Did grunge "kill" the cover band scene too?

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In my experience, cover bands exist on their own wavelength. It isn't like Nevermind came out and people suddenly didn't want to go to the roadhouse to hear mustang sally. I've been in cover bands, originals bands and done DJ gigs a fair amount and those are all their own spaces and crowds. Sure there might be some overlap on venue calendars and show goers but I don't think they really cancel each other out all that much.
 

Silent Sound

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6,173
Bars figuring out other ways to draw people in without having to pay a band is what killed cover bands. Grunge had nothing to do with it.

What next? Grunge killed the pager? Grunge killed Laserdiscs? Grunge killed carburetors in automobiles?
 

AxeSlinger66

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125
You forgot to mention Winger. They were very popular right before grunge.
I've never seen bands have a quicker death then when grunge came out.
It was refreshing compared to silly bands like that.
Totally forgot about them , that's how irrelevant they were!
 

Riffi

Courtney DIDN’T Kill Kurt!
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Don’t be hating on Grunge! So much natural talent! If anything it probably inspired more people!
 

Riffi

Courtney DIDN’T Kill Kurt!
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I want to kill all music made after 1988!
You’re joking right? If not then you are missing out on some really great music! Some classic albums, timeless tunes, And some very talented songwriters, performers, singers, etc…
 

Wyatt Martin

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Living in flyover country when grunge hit its popularity wasn't widely recognized and most people who were my age (early 20s then) started gravitating towards the popularity of country music in the 90s. There were more country cover bands springing up during that time than ever. Almost every small town had a once-a-month saturday night "opry house" that offered opportunities for local participants to display their talents.

Meanwhile, rock cover bands were largely non-existent during that time.
 

kombi1976

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688
I’m sure other people have said this before, but the emergence of Grunge was in many ways no different to the emergence of Punk. In the same way Prog Rock and Classic Rock had become lengthy and self indulgent, 80s Rock and Hair Metal was bombastic, mysoginistic and technically focused and excluded a lot of musos who couldn’t connect emotionally or musically with it. So if a DIY style of hard rock from the Pacific North West had not replaced it another musical movement would’ve.
 

Simon

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I’m sure other people have said this before, but the emergence of Grunge was in many ways no different to the emergence of Punk. In the same way Prog Rock and Classic Rock had become lengthy and self indulgent, 80s Rock and Hair Metal was bombastic, mysoginistic and technically focused and excluded a lot of musos who couldn’t connect emotionally or musically with it. So if a DIY style of hard rock from the Pacific North West had not replaced it another musical movement would’ve.
The big difference between the emergence of punk and grunge what's that grunge was radio friendly and dominated the airwaves. Punk was much more of an underground scene. Being old enough to have experienced when grunge came out I can say that I have never seen a bigger change in radio overnight.
 

Dennybob

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You forgot to mention Winger. They were very popular right before grunge.
I've never seen bands have a quicker death then when grunge came out.
It was refreshing compared to silly bands like that.
Sad part is the “marketing/branding” IE hair and clothes, video filmmaking, did in band like Winger too. Plus Beavis & Butthead “Winger sucks.” Not a big Winger fan, but every member of that band is a monster player still - Reb Beach’s new instrumental guitar work is killer.

Music is ever flowing, not a contest, and peoples tastes are easily swayed by the radio or now - Spotify/Apple Music.

I was in a progressive metal band from the mid-eighties to the late 90s - we were doing long form metal inspired by our heroes, plus just like a lot of other “prog metal” bands, we were shooting for YES mixed with Metallica :) We had plenty of gigs all through the nineties.

Dream Theater came along and we were like - that’s it, that’s the sound we’ve been looking for - but we were 90% originals. We continued to record and play out enough to make a living until the late 90s when it became harder to find replacements that could play the parts when someone left.

Plus it’s hard to stay out all night in a bar at 20+ years clean and your day job (which you love too) pays a lot more to support the family.

I still play, now at church where I get a chance to make about 1,500 people happy on a Sunday morning and still add my style to Christian rock songs (and kick them up a notch). I write and record originals, but I haven’t played a club in twenty years. I can go to jams with ten or so musicians and about 40 onlookers at my friends recording studio on thursdays. We have a killer time - An African American lady with powerful pipes aka Aretha, one guy thinks he’s Al DI Meola, I play classic rock/blues/jazz, we have a couple of rappers, a Jazz drummer, a Christian/honky tonk pianist, and I play bass for fun too - I think I’m John Paul Jones ;)

I love 90s music and I’m a child of 80s metal (not hair metal, real metal). Give me Pantera, Godsmack, Alice and Chains, STP, (God I miss Type O Negative) etc. I’d still rather go see Maiden.
 

somedude

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8,074
Where I’m from it was 90s dance music that killed the live music scene. All the biggest venues converted to DJs. DUI didn’t affect us as the venues were walking distance from the universities, and smoking laws surprisingly increased attendance.

The live venue that held out the longest was a goth bar that hosted alternative and nu-metal bands, but it became harder for them to find good acts and they too became reliant on DJs.

Throughout this there was a couple Irish pubs that specialized in folk music that kept doing live music a couple nights a week.

Most of the classic rock cover band guys I knew converted to country, and country was starting to convert to classic rock with clean guitars so it was a good fit.

That said, eventually the big country bar in town also converted to DJs and live music was pretty much dead.
 

gtrdave

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Curious as to how some of you may have been impacted.

Starting with my arrival in L.A. in 1987, I played original music exclusively for the next 7 years, morphing from heavy metal in the late '80s to more alt-rock through the mid-'90s, playing all over the southwest. Lots of gigs, lots of fun, lots of great people and zero money. Then I entered the country cover scene and played tons of shows all over SoCal with a variety of established and pick-up bands. Lots of gigs, lots of fun and, for a change, a little bit of money.
At this same time, some of my friends back in the northeast U.S. were in cover bands, playing from Philly to Virginia and beyond and making a $#!+-ton of money, some more than others, but the cover band scene (so I'm told) was pretty massive thru the '90s.
Two different perspectives from the different coasts of America.

How much did grunge music affect any of us?
Probably not at all except for giving us new music to listen to. I never played any of their tunes back in the day, but I was a big fan of Nirvana, Soundgarden and AIC and still am. I rarely listen to hair metal these days, but I'll listen to Superunkown or Dirt several times through, especially if I'm working in the garage or whatever.
 

Dennybob

Member
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44
Starting with my arrival in L.A. in 1987, I played original music exclusively for the next 7 years, morphing from heavy metal in the late '80s to more alt-rock through the mid-'90s, playing all over the southwest. Lots of gigs, lots of fun, lots of great people and zero money. Then I entered the country cover scene and played tons of shows all over SoCal with a variety of established and pick-up bands. Lots of gigs, lots of fun and, for a change, a little bit of money.
At this same time, some of my friends back in the northeast U.S. were in cover bands, playing from Philly to Virginia and beyond and making a $#!+-ton of money, some more than others, but the cover band scene (so I'm told) was pretty massive thru the '90s.
Two different perspectives from the different coasts of America.

I was in Boston, and you’re right about the $$ at the time. I moved to Tampa, which was the center of Goth in the 90s, so you were more likely to hear NIN (not a cover, the actual band) or Type O Negative in some famous clubs at the time like Masquerade.

But we also had metal everywhere. TSO came out of here, so did Iced Earth (and yes, I was friends with Jon Schaffer, musically and politically, but so totally disagree with 1/6/21, he went cray-cray over time).

I digress, we made a living playing metal originals without sacrificing our souls to the altar of play what’s popular even if you don’t like it.
 




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