Covers

airplane_engine.jpgThere’s really nothing wrong playing covers, either on stage or for recordings. Beatles started as an all-cover band, they slowly rolled in more and more of their own tracks. Back in the early sixties just having a band playing music that was only available in USA was quite a good marketing tactic. Today this is not really any longer a prosperous way to get gigs or events as DJs and so forth could do the same.

There are still today many, many bands that just play covers, bar bands, look-alike-bands and so forth. If you look at the blues field, it’s really a matter of rehashing the same songs. Led Zeppelin took such blues songs and electrified them and the rest is history.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is that I personally think that covers should be personal. I’m not a big fan of bands that try the utmost to sound like the original band or artist. First, it seldom could be done, the singers have each their own personal voices and styles, same with the guitar players. Secondly, spending a lot of time and energy to make it sound like the original leaves less room for other work. Thirdly, why sound like the original as it’s done and out there?

So I think covers should be played, but every time with the artist’s or bands own interpretation. The best happens when each musician has an interpretation of the song. You don’t even need to be so strict with the bass lines, unless the song is carried by a specific bass line. Same with guitar riffs, unless it is necessary no need to make it sound like the original one.

I’ve been in some scenarios where this has happened — usually it is in a jam session with very, very good musicians that know what they are doing, and self-confident to pull this off. One of my most fun jam sessions was actually playing Louie Louie in N different variations through the jam in combination with a very good guitar player and a very good drummer.

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