Auditioning for a Blues Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thumblypeg, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. thumblypeg


    Oct 23, 2007
    Well, I think I may have found a potential paying gig. Responded to an ad in Craigsist. A guitarist/drummer combo looking for a bass player to gig in the few local bars and in Memphis. I've never been in a straight blues band but the guy sent me some clips of his old band, and he's actually really good. They want to play stuff like Joe Kubek, Tommy Castro, Popa Chubby and of course SRV. His ad listed his equipment as a 55 watt Mesa boogie head with a 2/12 cab. I'm guessing my 400 watt hartke and 4X10 cab would be enough for this guy, a drummer and possibly a keyboard player?

    He hasn't gotten any gigs yet, he's from California. I'm really not even sure what the demand is for blues bands these days, but surely we can work in Memphis?

    Anyway, the songs I'm gonna have to learn are as follows:

    Nasty Habits: Tommy Castro
    Caffeine and Nicotine: Popa Chubby
    She's It: Smokin Joe Kubek
    Cold Shot: SRV

    They're all pretty simple, but fun to play. I'm kind of stoked. It's not exactly what I was after but if he can get the thing going, it should be some kick ass experience. It would have been cool to audition for a working band, but there is less pressure here. It's a start anyway.

    I'm more hopeful about this little project than I am my current one. "Original" metal. I'm a 4 string player and they are all about some Drop D. We've yet to write a song. And they don't know any covers. I usually end up getting bored about an hour into practice(?).

    well that's all. It's exciting to me. :p
  2. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Man, that Tommy Castro stuff has groove so deep that you can wallow in it like a pig in mud. The band I'm playing with is covering alot of Castro stuff and it absolutely kills. It's a great cross-section of old school funk and blues. With the SRV stuff it's all about the slow drag walking blues. Tommy Shannon is the man. We also cover "Stoop Down" by Popa Chubby and that song just oozes groove.

    On this style of music, try to remember that "less is more". Pay attention to the pocket, the groove, and know the feel of the different songs. Are you comfortable walking standard blues changes in the different patterns? Slow blues, minor blues, box walk up and down, etc? From your post, you say you've been playing metal. Blues is an entirely different beast. It's not straight ahead, there's lots of swing and feel rather than straight quarter or eighth notes.

    I studied alot of jazz in lessons, played in the jazz band in high school, and have recently come back to playing this style of music in a band. I was playing classic rock most recently before this. The blues is very similar to jazz. Know the key, know the structure of the song and the style fo the line, and walk your way through the songs. I'll be glad to share any more advice, feel free to post or PM me.

  3. thumblypeg


    Oct 23, 2007

    Yeah, I know what you mean about Castro. From what I've listend to it sounds like it would go over great in a bar.

    I'm actually better suited to play blues than metal. I learned how to play in a cover band that covered mostly Southern Rock and alot of the bluesier Classic rock like Zeppelin, SRV and some of that old Sabbath. I'm just more comfortable with Pentatonic type stuff than anything else. I'm just learning how to slap, I'm trying to work on my three finger technique for speed metal but that's alot harder than I thought it would be. I don't mind learning new techniques, and I'll continue to work on them, but I just don't "feel" it.

    I played an old Engalhardt URB in my high school jazz band, but the school wouldn't support us and it never really lasted. So I never really had any proper training. i wouldn't describe myself as having any real jazz experience.

    At any rate, I'm sure I could learn a few things from playing this material and playing with actual blues musicians, but again, I am very comfortable with it.

    Thanks for the advice. I take it people still like to hear blues then, if you're playing all of that. That's good to hear.
  4. thumblypeg


    Oct 23, 2007
    Actually, I did have a question. The guy also says he likes to do Claptons version of Crossroads. I actually learned Creams version a long time ago, and it seems to me that Clapton has done this song in a variety of ways since then. What version do you think he means? Bruces bassline is different than alot of versions I've heard of it. The chord changes are always the same, but some versions have a busier bass line than others, and the tempo varies. Surely he knows this right? Do you think he is expecting to hear a certain bassline that he is used to or does he just want to make sure I know the changes?
  5. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Well, I'm the wrong guy to ask about Jack Bruce's basslines. I personally cannot stand his playing. I think he overplays and lacks groove, he is the anti-pocket-player.

    That said, you should ask him up-front to send you an mp3 of the version he wants to do, or a link to it on youtube. Clapton has done so many different versions it's hard to predict which one your guitarist is talking about. Look on youtube and you'll find Clapton playing it with a Zydeco feel, a funky slow version, an acoustic version, and everything in between. Since you know the changes, all you need to find out is what arrangement he wants to do.

    Otherwise, I think you're going into it with a good mindset. There's lots of subtle stuff in walking blues basslines. Passing notes, turnarounds and stuff that you'll learn and start to have a feel for once you've been playing it a while. Jump in, listen to alot of material by the guys you'll be covering, and it'll come to you.
  6. AveryHorton


    Jul 3, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    If you want to learn to play blues bass then get the first BLUES BROTHERS ALBUM.

    It's all about staying in the pocket. All those great musicians hardly break a sweat but they are so tight.

    Blues is more feel than anything else. If you don't "feel it", neither will anyone else.

    You have to be happy to play the same bass line over and over and over again if that's what the song requires. We call it "staying in the box".

    Learn to lock in with the drummers foot or learn how to get his foot to lock in with you.

    Keep us posted.

  7. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    Yeah, I would definitely check on that Crossroads reference. Saying the Clapton version to me sounds like saying the famous Cream version that thrust Clapton into the limelight for many, as opposed to the Skynyrd version or many others.

    A world of difference between that manic bassline and what you'll want to work in Cold Shot, but we play both and our lead player wants me channeling Jack Bruce on Crossroads, so I give it my best.
  8. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    With the blues you no longer play with the guitar player.
    Sure, he'll let you know what key you're in and when to change, but you are one with the drummer now.
    The drummer will let you know what to play.

    The previous posts about which verson of "Crossroads" to do.
    The changes are somewhat the same in all versons, but the drums make the differance. See?
    The drummer will let you know what to play.
  9. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn Guest

    Mar 25, 2006
    Learn to play behind the beat ... but hit the one to keep the groove.

    Doing blues "right" is harder than it seems on the surface. And make no mistake there are some killer players here in Memphis ... Leo, Guy, Neal, Kelly, Zack, Slim and Dave the list goes on.

    I just realized if he is from Calf. it must be Eddie C. ... your talking about playing with?

    :) ... Jack Bruce plays around with the groove but he is very solid, just watch the 05 reunion stuff.
  10. thumblypeg


    Oct 23, 2007

    No, the guy that I will be auditioning for has never played here. I haven't even met him yet. All I have are sound clips. I didn't mean to imply that I'm about to start playing clubs next weekend. He said he's tried out a few guys around here and even tho they are good players and nice guys, they really only want to play heavier stuff, and just didn't get what he wanted to do. I'm willing to learn and play what he wants to play, so we will actually have time to practice before we try and get gigs.

    All I need is to get in. If he's what he says he is and will do what he says he wants to, then I could be playing in Memphis in a couple(few?)months. I dunno, never played there, it seems to me that it can't be very easy to get a gig on Beale street, but he seems pretty confident. If he's full of it, I've lost nothing.

    Just the possibility of playing with a real musician is exciting for me. There are a few bands around here that like to spend money in a studio and do free shows for exposure, but I've not heard anything special from any of em. This is the first guy that has actually expressed an interest in playing something other than metal or classic rock.(nothing wrong with either of those, btw.)

    This post doesn't quite compare to alot of the others who have actually caught a break. But I've only just started back up and I'm already getting some promising leads. It just makes me hopeful. I thought I would share and try and get some advice from all of you. And that advice is appreciated and will be applied.

    I won't be getting together with this guy for another week or two, if all goes well-or if it doesn't- I'll probably have alot more questions.

  11. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn Guest

    Mar 25, 2006
    You should be OK ... seem to have the right attitude

    :) ... Tell Greg over at Backbeat I said Hi