About to join a cover band for the first time...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by VeganThump, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    So yeah, that's what is happening. I have always been in original bands and I'm comfortable playing in front of a crowd and playing with other people obviously but I seem to have some trepidation in regards to how I should approach this audition. They have me a list of about 60 songs to learn in two weeks and needless to say, it's a bit overwhelming. So my question is this, should I learn ever single song note for note or do I just need to be able to "fake" my way through them? Are these guys expecting me to play exactly what is recorded on every song right away? Help?
  2. Sixty songs in two weeks is quite a bit for an audition, IMHO. I would learn 8 - 10 of them nailed. Then start working on the rest. Maybe get some charts together. Better yet, ask them to prioritize them for you. Be up front and ask questions. Make sure to find out if they expect you to sing backups or not.
  3. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    Wait a sec - audition? 60 songs? I don't think so. For an audition, a band will usually throw 6 songs at you to have ready, then if you GET THE GIG, yeah - there will be a lot of songs to nail down. I try to learn the lines off the recording, but if they expect 60 songs right away, I'd make notes next to each song title of the chord changes - little cheat notes on the actual set list - speaking of set list - doesn't the average gig require 3 sets? That would be around 30 songs - not 60! Maybe they need to clarify.
  4. planeman


    Feb 8, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    With the luck I've had lately, I wouldn't learn 60 songs for an audition. You are auditioning them as well and that is a lot of time practicing to possibly find out you don't like the people and or the situation.
  5. This is an extremly valid point - good thinking
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    60 song list before youve been accepted into the band? That seems a bit much for an audition.
    As lustersilk said, Id ask for a 10 song list for audition purposes, and would learn more than 10 if I had the time. If youre going into the coverband world it doesnt hurt at all to have a large repertoire
    Id also find out from them whether they want note-for-note renditions or if they play the songs a little more loosely.
  7. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    60 is ridiculous. Are you sure they didn't just give you their song list, and you can learn what you can from it? If you've NEVER played in a cover band before, you're not gonna learn 60 in 2 weeks. Unless you don't have a life and can practice all day.

    Now, for old veterans that have been playing cover bands for decades... yeah those guys will probably know a lot of those songs before the first audition. But for someone new to cover bands, 60 is silly.
  8. TomCHunley


    Jun 12, 2011
    Bowling Green, KY
    I practice a lot but still suck.
    I'm in roughly the same boat right now. I auditioned Wednesday to be in a working cover band. I'll be replacing the BL's son, who is going back to college in late August. They gave me a list of 36 songs with no clear instructions on what was expected of me at the audition. I worked on a half dozen of them for a few days. At the audition, we played most of those plus simple versions of a few others. None of the songs went perfect, but the BL was very encouraging and said he'd have a learning curve too if he were joining a new band. So, I've got the gig as long as I'm willing to put in the effort and get the songs down by the end of the summer. The current bassist said he'd meet with me to help me get up to speed on the bass lines. They've got a gig tomorrow night; I'll be there taking mental notes. Anyway +1 to asking them to clarify and to only working on six or sidings before the audition.
  9. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Do they have gigs lined up in the near future? Paying gigs? Have they ever gigged or is this a basement project? 60 songs is WAY too much for an audition. Test the waters by specifying in advance which half dozen songs you should learn, see if these people are playing at the skill level YOU require, and whether you want to hang with them. If everything looks good and is mutually agreeable, THEN make the commitment to learn all those songs.
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    10 seems too much even to me.

    For an audition, ask them to pick 4-5 songs for you to learn so you can come in and audition for an hour one day so everyone can try each other out and see how things go. If they don't pan out then you're maybe out 3 hours of your time learning the songs and doing the audition. If things click, then you can learn the rest before the first gig. Explain it to them this way. If they don't take it then they definitely aren't people you'd want to be playing with anyways.

    The only way I'd learn all 60 upfront is if I knew the gig was mine, they have dates on the calender, and they're guaranteeing me at least $125 a gig.
  11. LowEndGroover

    LowEndGroover Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    Long Island

    When I auditioned for my current band, we went over 4 songs that I had to learn. After the 4 songs we went over songs that I knew that they played. (10 in total)
    My final audition was a show where I had to learn about 60 songs. But, I had a month to prepare. That said, it's A LOT to learn in a relatively short time period.

    Definitely find out the priority songs for the audition and then you can take it from there.

    Good luck!
  12. Nail down at least 10 or 15 of them and just in case be prepared to wing the others.

    EDIT: If they’re a busy working cover band they’re probably looking for someone who already knows most of the songs or at least someone who can pickup all 60 songs really fast (within 6 weeks or so?).
  13. Ask what they expect in the way of percentage accuracy. They might want perfection. They might tell you to just land in the right time zone. What if you go in expecting carbon copies of well known songs and hear something very different?
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I would listen to all 60 songs and at least be familiar with them, but I would call them and ask them which 8 songs they wanted to audition you on. I would never learn 60 new songs to audition for a band that you don't even know if you'll like.
  15. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.

    4-5 songs is plenty. That's all I have ever showed up to a audition knowing and that is all the bands I've been in has asked new players to know.

    Auditions are to get a feel for the players ability and fit in the band. I believe in 50% playing and 50% fit. Play a few songs to get a feel for the persons ability and then a half hour of shop talk to get a feel for the hang.
  16. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Yep! And remember, you're auditioning them, too. Nothing worse than over-preparing for an audition, coming in, and then finding out the band isn't even up to par with where you'd like to be, they're a bunch of drunks/druggies, or they are just aren't fun to be around.
  17. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    I'd have to imagine that, with a list that long their version of a cover means "we sort of know the chords...and fake everything else."

    Tribute bands, that learn each song note for note, with the proper tones/gear would spend a few months breaking you in on substantially fewer songs, so its obviously not one of those types of gigs.

    Back in my youth, when I was auditioning around LA for professional projects I was never asked to learn more than 2-3 songs for the initial audition, so 60 just seems beyond the point of sanity.
  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    60 for an audition is certainly way out of line. 60 for a working cover band may be a little low though. We know over 100 and we know them well. And we learn new ones every month.
  19. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    Make sure you take a music stand and wear shades and a long coat.

    Just wing it on the bass parts.
  20. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    Yeah good point, I almost assumed they were not a working cover band by the nature of the post, but that would make more sense.

    As someone else pointed out, if they're a working cover band, and honestly want the guy they hire to know all 60 songs cold at the audition in 2 weeks, then they're either 1) really just looking for someone that knows the material already or 2) aren't quite being realistic.

    My gut tells me that anyone unrealistic enough to expect you to have them down cold that soon, won't be observant enough to notice if you do not know each song note for note. So just try to do your best imo.