Plus ... the very best top tier jazz players often mostly play 'covers'.
And the very best top tier classical players play 'covers'.
The term cover doesn't have much meaning.
Some people play covers as if they're a record player duplicating every note.
Others play covers like I do which is to play them so totally in their own style and like they wish that there's almost as much original stuff there as if it weren't a cover.
And yes, I have played in all original bands ...... probably will again ...... but I don't really see the difference since, to me, it's all about how virtuostic you get on your ax.
If you know the secret codes you can get by the mastering boss on level 8.
Not saying that studio work is easy....it's just different, you can think about what you want to do, and then do it a bunch of times, plus you are focused on one song, one part....whereas during a gig, you are playing a different song every few minutes, so you have to be on your toes.
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