I've read tons of "Why/Should I quit the band" rants,and always wondered "Where do you guys find these people?!" Well,I finally found 'em too.. Three months ago my longtime band amicably split up for reasons of 'Life Happens'..Two months ago I got a call from a guy about 50mi away needing a bassist for his cover band,as his stopped coming to practice,changed his number,and just "disappeared" leaving them high and dry for an upcoming fundraising event..I know,that should have been Red Flag #1,but you'll see there were so many they should have named themselves The Red Flags. So we talk a bit,going over their influences and aspirations. I agree to audition and he emails me a songlist of 45 tunes. I ask which ones he'd like me to audition and he says "Well we play all of 'em,so you'll have to know all of 'em" OKaaaay,lets try the slow pitch.."I'm trying out for you in six days,45 tunes for an audition is a bit much. I know these six already,do you guys have a "Signature Song" that is a MUST KNOW?" He says "Yeah,I guess you have a point..make sure you know these two,and we'll see how it goes" Fast forward to the night before my try out. I get a call from the bandleader wanting to be sure I'm still going to show up and wasn't scared off by the list. I tell him not to worry,I'll be there with my A-game and a majority of said list. He then tells me there's no real pressure because it'll just be him and me..Uhh-come again? "Well,the drummer and second guitarist won't be there,and the singer said he might swing by,but probably won't" I ask if he needs to reschedule the audition and he says no,it's just that they practice every other weekend,and this will be the 'off' weekend. I point out it's a bit pointless to try to get a feel of how the potential new guy will mesh with the band if there's no band around,let's just shoot for your scheduled practice when the whole gang's there. He replies "Well I don't see how it's a problem,but whatever,let me make some calls.." He calls me back a short while later and says the drummer and singer will stop by for an hour or so,but wasn't able to contact the other guitarist. Ok,that works,I'll see you guys tomorrow then.. I show up,meet the guys,and set up. BL asks which songs I think I'm comfortable with,and I gave him my copy of the songlist,with 33 of the 45 check-marked. I say anything that's checked I'm good with. He gives the guys a raised eyebrow smirk and calls off their sig.song "Walkie Talkie Man" and tells me not to worry if I can't keep up,they just want to warm up and we can go over some simpler stuff after this one.."OK,no problem"and to their delight,I nailed it..For some reason,I seemed to be the only one not surprised. He calls off the next song,which is in drop C tuning. I start to detune and he asks what I'm doing. I say "This one's in drop C,so I have to tune down.." He scrunches up his face and says "I don't know what version you listened to,but this one's in the key of A3." My turn to look confused "A3??" I ask. He says all wide eyed and slowly "Yeeeaahh..A string,3rd fret? How long have you been paying?" (ahh,a tab-guy) "Long enough that I don't paint by numbers,and that note is "C",and the key of the song is Drop C,which is why I have to tune down" "Whatever you think,but you'll see.." he replies. Halfway through,we're stopped and I'm showing this guy how to play the song HE gave me to learn. This went on for the next two hours,call a song--ask new guy how to play said song. By the end,they said I had the position and they were just off their game from not jammin for about a month due to no bassist. For some reason,I bought it and agreed to come back for next week's scheduled practice. Next week's practice was rough to say the least. I was the only one that had practiced apparently,and it showed. I also found out that everything I had practiced correctly was wrong,as they capo'd nearly everything because "it's just easier to play the dots.." After four hours of transposing everything so they could 'play the dots',practice was finally over and I was ready to throw in the towel. They on the other hand thought they were now destined to be Rock Gods,and wanted to book a tour Just as I was about to tell them I didn't think it was going to work out,the drummer says "Oh Hey,I just found out I know your brother through work and told him you'd be playing the fundraiser with us. He's really looking forward to it,and said he's bringing his kids so they can see ol' Uncle Kev rockin' it out!" Great. Now I'm stuck. The third practice was just as bad,and at halftime I let everybody know that as the 'new guy' I should be the weakest link,and they should be teaching me their songs,not the other way around. "Well,we're just excited because we finally have a bass player capable of doing a bunch of stuff we couldn't pull off before..hell,half of those songs you were given were just ones that have been on our wish list forever,and now we can finally try them out!" (I guess that explains a lot) I said that with this gig right around the corner,we need to focus on that,and only that. We're slated for two sets,lets pick 20 songs from WHAT YOU GUYS ALREADY KNOW,and concentrate on those and those alone. Everybody agreed,and the rest of practice went uhh..'fairly' well. Practice #4 -- Everybody shows up,with the addition of ANOTHER guitarist. That's right,we're up to three now. Apparently,he's an old guitarist that shows up whenever he feels like it,and the second guitarist was brought on shortly before me because the other guy is too unreliable,but now he's back on-board because of the capable bassist factor. Fortunately,he actually knows all the songs that were picked. Unfortunately,all he plays are shredding Slayer riffs from start to finish,regardless of what song it is.(How many flags are we up to?) As introductions are made,one of the other guys tells him about my 'Key of A3' discussion with the BL,and he says "Oh? We've got another E=MC squared guy eh?" (i found out their last bassist was scholastically trained and considered a smarty-pants) I replied "Actually,in this setting,E=Fb" and was rewarded with blank stares and chirping crickets Awkward moment passes,and we all plug in..then the singer starts calling off half a dozen songs that weren't on either list,which I mention. The BL says "Yeah,I added those a couple days ago cuz we really like 'em" I said "Well nobody told me,so it looks like you'll be playing bass for those" Everybody started in on me with the "C'mon..they're EASY" and "We know you can learn 'em" and so on.. "Yes,they are and Yes,I can- but that's not the point. The point is that we've already selected your 20 'best' songs,and 19 of those are only half-ass passable" Eventually,I cave and the singer calls for a Wolfmother tune,which of course is in drop C. As I'm detuning again,the BL is still giving me crap about "I don't know why you do that when there's like,three other "C"s on your bass" ?!?!! Have I mentioned this guy gets paid for giving "Guitar Lessons"!! As I'm trying to get him to understand the concept of upper,lower,and middle registers,he pulls out a five string bass and starts strapping it on. I stop and say "Cool,you're going to show me how you guys play these?" He looks at me straight faced and says "No,this is what I play for some of the heavier stuff so I don't have to take my guitar out of tune" !!WHAT!! %@#*!!#@!@#$$#@@!*$!!!!!! HE WAS ACTUALLY SERIOUS!!! At that point I told them I was only going to be able to see them through this gig and their search for a bassist would need to continue,due to financial and logistical reasons. They were completely unfazed and said they understood,what with me travelling 100mi round trips for no paying gigs and such. Then they actually thanked me(!) because over the last few weeks I made them realize that they're not as skilled as they've been told or as they believed themselves to be,and were honestly surprised I stuck it out this long..which was the most unexpected response I could have gotten. I left with a mix of confusion and relief..confused as to how they've landed any gigs over the last four years,and relieved because there was no drama concerning my quitting. I'm still dreading this upcoming gig because it's going to be the most embarrassing two sets I've played in 20 years,but on the positive side,my nephews are only 5 and 7,so all they're going to notice is Uncle Kev ~ Rockstar!