Gold Supporting Member
- Aug 11, 2005
- Reaction score
- Bluegrass of Kentucky
First of all, I don't want to seem like some kind of elitist about playing covers as I realize that there are tons of players much better than me who only play covers and who make good money by doing so… and anyone who’s able to make good money playing music gets some respect from me. That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense. Other than a casual group of folks that I’ve played jazz standards with here and there, I’ve always played in original rock bands and the kind of places that I’ve always played at with those bands are a totally different kind of thing than the kinds of bars that regularly feature cover bands. One might see a band play a cover or two in a downtown rock club like I’m talking about, but it’ll usually be something more obscure and always a small part of the band’s set. I can remember having conversations with folks over the years where someone will say ”the thing to do is to mix in original music with covers,” but that’s never made a lot of sense to me. It seems to me that if you do that, and can get away with it, you’d still want to play originals that neatly fit into the style of covers that you’re doing… so that you don’t end up having the creative license to create your own sound, which for me is really the point of playing original music.Yep, you pretty much said it there. My "getting stiffed" incidents also date back to the 80s. One was at a huge bar in Tennessee, on the outskirts of some small town. We drove from Lexington to Tennessee, set up, played, and the bar owner cut us off short during the 1st set, because we were playing some original songs. He walked right up on stage and cut us off. People were apparently leaving because we had played 2 original songs in a row. He said, "No more of this original stuff; this is a dance bar, not a showcase" (whatever that meant). There was a guy in the band who prided himself in being street tough, and told the guy that we play originals and covers, and to deal with it. The owner walked off the stage, saying "No original music!" We played a few more covers, took the first break, played covers for the second set, then figured we could slip some more originals back in for the 3rd set. First a couple of covers, then a couple of originals, then more covers. We took a break, and he walked up to the guitarist/singer and told us to go home. No money.
The other couple of gigs were bar gigs in Lexington. 2 different bars stiffed us.
When I played in subsequent bands, I would constantly ask if we had a contract or a verbal agreement. When the band leader/booking guy would tell me "verbal agreement", my PTSD would come out. "How do you know he won't stiff us?" I'd ask, over and over. They looked at me like I was crazy. "Because people don't do that. If they don't like us, they will pay us, as agreed, and then not ask us back." "Not from what I've seen", I'd say. Again the responses I got were as if I'd come from an abusive household: "Dude, what kind of crappy bands have you been playing in? Sheesh."
So, like you wrote about, I was never quite the same after that.
Thankfully, it never happened again.
I agree 100%, and that was a lesson learned. That band was full of differing opinions regarding covers vs. originals. Mixing them was the only was to keep people from quitting at the time. I now know how it works.That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense.
That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense.