From Under The Covers

Originals versus cover versions … after a year and a half of sweating, crying and tearing out of hair over a bunch of original songs I half-heartedly, hastily and hedonistically threw together a bunch of covers from the 80’s (which was fun, I have to admit and thoroughly enjoyable). Soundcloud and Facebook ‘likes’ aside – seems this little jaunt proved more popular than my own efforts. So, what’s a fella to do next? Keep perspiring, worrying, fretting or have some fun?

With cover versions, someone else has already done all the hard work … someone else with the talent and ability to write a hit song. All I needed to do was copy their notes (which, in the days on MacBooks and LogicPro is easier than ever) and warble along in my own special way … ie: sounding a bit like Al Stewart with a bad cold that he seems unable to shift, despite buckets of Lemsip and Olbas menthol oil.)

Perversely, I tried a couple of Al Stewart songs, (naturally, ‘Year of the Cat’ and ‘On The Border’), and failed, more spectacularly than Mike Read’s theatre impresario career. (Perhaps ‘I Should Have Listened To Al’ and heeded his own advice ‘If It Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It’.) *

*With apologies to non-Al fans …

It has been suggested that I form a covers / tribute band. I have several issues with this, even though the idea does have its appeal. Firstly, I neither look nor sound like anyone remotely famous – although there was an ‘hilarious’ incident at Camden Market one Sunday when I was recognised as the lead singer of ‘Bucks Fizz’. Secondly, my ability with covers is quite limited … I’m not a ‘natural performer’ – I don’t throw the correct shapes or do the duck walk or straddle monitors. My stage banter is poor, (and that’s being kind to my stage banter) and the more time I spend on my MacBook the more my guitar playing deteriorates.

Furthermore, and this I believe is the major obstacle, is I simply cannot come up with a humorous, clever enough name for my tribute act. Once I’ve found my name then I’ll know what kind of tribute band I am in, but until then I will remain forever in the covers band wilderness.

‘The Beautiful Southmartins’ has been taken, as has ‘Nirvanaramarama.’ The wonderful Julie Bunn has taken ‘Parallel Times’ for her own Blondie tribute. ‘Voodoo Room’ play the music of Hendrix and Cream, ‘Abbatoir’ – heavy metal Abba, of course, ‘Nearly Dan’ and  one that tickled me most ‘AB/CD’ … genius, or does the joke wear thin as soon as the first D chord is struck?

Maybe a ‘good-time-party-band’ is the answer to my career dilemma. The competition is pretty stiff though – some offer ‘all the hits and more’. Without going all Stewart Lee … … I was wondering once you’ve played ‘all’ the hits, what hits are left?

So on this beautiful sunny day my guitar remains gathering dust while my laptop keys forever vibrate with my ceasless tap-tapping. It’s the modern way, apparently …


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