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Audition jitters, gotta vent!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mrokern, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've been doing the cover band thing (with a few originals thrown in) for about a year and a half now, and doing a decent run with it lately (once we got a new drummer, gigs started coming at a nice pace). Nice clubs, good crowds, etc. Problem is, my creativity hasn't exactly been challenged. The gig count is slowing down (almost to hiatus level...:meh:) as we go into fall, so I started looking for something in the original realm that would tweak my interest.

    After listening to demo tracks from a few bands, I came across one that just knocked my jaw sideways. Got in touch, they sent me a few rehearsal tracks that didn't have any bass lines written yet. Took one, spent a night and laid down a track...mixed it down, sent it back. I must have done something right, because I've got a formal audition in a week.

    Closest thing I can think of to the sound is Tool on more recent albums. Audition material is 6 songs already written and in place, and I have 4 songs to write my own lines to play with the group at the audition (obviously one of them is done, it got me the audition).

    I'm just wigging out a bit since

    a) it's a lot of material for a week;

    b) I'm pushing myself out of my "comfort zone"...there is a lot of space to fill for the bass, and while I'm very competent at holding down the low end of things in a two-guitar band, this is very different...one guitar, and the bass needs to fill in melodic elements as well.

    They've got 16 songs ready to go, I've now heard 10 of them. I haven't heard a dud in the bunch. Keep your fingers crossed!

  2. This could be the best thing yet for your musical career and development. As much fun as I've had at my house gig over the last 4 years, "pushed" isn't something I've felt at all - we're doing cover tunes, and mostly tunes I've done before. Here's hoping you land this gig and start doing great things! :)
  3. slight-return


    May 14, 2007

    seriously -- you might forget to do that at some points

  4. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    as long as you know the material and are professional (which go hand-in-hand, i guess) and excited about the music....you're golden, dude. be cool.

    good luck and have fun.
  5. That's awesome man!

    Congrats on the audition.

    You'll do great!
  6. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks, guys. :)

    I'm caught in that spot between not wanting to overplay (probably not an issue for me...LOL), but I don't want to UNDERplay either. :meh:

    I'm spending my time at work alternating between listening to the demo tracks and my Tool albums for some inspiration.

    It's a good thing I can do the covers in my sleep, I've got a large gig on Saturday night. Following that, it's original world all the way (all day Sunday, plus every night). Nothing like some serious practicing...

  7. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    When you are learning the songs, write down their order (crude charting) and things that help only you remember them.

    My notes may look like:

    Intro (drums, then bass, 14th fret g string slide)
    Verse (come in with vocals)
    Chorus (chug the A.)

    Things that help you. When I can play the song without listening to it but just my scrappy notes, I know that I have it.

    Some bands may audition you without the vocals so don't just relay on them for transitions.

    breathe, you'll do fine. Don't try to do backflips either as presence is important, but doesn't overshadow ability (or shouldn't)

    Dress appropriately, sounds dumb, but you don't want to look like a 16oz rib eye in a bowl of spinach.

  8. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    You should calm down, you're fine.

    You already did something right, they already like you. It sounds like you already know one track, tighten it up and blow them away with it. Focus on the songs one at a time, and get as many of them down as you can.
  9. Congrats man! Isn't Minneapolis great, as far as original music? There doesn't seem to be a "minneapolis sound" anymore, as there are sooo many genres here now. It's easy to find something here that will push you.

    Congrats again.
  10. Killer!

    As hard as it might be, try not to get too anxious. You can't control what they think or how they react to you. You can control yourself and how you deliver the goods. Focus on what you can control and do your level best. Give 'em what you got! It sounds like you have a great shot and as long as you don't walk in looking like a scared kitty cat, you'll probably ace it!

    Also - regarding over vs. under playing - either could be just fine and I'd offer them a taste of both to show them that you can do busy and do simple. Just make sure the busy is not at the sacrifice of the important stuff and that the simple GROOOVES hard.

    Go, man, GO!!
  11. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Congrats and good luck, Mark! You'll be great, so have fun with it! (Never forget to have fun with it.)

    Have a discussion with the band members before you start, and say exactly what you just said. Ask them for their perspective on how much "activity" thay want to hear in the bass lines. This should probably be on a song-to-song basis, as some will call for more "lead bass" and some will call for less.

    Doing this will impress them with the fact that you can actually think about stuff, you care about collaborating with them rather than just plowing ahead with your own interpretation, etc.


    Let us know how it goes - I'll come see you when you play out with your new band!
  12. I wanna chime in about the Over/Under thing again.

    You can talk to them about it - which I agree would demonstrate that you think about it - but I'd approach it as if you were responsible for the bass line and actually create both versions. Sounds like twice the effort, but it really isn't if you think about it.

    Start with an understated and ultra supportive line that locks air-tight with the drummer. Get really good and nailing down the downs. Then roll through that same song a second time and let yourself be more expressive to find out just how far you can go before you take over and overwhelm it.

    My bet is that you could almost always "expand" on a simple, locked down line - even spontaneously. But going the other direction (starting complex, then thinning it out) would sound just like that - like a thinner part.

    I've found in my experience that "less is more" is almost always a good choice where "more is more" is almost never. But showing them that you can do more but are choosing to focus on less is almost always a good thing.
  13. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    ...and, of course, you have to let us know how it goes....
  14. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    10 songs (6+4)? Shouldn't be a problem, at least I don't think you will. Challenges are good for everyone.
  15. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    It's an interesting opportunity. The singer / guitarist is the primary songwriter, and maintains a strong quality control on the sound. From what I've heard, he's consistent in his style, has a solid sense of phrasing, and understands theory to the extent that there are some interesting changes that still fit the theme and structure of the song. There's still room for creativity, but a lot of the lead-ins and little breaks are set. Not a bad thing, though, as there are some catchy riffs there. I get the idea that there is some serious music training in their background.

    Again, I'm working off demo stuff, but the drummer seems really tight, and I mean TIGHT. His double-kick fills are scary accurate. My cover band's drummer has a college degree in percussion performance, and he isn't as tight as this drummer is.

  16. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks, we'll see how it goes! You're right, there's a huge variety of music on the scene here these days! :hyper:

    Will certainly do so!

    Part of this comes from the fact that there are certain levels in this industry (and town) that you can only go with originals. For those of us here in Minneapolis, how many times have you seen cover acts at Cabooze, Trocs, or First Ave? Wanting to headline main room at First Ave isn't THAT big of a goal, is it? :p

  17. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I'm sure there have been bands worse than your (potential) new band that have headlined First Ave. You might want to set your sights lower, though - maybe start at the 7th Street Entry!:p
  18. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN

    Fine, fine.

    I actually got to mix FOH in the main room a couple of weeks ago at the Earl Root tribute. I'm friends with the bassist from Gracepoint, so they brought me in and I gave the house guy a break for their set (which I think he needed, the high end was getting out of control).

    Even as a sound engineer who's mixed in arenas and sheds, there's something about iconic venues like that...it gives you the flutters as you step up to the console, knowing how many great acts have played through that rig and in that room.

  19. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    yeah i contacted these guys too since I'm kind of in the market as well- but faribault is, like, way further than i want to drive very often. They did sound really talented- i was genuinely impressed by their demo tracks, but having a dedicated bassist will make them sound way better.

    best of luck, man!
  20. Willy2911


    Sep 11, 2008
    OC California
    Just Remember - you Got the aud. they already like your playing. Don't trip...
    Show up well rested and fresh - Don't get a big head, but remind yourself of all that hard work and time you have put into your passion - it has payed off and you are now
    one bad bassist - so put on your player face and ROCK!!!

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