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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cover bands, and adding Michelle's mhryvnak.net

I was thinking about cover bands the other day. Most of the bands I go to see are cover bands, playing songs by other bands - sometimes note-perfect renditions of the songs, sometimes enhanced variations, sometimes total re-imaginings.

There is, I think, a certain snobbery around bands that suggests that cover bands are just a step above karaoke and DJ's, that the only bands that are worth listening to are ones that play all originals. Personally I don't buy that. The skills required to play music written by someone else and play it like it's coming from your heart and soul are just as valid as the skills required to play something entirely of your own creation.

Besides, a lot of big bands started as cover bands. REM, I believe, started out doing Velvet Underground covers. And beyond that, I got to thinking about classical music. When was the last time you heard a song by Bach, or Mozart, or Beethoven, or Chopin actually played or conducted by the composer? That's an easy question to answer: you haven't, because recording equipment didn't exist in their day outside of ink on paper. Every classical piece you've ever heard by one of these composers and countless others was a cover. Classical orchestras are little more than overgrown cover bands.

By the way, I'm adding Michelle's mhryvnak.net to my sidebar list. Michelle is a fellow blogger from Northeastern Pennsylvania, and was one of the earliest adds to NEPA Blogs. She is also one of my first MySpace friends. Check her out!

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