I just read an interesting post on The Gear Page about playing in a cover band, and the poster questioning, along with some friends, why anyone would want to play in a cover band. This, of course, stirred up a hornet’s nest of debate. After reading that post and many of the replies, I thought of my own weekly solo gig that I’ve been playing for 11 years at the same place that consists of 99% cover material and a bit of my own music. I didn’t post an answer there, but I’ll post it here. The reasons I play covers is actually many-fold, but here the primary reasons:
- Most importantly, I play for the pure joy of playing and entertaining. There’s nothing like making people smile. As an artist, I put my own twist on songs that I cover to “own” them a little, but they’re covers just the same. But who cares? I love what I’m doing, and people seem to like to listen.
- Doing covers is lucrative. The restaurant pays me very well for what I do, and I make pretty good money in tips. The “salary” pays for gear and other stuff like my cell phone and wine club memberships; I use the tips for walking around money for the next week. It’s all good. But on top of all that, customers of the restaurant hire me for private gigs to do exactly the same thing.
- Also, doing covers exposes me to a very wide range of musical styles, and pretty much forces me to learn how to effectively present the music according to the intent of the particular style. In other words, doing covers makes me a better musician. At my weekly gig, I play all sorts of songs from different genres: Classic Rock, Folk, Jazz Standards, Broadway, neo-Classical, and even Opera. The effect that has had on my own original music has been immense, and has allowed me to mix different styles into my own music.
- Finally, and obviously, doing covers keeps me sharp.
Wow! Lots of lively and angry discussion around Faustine Amps and Tim Gregoire’s bankruptcy announcement. If I’ve come off as defending Tim, I apologize. But I do understand his position and choices he and his wife made because I’ve been in that boat. It doesn’t make what he did right, and for sure, he acted pretty unethically, but financial desperation makes you do funny – and questionable – things. Criminal proceedings may occur, but probably not. What will be for sure is that Tim’s future prospects for doing business in the music world will be seriously curtailed if not completely non-existent.
So Mitt Romney narrowly wins Iowa… with the same percentage that he lost in Iowa in 2008. And it’s roughly the same percentage that he’s had his entire campaign. Oh well… No, I’m not a fan, but it’s just interesting. Don’t believe the spin!