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Cover bands suck

By Tatarigami in Culture
Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:16:26 PM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)

Ladies and gentlemen, my rant on cover bands.

Covers suck. It's one of the laws of musical physics. Drop an apple, it falls. Rub a piece of carpet, get a spark. Do a cover, plumb the murky and unexplored depths of complete, irredeemable suck.

If you're going to do a cover of someone else' song, you have to be prepared for your version to totally bite. You should expect it, and if there's no other option but to do that cover, approach it with the humility and self-awareness that might, if you're very very lucky, allow you to salvage one last tattered shred of dignity to clutch about you as you stagger home, reeking of alcohol and crushed dreams.

Way back in my youth we couldn't listen to songs whenever we wanted because CDs didn't exist, tapes were something your parents bought so they could relive their youth, and radio station line-ups had their own impenetrable logic which defied the intellect of ordinary human beings. Back then, there was one song I really enjoyed that I didn't get to hear as often as I would have liked, for all the above reasons: 'Step On' by the Happy Mondays.

Yesterday I got the chance to hear it again -- I thought -- and reminisce about the sylvan days of yore, only to realise with foreboding that the voice I was hearing didn't belong to the original vocalist. The noise which materialised to assault my ears wasn't the song I remembered -- some pissant no talent crotch-grabber[*] decided he was going to do a version of the song which distils out and discards every good thing about it.

It's a very rhythmic song I remember, almost a chant. The cadence really grabs you. It's a huge part of what makes it good. So what does the crack-smoking addlepate covering the song do? Gets rid of the regularity and moans out the lyrics whenever he feels one's about due.

I can only guess at what he was doing for a living before the bad acid trip that put the idea of singing in his head. I'm sure whatever it was, a sense of timing and some good taste weren't a requirement.

If you're old enough to remember the 80s, I'm sure you've felt my pain. Somewhere some overweight tone deaf guy with a pinky ring decides its time to give the listening public a bitch-slapping and summons his grave-robbing cronies to disinter a valiant old campaigner. They drag one of the classics out of retirement, and re-animate it with cyborg parts and the blood of virgins. He trots it out into the public eye again, like a pathetic marionette of bleached bone and blood-encrusted rags, cavorting listlessly for the jaded onlookers.

I was at the gym when I first heard Billy-Jean[*] sampled in gangsta rap. The instructor gave me a concerned look when he heard what I said and told me in a friendly way that violent mood swings were just the first symptom, I should get off steroids before they made my testicles shrink.

Now, I'm willing to admit that a good cover is a possibility -- sometimes when you shoot it at point-blank range, the victim doesn't die -- but I'm also saying you'll have a sizeable body count before you get there.

Now really, for the childrens' sake, isn't it time we said 'no' to cover bands?

[*] It's only cool when Michael Jackson does it.


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An Eminem cover of the Beatles' 'Hey Jude' would:
o complete my life 8%
o make my afternoon 10%
o interest me 8%
o fail to interest me 13%
o annoy me 14%
o sicken me even worse than Tatarigami's horrible horrible metaphors 43%

Votes: 129
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Tatarigami

Display: Sort:
Cover bands suck | 103 comments (97 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Cover bands or covers? (4.85 / 7) (#2)
by driptray on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:45:23 AM EST

Your story seems confused between decrying cover bands (with which I can agree) and decrying covers in general (with which I can't).

Cover bands suck, but covers can be better than any original, especially when the person/band doing the cover inject enough of themselves into it to effectively reinterpret the song. Think of Nick Cave's version of Hey Joe. Or if the song is a classic, then a cover of it can simply be respectful and even tasteful. Think of Jimi Hendrix's version of Hey Joe.

Or Husker Du's version of The Byrd's "Eight Miles High". Or any of the Beatle's covers done by Half Japanese. I could go on, but I won't.

We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
From where I'm standing... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
by Kugyou on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:42:09 AM EST

It would seem that the people you've mentioned are artists in their own right. In fact, so far I've not heard a bad cover by any artist who meets the following two requirements:

1) Also has their own music, and
2) Is not Madonna.

I don't know about the examples above, but I've noticed that a lot of really shitty covers seem to be coming from bands that don't know how to do anything but go look up tabs and drum patterns, 'remix' the vocals to sounds like shit in a sausage grinder, and push their "tribute" on an unsuspecting public.

But the ultimate atrocity in covers, IMHO, is the Bad House Remix. You've all heard it. The lyrics to your favorite song, played straight, with all the nifty music cut out and shitty beats provided by some guy who thinks he's a DJ because he can spell DJ.

And I even liked 2Pac's remixes of "The Way it Is" and "Do for Love". =^_^=

Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]

Covers that Do Not Suck (none / 0) (#43)
by epepke on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:48:52 PM EST

Here are some additional ones that do not suck:

  • The Violent Femmes' cover of "Step Right Up"
  • Primus' cover of "Hello, Skinny."
  • The Flying Lizards' cover of "The Road to Mandalay"
  • Frank Zappa's cover of "Purple Haze"
  • Sid Vicious' (unless it was Johnny Rotten's) cover of "My Way"
  • The Residents' cover of almost every Elvis song, almost every songfrom the 60's, and "I Got Rhythm"

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Disproof (5.00 / 4) (#3)
by epcraig on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:51:28 AM EST

Name one Bob Dylan song which wasn't done better by anyone who covered it.
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
Easy (5.00 / 2) (#7)
by the butler on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:26:23 AM EST

Knockin' on Heaven's Door by GN'R

[ Parent ]
Sympathy for the Devil (none / 0) (#12)
by aziegler on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 10:54:46 AM EST

I like most songs that the Rolling Stones did ... after they've been covered and sung by people who have talent. Best example? Sympathy for the Devil done by GnR.

[ Parent ]
Paint it Black (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 12:57:20 PM EST

U2 did a great cover of that a few years back. It's a B side to, ummm, I have no idea what's the A side. Wild Horses? Something from the same album anyway.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
I have (2.00 / 1) (#6)
by kormoc on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:19:22 AM EST

I have heard good covers, and ok cover bands. You just need to look

I disagree. (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Hillgiant on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:39:10 AM EST

Tori Amos's cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit is masterful. Better than the original IMHO.

And Michael Jackson is never cool. No matter what he might be grabbing.

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny

+1, but... (3.33 / 3) (#10)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:56:00 AM EST

I voted this up because it is well-written and very funny.

It is also wrong wrong wrong.

The reasons why have already been pointed out here:

1) Covers by bands with talent are often good or at least tolerable
2) Michael Jackson is not cool, even when he is grabbing someone's crotch
3) Who are the "Happy Mondays"?

Play 囲碁

The Happy Mondays (none / 0) (#16)
by elefantstn on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 12:31:33 PM EST

The Happy Mondays were the second most famous "Madchester" band after the Stone Roses in late 1980's and early 1990's in England. The movement is famous for its fusion of club/rave styles with rock, as well as massive drug use. The Happy Mondays were especially well known for their consumption of mind-altering narcotics. Check them out, it's good stuff, if a bit dated now.

[ Parent ]
hang on... (1.00 / 1) (#84)
by awful on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 05:07:40 PM EST

Hang on...
I thought the Happy Monday's song "Step On" WAS a cover. I'm trying to check this out, but - and here's a NEW beef - I can't seem to find any websites that have a discography that includes the songwriter'(s) name.

If I'm right, then Tatarigami has to rewrite his R-tickle. That should be easy enough.

[ Parent ]

allmusic.com usually has the answer (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 05:17:07 PM EST

Which is that it's a renamed version of John Kongos' "He's going to step on you again" released in 1972. Songwriting credits are Demetrious/Kongos for the original, Demetrious/Happy Mondays for "Step On" and the review of the Happy Mondays album mentions this fact. They don't always have songwriter credits listed, but generally allmusic.com is likely to have the answer.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
John Kongos (1.00 / 1) (#88)
by awful on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 07:16:55 PM EST

Top work pyramid termite! And I have also found another source at www.sing.c om.

OK - I demand a rewrite from the author of the article. :)

[ Parent ]

HeyHeyHey....... Caaaaaall the coooooops. (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by priestess on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 10:27:24 AM EST

moans out the lyrics whenever he feels one's about due.
Actually, that sounds a lot like a description of Shawn Ryder singing the song himself to me. Without all the studio magic that is. The band reformed for a little while a year or two ago, complete with Bez and everything and I happened to see a bit of their set at Glasto. Lordy, Shawn, you have to stop taking so many drugs. He can't remember the lyrics to his own songs so he's just shouting them out when he can remember and moaning about the fact he can't remember when he can't. Woh. Thank fuck for the streaker who draw attention away from the racket.

I have no idea who this no-talent-crotch-grabber might be because I don't listen to the radio any more than I have to and MTV is just dull even when the cable company decides I'm allowed to see it for the minimum fee I agreed to pay them. I will agree with the general sentiment though. I saw some of Bjorn Again's set at one festival or another too. Smashing up your guitar on stage can be fairly cool I guess, but not if you deliberately switch to an obvious crappy strat-copy that can have barely cost a pony just before you do it. Honestly, it's a shocker.

One cover by some band hardly anybody had ever heard of before which was better than the original though, in a funny campy way at least, was Mike Flowers Pops cover of Oasis' Wonderwall. Gotta dig that grove. Or not.


My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Depends on if you like the artist (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by enry on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 11:03:10 AM EST

In general, no-name cover bands suck. However, a known artist doing a cover of a song (Seal doing "Hey Joe", or Weird Al doing anything in polka) has some pretty good appeal. What got me in this opinion was watching some of those crappy 80s shows (Knight Rider) where some no-name band did a cover of a popular song for the show.

Counterexamples... (2.50 / 2) (#14)
by RareHeintz on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 11:44:00 AM EST

Now and then, when quality talents work on a cover, it comes out well. Easy example: Any of the Bob Dylan covers that Jimi Hendrix did. Or, for that matter, the Hendrix covers I've heard Eric Clapton do. And even one that sounds questionable on the surface of it (such as Run-DMC covering Aerosmith's "Walk This Way") can come out better than you thought.

Not that you don't have a point - I mean, when I heard The Cure cover "Purple Haze", I wanted to gouge somebody's eye out with my thumb. And of course, there are covers of classics on "Hempilation" that just shouldn't have happened.

But in the end, it's like anything: 90% of it will be crap. In the case of song covers, it draws our attention because it's crap emulating non-crap that we once liked - but that still shouldn't blind us to the worthwhile 10%.

That said, I still want to gouge someone's eye out over "Purple Haze"...

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Careful (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Merkin on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:18:00 PM EST

NO one can cover Little Wing! Except maybe Stevie Ray Vaughan, that was nice.

Much as I love Clapton, he didn't do it as well. It was however, much better than Skid Row's cover of Little Wing (BARF).

The Cure doing Purple Haze....spot on, I wanted to maim over that too, that was just wrong on so many levels.

Best cover....hmm, Beastie Boys destroying Elton John's "Benny and the Jets" was good, and we can't forget Dweezil Zappa's take on "Hit me baby one more time".

Learn to Improvise

[ Parent ]

Bah! (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by MrAcheson on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 11:59:39 AM EST

You obviously haven't heard the right cover bands. I know some people who love Me First and the Gimme Gimmes for instance. They do Punk/Ska covers of lots of not normally punk/ska songs. Their version of Rainbow Connection is great.

My rule of thumb for cover bands is that if they are actually trying to sound like whoever they are covering, then run run far and run fast because the giant sucking sound which will follow may pull you into their circle of lameness. On the other hand good bands doing covers usually inject some of their own style into them and make them their own. The result may not be to your liking but its at least better than trained monkeys.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (none / 0) (#49)
by kjb on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:46:07 PM EST

The Gimme Gimmes are a riot. Their recordings are pretty funny, but you really need to see them live to fully appreciate them.

Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Suck my Troublemint (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by rusty on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 12:48:22 PM EST

I have to admit to having a sick fascination for covers. Ok, a lot of them do suck, but I love them anyway. I usually love them more than the original, in fact. Some notable ones that stick out in my memory as particularly interesting:
  • Erectus Monotone's talking cover of "Don't You Want Me" which has permanently engraved all the lyrics to that song in my head.
  • Troublemint's "Eleanor Rigby" which rocks. Kicks the Beatles' lame asses, IMO.
  • Nirvana's "In the Pines" which is also a lot better than the Leadbelly version they based it on.
  • Nine Inch Nails cover of "Get Down, Make Love" which is a classic.
I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I could think of that are sure to piss someone off. :-)

Not the real rusty
Dude (none / 0) (#23)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 02:08:17 PM EST

"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Dude!!! (none / 0) (#40)
by rasilon on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:21:55 PM EST

Absolutely a wget moment!

[ Parent ]
cover bands (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by regeya on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 03:02:08 PM EST

I've only seen one cover band I like, and it's Battery. Allegedly they've opened for Metallica. The scheme was this--Battery played Metallica songs, and Metallilca did stuff they'd covered on Garage Inc.

Other than that, Type O Negative's cover of "Cinnamon Girl" is pretty good, IMHO, if you like TypeO.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

ToN cover tunes (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Miniluv on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:33:22 PM EST

The thing about ToN cover tunes is that, well, they're the result of a band that is, essentially, all about "covering" an entire genre whilst poking much fun at it. It makes perfect sense then, that their covers would be quite excellent.

For those of you who haven't heard ToN, let alone their cover tunes, imagine an angsty, baritone cross between heavy metal and gothic rock. Think about the silliest of themes for songs, the worst keyboard riffs, and a voice so low you can't bear to see them live as it ends up sounding like someone dragging a bass drum up the stairs. Now, imagine good 60s tunes being done by this band, as they attempt to personify the ultimate in haughty gothic rock with the penultimate in heavy metal riffage.

If you can't see the humor in that then you're just sick.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#93)
by regeya on Thu Jan 17, 2002 at 03:09:57 PM EST

you should hear some of their older stuff. "I know you're fuckin' . . . someone else . . . 'he knows you're fuckin' someone else . . . '"

They are funny, and that's why I love 'em. :-D

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Ex Lion Tamers (none / 0) (#95)
by TON on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 01:19:45 PM EST

Wire did something like this when they took their fans the Ex Lion Tamers on tour with them. ELT did love Wire so much that they learned to play the entire Pink Flag album. This spared Wire having to play all the same old songs that the audience wanted to hear, but they were sick to death of regurgitating.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis


[ Parent ]

Bauhaus (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by spacejack on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 01:12:40 PM EST

Aside from Bela Lugosi, all of their good songs were covers. Check out their versions of Telegram Sam, Third Uncle, or Ziggy Stardust sometime.

There are good covers occasionally. (1.00 / 1) (#20)
by HereticMessiah on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 01:19:02 PM EST

Take, for instance, Jeff Buckley's covers of 'Lilac Wine' and 'Hallelujah'. Now they are good.

Disagree with me? Post a reply.
Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.
Good covers (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 01:39:11 PM EST

There are different reasons bands do covers:
  1. They want to give a new interpretation on the material. (For instance, the songs on Tori Amos' Strange Little Girls, or Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower".)
  2. They feel the original is underrecognized and want to "spread the word". (For instance, the songs on Metallica's Garage Days album or half the songs on the "Nirvana:Unplugged" CD.)
  3. They want to get people who like the band they are covering buy their albums. (Examples: the millions of "Tribute" albums full of bands you never heard of.)
The third type often suck. The first two types are often good, many times, better than the originals. Some of my favorites include Megadeth's rendition of "These Boots are Made for Walking", Les Claypool and the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade doing "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", The Red Hot Chili Peppers doing "Higher Ground" and Soundgarden's "One Minute of Silence" (and also, their "Into the Void".)
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
Best Covers Ever... (2.50 / 2) (#22)
by mech9t8 on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 01:46:23 PM EST

...are usually the ones where the coverer takes a completely different take on the song - in a genre in which they have some competence.

Bigod 20 doing Madonna's "Like a Prayer" - best goth cover of a pop song I've heard.

Big Daddy doing Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" - I'm not sure what genre - I think it might be rock-a-billy.

And, of course, William Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - so weird and surreal, it really suits the lyrics.

Now, cover bands (a bunch of non-professionals that try to look, act, and sound like their favorite band) generally suck. But I think you're supposed to listen to them when you're getting stone drunk, anyway... ;)

What about Nimoy? (none / 0) (#30)
by ocelotbob on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 03:42:36 PM EST

You mentioned Shatner's opus, but how could you neglect Leonard Nimoy? Yes, his stuff shows less talent than the average karaoke bar, but in the abstract, it's brilliant. I would say that his cover of "Proud Mary" easily rivals anything Shatner has done, that includes "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"

Now cover bands I'll agree with you. They're supposed to be listened to while downing shots. After all, several shots in, they do sound pretty good =3

Can I be your pet? I promise not to bite (much).
[ Parent ]

Speaking of Madonna... (none / 0) (#41)
by kevsan on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:35:50 PM EST

...how about her cover of "American Pie"? Had she even heard the song before she attempted it?

[ Parent ]
Ugh. Sorry. (none / 0) (#45)
by kevsan on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:05:36 PM EST

I definitely thought that said "Worst Covers Ever" instead of "Best Covers Ever." My mistake... :)

[ Parent ]
Mr. Tambourine Man (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by aonifer on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:15:40 PM EST

And, of course, William Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - so weird and surreal, it really suits the lyrics.

I prefer his version of Mr. Tambourine Man.


[ Parent ]

They don't always suck (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 02:10:10 PM EST

Check out CoverFight, a side project from Songfight. Some Really Goddamned Good Stuff has happened from it.

Hm, looks like I should hurry up on my cover of "Hey Bulldog" for the current one. It'd help to have a working studio computer though... the last few parts should finally be arriving today though.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Hey! (none / 0) (#74)
by TheReverend on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:58:41 AM EST

Can I submit troublemint stuff to that?

"Democratic voting is specifically about minority rights" --Infinitera
[ Parent ]

Sometimes (none / 0) (#75)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:53:44 AM EST

You can submit to it as long as it's a song which is covered in the theme for that one (which is always discussed on the Songfight messageboard), but it'd be in very bad form to do something which is already recorded and so on long before the theme is announced.

Also, the 'decade' themes usually only call for #1 hits as determined by Billboard, so I don't think anything Troublemint has done in the past would have ever worked anyway.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

+1 Generational music (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by mjs on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 02:55:30 PM EST

Are you turning into your father? :)

Unfair (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 04:39:09 PM EST

What a hurtful thing to say, and the fact it could actually be true just adds to the sting...

You might have hit the nail on the head here -- the covers I'm complaining about are the ones where I had the opportunity to hear the song performed by the original artist, at a time and place where I can appreciate it to the full. F'rinstance, all the 80s stuff I listened to in the 80s, before it occurred to me that synthesiser music is lame.

Every time my flatmate plays "Who Let the Dogs Out" five times in an hour, I get a little more nostalgic for the 'good old days'.

Now get off my damn lawn.

[ Parent ]
The good old days... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:34:06 PM EST

Every time my flatmate plays "Who Let the Dogs Out" five times in an hour, I get a little more nostalgic for the 'good old days'.
when arsenic could be purchased over the counter?

[ Parent ]
question (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by jayfoo2 on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 03:32:35 PM EST

Is anyone else anticipating Joan Jett kicking the crap out of Brittney Spears sometime in the near future for covering I Love Rock and Roll?

I think on live TV during the grammys would be appropriate.

It'll be a short fight (none / 0) (#34)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 04:44:23 PM EST

Joan would kick three grades of silicon out of Brittney.


Dear god, I've betrayed my guiding principle -- JJ's cover of AC/DC's Dirty Deeds is my favourite song of hers.


[ Parent ]
That would be fine and all... (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by MisterQueue on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:33:55 PM EST

If Joan's version wasn't a cover of The Arrows to begin with..so maybe they'll kick her ass? (don't get me wrong..I'd prefer her over Britney any day, but a cover is a cover)


Oooh..I dare you to say that again, only this time say "MisterQueue, I love you!"
[ Parent ]

Big difference (1.00 / 1) (#62)
by Ludwig on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:28:08 AM EST

Joan probably knew who she was covering, unlike Miss Spears.

[ Parent ]
Your band sucks- (none / 0) (#31)
by Treach on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 04:02:12 PM EST

Rock and Roll Confidential. Check out all the 'Douchebag' photos.

Great cover: Rammstein, Das Modell (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by jobi on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:10:15 PM EST

If you haven't heard Rammstein's steamroller-heavy version of Kraftwerk's "Das Modell" I guess you could be forgiven thinking that all cover songs suck. However, once you listen to that one, you will see the errors of your ways.

(On a somewhat connected note: Apparently Marylin Manson [who likes to think of him self as a shock-rocker] was shocked when starting a tour of Europe by a member of Rammstein entering the scene in a burning longcoat and with the greeting: "Welcome to Europe"...)

"[Y]ou can lecture me on bad language when you learn to use a fucking apostrophe."
Rammstein (none / 0) (#38)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 05:41:56 PM EST

I went to a Rammstein concert last year, the night before they appeared at the Big Day Out, a yearly music festival spread across New Zealand and Australia. The lead singer came out for the first song wearing a burning coat -- they had to pause to put him out with fire extinguishers!

That was a pretty interesting concert... at one point they threw the bass player into the crowd on a rubber dinghy, at another the keyboardist got dragged around the stage in a bondage mask before having an undignified act simulated on him by the vocalist with the same dildo he later plugged a garden hose into to spray the audience!

Incidentally, the vocalist also liked to keep time with the music by flogging himself with a cat o' nine tails...

[ Parent ]
This is why they're fun (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by Miniluv on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:39:28 PM EST

Bear in mind, Rammstein does some of what their stage act encompasses as a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately much of their schtick has become very inane, as they do it every show. However, the reasons for these acts are the really interesting part.

Their lead singer is a man who is very uncomfortable performing in front of people. So uncomfortable that if he really thinks about the fact that he's on stage, he'll ruin the songs by doing things like not singing, or stuttering the lyrics. So, way back when they were a little club band in Germany he's done various distracting things so he'd forget he was doing a show. These involved fire, breaking things, and beating on the rest of the band.

At this stage though, if you ever get another chance to see them and its at a venue that won't allow their full pyro (unusual, but it happens) I recommend going. They're much, much better without it, because the pyro has gotten so large and time consuming it disrupts several of their songs.

I got to see them at a small club, where they found out about 45 minutes before the show that the pyro was being cancelled. They ended up playing anyways, and it was far better, far more intense than the same set I saw two months later with full pyro.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

A cover I want to hear. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by driph on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:35:57 PM EST

Headhunter by Front 242 ended up being one of the most covered songs ever after the release of Headhunter 2000, a compilation of 17 different covers of the same song. On the entire album, not a single version has female vocals.

Have any femme-led bands ever covered Headhunter? I would love to hear something like that.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

Terminology: Cover or Tribute (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by gsl on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 06:55:13 PM EST

My suggestion... A band that doesn't perform original material is a cover band. A band that solely performs material by another artist is a tribute band.

A while back where I live (Melbourne) there was a band called "No More Chili Jam" which, obviously, performed covers of Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. They were either a cover band with a limited repertoire or a multi-tribute band.

Tribute bands don't necessarily suck (this assumes you like the music they are paying tribute to, of course). Bjorn Again (ABBA) and The Pink Floyd Experience (umm, Pink Floyd) are fairly well regarded as far as I know (never heard them myself).

More to my taste, as possible examples of good tribute bands, there are a couple of Genesis tribute bands -- The Musical Box (Canada, I think) and ReGenesis (UK) -- which attempt to faithfully recreate the early Genesis stage shows.


A funny name for a Genesis tribute band (none / 0) (#48)
by pin0cchio on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:23:33 PM EST

More to my taste, as possible examples of good tribute bands, there are a couple of Genesis tribute bands -- The Musical Box (Canada, I think) and ReGenesis (UK) -- which attempt to faithfully recreate the early Genesis stage shows.

Would "Mega Drive" be a good name for a Megadeth tribute band? Or does the name sound too much like Genesis?

[ Parent ]
Tribute bands (none / 0) (#50)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:05:03 PM EST

My favorite tribute band was "Dread Zeppelin", which played Led Zeppelin songs to a Reggae beat, and whose singer was an Elvis impersonator.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Stairway to Heaven (none / 0) (#100)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:52:38 AM EST

Oh yeah! Dread Zeppelin's cover version of "Stairway to Heaven" was quite sublime and magnificent. Talking of "Stairway..." what about the Aussie album of 20 different cover versions?
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
Good Covers... (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by defeated on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:16:11 PM EST

Better than the original:
"Summer Breeze" Type O Negative (eeeevil)
"Hotrod Lincoln" Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen (THE definitive version)

At least as good as the original:
"Eleanor Rigby" Aretha Franklin
"Summertime" Janis Joplin
"Chain of Fools" Little Caesar
"Little Wing" Stevie Ray

And in the "I'm Almost Ashamed to Admit it" category:
"Highway Star" Metal Church
"Mexican Radio" Celtic Frost

And I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting. I will concede that there is nothing worse than hearing a badly done cover, especially if the original is a song you love.

more good covers (none / 0) (#53)
by nodsmasher on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 08:45:57 PM EST

joe cocker-litle help from my friends cake-i will survive deftones-say it ain't so some accapella group that i down loaded of audiogalaxy-strawberry fields forever
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
[ Parent ]
Janis Joplin (none / 0) (#71)
by Gully Foyle on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:43:05 AM EST

Damn, you mentioned Summertime before me...

Janis Joplin's pretty interesting, as far as covers go, because of the different versions of Ball & Chain (originally by Big Mama Thornton) that are floating around. Some of them really suck, but the live one at the end of Cheap Thrills is amazing. The grinding bass-line really brings out the sweetness in her voice that isn't always evident from other songs.

Well, I like it anyway...

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

curural enclosure (3.33 / 3) (#54)
by Arkady on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 09:11:51 PM EST

This is a fine example of how business encloses a common cultural realm in order to turn what had once been public into a "revenue opportunity" for themselves.

There was a time, not long ago, when it was extremely common for musicians to play each others' songs; the musicians essentially considerd the songs themselves to be a shared repertoire. It was expected that each musician would perform a piece in their own way, and that interesting new renditions would circulate through the community.

Then, recording made reproduction of a single perfomer's version possible and profitable. Now, as the author demonstrates, the populace has come to expect that only the first band to popularize a tune can play it "properly", thus guranteeing the revunue stream for the recording companies and (as a side benfit) shrinking the possible performer pool with which that industry has to negotiate contracts. It's become the norm, and made billions for the industry.

There are still some genres where it is common and accepted that musicians share a common repertoire (such as in jazz, folk, and their harder children like folk-punk), but none of these genres are particularly lucrative anyway.

It's sad.


(That said, I'll certainly agree that a lot of covers _do_ suck. Some, as others have said, are far better than the originals. Two examples I'd say definitely qualify are Burach's version of "Vincent Black Lightening" and Shonen Knife's version of "Top of the World", both of which kick major ass.)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

as if (2.00 / 2) (#55)
by Lelon on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 09:15:26 PM EST

i'll admit i only read the first few sentences of your "rant", which would be more aptly named "dribble". fact is covers are great. i cant think of any real bad ones off hand.

And now, to piss EVERYONE off. There was once a band named "Pink Floyd" and they did a song called "The Wall", and it was covered by a group called "Class of 1999" (i think) for the movie The Faculty and the cover was *gasp* BETTER. I wish they'd cover the whole freakin' album.

This sig is a work in progress.
some other things (none / 0) (#56)
by Lelon on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 09:23:10 PM EST

while this doesn't pertain to the idea of pimply faced teenage "cover bands", some of the best covers of all time can be found on one album, Annie Lennox's "Medusa"

also, i'm drawn to covers where the original artist isn't the same gender as the cover artist. Aimee Mann's "One" ("one is the lonliest number...") springs to mind as a song that seems to work better with a female vocal. strangly, you don't see this very often.

This sig is a work in progress.
[ Parent ]
Well, then (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 10:49:32 PM EST

i'll admit i only read the first few sentences of your "rant", which would be more aptly named "dribble".

Then you've missed the defining moment of our generation. Years from now when others are still discussing the event which influenced all of western civilisation to stop remaking the musical hits of previous years, you'll be the one making awkward conversation about the weather...


[ Parent ]
Pink Floyd didn't record a song called "The W (none / 0) (#103)
by kevsan on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:25:32 AM EST

There was once a band named "Pink Floyd" and they did a song called "The Wall"

No, they didn't. They performed "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, which you're likely thinking of, but they never recorded a song called "The Wall."

Sorry. Pet peeve of mine. :)

[ Parent ]
Byrds Were A Good Cover Band (3.33 / 3) (#57)
by AArthur on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 09:44:49 PM EST

I think the Byrds were an excellent cover band.
Most of their popular stuff was orginally
done by others (namely Bob Dylan), yet few people
remember the Bob Dylan (or whoever's) version.

The most popular example is Mr. Tamborine Man.
From the album the "Free-Wheeling Bob Dylan"
few remember Dylan's raspy voice, but instead
remember the colorful Byrds version.

The other major Byrds/Roger McGuinn hit that
was also a Bob Dylan cover was of course "It's
Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" from the film
Easy Rider. Of course it had a great backbeat,
and good melody, although it cuts out most of
the later lyrics in the song -- which are important.
Like "Old Lady Judges, Limited in Sex, They Dare,
To Push Fake Morals, Insult and Stare".

Most of the Byrds songs from the mid-1960s were
Bob Dylan covers -- the biggest exception was
"Turn, Turn, Turn" which came from the Bible.

I do have to agree with what has been posted in
other threads here -- covers of Bob Dylans works
typically sold better, and had a better melody,
and kind of destroyed some of the meaning -- but
you could sing along with them.

Bob Dylan some good stuff on himself too -- the
best example is Subterrian Homesick Blues ("Johny's
in the basement mixing up the medicing, I'm
On the Pavement Thinking About the Goverment"),
Knocking on Heaven's Door and Lay, Lady, Lay.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264

A wee correction, if you will (none / 0) (#61)
by jreilly on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 12:34:54 AM EST

Mr. Tambourine Man wasn't on The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, it was on Bringing It All Back Home, which came out 2 years later, in 1965. But yes, the Byrds did it far better than he did.

Oooh, shiny...
[ Parent ]
My favorite counter example (none / 0) (#58)
by scross on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 10:05:42 PM EST

There was an Elton John / Bernie Taupin tribute album put out a few years ago. Dozens of their songs "covered" by various artists. The Who covered Saturday Night. A cover superior to the original.

Cheers, Sarah
Rebuke by Way of Example (2.50 / 2) (#60)
by joeyo on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 11:21:46 PM EST

There are pleanty of great covers out there. Here are just a few of my favorites:
  • Apocalyptica - "Enter Sandman" (Metallica)
  • Ben Folds Five - "She Don't Use Jelly" (The Flaming Lips)
  • Bloodhound Gang - "It's Tricky" (RUN DMC)
  • Cake - "I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor)
  • Chantal Kreviazuk - "Leaving On A Jet Plane" (John Denver)
  • Cibo Matto - "About A Girl" (Nirvana)
  • Goldfinger - "99 Red Balloons" (Nena)
  • MxPx - "Take On Me" (Ah Ha)
  • Nada Surf - "Where Is My Mind?" (The Pixies)
  • Primus - "Devil Went Down to Georgia" (The Charlie Daniels Band)
  • Rage Against The Machine - "Beautiful World" (Devo)
  • Superdrag - "Wave Of Mutilation" (The Pixies)
  • System Of A Down - "Snowblind" (Black Sabbath)
  • Weezer - "Velouria" (Pixies)
Ok, the list is Pixies heavy. So what-- I like them. :)

/joeyo || Geek || Grad Student || All-round Nice Guy
GPG fingerprint = F76B 9ACA 4197 C707 6E4D 2B78 E430 101A B663 781B

the pixies (none / 0) (#64)
by ish on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 02:40:07 AM EST

my theory there is (on a pixies heavy list), is that every wants to be the pixies, everyone copies them anyway. so, when someone does a cover of a song of theirs, it sounds like most other stuff youre used to hearing and good to you.

i dunno ;)

[ Parent ]

Rage Against The Machine - "Beautiful World&q (none / 0) (#89)
by blkros on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:25:00 PM EST

I agree with your choices, except for this one. Don't get me wrong , I love RATM, but they didn't capture the irony of the original. I think that everything else on Renegades was excellent, but this didn't really work. Another cover that I really hate is Guns N Roses' cover of "Knocking on Heavens Door". They lost me with that one. A real cool cover is The Stone Coyotes version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene". The Step Kings "Another Brick in the Wall", is pretty good, too.

[ Parent ]
RATM and Devo (none / 0) (#91)
by joeyo on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:46:21 PM EST

You're right, of course, the original Devo version is intensely ironic. (BTW, did you catch the Target commercial that featured "Beautiful World?" It blew my mind that their ad agency would pick THAT of all songs.) But I don't think the song looses it's force when sung in a non-upbeat manner. And can you imagine RATM getting all perky and chipper to sing it? :)

Anyway, I agree too that it is an odd cover, almost more of a re-make really, but I picked it because it was A) one of my favorite tracks on "Renegades" and B) it is such a divergence from everything else I've ever heard done by Rage and C) it makes quite clever use of feedback. :)

For what it's worth, if I had to pick another cover from "Renegades" for that spot it would have been Minor Threat's "In My Eyes."

/joeyo || Geek || Grad Student || All-round Nice Guy
GPG fingerprint = F76B 9ACA 4197 C707 6E4D 2B78 E430 101A B663 781B
[ Parent ]

Yet Another List of Counterexamples (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by Gris Grue on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:53:51 AM EST

Hüsker Dü's cover of "Eight Miles High," mentioned above, is the best cover song ever. Ever. It's preposterous how good it is. It should have inspired a mass-Byrds-suicide. Unfortunately...

Also better than the originals, though I liked most of these songs before I heard the covers (short list, glancing over at the "CD Wall"):

Nick Cave --> Leonard Cohen's "Avalanche"
Deftones --> Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur"
The Minutemen --> Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"
Graham Parker --> Billy Idol's "Sweet 16"
Big Black --> Kraftwerk's "The Model"
Shudder to Think --> Atlanta Rhythm Section's "So Into You"
Elvis Costello --> Arthur Alexander's "Sally Sue Brown" (and pretty much every other song he ever covered)
Bob Mould --> Richard Thompson's "Shoot out the Lights"
David Byrne --> Richard Thompson's "Just the Motion"
Buffalo Tom --> The Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties"
Robyn Hitchcock --> Lou Reed's "Caroline Says"
The Sundays --> The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"
Lyle Lovett --> The Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil"
Gastr del Sol --> John Fahey's "Dry Bones in the Valley"
Band of Susans --> R.E.M.'s "1,000,000"
Frank Zappa --> The Four Deuces' "WPLJ"
Metallica --> Holocaust's "The Small Hours"
Slayer --> D.R.I.'s "Violent Pacification"
Marc Ribot --> Jimi Hendrix's "Wind Cries Mary" (live, anyway)
7 Seconds --> Nena's "99 Red Balloons"

me --> gotta stop now, or i'll wind up clogging my cable previewing this

If a bad zombie gets you, he will weep on you, or take away your whiskey, or hurt your daughter's bones.
Joining the band-wagon (pun intended)... (2.50 / 2) (#65)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 04:01:06 AM EST

More covers for you that are better than the original...

1) Kirsty MacColl's "Days" (orig. The Kinks)
2) Marylin Manson's "Sweet Dreams" (orig. Eurythmics - done goth)
3) Tina Turner's "Yesterday" (orig. The Beatles - done as a ballad)
4) The Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter" (orig. Simon and Garfunkel)
5) The Flying Pickets' "Under The Bridge" (orig. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - done a capella)
6) The Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" (orig. Britten - okay, so they changed the lyrics a bit...)
7) Wet Wet Wet's "Love Is All Around" (orig. The Troggs)
8) Therapy's "Isolation" (orig. Joy Division)
9) Nick Cave's "Death Is Not The End" (orig. Bob Dylan)

Covers that should have been shot at conception...

1) Anything with a dance beat added
2) Anything indistinguishable from the original
3) Anything by a teen-band (see 1)
4) Anything by a singer who warbles all the time (especially Mariah 'nutso' Carey's travesty of a cover of Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You')

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.

ti dave weighs in... (2.00 / 1) (#66)
by ti dave on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 04:56:25 AM EST

better than the original:

1000 Homo DJs --->"Supernaut"
Hendrix --->"All along the Watchtower"
Red Hot Chili Peppers --->Mr. Wonder's "Higher Ground"

Not better, yet still entertaining:

Devo --->"Are you Experienced?"


ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Beautiful mutants... (none / 0) (#80)
by fullcity on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 03:50:13 PM EST

...I hear them calling...
There's one fly in the ointment that we've swept under the rug.
[ Parent ]
Pub bands? (2.50 / 2) (#67)
by QuantumG on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 06:32:37 AM EST

My Dad is a musician in a pub band. He plays only covers and basically doesn't have a choice about it. Now and then he will throw in one of his own songs and all the old farts in the audience will lift their heads from their beers and say "what the hell was that?" He also composes classical paino. It's such a waste.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Most covers are appalling. Some are not. (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by Mr Tom on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 06:34:58 AM EST

Good covers of goos originals
Anything by Richard Cheese or the Benzedrine Monks (spec. Smack my Bitch Up and Smells like Teen Spirit respectively)
Julie Driscoll - Wheel's on Fire
Sisters of Mercy - He's got the whole world (in his hands)
Diamanda Galas - I'm Gonna live the Life
Dr. John - I don't wanna know about Evil
Dream Disciples - Sweet Dreams (Makes that M.Manson clown sound like fucking Noddy)

Bad covers of good originals
Soft Cell - Tainted Love
Orgy - Blue Monday
Robbie Williams - Mack the Knife
And many, many more..

(Oh - forgot to mention China Drum's "Wuthering Heights" in the "Good" section - it's now playing, and it's fargin' outstanding!)
-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

Tainted Love (none / 0) (#101)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:56:33 AM EST

Bad covers of good originals
Soft Cell - Tainted Love

Was that a cover? Anyway, it is VASTLY superior to Marilyn Manson's cover, which is pointless and stupid.
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
Death Metal Britney Spears (2.00 / 1) (#69)
by Joyrider on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 06:49:24 AM EST

I'm amazed no-one has yet mentioned Ten Masked Men and their death metal version of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time", which rocks far more than the original ever did ;)

The all time indistputable great cover (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:25:52 AM EST

Aretha Franklin doing Otis Redding's "Respect". This record alone disproves the article's thesis.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Heh. (1.50 / 2) (#72)
by TheReverend on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:53:14 AM EST

Well I won't make you eat my hot flaming death, because to be honest, for the most part I agree with your thesis.

I am in 3 groups right now, 2 of which consist solely of covers.

Troublemint is an experimental project which is similar to me first and the gimme gimmes. We do covers, but we do them in our own way. Why? We love these songs, we are paying homage to wonderful music, and we are keeping it current. To be honest, a lot of music doesn't last. Sure, The Beatles as a band last. But when was the last time you heard "Things we said today" on the radio?

The other band I am in is a bar band, that plays pop 80's and 90's pretty much straight off the record. Why do I do this? BECAUSE I GET PAID 100-200$ FOR STANDING AROUND, PLAYING MY BASS, MEETING CHICKS AND DRINKING!

Was there ever a better reason?

Why do I covers? The original music scene is rapidly disintegrating. Want to promote your music? Put up a web page. Want to play live? Pay the club 200$ to open up for some band noone has ever heard of.

People are BORED with original music. This is the result of several things.

1. About 10-12 years ago, some new music took over the charts. Remember Nirvana? Pearljam? STP? They spawned the Pop-Punk movement. Offspring? Green Day? This in turn spawned the pseudo-grunge-punk-indie-pop movement. Matchbox 20? The Wallflowers? What have these bands spawned?

About 40000000 guitar-playing 16 year olds who have lame bands that play "original music". This music is about the same level of quality as stuff most musicians write at the age of 5 (And I ain't tlakin bout no Beethoven Symphony my niggas).

These bands flood the local market. There are not enough people to go to all these shows and see the same shitty bands. People stop going to see original music. Clubs realize they can't afford to pay a band that noone is going to see, so they start CHARGING these bands to play.

To a 16 year old who is bankrolled by daddy, that's fine. To musicians who actually want to make a living in original music, it's a nightmare.

2. Live music is losing out to DJ's. The fact is, even being in a bar band is not what it used to be. The days of charging 2G's a gig are over. A bar can get a DJ for 400$ and he will play all night. Equipment, mess, and bar tab are all minimal. A live band with 4-7 people in it don't want to sweat for 6 hours for 30 dollars. But we have no choice in many situations. The people who go to clubs to dance are NOT there to hear original music. They are there to dance to the songs they already know and love. We've thrown originals in with our stuff that our guitar player writes. It clears the floor. This is quality stuff! Danceable poppy music. But if they don't know him, they don't care.

3. Radio pop. Starting a boy band is pretty much impossible. This is why they are created in factories. I have no problem with N'Sync or whoever doing their thing. I do have a problem with the fact that when music made by machines is the most popular music out there, the live bands suffer. But that's a societal trend, and it swings back and forth so really that's kind of off-topic.

Anyway, being in an original band the scene has really died out. It will be back, and when it does I will push my original music again, or write music that fits the times, but untill then, well...

I feel fine.

Oh P.S.





"Democratic voting is specifically about minority rights" --Infinitera

Forgot to mention (none / 0) (#73)
by TheReverend on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:56:19 AM EST

Thanks Rusty and Fluffy Grue for pimping my band. It's always nice to receive a compliment, and you guys have been real cool since the beginning ;)

"Democratic voting is specifically about minority rights" --Infinitera
[ Parent ]

Ouch, burny (none / 0) (#81)
by Tatarigami on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 04:39:32 PM EST


Well I'd like to, but I don't have a basement...

[ Parent ]
Interesting point (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 05:56:23 PM EST

What's good for the bar owners is not necessarily good for the music scene in the long run. I'm old enough to remember the rock and roll bar scene in the 70s - it was somewhat similar to what you describe as going on today - original bands having decreasing places to play and cover bands getting squeezed by competing DJs and cheap bars. In my area the rock and roll bars eventually closed up to be replaced by disco/top 40 DJ clubs and country bars (you haven't lived until you've heard "You don't bring me flowers" as a two step country song by a bad band, and after you do, you may not want to live). The reason this is bad for the music business as a whole is because the general musicianship suffers. There's no longer as much opportunity for people to sharpen their skills in front of a live audience, and those bands who can are playing things just like the record. The end result is a generation of musicians (not all, but many) who play by rote and sound like it. If you listen to late 70s, early 80s rock records, you can hear this happpening.

For awhile in the late 80s, and 90s things swung the other way and musicianship improved. Even so, I think there's some things that haven't been passed on from musical generation to generation because of the interruptions that have happened in the bar market. The biggest is that of tempos. They've slowed, only beginning to speed up in the last 10 years. Allied with this is the tendency of today's drummers to drag the beat. I hear it on a lot of today's records - Creed, for example, would be a lot better band if they had a drummer who wasn't behind it all the time. I suspect a lot of the bands never played for an audience who wanted, above all, to dance. It shows. This is why quite a few people have moved to electronic dance music - because it has a snappy beat. Somewhere along the line a lot of rock and rollers forgot about this.

So, if it's getting tighter for original and cover bands in the bar circuit again, I antipicate another period where musicians are not going to be learning and passing on knowledge in a live setting.

As long as I'm talking about what's lacking in today's music, I wish rock'n'rollers would listen to R&B more. Might help with that beat.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Michael Jackson cover (2.50 / 2) (#76)
by sab39 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:54:25 AM EST

Am I really the only one who thinks that Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal" is damn cool? Maybe my taste is just too mainstream for this forum ;)

Cake's cover of "I will survive" did get mentioned already - I'm not a big fan of Cake's style overall, but that particular song is worth it just for the single lyric change...


"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

Electronica? (none / 0) (#77)
by sto0 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 12:33:22 PM EST

I'd like to hear an acoustic cover (somehow ;) of an Autechre track... now that would be something. It'd probably be best to avoid ep7, though.

Yes yes yes (none / 0) (#78)
by lithmonkey on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 02:43:26 PM EST

I've been trying to start an all analog/acoustic Aphex Twin cover band for like a year now. Maybe covering Autechre would be possible too... whee!

[ Parent ]
Analog? (none / 0) (#94)
by srichman on Thu Jan 17, 2002 at 08:53:07 PM EST

I've been trying to start an all analog/acoustic Aphex Twin cover band for like a year now.
Do you mean analog, or acoustic? Big difference. There's already a lot of IDM that's analog, but none that's all acoustic :)

[ Parent ]
No. 13 Baby (none / 0) (#79)
by lithmonkey on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 02:52:40 PM EST

I hate bad covers of good songs. But just because there are alot of covers that are shit, doesn't make all covers bad. Just because there are alot of shit cover bands does not mean all cover bands are shit. For the most part, though, avoiding straight up cover bands is a smart move. HOWEVER! If you live in the seattle area, and like the pixies (who doesn't?) then check out No. 13 Baby. fun fun fun. They're just a pixies cover band, but they're soo good! It's fun to go to a good rock show where you know all the lyrics to all the songs. Silly, but fun.

Two cover songs (none / 0) (#82)
by jms on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 04:44:58 PM EST

Great cover songs: The Beatles covering "Twist and Shout" and "Roll Over Beethoven" Worst cover ever: Falco covering "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Trust me, this is so bad that when you play it, all of the oxygen in the room runs out of the room screaming.

The only good cover... (2.50 / 2) (#87)
by inonurmi on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 05:58:24 PM EST

I think that there is a place for covers.

Covering a well-known song is a good way for a new band to get some airplay. So I propose a new law that states that each band is allowed 1 (one) cover on their first album, and is not allowed to do any more covers until they have released at least 2 (two) albums.
I also think that people who copy a hook or lyrics from popular songs to cover up for their inability to write lyrics OR music should be exterminated like the parasites that they are.

best cover band ever (none / 0) (#90)
by mikpos on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:38:50 PM EST

The best cover band IMHO has got to be The Moog Cookbook. The music is pretty hard to find but is definitely worth it (there are short audio samples on the site to whet your appetite). Everything's done on Moog synths. Even the vocals are done on with Moog ARP 2600 voice synthesis. I'm listening to a saccharin-sweet version of Green Day's "Basket Case" -- many times better than the original!

Gangsta Rap sucks not Covers (1.00 / 3) (#92)
by Woundweavr on Thu Jan 17, 2002 at 08:39:27 AM EST

Covers don't automatically suck. Hell lots of 'classic' songs are covers. "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner is a cover. Elvis covered some of his biggest hits.

Just because some shitty gangster rap (whose very existance can annoy me) covers something doesn't mean all covers suck.

My favorite cover band is Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, but Goldfinger does some good ones on the side too.

Ray Corvair Trio (none / 0) (#96)
by TON on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 01:36:45 PM EST

Just to get it out of the way, cover bands do not suck any more than bands in general suck. I can name you a gazillion bands that I think really are abominations, but I'll spare you, and myself the stress of even thinking about them.

Now, a great cover band. The Ray Corvair Trio, outta Boston, is a totally awesome band. They play a lot of surf covers. Surf music just lends itself to covers. All those original surf bands just scammed off each other mercilessly anyhow. It's all about the best performance.

The Trio also does some non-traditional surf style covers. Surf Kashimir anyone? And, some original surf tunes.

Check them out.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis


Good covers... (none / 0) (#97)
by wintermute204 on Sat Jan 26, 2002 at 12:12:54 AM EST

Jawbox - Cornflake Girl (Tori Amos)
7 Seconds - 99 Red Ballons (Nena)
Pixies - Head On (Jesus and Mary Chain)
A New Found Glory - My Heart will go on (Brian Adams)

To name a few...

Covers are good when they make you see the original in a whole new light, or take the song in a completely different direction.

And there just alot of fun most of the time.

PS I was glad to see that the 7 Seconds version of 99 Red ballons made it up here. One of my favorite songs of all time... :)

Some covers are ok (none / 0) (#98)
by morkeleb on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:25:19 AM EST

Purple Haze(Hendrix originally) - done by the Cure

Ring of Fire (originally a Johnny Cash song) - covered by Social Distortion.

Paint it Black - I like the covers both Incubus and Gob do (Incubus goths the hell out of it - and Gob does kind've a screaming electric punk-rock version of it). Strangely both kind've work for me.

I basically agree with your post though. Anyone remember the Lawrence Welk show? Remember when he did a cover of Break on Through with his band? ****GRRRRRRRRR**** Okay - that is an extreme example. I think the key to doing a good cover of a song you need two elements:
A. An insanely talented band.
B. The lyrics need to be great poetry in their own right, capable of being interpreted in multiple ways.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
Re: Ring of Fire / Violent Love (none / 0) (#99)
by driph on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:22:09 AM EST

I actually prefer the Wall of Voodoo version. My copy is a 45rpm fullsize record. Play the record at 33rpm, and it doesn't sound a whole lot different than Cash. :] Offhand, the other side of the record is also a cover... couple Morricone songs(Hang 'em High & The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) that are fun.

Personally, my favorite cover of all time is probably Oingo Boingo's Violent Love, originally by Willie Dixon.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]

Ultimate Sucky Covers - The Album (none / 0) (#102)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:59:24 AM EST

"Swing while you're winning" - Robbie Williams.

Jesus H. Christ on a fucking bicycle!

"Information wants to be paid"
Beautiful troll (none / 0) (#104)
by streetlawyer on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 10:11:56 AM EST

For anyone who doesn't realise what a subtle piece of work this is, the Happy Mondays' "Step On" is a cover itself, and the record the author was describing is the abysmal original "He's Gonna Step On You Again", by John Kongos.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Cover bands suck | 103 comments (97 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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