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Cover Band Folks - Just like the Record?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Jarrett, May 18, 2011.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    When covering a tune, how close is close enough? Spot on every little accent and inflection or a loose approximation? Where do you draw the line?
     
  2. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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  3. mtmartin71

    mtmartin71 Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know that we do any songs "exactly" as recorded with all the little nuance. Unless you're a tribute act to a band, and if then, what's the point? I saw a tribute band, Hells Belles (All Girl AC/DC) and while they were VERY close to the originals, the tempos and some nuance were not there on certain songs. Crowd loved it. For my cover band, we take a lot of songs and redo them to a more guitar or dance oriented path particularly with 80s keyboard stuff. I think there are certain signature licks and solos where you need to be as close as possible but if you're playing in time (most important) and you're very much touching the original solo, then I think that is OK. Key licks or riffs need to be there. As Keith and Angus have said...it's only Rock N' Roll. I guess if you're a classical musician and playing the classic compositions, there are certain expectations around a stricter interpretation and repro of the original.
     
  4. Baba

    Baba Member

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    Depends on the song.
     
  5. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

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    Pretty much listen to it, learn the hooks, signature stuff and make it our own after that.

    Works for us.
     
  6. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    My Floyd tribute band mostly tries to get it exact to the albums, within the limits of the number of hands we have available. For some tunes and song endings we look to live versions or, as a last resort, our own interpretation. But those are fringe cases. The thing is, of course the end result doesn't sound exactly like Floyd. We have fun trying anyway.
     
  7. silentbob

    silentbob Member

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    Do it in your style, assuming your style isn't "suck". Nothing worse than a band just being lazy and not bothering to actually learn a song they're playing. Tribute bands are a different story.
     
  8. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Depends on the song, the ensemble, etc. etc.

    For example, I do often sing "like" the original singer - but I'm no great singer so it's an "approximation" at best.

    Likewise, I try to approximate guitar tones within the realm of reason (strat with 2 singles and a humbucker, so I can cover a lot of ground). I also generally will use a wah when they did, leslie sim when they did, chorus when they did, etc. etc. My leslie may not sound exactly like theirs, but it gives a "leslie effect" and that's all most audiences need to hear to come up to you saying "your band sounds just like the record". We always had people coming up to us saying "I thought a CD was playing when I came in".

    And of course, we got lots of gigs.

    "Jam" songs or songs where the solos are obviously pretty improvised I usually do my own way. Others, I try to catch the most recognizeable bits. Again, people were always coming up to me saying "that was just like the real solo" (and it wasn't :).

    I play "real" solos on stuff like Hit Me With Your Best Shot, I Love Rock and Roll, I'm Gonna Keep On Loving You, Anyway You Want It, Alright Now, etc. Obviously any signature licks I try to do exact.

    But songs like Mustang Sally or Chain of Fools, I just kind of do my own thing (and often, our arrangements of those types of songs are also more "our own").

    To me, this offers the best of both worlds - we play half the set "just like the record" which the "common man" really appreciates, and we have our share of "jams" and "original covers" that the musicianly types (including ourselves) appreciate.

    But I'm never going to play anything perfectly exactly. So I personally range from pretty darn close, to the basic gist, with my own personal touches put in there.

    HTH,
    Steve
     
  9. stevel

    stevel Member

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    And a good point here - even AC/DC or Pink Floyd don't sound like the record when they play (or they didn't at various times in their careers). I remember reading an article with George Lynch from Dokken where he said he'd hear cover bands in clubs playing Dokken tunes far closer to the original (especially the solos) than he did.

    I was thinking about "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King - a band I was in said they were doing it so I set out to learn it. Well, I found about 50 versions of it, and they're all different. B.B. basically never plays it the same way twice. But he always sounds like B.B. of course.

    So what I did is cop some ideas I liked (and found easy to learn quickly as there was an impending gig) and tried to capture as much of B.B. as I could muster.

    Best,
    Steve
     
  10. Blues Lyne

    Blues Lyne Member

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    We do a mix of originals and covers. We do our own thing with the covers. Some are closer than others, but never "just like the record".
     
  11. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    We deliberately try not to sound like the record in most cases. We do a few hair band songs and keep them pretty close, but other stuff we rearrange a lot usually.
     
  12. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    If your playing a well known riff (intro to sweet home alabama for example) imo you should get damned close...but to try and nail the solo/phrasing/dynamic 100% is crazy and a complete waste of time...
    Trying to nail it perfectly is too tense, a looser feel sounds better to me...
     
  13. Cymbaline

    Cymbaline Member

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    In our band, we try to be as close as possible, with some exceptions where we extend things out. Our other guitarist is much more anal about it then me, though. He tries to get every little lick in, and he does it really well.
     
  14. rog951

    rog951 Member

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    Every time I start to say something to the bass player or drummer about a little lick or something they're doing that isn't quite "like the record" I tell myself that it's just a ****** cover band and nobody gives a rat's ass. Do you get booked? Do people show up and maybe even dance a little? Then you're close enough.
     
  15. ronmail65

    ronmail65 Supporting Member

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    I think people who hire a cover band have an expectation that the band is going to make every effort to sound as much like the original music as possible. They don't want to hear "your interpretation of ...." -- that's generally not the deal. So I would say, Yes - I think you should try to cop the original song as much as possible (at least if you want to get booked again).

    My exception to the rule would be... say you're a punk cover band (Green Day, Ramones, Blink182, etc...), then I think it's oaky to slip in your own punked up version of another very well known tune from outside the punk genre just for fun. But if the tune isn't known or recognizable, then you've failed.
     
  16. barellano

    barellano Member

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    I don't think there is one right answer to that question. Lots of factors: your band's style, the songs, venue, audience expectation, etc. As long as your style isn't "suck" like silentbob said, you should be OK either way. I know that as a fellow musician, when I see other bands play I overly criticize their arrangements and all that, but 96.25% of the audience doesn't care as long as it sounds good!
     
  17. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We'll make an effort to get the parts that are critical to the tune - the ones everyone hears in their head, when they think about the song.

    Nailing solos, etc, note-for-note isn't all that necessary, unless you're tribute band, in which case you need to be dead-on.
     
  18. V-Type

    V-Type Member

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    We always strive to be at least batting 80% on the covers.
    Although in honesty we are probably more like 60% too many folks.
    Our singer has limited range and our drummer cant always cop the complete range of tones from varying drummers but they try very hard.
    Also we have too de tune too E flat for E standard too help our vocals so that right there can make a few cover sound a bit off.
    I generally try and dial in the tones pretty closely thanks too my embracing of
    the modelers available.
    Our bassist is a real stickler on playing note for note for himself and that does help a lot.
    But certain songs are a lot tougher too cover exact than others and we do put our own Hard Rock stamp on a few ie: Roadhouse Blues,Johnny B Goode,Mustang Sally,etc....
    Generally folks want a mix of close too the originals and a good show and sometimes blurring those lines pleases most folks but not all.
     
  19. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    +1 on that.

    For those who say you never have to play it exact -- well, you're wrong. For instance, you don't play a song like "Don't Stop Believing" differently than the original. You also don't play that solo differently (unless you are Neil Schon). If you do play it differently, you're a hack (or you're doing an interpretation -- meaning you're not "covering" the song)

    (And spare me the "I'd never play Don't Stop Believing" thing).

    Joe
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  20. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree that it depends. Songs that have very identifiable solos should be done like the record. Another example is All Right Now.

    On Honky Tonk Women the solo is just improvised. Why not?

    On some of the Santana we do, I'll play the solos note-for-note (Oye Como Va) especially because it's a Im-IV progression that could go on forever otherwise. :)

    On Black Magic Woman, I'll start with Santana's solos and then go off on my own and come back to his.

    On She's Not There, I mostly improvise the solos, but the song arrangement is right off the record.

     

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