Thursday, September 15, 2011

Confessions of a Suburban Rocker Pt. 1

So, in case you haven't caught on, I'm in a band. We're all dads, we all work day jobs, and we live in the burbs. We're total rock stars (damn, where is that sarcasm font when you need it).

The band started a few years ago as a creative outlet and a way to kick back after a week of work. My intention was to never leave my neighbor's basement. We'd play original songs written by my neighbor or me (or both) and oddball covers from our varied tastes in music.

One day, we got the crazy idea to play in front of people. It was at a party. It was just friends and family. We did pretty well. The only problem was that people didn't know which songs were originals and which were covers. In a set that included songs by Wilco, Iron & Wine, Spoon, and the Decemberists, I'm not complaining that someone (however little attention they were paying) couldn't differentiate the songs I wrote from those written by "real"musicians.

However, the point of playing covers (or so I am told) is to have songs that gets an audience engaged. Thus began our search for "accessible but cool" covers.

So what makes an "accessible but cool" cover. It has to be a song that people know (even a little) but it can't be one that's played to death by other bands. It can be by a well-known band, but it can't be one of their most popular songs. It can be a well known song, but totally re-arranged from the original version so that the audience doesn't realize what it is until half way through the chorus.

So what do we cover?

We do a semi-faithful take on Just Like Heaven (one of the Cure's most popular songs, but I never hear other bands playing it, so it's allowed). We play Love Vigilantes by New Order.

We play a radically re-arranged version of In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel. I had to really sell this one to the other guys in the band - they all hate the original. And yes, I did consider leaving the band when I found out they all hated this song. Seriously? Can't they at least just love it for its use in Say Anything? Whatever. The audience seems to like it when the chorus rolls around and they realize what song it is.

So here you go, suggest some more "cool" covers for us to play.

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