What it takes to be a successful cover band (INTRO)

Note: I’m taking a detour from my photography-related posts on my site to talk about my observations over the years regarding the most successful cover bands…

Okay, so I was surprised by the response to my Facebook post last week regarding what **I** felt were some essential keys to being a successful cover band. And frankly, I was a bit intimidated that so many people were genuinely interested in what I had to say about it. Because I think whatever I write has the potential to be misunderstood on a lot of levels, and some musicians might take offense to some of what I have to say; some may actually assume I’m calling them out obliquely (because everything of FB is always about you, or me, lol); some may think I’m simply shilling for the bands I do feel “get it” and am just crawling up their asses and therefore not to be taken seriously (“Oh, he’s just friends with that band, whatever”)…while still others might actually take what I have to say as gospel and try to copy it but still fail to have the success they might feel I promised them and end up blaming me, lol.

Having said all that, I’m just going to put it out there with the acknowledgement that not every band wants the same things or has the same goals. Some of you just like to get out of the house on the weekends and be able to see your friends and have some beers. That might be all you want, and that’s great. But I know the bands that have the biggest followings and I’ve seen what they do to make that happen, and I’ve seen bands that could achieve that as well if they would only commit to stepping up their game in vital ways, and I’ve also seen bands that are exactly where they want to be and will stay right there no matter what they do.

Also, keep in mind two words from my first sentence: successful and cover. I’m not talking necessarily about being a GOOD band (it’s assumed every band has the chops needed), and I’m not talking about ORIGINAL bands. Original bands have an entirely different set of challenges and goals and I frankly don’t have the familiarity with them to address what they need to do (though I’m sure some of what I have to say can be applied; I’ll try to remember to note that as I go forward). I’m talking about being a successful cover band. I know you’d all love and prefer to be doing your own stuff, and most if not all of you have. But we all know that being a cover band is a whole other animal with its own agenda.

I’ve debated whether to divide this into two parts: investment and non-investment. Some of the key things I’m going to espouse require money, and it’s money I fully realize most bands simply cannot afford. I understand that. But it doesn’t change the facts about what it takes to get to that next level. I’ve seen it. Being a photographer I face similar choices myself when it comes to acquiring the right gear for the job. But the non-investment part are things every band can and should embrace, so if you blow off the investment part you should still consider my thoughts and observations on the second part.

More to come…


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