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  • Cover bands and "integrity"

     

    I don't understand how some people think that playing a certain type of covers means they have more "intergrity" that someone playing another type of covers. To me, the people that feel like they are filled up with musical integrity when they play in a metal/classic-rock cover band, while they think that pop/disco/80's cover bands are a joke, are somewhat delusional. Playing covers is playing covers. It's all the same. The only difference is the audience you reach, and whatever might make you happy. But, I don't think it gives you more "integrity."

     

     

     

     

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  • #2

    Yeah, I never get the "this song is better than that one" thing.  Song choice is subjective.  My wife would rather have a root canal than listen to Steely Dan.  Most musicians would disagree.  Is she lacking "integrity" because she'd rather listen to Rihanna? 

    Integrity comes from doing your job with purpose and respect.  Respect for the material and respect for the audience.  You can be a dishwasher with integrity or a fine dining chef without.  It isn't the material that defines ones integrity.

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    • SeniorBlues
      SeniorBlues commented
      Editing a comment

      Your choice of the word "integrity" is way too provocative.  Having siad that, I've always assumed that there are different songs for different purposes.  What I listen to, what I play for my own enjoyment, and what I play because the band leader thinks it's appropriate for a gig are all different.  If you make no distinction between those categories, then we'll never understand each other.

      My band is the most eclectic I've ever played with.  Over the last year, we've played rock, soul, swing, jazz, funk, disco, rhumba, blues, pop, oldies, country, metal . . . I'm sure I'm leaving out some.  

      As an example, a lot of people love to hate disco, but when I was asked to learn "I Will Survive", I treated it like any other song, and actually enjoyed playing it.

      I don't care much for country, but maybe that has more to do with the fact that I don't think I play it very well.  I thnk that's at the heart of this issue.

      Tacking on to the current thread that I suspect prompted this question, I think it's easy to demonstrate that some song forms don't have much meat on them compared to some others.  Depends on the roll of your instrument in the arranegement, to some extent.  Frank Zappa's symphony was highly influenced by Edgar Varese, so his comment about being sick of playing "Louie Louie" all night when he was young is perhaps another way of saying that he had more integrity than that.  There is nothing you can do to that song to make it less boring to play without morphing into something completely different.


  • #3

    I was going to type something up, but I think guido hit the nail on the head...

    Integrity comes from doing your job with purpose and respect.  Respect for the material and respect for the audience.  You can be a dishwasher with integrity or a fine dining chef without.  It isn't the material that defines ones integrity.

    Musicians are sure a judgmental bunch... and that can be taken in more ways than one.  I've always thought we are lucky everyone is not as judgmental or else we would have no to listen to the music.

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    • race81
      race81 commented
      Editing a comment

      The musicians I know that play for big name artist say they still play covers....If you didnt compose/write the song its still a cover of someone.  Who really care anyhow besides the people that are closed minded.  Our band plays a wide variety of music......still too early to know if its helping us or hurting us.  Im starting to think it depends on the crowd. 


  • #4
    Great thread. I don't know any people personally that use the word "integrity" to describe themselves playing music, but I'm sure they are out there.

    Ultimately, people have different goals. Some people prefer to play Rush and Yes covers (in reference to New Trail's Crappy Bandmate thread) and they may feel they are being more true to themselves by doing so. Others don't really care what they play as long as the crowds love it, they are booked steadily and making decent money. I'm more in this camp. Sure, there are bands that would be cool to cover live, but I pick stuff that will go over in the places we play. I agree that people come across as pretty silly if they were to consider themselves having more integrity than bands that play songs they don't like.
    (This is my Non-Signature.)

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    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment

      tim_7string wrote:

      Ultimately, people have different goals.


      To some degree, of course.  But ultimately aren't most of us going out on stage for the same reason?  Isn't the goal the play music in a live setting in front of an appreciative audience who really likes what we do and the way we do it and we try to make as much money as we can doing that?

      Is there really much more to it than that?  The only difference, it seems, is the methods we choose to get to that place, but aren't we all trying to get to that same place?

      I think we all spend way too much time arguing over methods and confusing the methods for the goals when, in reality, we're all pretty much trying to get to the same place.


  • #5

    Tullsterx wrote:

     


    I don't understand how some people think that playing a certain type of covers means they have more "intergrity" that someone playing another type of covers. To me, the people that feel like they are filled up with musical integrity when they play in a metal/classic-rock cover band, while they think that pop/disco/80's cover bands are a joke, are somewhat delusional. Playing covers is playing covers. It's all the same. The only difference is the audience you reach, and whatever might make you happy. But, I don't think it gives you more "integrity."


     


     


     


     




    I don

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    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment

      Thank you Mr. Anka.


  • #6
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    • modulusman
      modulusman commented
      Editing a comment

      guido61 wrote:
      **************** solos and duos.

      lol. That is where the pinheads hang out.


  • #7
    I'm not really sure about the concept of "we can't " comes from. Or that I make it sound so easy. It is like anything musical, an acquired skill. Just like hearing a third above the vocalist and doing a harmony is, so is basic creativity. I'm not saying it's easy and it happens overnight but what I am saying is it is a worthwhile goal and just as important as singing a harmony vocal, playing a good bass part, or doing a basic rendition of Louis Louis is.
    ___

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    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment

      Lee Knight wrote:
      I'm not really sure about the concept of "we can't " comes from. Or that I make it sound so easy. It is like anything musical, an acquired skill. Just like hearing a third above the vocalist and doing a harmony is, so is basic creativity. I'm not saying it's easy and it happens overnight but what I am saying is it is a worthwhile goal and just as important as singing a harmony vocal, playing a good bass part, or doing a basic rendition of Louis Louis is.

      I'm not so sure that creativity is an "acquired skill", but beyond that I agree.  It's a worthwhile goal.


  • #8

    Tullsterx wrote:

     

    I don't understand how some people think that playing a certain type of covers means they have more "intergrity" that someone playing another type of covers. To me, the people that feel like they are filled up with musical integrity when they play in a metal/classic-rock cover band, while they think that pop/disco/80's cover bands are a joke, are somewhat delusional. Playing covers is playing covers. It's all the same. The only difference is the audience you reach, and whatever might make you happy. But, I don't think it gives you more "integrity."

     

     

     

     


    Ok, let me pose a question to you. Say there are two guitarists who both play SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Player A plays it because he loves the song, loves playing all the tasty licks and solos, and enjoys singing it. Player B absolutely despises the song but still plays it purely because he sees it as somewhat of a cash cow. Do you see any difference in integrity between the two?

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    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment

      tlbonehead wrote:

       


      Ok, let me pose a question to you. Say there are two guitarists who both play SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Player A plays it because he loves the song, loves playing all the tasty licks and solos, and enjoys singing it. Player B absolutely despises the song but still plays it purely because he sees it as somewhat of a cash cow. Do you see any difference in integrity between the two?


      Let me pose a question to you:  Let's say a guy takes a gig as a guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Let's say he takes it in part because it's a good gig that pays well, but also in part because he's always liked Skynryd as well.  But he's always hated Sweet Home Alabama.   Obviously, he's going to play that song every night regardless of his personal feelings for that song.  Does he sacrifice his integrity by doing so?


  • #9

    The minute I hear the words "integrity" used in the context of a cover band - I pretty much laugh, because I recognize it for what it is - some condescending douchnozzle spinning some pswedo-intellectual rationalization in an attempt to position himself as somehow being superior to the musician next to him.  (Note the misspelling of pseudo is intentional).

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    • #10
      I don
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      • #11
        Nah I'm not pondering. I already had it figured out way before this thread was started.
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        • Kramerguy
          Kramerguy commented
          Editing a comment

          I see a lot of agreement here about bands that do the "album versions" of songs being unimaginative or lazy, when there's another perspective to that which is seemingly ignored-

          I'm a note-for-note player.  I take pride in learning the nuances and struggling with the exact flick of the finger, vibrato, style, and note emphasis on each and every note.  Being able to channel the original artist not only improves my ability as a player, but adds to the arsenal of abilities when I choose to write my own, and helps me change THAT up to further develop my own style.

          Now we can separate the difference between changing an arrangement vs. changing a strum pattern, but in the end, when I see most bands "do it their way", it's almost always sloppy and lazy in how they neglect to learn something the "proper" way for whatever reason.. I can't count how many times I see a band open into Simple Man, and the guitar player strums the intro because he was too lazy to learn the picking pattern.  Or how many times have you heard the same with other songs, to the point that it took you way longer than it should have to even recognize what song the hacked intro even was?

          Granted, many bands do remakes and mashups extremely well, just like many note-for-note bands do what they do very well.  It's the majority of players inbetween you should be complaining about, not the people who choose to approach it differently than you do.


      • #12

        Tullsterx wrote:

         

        I don't understand how some people think that playing a certain type of covers means they have more "intergrity" that someone playing another type of covers. To me, the people that feel like they are filled up with musical integrity when they play in a metal/classic-rock cover band, while they think that pop/disco/80's cover bands are a joke, are somewhat delusional. Playing covers is playing covers. It's all the same. The only difference is the audience you reach, and whatever might make you happy. But, I don't think it gives you more "integrity."

         

        No Such Thing.

         

         

         

         


         

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        • Lee Knight
          Lee Knight commented
          Editing a comment

          What I find interesting about some of the replies here is that a lot are from a static point of view. Seeing themselves as this static quantity. "This is who I am, this is what I do." So then, it's easy to see someone poking at your way of doing things as poking at you. I don't particularly look at it like that. 


           


          I'm a moving target. I've always looked at my involvement with music as an ongoing process.


           


          Some guys say, "I'm a note for note player".  And then suggest, "That's way better than the guy who plays a song's intro in a lazy way... in the name of doing it his own way."  Of course, that's a cop out. I think it's great being able to play note for note. Personally I think it's kind of essential for being a good musician. But...


           


          ...I see so many people see that as the end of the process. As if that were the only logical conclusion. Like I say, nothing wrong with that at all, and I've personally never said there was. But...


           


          ...there are other places to go from there. Does that equal integrity? Well, of course not. But to suggest that playing a lazy version of a song is "doing it your own way" suggesting "see what a waste that can be?!??!" isn't really talking to the point. 


           


          So the word "integrity". Merriam-Webster:


           


          Definition of INTEGRITY



          1

          : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility



          2

          : an unimpaired condition : soundness



          3

          : the quality or state of being complete or undivided :completeness

           

           

           

           

          Adherence to a code of moral or ARTIST values.

           


          Is there art in being a "note for note player"? Of course. But just as the player who stops too short and doesn't learn the intro to Simple Man, or whatever the song is, seems to lack in an adherence to a code of artistic values, so does, for me, so does the player who consistently stops short at just learning it note for note seem to lack a certain degree of adhering to a code of artist values as well. 

           

          Not the act of learning note for note, but thinking that's all there is to it. And don't say that doesn't happen all too often.

           

           

          Watch opera singer Renee Fleming's HBO show on training 4 young opera singers. They're learning "songs" note for note too. And yet... they absolutely adhere to a code of artistic values. They bleed from digging in deep to that material and their instrument.

           

          It's a great question to ask ourselves. Am I adhering to a code of artistic values?


           


      • #13

        Integrity....it's a personal thing. Judging another's integrity regarding cover choice is silly. Your job is to play your ass off. Period. That CREATES integrity. Paul and Buddy get it. If you are "out of your integrity" cuz you don't like playing a certain song, then your situation needs to be changed.

         

        Play your ****************ing ass off. Always. Every note. That's the only performance integrity a coverband needs to worry about.

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        • Lee Knight
          Lee Knight commented
          Editing a comment

          And BTW, I can't for the life of me see how covering one song vs. the other has more or less integrity. You didn't write them. There is no "grooviness by association here" like a lot of guys seem to think. Covering Lady Gaga is just as fine as covering Jason Aldean or Fun. 


           


          Any stigma attached to it is only in the minds of lesser musicians with too much time spent talking and not doing. What's cooler, you covering a cool act or you doing something cool? I can't beleive there's any mystery to this stuff.

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