12/6/2009-BAND PRIMER-Picking Songs in a Cover Band-Songs You Want to Play or Songs Off the Radio-Pt.2




Hi there! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.Last month we started talking about what songs to play if you’re in a cover band-specifically playing popular songs off the radio to hopefully help in bringing in people, getting paid & keeping the club owner happy. However, with a number of musicians, the thought of playing popular songs makes them want to puke-and/or they’ll play popular songs-albeit one’s popular 20 to 30 years ago. Let’s take on the older popular songs 1st.

-When you are doing covers, you’re basically playing the role of a jukebox-albeit a living, breathing one. One thing to keep in mind. Just because you-as a musician- like a song does not mean everyone else does. There’s nothing wrong w/ that BTW. Generally-when playing covers, you’re not there to express yourself, show your ability or other “artistic” things. You’re there to provide a service to the people. Some musicians have a hard time understanding this. Some never do.It’s one reason why DJ’s replace bands. Being “artistic” w/ covers is another subject best left for a future article.

-With older popular songs. It really depends on the song. One good thing to do is go see the popular cover bands in your area & check out what they’re playing. More importantly, see how their crowds react to them. While there are a number of factors involved, chances are if you hear a certain song getting a great reaction a number of times, consider adding it to your set list (keeping in mind factors like style, ability, etc.). This is true with any type of cover song. When it comes to doing older covers, you have to take your audience into consideration. Do you generally draw an older crowd? They might not be into the newer stuff. Same goes with younger crowd w/ older stuff.

-I can hear it already from older musicians-“But what about Guitar Hero/Rock Band video games? There’s a whole new audience for the older stuff. We can play all the classic tunes and they’ll love it!” Maybe-maybe not. Here’s a catch to that-yes, those games introduced that music to the younger generation-but when you were their age,did you generally go see local bands where the age difference between you & them was 15-20+ years? Most people would say no. Young people might be getting into the older stuff, but generally if they want to see a local band play it live, they want a band that’s around their age.group.playing it.

-I know a lot of musicians/bands who don’t want nothing to do with covering modern music-they want to play like it’s the 80’s (for ex.)-and that’s fine per say. Just realize that every year more people that are into that scene leave for various reasons and the crowds for it get smaller & smaller.My friend Mike Merrifield said it best-“Every year someone who’s into the older scene leaves it-never to return. It happens when people get older. On the flip side, every year someone turns 21 and enters the scene-and, for the most part, they want to hear “their” music-not their “Dad’s.” It can be a very bitter pill for musicians to swallow. Of course, there are exceptions to this-as well as other variables to take into account…

-Out of space! Have a Merry X-mas & a Happy New Year! Cya in 2010!


About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is Wayne W. Johnson (WWJ) & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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