One month ago, we set into motion the plans for a new Band Bombshell series: Find 10 Iowa bands from across the spectrum of genres and personalities, and have them all try their hands at covering the same song.
The concept was simple: to see how different people, with different tastes and influences, would approach the same material. How much different would a song sound, if it were tackled by a metal act as opposed to a country one? The idea was intended to both challenge the artists artistically and creatively, while simultaneously showcasing the wealth of talent within our state's borders. Plus, it just sounded fun as hell.
And so, at the beginning of the new year, these are the ground rules we gave our 10 participants:
- The song may have been written by a different artist, but it's yours now. Own it. Don't like the chorus? Change it. Hate that one verse? Drop it. Change the perspective, add to it, strip it down, make it your own.
- You've got 30 days to re-imagine, write, rehearse and record your cover.
- Don't tell anyone.
With those scant instructions, we turned everyone loose. On the back end, the absolutely amazing Bryon Dudley at Nova Labs in Ames generously offered his studio and his time to help bands get their tracks recorded and mixed, and it really can't be overstated: this project would not have happened without him.
For the first round, our song choice was a controversial one. It's by an artist who's polarizing on just about every front. Not all of the lyrics are appreciated by everyone, and people have found the subject matter offensive. So why did we choose it? We wanted to see what people would do with a song they didn't necessarily like.
Ultimately, not everyone was up to the task. Whether it was because the challenge was too great, or because they could neither make peace with the lyrics, nor really get into the spirit of the first guideline, three acts wound up dropping out.
But the seven acts who saw the challenge through to the end have turned in amazing results. We're extremely excited about this project, thoroughly proud of the talent that's involved, and couldn't be more happy about showcasing some great local acts in a fun new way. So check back here every Wednesday for a new installment, as we unveil a new cover from a new act each week, until they're all gone.
But for now, enough with burying the lede, here's the song they're all covering:
"Gold Digger", by Kanye West.