Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Jonathan31, Aug 13, 2019 at 9:30 AM.
You’re in Dead & Co.??
Well...you threw in the condition..." No one in the general public will pay money..."...and I do get that there are places where people WANT to hear the same old covers, just as background noise while they dance and party....and that's fine if you accept that.
There are clubs that 1.) don't have a cover charge, and 2.) promote original music/bands, and there are lots of people who want that...to hear something new, something different.
There has to be some kind of crossover between forever stuck in the cover/party band world and becoming a regional, and may be eventually national, etc...original act.
You're not going to just jump from doing nothing but covers...to getting signed as an original act.
That said...I think these days there are WAY too many musicians who realize that they are well past their prime or chance of ever making it as an original act...so they fall back on just doing the same old covers for the next 30 years.
Heck...when I see bands doing the exact same covers that I was doing 30 years ago...it's not something I would ever want to pay to go hear.
My band played on Broadway a few times over the past year, which was kind of a bucket list deal coming from Atlanta. Tootsies and Honky Tonk Central. I can tell you that when we played HTC we were one of three bands playing in just that bar during our time slot. Same thing with Tootsies. My guess is 70 - 100 bands\artists are playing at one time on a Saturday night.
We obviously saw a number of other bands and some of the guitarists were doing things I didn't even understand. They are just top tier professionals practicing their craft. All the other musicians we met with were just super nice folks.
BTW ....Martin McDaniel is one of my favorite artists to see there. I saw him at AJ's a few months back and they just lit it up that night as usual.
Well, they way I see it there are two parts to this story...one is what songs you want to play in your band, and two is what songs you want to hear your favorite band play. In my bands, sure, i would love to play 100% what I (we) want to play and have a crowd full of happy dancing folks, but that just won't happen, so...I would rather have a happy drinking crowd that will make the bar a lot of money and get us more gigs that to play our originals to 5 people...that's not satisfying at all. OTOH if I've seeing a favorite band, i.e. ZZ Top...I've seen them so many times that I would LOVE a show of their non hits, but most people at a ZZ Top should would NOT be happy about that, and they know it, so they play the hits, with maybe one or two off-the-wall songs thrown in...
Define "one good original music gig"...
How do you promote original music and not have a cover charge?
By promote, do you mean allow to work for free?
Apologies, I misunderstood.
Yeah...I get the whole "listener" VS "musician" thing...and I didn't mean to imply I NEVER want to hear a cover or and artists pay his major hits. I was mostly responding to the BB King question...I'm just so tired of hearing "The Thrill is Gone" any time someone mentions a BB King song.
So I do like hearing a good band playing some good covers...but as a musician, I feel that I need to promote original music, any way, any time I can...and as a musician, that's what makes music interesting to me.
As a listener it's fine to put on a few CDs of my favorite bands, and listen to the songs I like, from days gone by...etc...though I also want to hear new stuff from my favorite artists, if they are still making music...or some new bands, doing their original music.
As a musician, I want to be more creative than just churn out covers night after night.
What I mean by one good original gig...is any gig that lets you do your music, without having to "sneak" an original song in here-n-there, sandwiched in-between the typical crowd pleasing covers...and hope that the hit covers will help carry the one original...etc.
I'm the Hudson Valley, in NY...and there are some places that do that. I'm not 100% sure which force you to play "for free" because they have no cover charge....but IMO, that's part of the original dues. There are start-up cover bands that end up doing some freebies just to get their foot in the door...so it's not that big a deal...but you can eventually move to some paying original gigs...but the real point is to promote your original music in front of a lot of people...and these are people who are coming to hear, original music...not another rendition of "Mustang Sally".
They are anamatronic cyborgs taking visual snapshots of the tab for the requested song, occasionally interspersed with floor plans and targeting schematics for when the command to exterminate the human race is finally given.
Let's not forget that these Nashville guitar players are also probably songwriters as well. Money to be made in that. Some of them have studios. Others are streaming ads on Youtube. There's more to this business than playing guitar.
Most probable explanation so far.
There are venues here in Nashville that promote original music but very little original rock.
I play in Key West a 2-3 weeks a year and run into quite a few musicians from Nashville.
back home they only make good $ if the tips are there, and of course lot's of competition. Most have multiple Irons in the fire.
OP You should see some of the bands/Duos that take requests in KW, they never take breaks, and know tons of songs! they make big tip $. But stay on stage for literally 4+ hours.
First place that comes to mind is called Irish Kevin's, they have act after act and they all have the gift of gab, they border on being Comedian/Musicians.
I can't go that long without a Piss!
In MI We have piano bars, and it's all about requests.
I know a guy that plays at the biggest Grand Rapids piano bar. He plays all instruments including drums and guitar. It's maybe a 8hr a day job, and they take turns being on break.
He works 6 nights a week and has had the gig for maybe 15yrs. In this day and age that would be considered a really cool gig, at least It's a living. .
That's the great thing about Nashville. You can do shifts downtown and make money, but also showcase original music at a number of places. I don't mean to make it seem easy, but if you have talent and hustle, there are opportunities for either. Until you get some recognition, the money is definitely in covers, so I've always taken the approach of doing both. I play cover gigs so I don't have to have a day job, but work on original projects at all other times. I know a few guys that only do originals (that are still working to get recognized or a deal), and most of them have to work a day job unrelated to music. I've found that staying connected to music and keeping the guitar in your hands is beneficial in almost any capacity. You can choose to be mad about playing certain things, or you can analyze the songs and ask yourself why people want to hear these certain tunes over and over again. Being a great creator starts with being a great listener and a student of the craft.
Side note, despite what has been said in this thread, I don't usually hear that much note for note stuff downtown. There is some of that, but most players use downtown as a way to blow off steam and cut loose a little bit. Nashville is a "song" town, so most of the time players are told to pull it back like 95% in sessions. You spend a lot of time building up chops and then take the Ferrari to the grocery store lol. Downtown gives you a little bit of a license to overplay and take some liberties. This also makes playing certain stuff more bearable.
it’s my understanding that they are only payed in tips, like Austin Tx.... maybe a Nashville musician will chime in.....
I would say they knew the songs and were using chord charts just in case.
I would say the pinnacle of talent would be never having played something like Wind Cries Mary or Panama, but having heard it many times, and being able to play it close to note for note just by being thrown a key.
That would take a lot of talent. But I can see it. Jazz musicians are able to do similar.
So far i've found lots of great original rock- places like The Basement, The Basement East, The East Room, Exit/In, The End, Analog (shameless plug we're playing there Sat), 5 Spot, and Dee's. Most of these have little to no covers being played.
This seems spot on to what I have seen in my trips to Nashville and knowing some guys in the scene there as well.
Great post and I wish you well in your career!
Based on a couple visits to Nashville and some evenings spend in Broadway bars, it seems that a good working knowledge of around 50 country and southern rock classics would cover about 99% of drunken requests.
Most people don't realize how recently the South Broadway strip came to be what it is today.
My brother took me to Tootsie's one weeknight around 1987-88 and it was DEAD...not just that bar but everything for blocks around it was dark at night. They didn't even have refrigerators in Tootsie's...they were selling tall boys out of Igloo coolers.
A few years later I had a job that required me to go up for a monthly meeting on 4th Avenue, close to Printer's Alley. There were a few restaurants and clubs on 2nd Avenue (remember Mere Bulles?) but mostly it was still quiet at night.
Then came BB King's and a few other things along 2nd and Broad.
It was probably the late 90's before the strip started to take shape in a meaningful way.