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Why do you play in a band?


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Reading this in another thread got me thinking:

 

Some of us liked to gig regularly and liked to get paid to do so. A cover gig is most likely where that action is.
;)
That said, I've been in original bands, I've written tunes, I've played them live, I've even gotten paid for a few things like that too. The thing that always surprised me was how much so-called "original" musicians really sneered at the guys playing cover gigs night after night in my town...the BEST palyers were the ones doing 15 gigs a month with three different bands- cover bands, country bands, jazz bands, original stuff- they were the real musicians out there. It usually only took a few years for some of those sneering guys got tired of playing 4th slot on some puke-a -palooza bill and going on at 1:30am, playing to 14 people through a bad sound system and started to see the value in maybe learning a few tunes and getting PAID once in awhile. Also many of them realized that they weren't that good to begin with and that their chances of "making it" were slim to none- so it started to look a little more like "fun" to rock some local bar and have everyone dancing and buying you free beer and going home with $100 in your pocket. And of course, that $100 can fund recording your original stuff as well....

 

I honestly don't care if I ever get paid to play. In fact I don't really care about gigging at all. My ultimate goals in music have absolutely nothing to do with money or an audience. They include writing and recording a great power metal CD and getting my chops up to play in a badass fusion ensemble a la RTF, Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc. I would have more fun playing fun fusion tunes with some kickass musicians in my garage than playing pop stuff to a club packed full of the hottest women I've ever seen for $1000 an hour.

 

Maybe this is why I have a hard time relating to anyone in a cover band...

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#1-- I love playing music and I love performing for an audience. Nothing I have ever done in my life---not great drugs, not great sex with supermodels, not driving a sportscar at 180 MPH---beats the high I get from an audience who is truely reacting and responding to the music I'M playing. I love watching and feeling people get off on what I do.

 

#2-- I like doing things well. I like that feeling of accomplishment. And I'm pretty good at being in a band. I know how to put together good bands and make them successful. I like working hard to be at the top of my game and the great feeling I get when I know I've met those goals.

 

#3-- a little bit of extra cash never hurts. And it feels great to be paid a fair wage for my skills. When somebody hands me a nice chunk of cash for my the use of my talents and they feel like they got their money's worth...that's a great feeling for me as well.

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I would have more fun playing fun fusion tunes with some kickass musicians in my garage than playing pop stuff to a club packed full of the hottest women I've ever seen for $1000 an hour.

 

 

C'mon now, really? In your garage v. the hottest women you've ever seen? C'mon.

 

You know there are some on this board doing both.

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#1-- I love playing music and I love performing for an audience. Nothing I have ever done in my life---not great drugs, not great sex with supermodels, not driving a sportscar at 180 MPH---beats the high I get from an audience who is truely reacting and responding to the music I'M playing. I love watching and feeling people get off on what I do.


#2-- I like doing things well. I like that feeling of accomplishment. And I'm pretty good at being in a band. I know how to put together good bands and make them successful. I like working hard to be at the top of my game and the great feeling I get when I know I've met those goals.


#3-- a little bit of extra cash never hurts. And it feels great to be paid a fair wage for my skills. When somebody hands me a nice chunk of cash for my the use of my talents and they feel like they got their money's worth...that's a great feeling for me as well.

 

 

I'm pretty much the same. I do care about the money, and I'm not ashamed of it. I add the bulk of my band money to my retirement accounts so I treat this as a second job with artistic benefits.

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David pretty much covered it before I could. I'm in a band because I've spent many years learning how to become a better entertainer. I can do that most effectively in a band. I'm good at it, I enjoy doing it, and I can make money doing it.

 

As far as being a pure musician-- I can work on original music and do 90% of it by myself. Once in a while I will recruit a keys player or drummer to lay down a part for me...I can play both of those instruments, but they're not my strong suit. I can do that whenever I want, schedule permitting. But if I'm going to pack up my gear, head out the door to a club, set up and play three hours...I'm going to do stuff that has the floor full of women shaking their asses and sends me home with - minimum - $100 a night.

 

I'm not asking the OP to relate to or even agree with me. Just trying to answer his question.

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I've played in a popular cover band for almost 10 years now... Almost 900 gigs, over 100 differen't rooms and gig situations, So many reasons I can describe.... not in any particular order:

 

 

1#- An Outlet: The greatest artistic outlet I could ask for. I have a degree... I have a career... I have job... I have a wife, a mortgage and a list of responsibilities in life. They all own a small piece of me. The one thing they don't have ownership is the passion I have for performing music... whether it's music I write or music others have written. Playing in a cover band gives me that weekly opportunity to express myself musically that playing originals doesn't offer (at least as frequently).

 

#2- Income- I've been making money since the age of 13 playing music that other people have written. In fact, over the years I've made more money playing music than people I know who have enjoyed that three record deal... and I've assumed none of the debt. That income helps to feed my passion... thousands of dollars in equipment... none of which was paid out of my pocket.

 

#3-Business- The opportunity to have equity in a managed business. I have no real equity in my day job. I have responsibilities, accountabilities and I earn a good paycheck for managing those. In the band I have a greater sense of control over the direction of my income, the opportunities we take and the experience of growing it. In a lot of ways, being in the band has allowed me to develop skills that I can use in my career and vice versa.

 

#4- Maintains my skills as a musician- Although frequent gigging doesn't allow for a ton of rehearsal, I'm constantly faced with the challenge of playing material I don't ever listen to. I'm constantly having go back to theory or sight read sheet music. If I were not playing in a band I doubt I would allot the time to play at all.

 

5#-Camraderie- I like my band mates and there is a sense of teamwork and working together that I don't have in my career (my day job is essentially solo). It doesn't rest on one person's shoulders... it takes the entire band's efforts to present the final product.

 

6#- Recognition- There's not a place I go locally that someone doesn't recognize me or the band name from playing on the local scene. We work hand in hand with two local radio stations and we've been able to build the band as a household name like any business, locally. There are perks... tt's gotten me free meals, out of speeding tickets, backstage passes... even one time to a red carpet movie premiere. It has also networked me with other serious musicians. People want to work with you when they know you are reliable. It doesn't mean that it's bigger than what it is... but it also doesn't mean you can enjoy the perks that come along the way.

 

7# Life on the Road: In many ways I have more touring experience in one year, than most will experience in 3 short lived original bands. I've gigged all over the Northeast and down the east coast as far as North Carolina (the band has gigged in Key West). Every weekend away is like a mini tour. Agents, hotels, crappy green rooms and meal reimbursments. I've experienced the best of the best and the worst of the worst. The only difference with this and the arena gig is 'scale'... oh and a 'bus'.

 

8#- The Joy of Making Others Happy- I love this job! Every weekend I get to play in front of large, appreciative audiences. It would be differen't if we didn't have a following. But when people are excited to see you, I become excited to see them.

 

I've said this many times... I have friends that have been pickup players for touring artists... in many ways their experience is more similar to playing in a cover band than in any unsigned original band. I spent my early 20's playing in two original projects I'm proud of, but neither had commercial potential. I consider myself lucky enough to have spent my 30's into 40's gigging nearly every weekend in a popular band, balancing work, music, important relationships.

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The 80's were very good to me. But if it's any consolation, the 90's totally kicked my ass....

 

I'm thinking the 80's were the greatest possible decade to 'tour'... ever at least in terms of decadence. Friends of mine that were touring musicians in the 80's have stories that movies could be written from. By the time i was old enough to gig reality and responsibility set in. ;)

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C'mon now, really? In your garage v. the hottest women you've ever seen? C'mon.

 

 

If he has actually played pop stuff to a club packed full of the hottest women he's ever seen for $1000 an hour and decided he'd rather play fusion tunes in his garage, then I can't argue with that at all. That's his choice. But something tells me.....

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I'm thinking the 80's were the greatest possible decade to 'tour'... ever at least in terms of decadence. Friends of mine that were touring musicians in the 80's have stories that movies could be written from. By the time i was old enough to gig reality and responsibility set in.
;)

 

I'm pretty sure the 80s were the best decade to be doing a whole bunch of things. I was kinda hoping the cycle would repeat in whatever we're calling this decade. But it sure doesn't look that way. :cry:

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I'm thinking the 80's were the greatest possible decade to 'tour'... ever at least in terms of decadence. Friends of mine that were touring musicians in the 80's have stories that movies could be written from.

 

 

No doubt. And I was admittedly pretty decadant back then and certainly damned lucky that I lived to tell about it. So I'm forever grateful that my irresponsibility didn't catch up me.

 

Having said that, the main thing I DIDN'T like about the 80s was that the digital camera hadn't been invented yet....

 

...or maybe that's a GOOD thing...

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Why?

 

One of the reasons is because it's 'what I do'.

 

I've been playing music since grade school, in gigging bands since sophomore year in high school.

 

I had a number of the usual interests & hobbies as a kid, teen & young adult. None of them stuck like playing in a band.

I also moved around a lot as I grew up; most places no more than 3-4 years tops. I've never lived anywhere for more than 7 years (current home). Parents divorced, remarried, divorced again, one of them remarried again...

As a result of all of that, I'm not one to keep ties to people over time/once I've moved on; have only a couple friends from 10 years ago, none from earlier than college, etc.

I'm used to things changing pretty frequently.

 

Playing music has been the only constant.

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Do the reasons change with age?

 

 

Good question!

 

I would say "kinda, sorta, not really".

 

When I was younger I was focused much more on writing originals, getting a record deal, etc. But the real motivations behind all of that were still the same ones I listed above. The only thing that really changed with age is what the reasonable expectations and outcome would be from playing music based upon those motivations.

 

So I'd say the reasons I'm DRIVEN to play music have stayed they same, but many of the incidentals---what songs I play, what gigs I play and what sort of final outcome I hope to achieve---change with my age and the changing times.

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Do the reasons change with age?

 

 

Good question. In my case I think yes. I play in an original band, was in a cover band as well but left recently and have been auditioning for and am pretty sure I am joining a newly forming cover band. I like the challenge of learning songs. I admit I am lazy and left to my own devices I fall into ruts with my playing. I need a reason to study guitar and learn new songs and solos so the welcome pressure of being responsible to band mates and preparing for practices and gigs is a big part of what drives me to play in a cover band. It also helps me to be more inventive in writing guitar parts for the original band.

 

On the other hand I also love playing for a room full of dancing chicks and that hasn't changed with age.

 

I too like the money but that hasn't changed with age either.

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I learned to play because I love music. I'm in a band and perform because honestly I love the attention. I love being on stage, I love being the center of attention, I love complements and drinks from strangers, I love having people follow the band, I love women flirting with me. Sounds shallow I know, but it's pretty easy to get hooked on. I really enjoy making the music too. It's so loud and with the lights flashing you just completely go somewhere else. If you haven't experienced it, it's hard to describe. Even though I really enjoy the music, I don't think I'd play any more if I couldn't do it for an audience.

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#1-- I love playing music and I love performing for an audience. Nothing I have ever done in my life---not great drugs, not great sex with supermodels, not driving a sportscar at 180 MPH---beats the high I get from an audience who is truely reacting and responding to the music I'M playing. I love watching and feeling people get off on what I do.


#2-- I like doing things well. I like that feeling of accomplishment. And I'm pretty good at being in a band. I know how to put together good bands and make them successful. I like working hard to be at the top of my game and the great feeling I get when I know I've met those goals.


#3-- a little bit of extra cash never hurts. And it feels great to be paid a fair wage for my skills. When somebody hands me a nice chunk of cash for my the use of my talents and they feel like they got their money's worth...that's a great feeling for me as well.

 

 

I've always loved reading your posts, you know, the ones that talk about how much better a musician you are than anyone, and how your band is better than everyone else's, about how well you've figured out success, etc. Getting to hear about all these supermodels that you're banging regularly is really just icing on the cake for me. Really, I think you're great!

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I've always loved reading your posts, you know, the ones that talk about how much better a musician you are than anyone, and how your band is better than everyone else's, about how well you've figured out success, etc. Getting to hear about all these supermodels that you're banging regularly is really just icing on the cake for me. Really, I think you're great!

 

:thu:

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I honestly don't care if I ever get paid to play. In fact I don't really care about gigging at all.

Uh-huh...:wave:

My ultimate goals in music have absolutely nothing to do with money or an audience. They include writing and recording a great power metal CD and getting my chops up to play in a badass fusion ensemble a la RTF, Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc.

What comes after that? :eek:

I would have more fun playing fun fusion tunes with some kickass musicians in my garage than playing pop stuff to a club packed full of the hottest women I've ever seen for $1000 an hour.

My garage sounds like doo-doo, I wouldn't want to play there. I can't seem to get the hot chicks to come and dance there while I make $1000 per hour either...so maybe you're onto something! :p

Maybe this is why I have a hard time relating to anyone in a cover band...

I do my original thing on the side. My cover band projects fuel my ongoing original thing. Why do one at the expense of the other? Do both man! Do you think you've learned EVERYTHING about music and no longer need to learn?

Why the grudge? Live and Let Live! :thu:

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I play music and play in bands because I love it.

 

When I was 9 I picked up my dad's guitar and started there. At 10, I took some piano lessons. At 11, I got a drumset for my birthday.

 

It's been all over ever since...sure I got some education and a job (and some age), but one of my three passions in life is music. I will play until the day I die, and I knew it at 9 years old.

 

What blows me away, is that I have figured out how to get other people to pay me to do it.

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I do my original thing on the side. My cover band projects fuel my ongoing original thing. Why do one at the expense of the other? Do both man! Do you think you've learned EVERYTHING about music and no longer need to learn?

Why the grudge? Live and Let Live!
:thu:

 

Who says I've learned even half of what I'd like to know? The problem is Lady Gaga isn't going to teach it to me - I'm sure I could learn something playing pop stuff but nothing that I really care about. Allan Holdsworth and Sergei Rachmaninoff on the other hand I could study for a long time...

 

There's no grudge here. As far as I can tell cover band guys and myself are not even living in the same universe according to what I read around here. Playing in another band takes time though, it is by definition going to be at the expense of something else. I try to spend my music-related time 100% focused on becoming a better musician, it's just a matter of priorities. Actually if I ever do get to a point where I feel like I'm "good enough" then I might start playing in a cover band for fun/$$ but that seems an unlikely event, the more I learn the more things I realize I still want to learn. And that's just on guitar, I also try to find time to practice bass, keys, drums, singing, and violin.

 

The "looking down on each other" seems to go both ways in the covers - originals debate though. The cover guys are usually just a little more slick about it.

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