (I've had audiences sing it along with me, can't afford to NOT play it just like the studio version), Europe's The Final Countdown, Michael Jackson's Beat It, Sembello's Maniac (we're using the Firewind cover as a basis though), Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2, Journey's Separate Ways, Billy Idol's Rebel Yell, Bon Jovi's You Give Love A Bad Name, and a few more. Same goes for many Queen's tunes, the solo's too much a part of the song to change more than a few notes here and there (though I often use live renditions of the songs as a basis, especially if the studio version has a busy/complicated arrangement).

    Other tunes, not so much. For Queen's Tie Your Mother Down, I used the Lynch Mob cover as a basis, which allows me to throw in some diminished runs. Same for We Will Rock You (fast version), I just have fun and throw down some fast natural minor runs. Goes along well with the vibe of the song, and the original solo isn't as seminal as some others.

    It really depends on the song. Some require to stick to the original, some not so much. Though I always try to stay close to the vibe of the original solo (not throwing in some legato/tap/sweep on a slow ballad). Again, checking out live versions of the song you're working on is a good idea, as it can give you pointers on how closely the original player sticks to what he did in the studio, and how to approach it.
     
  9. Gain Man

    Gain Man Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    North Bavaria, Germany
    That has always been my approach to cover songs. Keep to the original only as much as necessary or even take the original to new places, as long as it works. You might even like your own interpretation better than the original - and some people in the audience maybe, too. There are enough songs I find dull (or even worse) in the original - beef them up and they come alive. If you come up with your own cover version, that you like better than the original - what is wrong with that?

    I have been in a cover band that believed, one must stick to the original, because that what the audience / music police expects you to do and that is ultimately what you are going to be judged by, in the wake of the competition between cover bands (in rural Germany that is - because the cover band gig in the sports hall of a nearby village is pretty much the only evening entertainment for the adolescent population living far away from the next city).

    I never believed this to be true and I honestly don't understand, why a cover band should play a song more like the original, than the original artist would. Just listen to live recordings by these artists and compare those to the studio versions. This is just plain silly.

    And then there are these songs, that have been covered to death. Take "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" for instance. Will you play it the Dylan way? Or the Guns'n Roses way? Or just morph the best parts of it and add your own spice?

    And don't get me started on "Mighty Quinn". Manfred Mann had two totally different sounding versions of this song released. Will you stick to one of them or just do what ever the hell you like with it?

    If this "stick to the original" attitude prevails in this band, I wish you all the best that you can change their minds or find the right way for you to go, even if that means quitting the band. You are bound to find some other people with a more open minded approach.

    In the end it is all about the fun and projecting the fun onto the audience. And after the gig you go home with a smile.
     
  10. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,496
    Likes Received:
    1,998
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs - USA
    ^^This exactly^^

    I'm working with some guys now and as an example Evenflow by Pearl Jam is filled with licks that the average listener is not going to know. There are a few in the beginning that I do note for note but they're short and simple. Later on in the song I'm improvising. In fact most of the time it's not even the same each time we play it. Just kick on the wah and everyone is happy :) But as WellBurnTheSKy said, it's close enough that nobody is going be like WTF?

    Don't Stop Believin' on the other hand, has to be note for note as everybody knows that song. That's when the air guitars come out too :)
     
  11. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2019
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    1,647
    Location:
    South of France, Europe, Earth
    That's actually kind of a joke between my lead singer and I: in the Queen tribute set, we're doing Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and on the Wembley live version of the song, Brian May takes an extended improvised outro solo. So I also improvise it, but start close-ish to the original (so D minor blues-rock pentatonic runs and phrasing). BUT if he lets me going for too long, I gradually add more notes, up to tapping runs, trem dive bombs and flutter harmonics, the whole "Back To The Future" treatment. Which is his cue that he probably should call the coda :D Once he let me going for a full minute, I ended up breaking out the two sweeping runs I know :lol: Which were totally out of place, but hey, don't let me run wild for too long, or else...
     
  12. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,938
    Mighty Quinn or Knocking on Heaven's Door? Do what you want and have fun, not a soul will care. Comfortably Numb or Stairway? Don't even approach if you aren't going to learn them the right way, u will look foolish
     
    John BNY, tce63, RCM 800 and 2 others like this.
  13. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    645
    Location:
    Iowa
    I used to play in a band that mostly played originals. We'd throw in a few cover songs here and there. What I got sick of was practice twice a week and then shows 2 nights a weekend. We would travel up to four hours away and not get paid jack shit. The other guys would always act like it was an opportunity that would open other doors. It never does. When you go out and play for nothing then that's the kind of shows you're going to get when word spreads that you will play for peanuts.

    I got tired of not having a voice in that band. When I told them how I wasn't willing to put in all that time and go play 4 hours away for free and eat up 4 days a week they just didn't get it. Some people just want to be "rockstars". I play because I enjoy it. But I wasn't getting enjoyment playing for people and bars that didn't give a shit and didn't pay you for your time, miles traveled, wear and tear on gear, ect.

    Since I quit I've been focusing on my own music, my own playing and honestly couldn't be any happier. I don't play music to perform for other people, I play music because it brings me happiness. I don't give a shit whether I play live in front of people or not. When you're not having fun what you're doing it's time to bow out because trust me, when you keep doing something and you're not having fun, you will eventually become bitter towards the other people in your band if you're not happy and they're not respecting your wants and needs as an individual and as a musician. I got so burnt out after I quit my last band that I barely picked up a guitar for a year afterwords. I'm glad I got my passion back for playing and couldn't be happier doing my own thing now.
     
    CraigP and KraftyBob like this.
  14. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,496
    Likes Received:
    1,998
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs - USA
    The plan for the guys that I'm starting to get together with is once a week hang out and jam. If we get an opportunity to play a yard party or club every so often, great. If not, that's good too. We just have a common interest and want to play.

    We started going over songs right before COVID hit so that put the breaks on it. Now that things are easing up we're hoping to pick up where we left off.
     
    Mitchell Pearrow and lespaul339 like this.
  15. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Location:
    Blue Springs Mo

    There are exceptions to every rule. Want some discipline. Try working out Allman Bros. Jessica with a second guitarist and keyboardist. Or maybe Lazy by Deep Purple, or The Wall Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 How 'bout Hotel California, or Still Got The Blues For You. Some songs for sure, you need to learn lick for lick. Gotta know what you gotta know.

    ( You never know what you don't know, till you know you don't know it. )
     
    IOSEPHVS and WellBurnTheSky like this.
  16. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Location:
    Blue Springs Mo

    What kind of music you guys doin'?
     
  17. Trumpet Rider

    Trumpet Rider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    3,439
    I was in a band where one guy always tried to play every solo exactly like the record. I assured him that as long as he hits the intro and outro and any signature licks along the way, it would be fine but he insisted on doing it note for note. We considered "Cult of Personality," and he refused because he didn't think he could play it just like Vernon. I was like, "Play random notes as fast as you can! It will sound great!" I doubt Vernon plays it the same way twice.

    To the guy's credit, he did nail those solos--even "Cinnamon Girl.":rolleyes:
     
  18. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Location:
    Blue Springs Mo

    Well know. I believe you and I could be brothers from another mother. I played what I consider sellout music for thirty years. Just for the party. Yes we did gig allot. Practiced allot. Got pretty good, If I do say so myself. But the last ten years or so Been playing what I want to play. Weather you like it or not. You want to pay me to play?...Great
    You want me to play what you think someone else wants, and forego my opinion? Thank you no. I'll sit my happy ass at home. Pop open a couple beers and be content. I played for the people long enough. I've earned the right to play for me. If that means I'll never hit bars again. Big F'n deal. I've been there, Done it Wrote a song about it. Moving on.
     
    Mitchell Pearrow and lespaul339 like this.
  19. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Location:
    Blue Springs Mo

    Watch the movie Rockstar with Mark Wahlberg
     
    ibmorjamn and Crikey like this.
  20. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2019
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    874
    youtube the key parts of teh song. its a wonderful source us oldtimer didn't have. I wore out casette tapes back inthe day trying to learn by ear.
     

Share This Page