In a town where playing other people’s music is a career for so many (or at least a few extra bucks in the pockets of local musicians whose own original efforts probably don’t even pay for gas), somebody is taking a stand against it. Geno’s Rock Club (who have always had the tagline of “We are an ALL ORIGINAL MUSIC ROCK CLUB!!” on their Myspace page) put out this message today:
As of today Geno’s Rock Club has a NO TOLERANCE RULE when it comes to cover songs on our stage. We are and always have been an ALL ORIGINAL rock club and take that statement very seriously. If a band plays a cover song on our stage from today forward chances are they will not be asked back. Please respect mine [booker Knaughty Sarah] and Jr’s wishes and leave the cover songs at the door. Thanks so much for all your support!
A big part of the reasoning behind it is that the venue doesn’t pay ASCAP, so they technically can’t have covers performed (so break the rule and you’re potentially putting them in danger, as well as getting yourself blacklisted), but in general it is a sentiment we can get behind. Though sometimes it can be fun to see a different take on a song you know (when you’re not familiar with the local band’s own music), it’s a good challenge to musicians to step it up with their own work and keep it original. I hope bands keep it in mind even when it comes to ironic terrible one hit wonder covers (Gully, I’m looking at you) and I’m interested in hearing what other musicians in the local scene think about this policy. Maybe even Kurt Baker, who clearly will not be playing a show at Geno’s any time soon.
Seriously though, can we take this a step further and ban all Beatles (and offshoot bands) covers in Portland? I don’t want to hear anybody play that intro to “Come Together” again.