GD cover bands

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Re: GD cover bands

Postby NSP » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:53 am

Tennessee Jedi wrote:
Dwarf Rat wrote:When someone asked if we were a Dead tribute band I replied thusly,

" We don't cover Dead tunes. We uncover them and find the hidden jewels."


:hd:
Love it !


Great line, gonna have to borrow that one.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby Charlie » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:34 pm

I would find it hard to imagine anyone playing long term in a Dead cover band who wasn't a genuine fan of the music, be they amatuer or pro. The 'sinister capitalist' thing makes it sound like any halfway decent muso can go out and lug the Dead's repertoire, which is shite. Surely if you just wanted to make money in a tribute band it would be much easier to choose a band like Creedence or the Stones where there would be far less commitment involved in getting the repertoire together. (NB I dig both of these bands bands but the fact is their songs are much simpler to play than the Dead's)
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby Mr.Burns » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:59 pm

The same potential for profit isn't there with tribute acts of other bands. At one time there was a proliferation of Beatles tribute acts, but that's no longer the case. The world is full of competent musicians that have no intention of playing what they're passionate about because there's no money in it. Like it or not, if you're in a band that gets paid to play anything, you're in the music business. And if the Grateful Dead did anything undeniably right it was merchandising. That created a huge market for the Grateful Dead's merchandise and music/media, and it seems to be growing, or at least not going away any time soon. It's only natural that a keen observer would see the chance to cash in, and play music strictly for profit. It wouldn't be the first time...

I'm referring to devotional music here. I wonder how many of those artists are "devoted" and how many simply didn't make it in country music or whatever genre was their first choice. Taking what you can get is one thing, but sinister capitalism is quite another.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby myoung6923 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:22 am

With the exception of DSO - no Dead tribute band is playing for profit. And good for DSO that they are doing so well! The amount of money that we all spend on gear and PA equipment will NEVER be recovered by what we make at gigs. Add into that the cost of gas, promotion, printing... And then if you factor in commuting to gigs (sometimes 2 hours or more), set up tear down and the drive home - that's 10 hours of work for very little money. NO dead band does this for profit - it's purely for the love of the music and the great scene that can happen along with it.

If any of us wanted to play in a band for profit - we'd be playing cheesy pop songs in a wedding band.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby jeffm725 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:49 am

myoung6923 wrote:With the exception of DSO - no Dead tribute band is playing for profit. And good for DSO that they are doing so well! The amount of money that we all spend on gear and PA equipment will NEVER be recovered by what we make at gigs. Add into that the cost of gas, promotion, printing... And then if you factor in commuting to gigs (sometimes 2 hours or more), set up tear down and the drive home - that's 10 hours of work for very little money. NO dead band does this for profit - it's purely for the love of the music and the great scene that can happen along with it.

If any of us wanted to play in a band for profit - we'd be playing cheesy pop songs in a wedding band.


I agree that it is the love of music and scene that drives it predominantly, but I can think of a handful of local/regional Dead bands right off the top of my head who make in the low 5 figures per man every year AFTER expenses. Not a living by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly a decent income supplement.
However your point about actual time put in is well taken. Lets say you average 160 bucks a night each and you count driving time to and from a gig as well as set up and tear down. 8 hours is a reasonable estimate for a local band for a gig. That works out to 20 dollars an hour. You certainly aren't going to become a 1 percent-er at that rate, :-) so you have to love it.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby Pete B. » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:03 pm

Even if you made a thou a week it'd still only be 52 grand a year.
Making a $1000 a week is a struggle for most any musician.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby mkaufman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:30 pm

Keep your daaaay job, ....

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Re: GD cover bands

Postby tcsned » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:55 pm

I don't like the author of this article's snobbish attitude. Anyone who can make money in this racket is ok in my book, whether you're wearing tie-dye or leopard print spandex. I was lucky to be able to live off musical income for 10 years or so but it was a feast or famine existence. It was more being in the right place at the right time and not being that awesome or anything. I have taken gigs where I didn't really like the music (like sitting in with a top-40 country band, playing Madonna and Britney Spears tunes with a local high school, etc) but I had fun doing those gigs working with a really good pedal steel player in the former and helping high school kids get some stage experience. I can find enjoyment in playing music I wouldn't listen to and it isn't the enjoyment of money. DSO may be the top of the heap but there's guys on this board who can hold their own with those guys.

Making a baseball analogy, with the GD being the Major Leagues, I'd consider DSO AAA ball. I've spent most of my time in Single-A with a cup of tea at AA and that's been fine with me. It's paid for my gear, gas, and paid my rent for a few years and I had a blast.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby Lephty » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:15 pm

Agreed...a lot of the guys who write for these alternative-ish publications are self-important hipsters who have little love for hippies or cover bands in general. I wouldn't put too much stock in anything they say about GD tribute bands.
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Re: GD cover bands

Postby williamsaut » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:18 pm

The visual picture this sentence paints is what cracked me up. I am sure the author spent a little time crafting it. Except for the patchouli, it pretty much nails how our band stared.


True that, I started searching for like minded musicians around 1987 after 4 years of sitting around and playing by myself for the most part (1st show Wooster '83). When things started to take off, I had to learn it all over because I had to start singing while playing!! Like adding a ball when juggling. Yes, in the beginning it was loud ( really loud ), self-absorbed and lacked very much musicianship. We all just wanted to make what we we're hearing at the shows. It was like one long jam session and had A LOT of energy. You know, 20min Darkstar, 25min Bird Song etc. By '95 and three rhythm guitar players later, We had all grown up, sound was good and more dynamic, no more train wrecks, everybody listening to each other. Our bass player knows my style better than I do!! Our brand of Dead is definitely a rockin' style which plays better in the small bar we frequent. We're an 80's dead tribute band. We play the whole song thru with all the signature licks, outros and intros just as the Dead would have at a show. But the jam and occasional space is all ours. People dig it because we sound so polished and look so casual doing it. Some songs are like Anthems that pretty much must be played as the prototypical model. Like Terrapin or Help-Slip. We save the more esoteric stuff for 2nd and/or 3rd set. We get some of the best feedback from the bar crew because their Dead Heads and have heard everything we've played there so when they get excited, we know we're approaching a personal best performance wise. It's all great fun.
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