Cover Songs

Mysteries of Heath, #127:
I cannot stand doing a cover song and not doing it “right.” Now this is a complex and possibly volatile subject among musicians so let me be clear that I do not think that my personal preference is “right” and other opinions are wrong. The mystery here is really why it bothers me SO MUCH. Like it actually sucks a lot of the enjoyment out of a song for me. It’s painful.

I LOVE getting the details right. It’s fun. Will most listeners even notice? No. Hell, most listeners are content with half-assed, butchered, mediocre covers, but it matters to me. Now I’m not talking about purposefully doing your own spin on things. I’ve released many covers, some of which were painstaking recreations which are fun and educational in their own way, and some were very different takes, such as my all guitar versions of “Eleanor Rigby,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” or the theme from “Downton Abbey.” Or my rock version of “Kiss The Girl” from “The Little Mermaid.”

The most egregious version of the “incorrect cover” to me is the “lazy” cover. People just can’t be bothered to put the work in to getting it right, so they get “close enough.” Luckily, this doesn’t apply very often to the awesome folks I get to play with. There’s lots of other reasons it happens, but it almost always really bothers me. Every time I play an altered version it’s like a little stone in my shoe.

Now of course, this often works in my favor when people are impressed with how prepared I was, or how accurately I got some cool details right, but it can also be a PITA both to me and those around me. I usually try very hard to be diplomatic and polite and bring it up in a way such as “So, I just wanted to check if this was an oversight, or a purposeful deviation…” I try my best to hopefully be easy and fun to work with and to feel out the tenor of every individual situation and be a collaborative team player. And believe me, I very much WISH that it didn’t bother me as much as it does, because that’s not fun for me. But it does. And I guess for better or worse, it’s part of what makes me who I am as an individual.

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