Hey there! The first meeting:
The waffle house/coffee shop audition portion is a great thing to do. First off, if the guy that shows up comes across as a full on addict do you really want him to know where you hide your gear? I don't think so. Audition over before the jamming even starts. Plus in any band situation there is a certain amount of "hang factor" to deal with. Is this person's personality going to jive well with yours?
Anywy... When I was writing up the initial post, I came up with a few questions or other related band type topics, for the Q&A section of the audition. Most of this you already know, and should not be taken as condisending. I am merely trying to be thorough. Some of these questions I already alluded to in "THE CHAT" section of the first post, but I couldn't stop coming up with more stuff. Funny how the brain works at times. 2nd audition? Maybe:
Do not be afraid of scheduling a second audition once you’ve narrowed your options down to two guys. Just don’t expect them to be available because if they are auditioning for your band, they are probably auditioning for other bands and may have landed that gig in the meantime. “Hello. We have narrowed down our selection to you and one other guy and were wondering if you would be available for a second audition. “ Show them that you respect their time. Asking questions and Band Rules:
You need to be VERY precise with these questions so that there is less of a chance for misunderstanding. Being very specific in your questions also reduces the wiggle room. Do not tell them that not showing up for practice is not going to fly. Tell them instead that if they “do not show up to a SCHEDULED practice without contacting the other band members the by no later than the DAY BEFORE rehearsal more than twice, you are out of a job with this band.” Incidentally this would also go for YOU as well. So make sure to live up to that yourself. Okay obviously if something happens the day of the rehearsal or gig, and mom ends up in the hospital or something, that is a far bigger deal than any band practice or gig. If their goldfish dies every week then it’s time to dump him/her.
Sample questions and topics you need to consider in no particular order:
1) NO SLEEPING WITH OTHER BAND MEMBERS HONEY’S. EVER!
It usually leads to disaster if not hospitalization. A hug and a peck on the cheek is one thing, but anything more than that is not a good idea. If you remember nothing else from my posts remember this one.
2) Single or involved? Family trumps bands. Bands come and go, and in some cases so do families, but just be respectful of people’s lives outside of the band.
3) Are you employed? i.e. “Am I going to have to buy your drum sticks every week?” BTW inter-band loans are dangerous. Every once in a blue moon is ok, but do NOT make it a habit.
4) Transportation? How are you planning to fit your 87 piece drum kit into that Fiat? ( I had a drummer with a 80’s era monster kit and drove a Civic coupe. One of the other guys with an F150 had to drive 30 miles one way to pick him up. Lame. )
5) Alcohol, smoking, drugs? Your call on just how much of this you want to deal with.
6) What is your ideal scenario band wise? This is a question for you and the person auditioning. Remember like any interview its a two way street. Do I really want to work at this place?
7) Financials like how you’re splitting gig money. Is it by a percentage or by a set dollar amount? This is probably the primary topic for any contract you will write up. This can get VERY ugly if not handled well from the beginning.
8) Band Funds and joint gear? A band account that requires at least 2 names to draw from is somewhat ok as one guy can’t stiff you. I would recommend a set/predictable % of gig money so that no one person is contributing more than the others. This is not for individual gear purchases, but for studio time, promo packs, t-shirts, etc… As for joint equipment, who gets to keep it if somebody splits? What’s the buyback policy going to be?
9) What about damaged, lost or stolen gear? How is that going to be handled? Do you have insurance? This is another biggie for the contract.
10) Are friends and your “honeys” allowed at rehearsal? This usually turns into a major distraction, although I’ve been in situations where the girls have cooked up an amazing feast while we were off noodling around. It can also make them feel more involved in your life and give them a chance to hang out with the other “spouses”. Generally speaking, I would keep most rehearsals behind closed doors, and then hold a rare open rehearsal to give everyone a chance to hang out as more of a party.
11) Do you understand the difference between practice and rehearsal? Practice is what you do at home on YOUR time, while rehearsal is on BAND time. Band time is harder to arrange as it is far more involved, so it is therefore more valuable time. Don’t waste it. Do not show up to the rehearsal without doing your homework, whatever that may have been. Again this one is all about professionalism and respect of your band members time.
12) Who’s handling promotion, website, booking, etc? How does that affect the pay split? Anyone doing “extra” work should be compensated in some way in my book.
13) Are you scheduling more rehearsals, or longer rehearsals, than you need to? Are you not scheduling enough rehearsals? Is the schedule consistent? It should be.
14) EVERYONE should be made aware of a possible gig BEFORE agreeing to it. Also give them time to check their calendars. Do not expect an immediate answer. You never know when somebody’s grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday and one of you can’t make it. Do not assume everyone will be available even if they normally are. It is a matter of respect.
15) Treat everything you do with your band professionally. This is YOUR COMPANY, so how do you want it to be perceived? If you tell somebody you will call them on Tuesday at noon, you better be calling them on Tuesday at noon. If you make an agreement, stick to it even if it is not in your best interest immediately. If your band agreed to play a gig for $50 bucks, do the show and learn from that mistake, and try not to repeat it. It seems simple, but it’s amazing how many people mess this up in their day to day lives.
16) Take into count the host club/bars perspective. Your band is merely icing on the cake. Paying a band to play is a financial hit for them, one that most companies won’t even consider. Do your research and try to understand how their type of business operates. The bar is not always in the right by any means, but the more you understand their perspective the smoother the interactions will go.
17) Find the gig location BEFORE the night of the show. In one band I was in the drummer and I would head to the locations the week before to see if we could even find the place, and then we would try to assess what issues and facilities were available there. How many outlets are available? Is the stage big enough for the monster drum set or do we need to scale it back? How’s the parking situation? How is the load out going to work here? (Upstairs? What the...) Where is the bathroom? Do I need to bring my own TP? (Hey I'm not kidding on this one) What’s on the menu? (I might get hungry, so good info to know) The wrap up:
Ok if you got this far through the post .... good on ya. I am by no means a gigging/band building pro. These are simply some suggestions taken from personal experiences, conversations with others, and a ton of reading. To the OP take what info or ideas work for you in your situation and disregard the rest if need be. Again I hope this can help anyone that read this in some way along their own musical journey.
Whew.... I'm spent. Ha ha. I think I need to write a book or something.