If I’m correctly remembering it was around Oct-Nov of 2008. My band at the time ‘Sick As Monday’ was trying to come up with a cover or “remake”.
One of the perils of being an original musician is that you often find yourself in a room full of people who have little to no interest in hearing your original music all night. Especially if they came out to party and not specifically to see a band or musician. It’s usually right around the 3rd or 4th song that the people listening either decide that they love you and want to see everything or that they can walk to the bar for another drink now and maybe start up a conversation. This is where you can try to pull em back in with the remake.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of covering songs. Sure I learned Rock n Roll, Enter Sandman, and Free Fallin just like every guitar player does and I’ll jam them all night long with friends, or if I’m at the end of a 2 hour set getting a “one more song” chant then I can pull out Creep by Radiohead and have a fun sing along with the crowd, (there’s video evidence of this) but to put a song in my set that’s just a straight up cover of another song was never really interesting to me. Remakes on the other hand can be super fun.
Give me an 80’s pop new wave song that I can turn punk, or a fast song I can turn to a ballad, maybe mashup a few songs that have a similar feel, if I have to play a song note for note and try to sound like the original artist then it feel’s like 1. I’ll never do it justice (this is why I never cover the beatles or zeppelin) 2. I’m being given rules (never a fan of those) and 3. Any other musician can walk up on stage and do the same song. (contrary to high school I actually like standing out and being different now)
These are my own personal ideals and I’m not saying anything bad about anyone who performs cover music it’s just how I feel about me doing it. With that being said this mindset makes picking a song to remake (and agreeing on it with 3 other musicians) a nearly impossible task.
At this particular time I had decided that if I was going to remake a song I wanted it to be something we’d be forced to rework but was such an awesome song that it was either gonna kick ass or we were gonna completely ruin it and never speak of the attempt again (there have been a few of those).
It had to be something that when people figured out what it was they would’ve never thought we could do it and would be so blown away that they had to watch the rest of our set and come see us again. I decoded on ……. Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar
Pat Benatar is awesome. Her voice is incredible, her songs rock, she is one of the most badass “rock chicks” ever. I put her in the same category as Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Patti Smith. Legendary musicians that paved the way for the girls that are killing it right now like Haley Williams, Lizzie Hale, and many more but I digress…
I showed my version to the band and we went right to it, changing keyboard parts to guitar parts, making the beat more aggressive and in your face, and rewriting the whole ending of the song to give it an epic guitar solo big arena rock feel. It was awesome, we loved it and couldn’t wait.
We were booked for a New Years Eve show at a local venue that was completely sold out and decided it was the perfect time to debut our version. Not only did it bring the house down that night but my current band Craving Strange reworked, improved, and still does our own version to this day. We even did a full studio recording of it which became our most-watched youtube video to date even though there’s no “video” (it’s more of a photo reel).
If you dig the track you may consider checking out Craving Strange to hear my louder more obnoxious side :)
In the meantime I’d love you to check out Jimmy’s Blue Notebook, it’s my newest EP that actually includes acoustic remakes of a couple of my own previously released songs from both bands above as well as some new acoustic rock originals.