I have been playing steady for about 5-6 years and recently I had to start auditioning for bar bands. I find it really frustrating to spend time learning tunes accurately only to find the band doesn't know the tune as well as I do. These are gigging bands that drop a bar or 2 here and there.
In this instance, should I acknowledge we are playing it differently?
I don't want to come off like a know it all but in the same vein you don't want the BL to think you didn't do your homework.
Apparently they are the ones who didn't do their homework. Just tell them Hey I've played this with a few other bands and sometimes they do such and such part different. How do y'all do it? Reminds me of a sub gig last year, band was doing something wrong in Johnny B. Goode of all things. I figured I'll just adapt to their way since it's just a one time deal.
I have run into this a few times and usually find that the best way out of it is to ask if they are playing a different version of the song or their own arrangement. For example, There are about 5 different versions of Walk This Way. There is the album version, the radio version, several live versions, etc. Then whatever version they say they play, I tell them the version I learned and ask if we can take a couple of minutes to listen to the version they use. If it turns out that the versions are the same, I usually point out what I am hearing. If they don't get it, I move on. I am not about to go out and play something incorrectly just because the rest of the band doesn't want to do their homework. Either play it right or don't play it at all.
Your trouble is possibly two-fold:
1. Keep in mind that some bands just aren't very good, they have mediocre standards, they play to the best of their ability re-writing songs as they go, and miss the mark in most people's minds, and you would no doubt find this frustrating and a waste of time. Take a pass, move on to the next audition.
2. As incredible as it may seem, some bands limp along with the various members learning the song from different sources. One member learns the original, most popular hit version, another learns the live Youtube version, yet another learns the cover version, etc. Then they come to rehearsal and try to piece it together like a ransom note, and it sounds like amateur hour. Again, pass and move on to the next audition.
Now, if you see potential, there is one ray of hope: A serious, objective heart-to-heart with the band leader, one-on-one, and let him know that one of your standards is the entire band learns from the same version, learns it thoroughly at home, and learns it correctly to the best of their ability. If you can get a band leader (and subsequently his band) to buy into this, you might have a chance at turning a typical cliché mediocre band into something special.
If the band leader gets an attitude and treats you like a know-it-all, move along.
EDIT: Unless it’s below your acceptable work standards - and then again, there really isn’t any need to say anything - just move on instead.
Some bands purposely drop a few measures in order to shorten the song a bit.
The poster above who mentioned each member learning from different sources... I've seen that too.
I wouldn't take the sitting on a high horse route.
Chemistry and overall match (skill level) is far more important to me, than a wrong chord or two, which can be corrected easily down the road.
In my current band situation, as BL, I give the other members songlists to learn for the upcoming rehearsals. I/We end up changing the arrangements of some of the songs from time to time, for different reasons:
To shorten or lengthen a song
To shorten or lengthen a solo
Certain parts don't sound "right"
For anyone new coming in to the band, it may throw them off at first but I do explain it to them during rehearsal. Consider it creative license.
We were discussing a certain part of a song at last night's rehearsal, and the band leader said: "This is how the original goes." The other guitarist countered it with: "But we're not original." Made us all laugh, but he definitely made a point (or two).
sounds like a feel vs. accuracy thing.
For long-time bands, arrangements tend to 'drift'
Might have started from a accurate cover, but transmogrified over time.
Happens so slowly that some bands never realize it.
They may *think* it's note for note,
but when compared to the original version, it isn't.
The question is should one point this out, or not?
I'd say not, unless somebody is really screwing up a hook lick, or getting a chord change wrong.
It's best to follow along with the way they are doing it. I know exactly how you feel and have been through it many times. You want to be "exact" and they don't.
The key is getting through the song as a group and the BL can check it off as ready for the Gig.
Fighting to change "their" version will only put a strain on the project.
Sometimes the time is right to speak up and point a mistake but I chose those times wisely.
Around here, bands that take too much "creative license" don't do so well.
Again, there's no right or wrong here, it's just a matter of what's "right" for the band, and whether or not a newcomer and his standards are willing to accept that.
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