Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2

Which type of band takes more individual playing skill to be successful. A cover band or an original band?

George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music
George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music

The other day I wrote a post titled Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1 which covered the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music versus original music in a live band. Today I’m writing part two of that post to give you my view on another angle of the Cover Music Vs. Original Music debate. I’ve been seeing a lot of action in the online forums on this topic and I wanted to give you my view based on the fact the I play in both a cover band and an original band.

In my previous post I wrote about the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music vs. original music. I gave a slight edge to original music since it does take a bit more creativity to create a song from nothing. If you remember, I believe that playing cover music requires just about as much creativity as playing original music. Today I’m going to write about the skill level involved in playing Cover Music vs. Original Music.   Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2”

Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1

Is there more creativity involved in playing original music vs. playing cover music? Matt discusses his experience playing both types.

Matt Levitates While Tapping The Creative Juices
Matt Levitates While Tapping The Creative Juices

   I have been seeing a lot of action in the online forums on the topic of playing cover music (other people’s songs) versus playing your own original music. I feel I have a unique perspective on this because I actually play in two live bands. I play in both a cover band and an original band. I’ve played in both types of bands continuously over the course of my career as a live musician. Today I’m starting a series of articles that discuss the differences between playing cover music versus original music.

   Today I’m going to address one of the misconceptions that I’m seeing in the online forums. The misconception that there is no creativity involved in playing cover music. To me, that’s just crazy talk! There is a ton of room for creativity when you play cover music in a live band. There are hundreds of ways to approach playing a cover song. From keeping only the lyrics and melody while re-writing every instrument part to playing the cover song note for note just like the recording. There is a massive amount of room for creativity with any approach to a cover song including a note-for-note rendition of the original.      Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1”

Negotiating Gig Payment For Your Live Band – Get A Signed Contract

Get a signed contract for your live band performance every time you play a gig. You can download a contract template from this post.

Download Live Band Performance Contract
Download Live Band Performance Contract

   How much should your live band be paid when you play a gig? That’s a very delicate question and the answer is going to be different for pretty much every gig you play. Some clubs pay a standard $350 per night. Some will give you a percentage of the door receipts. Some clubs pay less and some pay a lot more. The thing that you have to remember is that gig payment is always negotiable and it’s up to you to agree to a fee before you play the gig.

   The most important thing to remember when booking a gig is to negotiate payment in advance of the gig. Try to reduce any variables the venue may throw at you. If the venue tells you “we’ll decide on payment after we see how many people show up”  then that is a great big red flag and you should seriously consider not playing that venue. Don’t agree to any stipulations such as “payment based on food and drink sales”. Even payment based on door receipts is tricky because most clubs won’t let you audit their door receipts. The best thing to do when you’re booking your gig is to get all the payment details right up front.    Continue reading “Negotiating Gig Payment For Your Live Band – Get A Signed Contract”

Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution

Live Bands must change and evolve if they are going to keep on playing gigs.

In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony
In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony

   One thing I’ve found from all my years of playing in a live band is that things are constantly changing. The type and quality of equipment is always changing. The current popular songs are always changing. Your live band has to constantly change as well just to keep up with everything else. Believe me, the best way to let your band die is to refuse to change.

   One of the biggest problems I see in live bands is they become unwilling to change to fit the their ever changing environment. The biggest reason for this is because of plain old laziness. It takes work to keep your band up to date and relevant. The biggest mistake that bands make is an unwillingness to change their set list. You really need to get rid of songs that you’ve been playing forever and start learning some new songs. Your song list should be constantly added to and changed up at gigs.   Continue reading “Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution”

In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value

You can increase your value in your live band by bringing your mutiple skills and talents into the band.

Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists
Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists

 One thing I’ve noticed in my years of playing in a live band is how important members are that can do multiple things in the band. I was in a band where we had a lead guitar player that was a good lead guitar player, but that’s all he did. He didn’t sing lead or sing backup, he only brought his guitar and his amp and he didn’t book any of the gigs. Yes he would have the songs all learned and he played his parts perfectly but he just didn’t seem to contribute as much as the other members of the band.

Continue reading “In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value”

How To Deal With An Emergency That Threatens To Cancel A Band Gig

How to deal with having a member of your band unable to play because of an emergency.

In Stereo with Frank Lee
In Stereo with Frank Lee

   A couple weeks ago my live band , In Stereo, was faced with a situation that you hope you never have to deal with. We had an important gig scheduled and one day before the gig our drummer, Ted,  came down with a life threatening staff infection in his ankle. It was very obvious as soon as he was admitted into the hospital that there was no way he would be able to play the gig. That left us with a commitment to fulfill with the club that had us booked and as you know, the show must go on. So what are your options in a live band when one of your core members goes down?     Continue reading “How To Deal With An Emergency That Threatens To Cancel A Band Gig”

Shufflin’ Noah Releases “Fudgie The Dog” Concept Album On Live Musician Central

Shufflin’ Noah releases their landmark concept album “Fudgie The Dog” available for download on Live Musician Central.

Download "Fudgie The Dog" (a concept album)
Download "Fudgie The Dog" (a concept album)

   Live Musician Central is proud to announce the release of the new album “Fudgie The Dog” by the band Shufflin’ Noah. Live Musician Central author Matt Rushton is the lead guitarist and one of the principle singers and songwriters in Shufflin’ Noah. The “Fudgie The Dog” concept album was recorded live as it was improvised in Matt’s home studio. The entire album was recorded in one 2-hour session where the only planning consisted of 5 or 10 minute conversations between takes about what Fudgie would do next. The music, lyrics and melodies were all made up as they were being played and there are no overdubs or re-takes on this recording. You will hear some bad notes and the band is loose at times but things come together in a really pleasing way overall.   Continue reading “Shufflin’ Noah Releases “Fudgie The Dog” Concept Album On Live Musician Central”

Your Live Band Must Have A Stable Core Group Of Musicians

Your live band must have a stable core of three musicians that can carry an entire gig alone.

The Core = Guitar, Bass and Drums
The Core = Guitar, Bass and Drums

Over the years I’ve played in a lot of various live band lineups. I’ve played in 3, 4, 5 and 6-piece rock bands as well as some 20 person Jazz bands. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is the bigger the band, the bigger the problems. I’m talking about scheduling problems, personality conflicts, incompatible work ethic, weak skill levels and mismatched goals for the band. It can be a real challenge in a band with a lot of people to keep it functioning. Fortunately there is an excellent solution to this problem. All you really have to do is have a compatible, stable group of core musicians.

Continue reading “Your Live Band Must Have A Stable Core Group Of Musicians”

Get Your Band Focused By Scheduling A Gig

In Stereo Gigging The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City
In Stereo Gigging The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City

   Nothing, and I mean nothing, will have your live band working together like having a gig scheduled. When you have a deadline for a performance the whole band will suddenly become more focused on creating a great final product to present at the show. The constant tweaking of parts will stop, songs that just aren’t coming together will be dropped and the songs you do well will really start to get tight. Having an upcoming gig will give your band a sense of urgency that really will help you to polish things up and make them presentable.    Continue reading “Get Your Band Focused By Scheduling A Gig”

Playing Christmas Gigs: Good Times, Good Pay, Good Marketing

Playing A Christmas Gig

   For live performing musicians, Christmas gigs can be the most lucrative and funnest gigs of the entire year. There’s just something about the season that brings out the best in people. Some of the best times I’ve had at gigs are the ones I’ve played right around Christmas. The celebratory and giving spirit of the season seems to really affect the club owners and especially the audiences at this time of year.

   A good show is really the coming together of the performer and the audience. Around the holidays people are just ready to relax and have a good time. This really becomes evident as you play gigs around the holidays. The audience is so eager to celebrate that our jobs as entertainers become much easier. You can really draw on the audience for that extra push of energy to take your show to the next level. Having a successful gig at Christmas is as easy as keeping things light and happy onstage. You don’t even have to play exceptionally well as long as you’re having a good time. It’s a great time to market your band because people will remember you if they have had a really good time. Associating your band with good memories is fantastic marketing.    Continue reading “Playing Christmas Gigs: Good Times, Good Pay, Good Marketing”