Bar Bands and Cover Tunes… Yuk!

by nielskunze on January 8, 2012

One day I woke up and found myself belonging to an original rock band named Missing Peace. (Actually, originally we were The Dharma Bums, but that name, it turns out, was already taken.) Beyond the usual air-guitar posturing and screaming along with the lyrics of my adolescent favourites when I was a teen, I had never considered that I might one day actually wind up playing in a band. I was way too shy… conservative… untalented… (insert derogatory adjective here). I well remember that first time I was on stage performing with my new band at the local pub– which was packed way beyond capacity– and I reflected to myself “Holy shit! How in the world did I ever end up here?” It was exhilarating and more than a bit surreal.

I have no regrets whatsoever… but I gotta tell ya, being a bar band pretty much sucks! Once you leave the comforts of your own hometown and all the rabid screaming fans who adore you for no good reason at all, playing random bars out on the road is disheartening to say the least. Now, some of my readers may have long ago concluded that I hate ACDC because of some unflattering remarks I’ve made in the past (see “A Typical Gig: There Never Was“). I really have nothing against them boys or their music… but their fans…Oy! The typical outspoken ACDC fan is a total douchebag whose taste in music reveals itself in the stale-cigarette-and-beer/vomit eruptions spewing endlessly from their mouth in the insistent and flagrantly repetitious utterance of “Play some ACDC.” No, and I’ll thank you to kindly fuck off!

Being in a band is awesome when you get to play your own original music. You get to be an actual artist, sharing your creativity with the world– okay, maybe not so much the world as with the tiniest of shit-holes willing to pay you more than a burger and a coke (beer is extra). But the bar scene doesn’t appreciate artists or even artfulness. Art is something to be scraped unceremoniously from your shoe should you have been unfortunate enough to have trodden upon it. And we were certainly trodden upon often.

The typical bar crowd has a set of priorities. First and foremost, they’re there to get shit-faced. Next, they’re looking to get laid. If that doesn’t pan out there’s always pool, keno, or pinball. Whatever the band is doing makes the list somewhere well below “I gotta take a piss… again.” We are background noise to an agenda that gets played out religiously every Friday and Saturday night in countless bars the world over. They want the background to be familiar, so they can say to their drink/partner/pinball machine “Oh, I love this song!” Unless they’ve heard it at least a thousand times before, they will never say it about one of our tunes.

I hated playing cover songs, but they were the unsavoury reality of bar life. You had to do it if you wanted to get paid. Sometimes we’d slip in a few of our originals in the nastiest of towns by telling them that “This one’s an obscure Neil Young tune,” or some such suitable lie.

Now, having laid the groundwork of my discontent, I present to you the following cover tune. It too is from the live Whitehorse tapes and is one of my favourite Sabbath tunes…

The Wizard

Shane’s “heavy metal” scream brilliantly treads the thin line between tribute and mockery… You decide where he lands…

Now, if the crowd has warmed up to your version of Black Sabbath, perhaps even nodding their heads in frantic syncopation, then it’s time to pull out The Beatles. Everybody loves The Beatles! Maybe they’ll even dance… maybe…

Come Together

One comment

Nice!!! Brings back so many memories and emotions

by Ian on January 12, 2012 at 4:53 am. Reply #

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