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Cover bands


Frosty Jack
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Valid form of musical and artistic expression? Or easy way to make lots of money out of people who don't really like music?

 

I don't hide the fact that I really don't like cover bands, and don't really see the point. Don't really want to see them all shot, but they have been known to ruin a night out for me, as I'll usually leave any pub that has one on. I know there are a few cover bands represented on here - can anyone persuade me differently?

And how about festivals? I was at Belladrum this year, fantastic festival, some amazing acts on all weekend, but four of the acts on the main stage on Saturday night were covers/tributes. There was a Johnny Cash tribute act, 'Rumours of Fleetwood Mac', 'legendary festival favourites' the Dangleberries, and worst of all were 'Scooty and the Skyhooks', a local soul covers band doing all the usual Redding/Pickett/Commitments type guff.

Should this be allowed? In their defence, they each got a reasonable crowd, got people dancing, but I heard as many negative comments as positive. I can't help thinking that such a great opportunity should have gone to someone with real original talent who could have used the exposure to help kick off an actual career?

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Havent we been through this, with you as well, on a number of occasions? 

 

Its just another form of playing music, it holds as much purpose as any form of live music does. Not everyone in this world listens to music to hear new and exciting stuff, infact a great number are not remotely interested in what new music is coming out. Cover bands let people enjoy songs they like hearing, whilst also enjoying a live band. A large number of my mates would never go near the Tunnels to watch any local band, but when a cover band plays, especially mines, they drop anything they had planned because the chance of seeing live music doesnt come around that often for them. Plus im ace. 

 

Do you leave a venue if they are playing a cd, or if a DJ is playing songs not his? Seems ridiculous you would leave a venue because it has a band playing live music, be it original or not, much like you can avoid focusing on a shit local band, you can avoid focusing on a cover band. 

 

Sorry to say it, but its complete snobbery to look down on a cover band, they have as much right as anyone to do what they enjoy, and believe me, you can get as much out of that experience as you can from being in an original band. Its just a different kind of band. 

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Havent we been through this, with you as well, on a number of occasions? 

 

Oh yeah, I definitely drone on about this too much - but I was more interested in the festival angle this time. Should a Saturday night prime slot in front of several thousand music fans be given to a band who've been playing 'Midnight Hour' every weekend for the last 20 years? I'm sure many on this forum can think of any number of upcoming exciting new bands who could use a chance like that?

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Valid form of musical and artistic expression? Or easy way to make lots of money out of people who don't really like music?

 

I don't hide the fact that I really don't like cover bands, and don't really see the point. Don't really want to see them all shot, but they have been known to ruin a night out for me, as I'll usually leave any pub that has one on. I know there are a few cover bands represented on here - can anyone persuade me differently?

And how about festivals? I was at Belladrum this year, fantastic festival, some amazing acts on all weekend, but four of the acts on the main stage on Saturday night were covers/tributes. There was a Johnny Cash tribute act, 'Rumours of Fleetwood Mac', 'legendary festival favourites' the Dangleberries, and worst of all were 'Scooty and the Skyhooks', a local soul covers band doing all the usual Redding/Pickett/Commitments type guff.

Should this be allowed? In their defence, they each got a reasonable crowd, got people dancing, but I heard as many negative comments as positive. I can't help thinking that such a great opportunity should have gone to someone with real original talent who could have used the exposure to help kick off an actual career?

 

The highlight of the festival for me (apart from when I was playing of course) was MacFloyd on the Friday night doing the whole of Dark Side of the Moon.  Absolutely loved it, was singing along like an idiot, I found it quite an emotional experience.  Perhaps this is a special case, as the chances of me ever seeing the real thing are nil.

 

I hear what you're saying RE: the festival angle, I did raise an eyebrow when I heard some of the cover stuff wafting across into the Black Isle bar.  I did think the Saturday bill was a little uninspiring and I couldn't help thinking that it was a bit like treading water.  I don't share your aversion to cover/tribute bands - I'm happy as long as the covers are played well but I could have seen a covers band in The Globe any weekend I like, know what I mean?

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Oh yeah, I definitely drone on about this too much - but I was more interested in the festival angle this time. Should a Saturday night prime slot in front of several thousand music fans be given to a band who've been playing 'Midnight Hour' every weekend for the last 20 years? I'm sure many on this forum can think of any number of upcoming exciting new bands who could use a chance like that?

 

Yes and no. I personally wouldnt push for a festival slot with my band, but on that scale i can kinda see the merit. At the end of the day, like i say Frosty, there are a great number of people, who also go to festivals, that have zero interest in the next up and coming band, but stick them infront of a band playing stuff they know and they have a whale of a time. The punters enjoyment is what counts, if the vast seemed happy enough, then id expect more of the same again.

 

Then again, your issue seems to be more with Belladrum than with the cover bands. Why did they feel that 4 cover bands would be better suited than 4 original bands? What did they make that decision based on? Did they have 4 original bands last year and it bombed, or were they trying something different? 

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Oh yeah, I definitely drone on about this too much - but I was more interested in the festival angle this time. Should a Saturday night prime slot in front of several thousand music fans be given to a band who've been playing 'Midnight Hour' every weekend for the last 20 years? I'm sure many on this forum can think of any number of upcoming exciting new bands who could use a chance like that?

 

I don't disagree with cover bands in principle, I have enjoyed them in my time, but they are what they are. I respect the individual musicianship of a good covers band, but that is as far as it goes.

 

Regarding the festival angle, I also agree with FJ; I do believe that chances should be offered to bands playing their own material, but it's at the feet of the festival organisers, and in turn those who pay for tickets.

 

It's like pay-day loans, right? It's a service that's available (albeit it ridiculous rates of interest). If you don't like it, don't take one out.

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Plus Belladrum is a bit of a "family festival" isn't it, well it is when ive been anway.

 

To my eye its always going to suit that kind of band more than a young Death Metal band from Elgin, even though there is obviously bands playing originals.

 

I don't imagine the Dangleberry's headlining Reading or Leeds or any cover bands for that matter ( except a KISS cover band, which are always immense. )

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The highlight of the festival for me (apart from when I was playing of course) was MacFloyd on the Friday night doing the whole of Dark Side of the Moon.  Absolutely loved it, was singing along like an idiot, I found it quite an emotional experience.  Perhaps this is a special case, as the chances of me ever seeing the real thing are nil.

 

I was there for that too, and I did enjoy it. But I felt that was a bit different, as they were on late, after everyone else was finished and it was more like a separate performance. Like a cinema showing a special screening of your favourite film or something.

Maybe it's just the unoriginal stereotypical covers band I hate. Like the aforementioned Skyhooks opening their set with Wilson Pickett "Do you like good music" - just depressing.

 

Plus Belladrum is a bit of a "family festival" isn't it, well it is when ive been anway.

 

To my eye its always going to suit that kind of band more than a young Death Metal band from Elgin, even though there is obviously bands playing originals.

 

I don't imagine the Dangleberry's headlining Reading or Leeds or any cover bands for that matter ( except a KISS cover band, which are always immense. )

Good point - could be a Bella thing. Not having been to Reading, Leeds or that ilk - I take it this is not really something that happens elsewhere?

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I've been in and out of cover bands since I was about 14 and always treated it as a totally separate experience from being in an original band. When I write and perform songs with Needleman, it's me expressing my opinions on subjects that really mean something to me. It's a way of sharing something personal and meaningful in a (hopefully) entertaining way.

 

In Sanctuary, and all the other cover bands I've been in, it was more about going to the pub, playing a few songs in styles I don't have much chance to experiment with otherwise (even classic rock material is well outwith my usual M.O. when composing music) and getting paid for it. It was, on the whole, a pretty shallow experience but a fun one that paid pretty well. Being in Sanctuary funded me buying the equipment we used to record the Needleman record, so it all feeds into the same creative pot.

 

Re: festivals - I agree with Frosty but that's mainly out of jealousy. I'd bend over backwards to play a main-stage festival slot with Needleman. Being in a cover band is a lot of work, there are a lot of songs to learn and the sets are long as fuck. It's not easy, but it's a very different kind of "difficult" to being in an original band. You learn, you don't create. You don't develop the same level of attachment to the songs so if one gets a shit reception, you can just cut it from the set, no big deal... But if you've poured blood and sweat into writing, re-writing and crafting a piece of you into a song and then have to cut it, it's like cutting an arm off! With that in mind, I feel that your average original band, even on a local scale, work much harder (or at least more intensely) that a comparable cover band. Ergo, I don't think a cover band have the same "right" to a place on a festival stage.

 

Tribute bands are different - if you're trying to recreate the experience of seeing a band who are now dead/gone, then you're catering to nostalgia and there's always a market for that. Especially at a festival.

 

Bottom line, I think a venue paying a cover band is pretty daft when you can turn a CD up loud and get the same atmosphere with a DJ at a sliver of the cost and I don't understand why people want to see cover bands either - I don't understand why you'd want to see LIVE music specifically but want to go to tunnels and see someone who has really sweated over their art and busted their ass to create something. That being said, if that's what people want, it's what promoters will book.

 

As a slight aside, I remember when I first started playing originals, both my parents kept badgering me to play covers in the set - "Get the crowd on your side by playing some Oasis songs that everyone knows and likes, THEN play your own stuff..." fucked me right off. It's that same redneck attitude that keeps a lot of punters in the Globe on a Saturday night: "I've heard this song before, that means I like it." / "This is unfamiliar, that means it's shite!"

 

xx

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Good point - could be a Bella thing. Not having been to Reading, Leeds or that ilk - I take it this is not really something that happens elsewhere?

 

In the 10 years or so I've been going to Leeds I've never seen (noticed) a cover band on any stage. Presumably there may be some tucked away in the little tents and shit, tough.

 

xx

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Valid form of musical and artistic expression? Or easy way to make lots of money out of people who don't really like music?

 

 

most cover bands don't make loads of money

 

I think the people who go to see cover bands do like music , just maybe not the same music that you like , that doesn't make it bad music

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Bottom line, I think a venue paying a cover band is pretty daft when you can turn a CD up loud and get the same atmosphere with a DJ at a sliver of the cost and I don't understand why people want to see cover bands either - I don't understand why you'd want to see LIVE music specifically but want to go to tunnels and see someone who has really sweated over their art and busted their ass to create something. That being said, if that's what people want, it's what promoters will book.

 

 

 

xx

 

I positive repped you but this point sticks out a bit. You definitely dont get the same atmosphere from a Cd as you do from a live band, no chance at all. Thats again, a bit of a diservice to the band playing, i've seen cover bands die, and ive seen some whip the crowd up into a frenzy. There is a reason the Bash Street Kids are still highly sought after, they put on a hell of a show and get people going. You dont get that from a CD or a DJ. 

 

Again, some people dont care about local band sweating out their heart in the tunnels on a tuesday night, its just not their scene, but they will enjoy popping over to their local to watch an hour of Beatles songs they used to listen to when they were younger. 

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Not interested in hearing a cover band or playing in one, but I understand why other people do. I've never seen one at a festival, and it does seem a little crummy to stick a cover band on a festival bill in place of an original band who write their own stuff. It's no skin off my nose though, as I don't really do festivals anymore, so cram them with as many cover bands as you want.

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I positive repped you but this point sticks out a bit. You definitely dont get the same atmosphere from a Cd as you do from a live band, no chance at all. Thats again, a bit of a diservice to the band playing, i've seen cover bands die, and ive seen some whip the crowd up into a frenzy. There is a reason the Bash Street Kids are still highly sought after, they put on a hell of a show and get people going. You dont get that from a CD or a DJ. 

 

 

The "atmosphere" comment was probably more of a personal preference - i.e. I, personally, enjoy a CD as much as a cover band.

 

 

Again, some people dont care about local band sweating out their heart in the tunnels on a tuesday night, its just not their scene, but they will enjoy popping over to their local to watch an hour of Beatles songs they used to listen to when they were younger. 

 

 Same as above, different people take different things from seeing live music. I have my preferences, and everyone else is wrong ;)

 

xx

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"Cover" bands, have been a staple form of weekend entertainment in Aberdeen since the early 60's.

Most, if not, all decent sized pub / lounges, had a "Resident" band,(Like the "House" band in shows such as, Strictly come dancing, Etc), who played 2 - 3 nights per week & would usually rehearse on a Saturday morning, usually 4 or 5 new "Chart"songs, released that week, in the unopened Pub / Lounge / Nightclub,  ready for the masses of punters who would fill the place that night.

By the late 80'S, early 90's, these residencies, had virtually died out, due to advent of, Karaoke machines, Etc.

Cover bands nowadays, do seem to choose a style of music each member likes, (Rock, Metal, Punk, Soul, Etc), & hawk themselves round the pub's which choose to stick on a band, after they finish serving food, or the, Fitba's finished.

Thank god some pub's still book bands, playing any sort of "Covers", otherwise, social club's would be the only place they could play, unless of course, they can break into the, "Function" circuit, Weddings & corporate gig's, which are so lucrative, nowadays, cover bands from all over Scotland are coming to Aberdeen, due to the High Fee's available.

None of this, affects the Original  material band's , which play different venue's Of course, (Thank God they still exist also).

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Guest Young Adolesent

i play in a cover band. yes their not making much money but it isnt for that either cover bands are their to play their version of the song the way they like it dosent have to be nothing like the original. i was waiting outside the globe inn on friday there way a guy there with his acoustic busking away to a bruno mars song, the guy was amazing everyone loved it people had smiles on their faces and even more the place was packed. dont give cover bands hate they just play the music they like the way they like. but they aint as popular as they used to be. but it all depends on what music you cover really. we cover the likes of stereophonics, the script some arctic monkeys and even jake bugg we like the music and so do others.

 

My neighbour  made his musical career out of cover music and he would love to do it again but sadly its not like it used to be in 70's and 80's

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As a slight aside, I remember when I first started playing originals, both my parents kept badgering me to play covers in the set - "Get the crowd on your side by playing some Oasis songs that everyone knows and likes, THEN play your own stuff..." fucked me right off. It's that same redneck attitude that keeps a lot of punters in the Globe on a Saturday night: "I've heard this song before, that means I like it." / "This is unfamiliar, that means it's shite!"

 

xx

My dad did the same when I started in Avoid The Morning. For one, I didn't like any of the bands he was saying I should cover. And for two, if the sort of person to come to a gig of mine just wanted to see me stop playing music I put effort in to and playing stuff that's been covered, rereleased and played at weddings for 100 years, then I'd rather do without their custom.

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FFS. Some of you guys are a right bunch of snobs. Most original bands I've seen lately get on stage, moan about the sound in the monitors and then play 10-12 songs (45mins) and then that's it. The last band I played in picked for quite a number of songs and ended up play 45 songs per night.

not everyone likes 'art' some prefer waching repeats of Friends or Cheers on the TV.

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FFS. Some of you guys are a right bunch of snobs. Most original bands I've seen lately get on stage, moan about the sound in the monitors and then play 10-12 songs (45mins) and then that's it. The last band I played in picked for quite a number of songs and ended up play 45 songs per night.

not everyone likes 'art' some prefer waching repeats of Friends or Cheers on the TV.

 

There's watching repeats of Friends and Cheers - and then there's watching different actors do a half assed version of an episode of Cheers that you really liked, and missing all the jokes. 

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Guest davetherave

Theres plenty of room for originals and covers bands, they both serve a purpose and some pubs utilise covers bands for extra trade, which is good for aberdeen business! Like anything, there are good and bad bands out there, but as music is subjective, who's to say whats good or bad? I've been on many a night out and ended up in a pub watching a covers band play "inaccurate" versions of well known songs, do the pissed up crowd at the front dancing and singing care, do they fuck, they are too busy enjoying themselves! Which is surely the whole point of live music (perhaps with the exception of intimate acoustic/ambient/folk/quiet type music which should be appreciated in subdued darkened silence)!

 

Personally if we play covers in our "punkabilly" band we do them in a completely different style so as not to be compared to the original, though most of our covers arent that well known (Strychnine, Bikini Gals with machine guns, etc). The balance of original and cover songs is about 50/50, which makes the set more varied and interesting. It also means the band get the best of both worlds, playing our own creations and cover songs that influenced us and are fun to belt out in our own style!

 

We even play a cover in the "ambient guitar trio" I'm part of, but most folk wouldnt recognise it!

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FFS. Some of you guys are a right bunch of snobs. Most original bands I've seen lately get on stage, moan about the sound in the monitors and then play 10-12 songs (45mins) and then that's it. The last band I played in picked for quite a number of songs and ended up play 45 songs per night.

not everyone likes 'art' some prefer waching repeats of Friends or Cheers on the TV.

 

Why would anyone want to watch any band for longer than 45 minutes? Unless it's Rush or Floyd or something. 45 minutes for a local band is fine. Infact, if anything, it's probably a bit too long.

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Personally I don't see any artistic merit in playing in a cover band or tribute band. Zero. As a way of making money, or for the social side of it I can understand, but that's not what I play. When I sit down with my own guitar it's to noodle about with my own stuff, not to learn Kirk Hammett licks - I write and perform my own music as a form of self-expression and I'd much rather be doing that and making fuck all than earning a couple of hundred quid a night going through the motions playing Chelsea Dagger and Tie Your Mother Down. I maybe would consider it if I needed the cash, but it would be a job, and I'd feel like a cheap whore.

 

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