When you learn cover songs............

Johnny K

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I try to learn it as best as and as close to groove and feel of the original, but for example I feel its usless and hopeless for me to try to copy Elvin Jones beat for beat if I want to do a Coltrane song like My Favorite Things.
 

blueshadow

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I used to until I started listening to live recordings and the drummer most of the time plays it different live than the recording even at what I call the "pro" level. Mostly this could be because something worked better live, sounded better or is a different drummer all together than the recording. This especially with Nashville stuff where it's mostly the studio guys laying it down and somewhat playing it safe to get it done and to appease the producer. I will nail down signature stuff for covers and the basic groove, but if I hit an extra crash or omit one I don't see where it matters much.
 

JDA

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I try to learn it as best as and as close to groove and feel of the original, but for example I feel its usless and hopeless for me to try to copy Elvin Jones beat for beat if I want to do a Coltrane song like My Favorite Things.
so that's the different style and different requirements
 

JDA

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Fake it until you make it. I got a way to go to be playing Elvin Jones note for note.
no one suggests playing EJ or any other jass note for note; that's the freedom I'm talking about- to create- (some limits but leeway's wider whereas Top 40 (or watever varia of pop) (unless it's an original) (yur) Boxed in Way more- and not really "creating (as much) in the moment" (as) much; less decisions to make aka auto-pilot or monotonous wood chopping. Unless one enjoys being a background player and there's plenty of them that appear content. ; ) I like to be involved a little more. aka improvising within an any structure; juggling my own balls one could say. (ha
 
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RIDDIM

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I try to learn it as best as and as close to groove and feel of the original, but for example I feel its usless and hopeless for me to try to copy Elvin Jones beat for beat if I want to do a Coltrane song like My Favorite Things.
- in a jazz context you're not going to be asked to play what Elvin played - the expectation is that you'll know the tradition, but play you.
 

RIDDIM

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I play along with original recordings and learn to play a similar rhythm. I rarely learn it exactly, but no one seems to care. My intention is to support the other musicians. They don't always play things the way it is played on the original recordings.
- And you have to play with the folks you're with, in the room you're in. It's all about playing nicely with others and keeping the gig.
 

hector48

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I used to until I started listening to live recordings and the drummer most of the time plays it different live than the recording even at what I call the "pro" level. Mostly this could be because something worked better live, sounded better or is a different drummer all together than the recording. This especially with Nashville stuff where it's mostly the studio guys laying it down and somewhat playing it safe to get it done and to appease the producer. I will nail down signature stuff for covers and the basic groove, but if I hit an extra crash or omit one I don't see where it matters much.
I noticed this too. When the same band does the song live, the drums parts are often somewhat different.
Maybe what sounded good during the recording got "improved" later on.
 

Pibroch

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The short answer is no.

In terms of staying true to an original hit recording's rhythm, our covers band will only focus on getting the basic beat and the signature instrumental stops.

Everyone is free to improvise up to a point, even including changing the lyrics up to a point, and the vocalist will often direct the band's dynamics, adding much more light and shade than in the original.

Once the rest of the band has the basics down our role is to support him in however he wants to do things, (especially as he expresses his personality superbly with a beautiful voice).

This includes me playing however he wants me to play: he directs my basic sound and dynamics. The great thing is that he expects me to improvise over the basic beat throughout every song - so I've never played a tune exactly the same way twice - not even in rehearsal.
 
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tommykat1

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Yep. I try to nail the nuances that make the drums in a song iconic. That means most certainly the actual beat, and many--if not all--of the fills.

Two examples that come to mind:

When doing AC/DC's "Back In Black," Phil Rudd has choreographed his contribution to the song into a minimalist drum part with maybe two fills (as I remember). Doing more than what he does would miss how this song works so well.

Contrarily, playing Hendrix's "Fire" allows you to stretch out and do all those cool Mitch Mitchell fills and ghost notes.

It gets tricky in the songs where there are both a drummer and percussionist(s)--like anything by Santana. If your band (like mine) has only a drummer, you have to get creative to give the song the latin feel by combining the parts and mimicking certain drum sounds and expressions.
 

Bongo Brad

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I try to learn it best I can, then eventually forget it & play it my way. Most of the people I play with want to do everything our own way, so I don't stress over it.
 

Mongrel

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This reminds reminds me of somehing I was convinced of years ago....

Drummers doing originals have it easy. Come up with an orignal drum part. Record it. Play the song anyway you want from thereafter.

Meanwhile everyone else has to "learn" not only your part\s, but also 20 to 100 other drummers original parts "note for note"...

Can't picture Phil Rudd sweating over John Bonham's, Neil Peart, or Alex Van Halen's drum parts.

Heck, he doesn't even have to sweat over his own parts. As long as he gets close the crowd will love it!

Lol
 

TomPotti

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Interesting discussion. I spend no time trying to memorize a drum part note for note. Like others have said, I learn the overall feel of the song and figure out where the band hits and transitions are. If there is a characteristic fill to a song (for example, the tom fill after the first verse on "You're Just What I Needed), then it makes sense to just do that.

When bands play live, how often do drummers play the same beats and fills they did on the recording? Neil Peart plays note for note. On the other hand, Stewart Copeland never plays the same thing twice.

I think part of the fun in music comes from improvisation and playing to your own style. There's no such thing as the "correct" beat or fill. I wouldn't expect any cover band to match the original recording perfectly.

Now, if you are a TRIBUTE band, that might be a different story...
 

Mongrel

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Interesting discussion. I spend no time trying to memorize a drum part note for note. Like others have said, I learn the overall feel of the song and figure out where the band hits and transitions are. If there is a characteristic fill to a song (for example, the tom fill after the first verse on "You're Just What I Needed), then it makes sense to just do that.

When bands play live, how often do drummers play the same beats and fills they did on the recording? Neil Peart plays note for note. On the other hand, Stewart Copeland never plays the same thing twice.

I think part of the fun in music comes from improvisation and playing to your own style. There's no such thing as the "correct" beat or fill. I wouldn't expect any cover band to match the original recording perfectly.

Now, if you are a TRIBUTE band, that might be a different story...
You wrapped that up very well.

Appreciated.
 

TheBeachBoy

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For me it really just depends on the song. Majority of the time the audience doesn't know if you're playing it right, but they will notice if it's way wrong. Our guitarists and bass player don't play a note-for-note version either, so as long as I get the feel that's generally good enough. Of course, I try to put any signature fills or beats if it's very iconic. Like the hi hats in "Last Dance" or the beat in "American Girl."
 

Drm1979

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When you learn cover songs, do you make an effort to get the drum beat correct to the original?
I used to try and match the original beat, particularly the bass drum, since snare is usually just 2 and 4, when playing rock/pop.
However, I've found that a lot of times, I feel the rhythm differently than the original, based mostly on the other instruments playing (bass guitar mostly).
So, in these cases, I just do my own thing, and I don't think anyone even notices that it's different. In fact, it may even sound "better".
The exception is when the drums are playing alone, like in the beginning or a drum break in the middle.
Then I try and match the original, since it is a stand out part.
However, my tom fills almost never match the originals.

Quite honestly, when learning 3 sets of covers, trying to "think" like all of those different drummers can give me a headache.
How about you?
I think adding your own flair to parts is fine as long as you dont overplay to the song. I mean you wouldn't wanna be playing like chris adler over an ac/DC cover.
 

Burps

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When bands play live, how often do drummers play the same beats and fills they did on the recording? Neil Peart plays note for note. On the other hand, Stewart Copeland never plays the same thing twice.
That reminds of an old interview with Copeland. He said something about doing multiple takes of one particular song in the studio. Each take might have a different tempo, different fills, different feel, yet it was just that one song. Then they pick what the whole band (plus whoever else) thinks is the "best one." Then that one recording gets embedded in everyones brain after hearing it over and over again. Yet their other versions may be just as good or maybe even better, and hardly anyone gets to hear those different versions.

I learned a lot after hearing a wedding band. I think it was the early 1980s. The whole band simplified everything, not just the drums, but everything. AND THEY WERE GREAT! I thought that they actually improved most of the songs.

I cannot copy other drummers very well at all. I once auditioned for a local soft rock Christian band and the leader said she wanted the drums to be just like the recording. Yet none of the other instruments being played in the band were just like the originals. I felt like the weight of the world was on me trying to play like the original. I never did join them, though I "passed" the audition. :thumbup:
 

crash

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I tend to hit the high points playing covers. Get the breaks and any signature parts. Not a real slave to the note for note thing.
My other gig is playing jazz originals. Not sure which I prefer. Trying to get what the writer hears in his head to reconcile with what I hear isn’t always easy........
 


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