Short version, audition went well, but a couple of minor red flags... Long version.... Looking to get away form my current gigging band, I auditioned with a start up last night. The pre audition condition on my part was that they felt they could be ready to gig by "the summer". Pretty broad target I know, but end of summer would be fine for my goals. Being a startup, they really don't even have a full playlist yet, so the guy arranging auditions provided me a list of 6 songs (Born to Be Wild, Old Man, Dear Mr. Fantasy, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Wagon Wheel, Ready for Love) "plus we'll probably jam on other stuff in the same genre" (country rock-classic rock). I told him I prefer to be prepared, but we'll see what happens. I had almost three weeks to get the 6 songs worked out and had them ready to go in two days. So I had lots of burn in time - I was plenty ready. I get to the guy's house about 10 minutes early (after killing 10 minutes at a Starbucks near his house) and see a few other cars parked as if they were at the house. I had heard they play in the garage, but went an knocked on the front door - which was answered by a couple of yapping dogs. Only. Hmmm.. Double checked the address, this is where he told me to come. I texted the guy and a minute later he came walking out the side yard gate - they'd been sitting out in the guys backyard just hanging out. OK, no bigggie, but thanks for the scare.... The guys are very age appropriate for me (54- 65? and I just turned 60) and really friendly fellows. I plop my stuff and get set up as we do the pre audition small talk dance. "Oh, you brought a mic stand. You can sing?" "Well, some might call it that..." ha, ha , ha ... The lead guy was somehow without his electric guitar (in the shop) so we couldn't really get into his lead guitar work - he didn't seem to be too interested in playing lead guitar anyway (going to look for a third guitar to play lead), so we didn't even play one of the prepared songs. We bounced back and forth between the prepared songs and the "jam" songs he'd just call out. Nothing complex and I was at least familiar with all but two songs (one original, one country) so I was on them after the first pass of the verse/chorus. I chimed in on vocals where ever I was comfortable to do so, but mostly focused on the bass lines. I found out after the audition that the lead guy has never really even played a gig before. He has a very interesting voice (in a good way) and presents well, but I'm guessing he's spent a lot of time working alone. I don't think we cycled through one song as it was performed by the original artist - adding choruses, skipping or doubling bridges, adding his own little breaks, etc. It was pretty easy to keep up with him, but it was just a little more work than it should have taken. When called on it, he said he'd work on learning the songs properly, but I'm a little concerned he's had too much time playing them wrong to get them right. The drummer was pretty solid - claims to not be a "lead" drummer (which I had no issue with!) and he kept a solid beat and actually took responsibility for leading us astray when we had trouble getting to the chorus too early on one song. I'm pretty sure I was the only one in the room with any musical training. The lead guy flat out said he knew nothing about notes - he just figured things out. The drummer and the rhythm guitarist both told me to play a 12 bar blues to an original tune - but it was an 8 bar blues. So that will be a little frustrating not being able to converse easily in music speak. The rhythm guitarist/BG vocals did a good job of being a member of the rhythm section - hardly knew he was there most of the night, and has some great vocal range. We should be able to get some awesome 3-4 part vocals working on the right songs. We sounded pretty good together. And it was clear the guys - especially the lead guy was pretty happy with what we doing in general - he just had this big poopie-eating grin as we wrapped every song - "That's the best we've ever done that!" Some of the songs were ones they hadn't even really worked out yet, and it was good to see that we could collectively get through new songs pretty easily. Very simple stuff, but still, we were all listening to each other and going where things took us. I've played with people who couldn't do this after a couple of weeks. This was their week 4 including auditioning 3 other bassists. I was pretty sure, they would have found their guy by the time I got there (I knew there was a "lot" of interest in the position) and pretty much treated this as a networking opportunity, but I guess of the three, only one was appropriate for consideration. The drummer (my point of contact) told me that one guy showed up with a massive pedal board including a looper that he wanted to use so he could play percussion sometimes. Wow - this isn't a funk band dude; southern/classic rock does not need all of that. We hung out for about 2 hours and exhausted everything they'd ever tried to play and a few they hadn't yet. I guess I created a bit of a "problem" for them; Drummer says: "Dude, don't take this the wrong way, but I was hoping you'd suck - now we have to make a decision!" They're going to sit on it for a couple of days, but all the conversation as I was breaking down was done in a "we" (including me) style of conversation and the drummer even let it slip that my vocal work - sad as it is - was a likely tie-breaker if it came to that. So assuming I get the call, there are a couple of red flags (some more yellow than red) for me: The biggest, by far, is the tendency for the lead guy making up his own versions of songs. Secondly, they need to find a lead guitarist. I was in one project where we tried to find that and we had two guys show up that were just not right at all (totally unprepared) and we ended up folding the project after about a month. I'm hoping the different genre (southern/classic rock vs hard classic rock) may attract a better pool. Third - I'll be dealing with three guitars. We didn't have great sound in his garage (hard to hear vocals), but the volume was very reasonable. With acoustic drums, it just has to be a certain volume - no choice. Even a drummer with great dynamics has to hit a drum at a certain velocity to keep some beats going. I talked to the drummer afterword about possibly using rods for rehearsals and he wasn't opposed to trying it. Fourth - they still need to get a workable sound system. No sub yet and the mixer they have is probably not enough for a gig. Fifth - I'm not sure all of their choices will be good for the stage. They didn't sound bad, just didn't seem very danceable and in one case - a very down tempo, bluesy rendition of Watchtower - not even recognizable. Lastly, they seem to think that 30 songs is enough for a full gig - my other band does 45 to 50 songs over a 3 set night, so there needs to be a reality check. Pros. We did sound good together. The vocalist style, again, is as if he has worked alone a lot in the past and he has some unique lyrical phrasing even when he is following the form - but that can be dealt with as long as he is consistent. We had some nice three part harmony going a few times - especially considering we really hadn't worked anything out. The groove was there. Nothing flashy. The lead guy obviously sings his heart out, but rhythm guy and myself are both neck gazers and the drummer was just kind of staring off into his zone most of the time - had a hard time making eye contact with him. I was the only one looking around at everyone most of the time - at least I didn't notice them looking around when I did. The hang was comfortable, everyone was cool, no obvious ego issues. They haven't been together long enough for any drama to build, so time will be the true judge of the hang. These guys are not afraid to play older stuff - the true classic rock the stuff we grew up with. They understand we can't just play the stuff we personally individually love (deeper cuts), but get that people still react to a lot of the older stuff - from what I've seen just as much if not more than the "newer" stuff. Drummer says he already has two venues lined up to play at when we're ready. If I get the call, I'm probably going to accept it on a "trial basis". First test will be can we get the lead guy to either learn the songs correctly or at least be sure to develop a consistent form. I fine following new song forms, but it just has to be consistent. Second: They believe they can be ready to go by June 1. I know I can be ready that quickly, but can they? I'll set a concreate goal to have one set ready in a month; if we can have 10-15 songs ready, we're on pace to make their June target and I'll be a little more comfortable that we collectively have what it takes to be ready. If we pass the tests, I'll give notice to my other band and of course, honor my booked gigs and do what I can to help them replace me. I mostly still like them, just don't really want to play with that drummer anymore. The lead singer from this group takes off for most of the summer and the BL is concocting this weird plan to get karaoke singers to sing with us when she's away. The though is kind of fun, but I just see a lot opportunity for issues with that, so it will be an easy for everyone "out" after our booked gig in June I do need to note that the P bass really stood out in this particular mix - first time I've really felt it sit so well. My other live play with the P is all FOH, through IEMs so I really can't hear the tone well. Even with just running it through my little Fender Rumble 100 (older 115 model), it really shined last night. I have the EQ and compressor on my EHX Batallion DI set perfectly now, so I can just set my amps' EQ at 12 my bass sounds great.