We Suck at Covers…

I remember thinking this while rehearsing “The Bends” by Radiohead back in 1999 for a show at a local venue called Barrymore’s Music Hall.  I think it was mostly because of my lack of focus when it came to music, and my reluctance to get stuck with the “cover band” label.  We reheased and rehearsed, trying desperately to capture the same vibe as the original, while not paying proper respect to the fact that we had only one guitar at our disposal, and they had three available at any given moment.  I struggled and struggled to get Greenwood’s style down in the lead areas and failed miserably in the end.

Such was life in rehearsal at the time.  Hearing complex rhythm and lead progressions, and not being able to reproduce them live.  Covers were a disappointment to my bandmates and I every time.

That being said, when Derek brought up this competition involving a cover, I was again reluctant.  Along with our already busy schedule of writing our own songs, this was added to the plate.  It ended up being a great exercise in DIY.  We tracked the song in one day (4-5 hours) and shot the video below over one night and one afternoon.  Total budget for the project… ZERO DOLLARS.

Dollars aside, Derek and I were both surprised at how this one kinda came out of nowhere.  I sat down in a corner at his apartment with the microkorg, set the growling backdrop to the song in a couple of takes, laid down the guitar and bass, and then watched Derek lay down the vocals, drums and mix.  I wanted to keep this one really simple, with live reproduction in mind.  One guitar, one bass, some drums, some keys and some vocals.  No insane effects, no three minute solos or extensive breakdowns.  Just a simple beat, with some simple music. I think it paid off in the end, and would recommend to any budding songwriter to lay off all the bullshit trappings when you first start out.  Stick to the basics, and play what you know…

Et voila! Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot



~ by derekandtodd on July 17, 2011.

One Response to “We Suck at Covers…”

  1. As much as doing covers hasn’t ever really been our thing, we always had a kickass time performing them on stage (‘the Bends’, AOE’s ‘Belly up’, SRV’s ‘Little Wing’). I think this is mainly because we were able to select some high energy bangers that melded well with our originals.
    The CBC Cover Me Canada competition is a whole new ball game because we had to pick from just four rather diverse songs. Still, I felt up to the challenge and I knew Todd wouldn’t back down if I asked him. Later I learned we could’ve submitted a cover of each one, but with our schedules we had limited time so Gordon Lightfoot won hands down.
    We had a great day making the song and an even better time shooting the vid with Gus aka Jacob Fergus.
    As far as playing the song live goes…well…we may have to strap a bass drum to Todd’s back, attach some bells/tambourines to his feet and hope he can still play guitar, keys and sing….or maybe we’ll just play it the way we created it by pulling out the ol’ loop-box and laptop.
    Here’s hoping we can rely on a little help from our friends 🙂
    Good times ahead!

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