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  • #16
    Originally posted by Hardtailed
    So I'm torn: do I quit the cover act and risk never making it with my own stuff, or abandon the rock star ambition and keep having a blast as long as it lasts? I could never find another band like the one I play in, we're just not your typical cover band...

    Maybe you could schedule yourself in cycles to give yourself some additional time off for writing? For a month play hard, then the next month cut to half-time and use the time off to write, and then play a lot again, including what you came up with on your "down" time, and then cycle back again for more writing, etc. Pick your own time period - month, six weeks, two months, whatever. It could strike a new balance in your music that allows you to be more productive in ways you haven't been able to.
    -M.Cz
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    • #17
      The big question becomes... is the music about stroking your ego, and asking the audience to praise your genius by applauding YOUR songs, or is it about doing what it takes to really entertain THEM...


      Cover songs entertain... originals bands are about working hard on the craft of songwriting to develop something that people will respond to. It's hard work, but it's also more rewarding when it actually happens. Personally, it's more fun to see 1200 people 'out there' dancing and shaking to a song you wrote and massaged and changed into something you think will work, than it is to get 'em with something you know they will respond to.


      OTOH, it's a lotta fun to watch people really respond to songs they know and love.


      I work primarily in originals bands, but I'm looking for a cover band to scratch that 'itch'.
      mUk: an insignificant or contemptible person


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      • #18
        Originally posted by guitarmook
        The big question becomes... is the music about stroking your ego, and asking the audience to praise your genius by applauding YOUR songs, or is it about doing what it takes to really entertain THEM...


        I totally understand your question, but I think it's sad that it needs to be asked in that way (and this is not a criticism of you, but the way things are right now). Why is music suddenly a battle of egos between the musicians and the audience and we can't see a way out? Either you "stroke your ego" or you pander to your audience's egos. Neither one is particularly satisfying for either party.

        To me, the relationship between musicians and audience should be like making love. The audience isn't there to watch you jerk off, and you're not there to take orders from them and fulfill all their demands. Know what I mean?
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        • #19
          Frankly, I always consider writing an original song to be like creating a present for the listener - yes, I consider whether or not it will be appreciated by the recipient, but this present will also reflect my personality, so that it is unique to me and no one else. I don't see it as win/lose in either direction, but hopefully win/win for me and the listener.
          -M.Cz
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          • #20
            Originally posted by guitarmook
            The It's hard work, but it's also more rewarding when it actually happens. Personally, it's more fun to see 1200 people 'out there' dancing and shaking to a song you wrote and massaged and changed into something you think will work, than it is to get 'em with something you know they will respond to.


            To me it's all bout the old trick of the pause in the middle of the song where you have the audience sing the hook. Just the mere thought of them singing my song gives me goosebumps. Or when you start a riff and within a few seconds people are going nuts (like when you play the intro to Thunderstruck), imagine if it was YOU freaking song that they are so happy to hear.

            I don't get to see many shows because I'm always playing, over the last year I've seen two bands! First was Metallica, and it was quite impressive to see more than 10 000 people cheering and screaming (sounded like a thunderstorm!) but the show was frankly dull. They're just to big at this point to be enjoyable.

            Recently however I went to see Story of the Year and it reminded me just why I want to do originals! They are such an incredible live band (honestly, I hate the CD, don't even own it), the show is full of dynamics to keep the crowd going at all time. When the light closed and you started hearing feedbacks from the guitars, everyone was screaming their lungs off, and then out of nowhere they blast into "The hero will drown" (it's in the game Need For Speed Undergroud btw), I couldn't help my "mature" self and I started jumping and singing along like a teenager! The song is well thought out, with mellower parts to give the fast parts more impact, there's a break in the middle so they can salute the audience while the guitars keep ringing, then they blast into the "funkier" part of the song that rebuilds the momentum and then just before it explodes again, it's the old trick of voice and clean guitar only with the hook sung an octave lower, and it works! Everyone sings along and then BAM they burst again. By the end of the song sweat is pouring all over your body.

            I want to be the guy on the stage who incite such behaviour! I want people going nuts on my songs. I want to have sold out concerts in places big enough to have an impressive crowd, but small enough to have more impact.

            Ok so I guess it's about the ego
            What is this sorcery?

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            • #21
              Most of the originals are a rehashing of somebody else's music and not all that original. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
              HCGB Trooper #24

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              • #22
                Originally posted by fastplant
                What I tend to see in original bands are people who will write music THEY want to hear, but don't really think much about what other people want to hear. So they end up alienating their fanbase before they create it. WIth a cover band, you usually do it the other way around. So of course it's going to be more successful.

                Couldn't disagree more with the above statement. Music is not about what Bob in the audience wants to hear - it's about what you as an artist are trying to express.

                If the audience don't get it, then they don't get it; that's all there is to it. But a band should never write their own material thinking about what other people want to hear. Where's the honesty, sincerity or passion in that? That would be like asking an artist to paint what he wants the viewer to see - it's not going to happen.

                I suppose ultimately it depends what your aim is with music. If your goal is to write music for the masses then of course you have to consider what "they" want to hear - but then you wouldn't really be writing anything original would you?

                Every song I've helped write has been influenced by what I want to hear; it's about the message I'm trying to communicate. If other people like it then that's amazing but never for one second would I consider changing a song just so "they" would like it.

                The most important thing about any song I help write is whether I like it because after all, it is "my" song.

                - DM
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                • #23
                  Our shows consist of about half original and half covers, but we choose covers that are 'B' sides, less known, but that fit musically with our originals.

                  We gig about three weekends a month, and we have two completely different acts comprised of the same four musicians. One full electric blues rock show that we play at festivals and clubs, and an acoustic blues/variety show that we play in restaurants and small bars. It keeps us working, keeps us versitile.

                  I'd rather hear something original ANY DAY. But the musicians I talk to at open mics and shows say they don't get a good response to their originals. My response to them? Write better originals. Keep writing, keep playing them out. Of all the tunes I've written, some are big audience favorites and some tend to wander off and sulk by themselves because either the audience doesn't respond or we just get tired of them. If they don't have staying power for US, they sure won't with the audience. Write more.

                  Music is about drawing people together. Originals must have some common ground for the audience or the connection doesn't happen and the song falls flat. And ode to your child hood teddy bear isn't going to get anywhere, unless your listeners can relate to that teddy bear angst. Reaching a common ground with your listeners isn't the same thing as sounding like another band.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by DrumMonkey

                    Couldn't disagree more with the above statement. Music is not about what Bob in the audience wants to hear - it's about what you as an artist are trying to express.
                    - DM


                    I think you misunderstood my post. I'm not saying people should sit around saying, "hmmm, what do people want to hear." And then write to that. What I'm saying is you need to consider the audience when writing. If you don't, then it will likely fall on deaf ears. It's cool if you write only for yourself, but don't be surprised if no one digs it. That seems to be the issue. People write what THEY want to hear then get frustrated that they're not famous.
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                    • #25
                      w3rd
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                      No good deed goes unpunished.

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                      • #26
                        People who play in cover bands are Entertainers. Immediate gratification and cash flow are the results.

                        People who play in original bands are Creative Artists. A riskier investment of one's time since the chance of acclaim and cash flow are small, UNLESS you make it big.

                        I have more respect for original bands even if they suck or don't get recognition becuase at least they are creating something. cover bands don't create anything.

                        That said, I'd like the next band I join to be a cover band. I am not a prolific writer. I wish I were the creative artist type but I'm not. that's just facing reality. I just want to have fun playing out. its hard finding a band that wants to do the kind of covers I want to do. I just want to play the songs that I love to hear.

                        the last cover band I was in I hated because it was all about playing what the crowd wanted to hear (pop punk crap like Greenday, whereas I wanted to play classic rock). It was the worst of both worlds. I wasn't experiencing the reward of playing original creative works as I would in an original band, and I wasn't having fun playing covers because they were crap Top 40 covers.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by fastplant


                          I think you misunderstood my post. I'm not saying people should sit around saying, "hmmm, what do people want to hear." And then write to that. What I'm saying is you need to consider the audience when writing. If you don't, then it will likely fall on deaf ears. It's cool if you write only for yourself, but don't be surprised if no one digs it. That seems to be the issue. People write what THEY want to hear then get frustrated that they're not famous.


                          When writing songs, we need to understand/realize how the listeners ear-to-head relationship works. You can say whatever you want in your lyric and your music can do what it does, but you have to consider your audience with a little thing called a "hook" that I saw refered to only once in this thread. Ya just gotta have one, people. Why do you think people start cheering every time they hear Sweet Home Alabama? That is a great example of a very average song with an incredible hook! It's the hook in most songs that keeps your audience coming back for more.

                          That being said, I play in a band that does about 50/50 covers and originals. I've released three original CDs and can do more or less depending on the crowd. Originals is surely more fun and more satisfying, but we have to keep the crowd drinking or we don't get hired back.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by THB


                            You can say whatever you want in your lyric and your music can do what it does, but you have to consider your audience with a little thing called a "hook" that I saw refered to only once in this thread. Ya just gotta have one, people. Why do you think people start cheering every time they hear Sweet Home Alabama? That is a great example of a very average song with an incredible hook! It's the hook in most songs that keeps your audience coming back for more.


                            Agree 100%. It seems like, atleast in the local original music I've been exposed to, that bands can't write a hook to save their life. I almost get the impression that they purposely avoid them because think they are selling out if they write a catchy hook. I just don't get it.
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                            • #29
                              Oh yeah, well songcraftsmanship is important no matter what! Of course... I could argue that I try to write songs with hooks because I'm a FAN of songs with hooks. On the flip side one could be in a cover band that played King Crimson or something, and probably empty the room just as fast as all those original bands with no hooks.
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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by worthyjoe


                                Agree 100%. It seems like, atleast in the local original music I've been exposed to, that bands can't write a hook to save their life. I almost get the impression that they purposely avoid them because think they are selling out if they write a catchy hook. I just don't get it.


                                Exactly, I think purposely NOT writing hooks is selling out more than trying to write a good song.
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