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Advice on audition dilemma

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by quiltkitty, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. I need a little advice from some seasoned veterans out there.

    I responded to an ad for a bass player for a band that plays weddings, parties, etc. The ad indicated that they did a wide variety of music, with a focus on the 80s. I spoke with the fellow on the phone and he seemed really nice, I told him my background, and said they would like to audition me. He sent over a audition set list, and told me if I like what I saw, to let him know and they would set up an audition.

    And here is the problem - I really, really didn't like what I saw. Some of the songs I can see playing - people are going to request them. But the other songs, I just don't like, I really don't like. These are songs that I would quickly switch off if they came on the radio. The set list he sent over would cause me to leave a party/bar of the band was playing it.

    Then I thought, hey, there are plenty of songs I have not liked, but once I learned the bass line, I really enjoyed them. So I started going through the songs, pulling them up and listening to them, looking at the tabs for difficulty levels, etc. Most of the bass lines were mind-numbingly boring, but I thought, hey, I can jazz it up, make it fun, make it mine. I got about half way through the list, and literally had to turn the song off, I could not get through it, it irritated me so badly. Most of the stuff is classic rock style stuff, which is not my style at all. I guess I saw 80s and I was thinking Duran Duran and awesome John Taylor bass lines?

    So I am not sure what to do. I am just getting back into the game after an injury, and I would really like the experience of playing out, particular in a well-established band. I was thinking about emailing the guy back for some more song options, but that seems rather douchey.

    At this point, I would like to decline the audition if this is the style of music they play. Should I contact the guy and ask if this is representative of what they play? Should I decline the audition? How can I do that tactfully? All the songs are easy-peasy, I know I could nail it, but should I even try? :meh:
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    It's best to honest with the band and yourself. If the music isn't something you'd listen to why would want to put in the effort to play it? I've turned down a few auditions based on the preliminary song list and never regretted it. I just told them that based on the music they play I didn't think we'd be a good match, and wished them success with their project.
  3. I would call him and respectfully say that the set list just doesn't work for you, and rather than waste everyone's time you will bow out of the audition, wish them all the best, and continue looking for something you will like better.

    I don't see how anyone could fault you for that. And if they are flexible with the set list, maybe he will ask you what you would prefer more, so have a list of 20 - 30 80's tunes you'd rather play, and see where it goes. But wait for him to ask if you have any ideas. If he doesn't ask, his mind is made up on the set list and it's best that you both continue on your separate paths.
  4. If you think you'll just be bored to death, unless you need the job/money and you are prepared to pretend that you're having fun at every gig, I wouldn’t take the job.
  5. Wedding bands should usually be called wedding blands. Too much Whitney Houston, bad Phil Collins / Genesis, Starship, Billy Ocean, Huey Lewis, you get the idea. Ack. But that's often the gig. Which is why I'd always rather do a 70s wedding band. Cheesy, but way more fun.
  6. Yes, call the BL, tell him you have had a change of heart and will no longer be pursuing the audition opportunity. Thank him just the same. I don't even think you need to offer a reason, there's really no point. You're not going to get them to re-tool their playlist.

    I can almost guarantee you he will be very cordial and polite and wish you well, and I am equally sure he has a list of candidates as long as his arm who will appreciate the project and opportunity.

    No harm no foul. Make the call, be polite and professional.
  7. Thank you for the input everyone! I don' have his number, but I do have his email, so I will email and let him know. I will just say that it looks like our musical styles differ and I would probably not be a good match for him. Does that sound OK?
  8. We just interviewed a guitarist, sent him a set list and set up a date for our first practice. Last night he sent me an email saying the list wasn't really what he was into, and wished us luck in finding someone better suited.

    I'd much rather have someone come clean IN THE BEGINNING and bow out rather than get weeks (or months) into a project just for them to say 'Sorry, it's not for me.

    Seriously, don't sweat it. If they get upset over it, you didn't want to be a part of it anyway.

    If you want bonus points with them, see if there's anyone you know that might want to do it. Word of mouth can be very valuable.
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Don't do it. I played in a few bands where I force fed horrible songs to just get by and take one for the team.
    After you play these songs awhile you will want to die onstage...trust me on this.

    If you are in it for just the money..buck up and do it. Me? Not an issue since I never played for money although it was nice when I got it.
  10. Yup.
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    If you want to MAKE MONEY do it. If not, don't. And if you do, don't "jazz up" the original basslines. Play it like it should be played, that's what wedding/pro bands are all about...playing what people want to hear and making money. People on various instruments "improving" things is what destroys songs like Mustang Sally.
  12. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Id just politely decline the audition. If getting through the songs was off-putting I cant imagine you'd enjoy playing them over and over at gigs.
    Maybe ask if that list is representitive of the majority of their material and if so tell them you dont see yourself being a good fit for the band.
  13. tbirdsp


    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Just curious, what are some of these "classic rock style stuff, which is not my style at all" songs?
  14. +1

    The whole "jazz it up/make it mine" comment was a red flag.

    Wedding bands doing covers are usually there to play it straight and spoon feed guests what they want to hear.
  15. I emailed the BL and told him that I appreciated his time, but didn't think I would be a good fit, and wished him luck.

    Some of the songs on the list, such as Old Time Rock and Roll, are not my style, but people are going to want to hear them, and I understand that. Faithfully was also on the list, which of course is great for a wedding, and a pretty good ballad. The others included Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Hard To Handle, Separate Ways (I actually do like Journey quite a bit, but don't like that song). The one I broke down on was Bad Case of Loving You.

    All the songs on the list were quite popular, so I understand that why a band might choose them. Just not my cup of tea. I don't think I would enjoy playing those songs, as I don't enjoy hearing them.

    Also, I would like to clarify that by "make it mine", I did not mean rewriting the bass lines. I meant maybe occasionally putting in a fill before the chorus repeat or something.
  16. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    If I have never have to play Old Time Rock and Roll again, it will be too soon.

    And I'm not a Seger hater, either.
  17. Ack! So BL emailed me back, and said:

    "Can you tell me some artist and/or songs that you would like to play. Our set list can be varied at anytime and I would not be opposed to learning new material. In fact, everyone in the group places 3 songs into the mix every 2 months that we try and learn and possibly add to the set. Anything or genre I can do to change your mind?"

    Now, what do I do?! He is being so nice and accommodating! I don't want to insult his song choices, because I know a lot of that is driven by demand. If I were brutally honest, I would say, "Well, I think you should play Don't Stop Believing or Any Way You Want It rather than Separate Ways. And under no circumstances will I play Bad Case of Loving You". I think that doing a few more recent songs would go a long way as well, but it not my band!
  18. Having made a comfy living as a wedding entertainer for over a decade, I think you have some pretty good ideas and valid points.

    If you can keep your song suggestions relevant to a typical wedding client's needs, this may be an opportunity for you to at least continue the dialog and explore some of those ideas with BL.

    Just remember: If being a marketable wedding cover band is their goal, you will need to help them pick and play crowd favorites, and faithfully.
  19. Dunno if its different where you are but all of the wedding bands I've seen that have gone down the best have been the bands where they put their own spin/style on the material. Of course, thats a conscious decision the whole band have to make together in order to rearrange the music, not just have the bass player play whatever he wants!
  20. electracoyote - Thank you for your response. This is new territory for me which is why I turned to the experts on TalkBass! Let's see, for a wedding, I would resign myself to Old Time Rock N Roll as it is sure to be requested. What about something like Mine by Taylor Swift? All My Loving by The Beatles (too old)? If you like Journey, Faithfully is good, but my fav is Don't Stop Believing.

    And how can I respond to BL without sounding like I want to take over his band?

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