Garageband Covers Challenge 2017

Here are my plans for creating a 1980’s hits cover band in the next 5 or so years (or whenever my daughter is old enough to go to school so I get an hour of me time). What equipment I will need, setlist, sounds to recreate and progress on learning to play the synthpop songs.


Set list so far…

As I learn each song I will post a Garageband version of my arrangement below. I only have a few hours a week to work on these and remember all sounds are tweaked stock Garageband.


Rio – Duran Duran (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 6/15/17


Cars – Gary Numan (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/15/17 – 126bpm

The Metro – Berlin (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 5/24/17


Dancing Queen – ABBA (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 5/24/17


Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/11/17 – 125bpm

Keep Feeling Fascination – The Human League


Situation – Yazoo (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/21/17 – 118bpm


Obsession – Animotion (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/26/17 – 114bpm


She Blinded Me With Science – Thomas Dolby (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/16/17 – 129bpm


Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/5/17 – 117bpm


Safety Dance – Men Without Hats (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/8/17

Tom Sawyer – Rush
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘N Roses
The Final Countdown – Europe
Miami Vice theme – Jan Hammer


Jump – Van Halen (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 2/11/17


Why Can’t This Be Love (3:48) – Van Halen (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 5/10/2017



Tainted Love (2:42) – Soft Cell (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 1/26/2017

Open Arms (3:20) – Journey

If You Leave (4:31) – O.M.D. (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 1/21/2017

Don’t You (Forget About Me) (4:24) – Simple Minds
Just Like Heaven (3:20) – The Cure
NeverEnding Story (3:31) – Limahl
What a Feeling (4:06) – Irene Cara


Together In Electric Dreams (3:54) – Giorgio Moroder, Philip Oakey (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/7/2017

Holiday (4:06) – Madonna
I Ran (3:43) – Flock Of Seagulls


Send Me an Angel (3:51) – Real Life (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/16/2017


Don’t Lose My Number (4:47) – Phil Collins (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/7/2017
She Works Hard For the Money (5:20) – Donna Summers


Don’t You Want Me (3:59) – The Human League (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND – USING ORIGINAL VOCALS) updated 1/7/2017

Kyrie (4:18) – Mr. Mr.


No One Is to Blame (4:19) – Howard Jones (Phil Collins guest version) (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND)


All through the Night (4:33) – Cindi Lauper (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND)


Hungry Like the Wolf (4:11) – Duran Duran (COMPLETE remastered – GARAGEBAND – USING ORIGINAL VOCALS) updated 1/7/2016


Here Comes the Rain Again (4:50) – The Eurythmics (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND)

People Are People (3:52) – Depeche Mode (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND)

Self Control (5:04) – Laura Branigan
Mr. Roboto (5:30) – Styx


Head Over Heals (4:14) – Tears For Fears (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/25/2017

Make A Move On Me (3:18) – Olivia Newton-John


Take On Me (3:49) – A-ha (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/12 /2017


Always Something There to Remind Me (3:42) – Naked Eyes (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND)

Change (3:59) – Tears For Fears (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 4/14 /2017

These Dreams (4:15) – Heart

Just Can’t Get Enough (3:37) – Depeche Mode (SOUND DESIGN – GARAGEBAND) updated 3/18 /2017

Subdivisions – Rush

Save A Prayer (5:32) – Duran Duran (COMPLETE – GARAGEBAND)

Stay tuned for when I’m finished with each project for a separate blog post full of my notes for creating each sound in Garageband 10. Unfortunately, Save A Prayer was made too long ago (2008) and I didn’t keep notes for it or the original project file.


The Band:

When the time comes I will look for a guitarist, and saxophone player (both of them should be lead singers also, male and female) to form a trio. I will clean this page up and use it as my resume and either join a formed band or try to create one.

Band Name Ideas:

Totally Rad Mix Tape

The Summer of 84

The Crazy 80’s

The 47 Hit Wonders

K-POP 690 Radio

“The Molly Grizwolds” or “Inquisitive Molly Grizwold From Cyberspace space space space space”

The Gear:

I want to put together hardware that takes very little stage space and is easy to setup and transport. I have decided against using a computer and controller keyboard as that adds extra complexity and potential for problems. Besides, I feel hardware sounds better at the moment. And as much as I’d love to use all the same vintage gear of the 80’s I just can’t afford it nor wish to maintain it. Therefore I will be using digital synths that emulate analog sound.


NEW PLAN: Will be replacing the Micron and controller keyboard with a Roland FA-06 Workstation synthesizer soon…

This thing will do everything in 1 keyboard. No more gaggle of wires connecting everything together. It weighs 12 lbs. so will be super easy to transport.

Roland FA-06 Workstation Synthesizer


The MiniAK is a slightly improved version of the Micron. It changes up some of the controls and comes with a gooseneck mic for the vocoder. It’s also packed with lots more factory sounds, and has the ability to randomize the arpeggio pattern which I need for at least 2 Duran Duran songs. I originally wanted a Roland System-8 which is going for $1,200 used but found out it doesn’t have the random arp mode. I’m keeping this synth just for lead parts (even though the Roland can do everything) and to look cool above my Roland FA-06 since the guys in the ’80s always had 50 keyboards around them.

Now for the glue that holds everything together. I grabbed the portable version of the coveted MPC (Music Production Controller). The MPC 500 can run on batteries so I can take it to work and get stuff done on my breaks. It’s a sampler, sequencer and drum machine all in 1 small package. Not only will I use this to load samples of all the classic drum machine sounds from the 80’s but it can also record all the synth parts and play them back allowing me to mute whichever track I want to play live. I might keep this just for the ability to make music on the go.


I picked up a cheap 8 channel no frills mixer for $30 on Amazon and it works just fine for now.


Gear list:

Alesis Micron synth (own) Selling soon!
Akai MiniAK (own)
Alesis D4 drum sound module (own) will sell this soon!
Alesis MidiVerb 4 (own) will sell this soon!
Akai MPC500 drum sequencer/sampler (own)
Ultimate Support Apex keyboard stand (own)
M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 (own) Keeping for my daughter to use for piano lessons

Roland KC-550 – 180W 15″ Keyboard Amp ($640 new) Upgradeable (need)




Oh the memories of yesteryears…

Why oh why did I sell my Roland Jupiter 6?

Still have the pads but no on the mullet.

Sadly I also sold my drum kit. At least some kid is having fun with that set including rototoms not pictured.

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