Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cover Bands

While I'm having an adult beverage or two my favorite thing to do is listen to music...and if it's available...live music! When it comes down to it...there are few things I enjoy more then having some drinks with some friends and singing and dancing at the top of your lungs. However, your night can easily head in the other direction if the band isn't up to par.

Last week in Charleston we were out having some drinks and I witnessed two of the worst cover bands I've ever seen.

The first band was called "Hot Sauce" and they had a drummer, a guitarist, a DJ, a dude playing a synthesizer, a bassist and a chick singer. The girl actually had a pretty good voice and she killed a good cover of "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics. However, as I mentioned before they had a DJ and he kept scratchin' in the middle of songs...it was awful. Also, they played "Lady's Night".

So, needless to say...we moved on. We found another band in another bar...but these guys were actually worse. We stayed and listened for a while...but it was just too much to handle. I have rules that every cover band should obey...but these guys broke them all. Now I will say it wasn't the whole band's fault...just the singer...but they agreed to play with him so they all take the blame.

Now then, here are my rules for a successful cover band.

1.) Do not change the words to a classic song. If you're dumb enough to play "Sweet Home Alabama" do not change Alabama to whatever state/place you are in. In addition, adding cuss words doesn't make the song better and it makes you look like a child. Trying to fit the F word into songs isn't cool to anyone over the age of 11. Also, if you try to squeeze a quick mention of a female body part into "Brown Eyed Girl" I'll attack your face. Just so you know.

2.) If you are a lead singer and you don't play an instrument...the air guitar is not a good "go to move." The only thing worse then playing the air guitar while your buddy plays a solo on the real guitar is smacking the drummer's ride cymbal while closing your eyes and "feeling" the music. He took lessons and practiced, that's why he gets to touch the drums. You on the other hand should invest in a tambourine....those are easy to play.

3.) If it's past 11:00 and the crowd is singing along or dancing, don't play an original song. I know you want to get your "voice" out there...but there is a reason they're dancing to covers of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones...it's because they were musical masterminds and those are GOOD songs. You can play all the originals you want until 11, but after that...give in to the drunk people...hell just pretend you ARE the Rolling Stones.

4.) If someone in the band has to adjust some equipment in between songs, do NOT use this time to hit on the nice young lady by the bar....believe it or not she doesn't want to sleep with you. If you were in a real band she might...but you're not...so she doesn't. I know you think it's unfair...but that's just how it works.

5.) Stay away from Rap songs. Drunk white people love Nelly...but no one wants to hear a bunch of dudes with guitars try to cover "E.I." Just lock that song selection away and throw away the key.

6.) A really good cover band will have a set list that includes popular songs...but doesn't just include Sweet Home Alabama, Brown Eyed Girl, Mr. Jones, etc. Sister Hazel - All for You...well that's ok in my book. But, if you really want to get the crowd going...play something by the Gin Blossoms or Toad the Wet Sprocket, or maybe the Proclaimers - 500 miles. If you really want to get me going...play Clarence Carter - Slip Away....I heard a cover of that once at a bar and I'll never forget it.

Now then, I know it seems like I'm being hard on cover bands....but I'm not really. Like I said, I love cover bands...I wish I was in one. However, you must follow those rules and realize that you're not an actual rock star. If you want to pretend you're a famous rock star while you're up there...go ahead...just know where to draw the line.

Comprende? Bueno!

Song of the Day: Gin Blossoms - Follow You Down
Beer of the Day: Miller High Life

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