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Big Audition Wednesday Night- Tips?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by beggar98, May 16, 2011.

  1. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a pretty big audition Wednesday night. Fairly popular band has 44 dates booked through the end of August and their bass player is backing out. Tour starts in 7 days.

    So... where do I start? They haven't sent me tunes for the audition yet, but I'm fairly familiar with their material (though I can only play 2 or 3 of their songs as of now). Any advice for having to learn a bunch of tunes real fast? Any advice for dealing with "BIG BREAK" nerves?
  2. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    Your equipment will be under scrutiny.
    Be polite, positive. Say nice things even if its about people/things you don't like.
    Take a pencil/pen and tablet. Take notes when the band leader gives you important information.
    I used tabs, sheet music to learn a bunch of songs really fast but also keep in mind that you should memorize them as quickly as you can. Took me a month to get down about 50 songs. Don't try to "wing it"
  3. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    If you don't get the gig at least try to leave a lasting professional impression. I can't tell you how many times people get a callback a few months, years later after an audition.
  4. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks. My equipment is solid. I'm most worried about learning the tunes. 7 days to learn a bands whole set is pretty tight. Luckily, they're a pretty loose outfit as far as arrangements go, so I don't need to learn all of the bass lines note-for-note (though some I do). The music isn't super-challenging, but the volume of tunes I need to learn would be daunting.
  5. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    If they haven't sent you tunes ask them which ones you should learn. Typically bands will pick 4 or 5 key tunes that cover the range of the style of music they play to make sure you can handle the material.

    If they don't send you any tunes to learn, pick 4 or 5, especially some of their most popular ones. Don't try to learn too may but take the time to woodshed them to learn them as best you can. You may not be able to play exactly like last guy but you should know the structure of tunes and major changes. Make sure if there are any signature licks or parts that you know them.

    Chart out the tunes using whatever method you prefer. Doesn't have to be fancy but will help you learn the tune since you'll be forced to listen more closely and will give you a reference to use for practice. In an ideal case, you'd have memorized all the tunes but it's perfectly acceptable to bring in charts. Shows you're serious about the audition and that your approach is pro.

    Download a copy of Transcribe so you can slow the tunes down to hear the bass part and capture all the nuances.

    Load the tunes onto your iPod/iPhone whatever and listen to them over and over - at home, in the car, walking, etc. Get them into your head.

    For the audition, make sure you are on time or even a little early. Make sure your gear is in order. If you use an amp they have their, don't spend a bunch of time trying to get "your sound". Plug in and go. Start with the song you are most comfortable with. It will make the best impression and put you and everyone else at ease faster.

    Beyond the audition, tour starting in 7 days? Really? Don't know how many tunes they have but even if it's 1 set of 12 or 15 tunes, that's alot for anyone to learn in less than a week, especially if they haven't given you anything yet. See if they have charts already. Even basic chord charts will save you a lot of time in the learning process. Any chance they can get the old bass player to cover the first few dates while you get up to speed?

    Good luck!
  6. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    All good advice, thanks. It seems like they understand the situation and don't expect everything to be perfect right away. They just sent me 6 tunes to learn, so I'll spend tonight shedding those.

    As a further issue, I've never been on a national tour before. I've done some regional type stuff, but never criss-crossed the country for a summer. I'm trying to think of the things I'll need (extra strings, extra strap, etc.) I'm considering buying an extra amp head just to be safe, though I think most of the gigs will be backlined. I might also upgrade my back-up bass, as up to now it hasn't really been a relied upon back-up as much as a change of flavor.

    It's a lot of stuff swirling through my head. Right now I'm just trying to focus on the audition, worry about the rest later. Hopefully it goes well and I can tell y'all who the band is and what the schedule is.

    I have to say, I haven't been this excited about being a musician in a long time.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good luck, do you have an in with this band?

    These types of bands usually have guys waiting in the wings for a spot like the one you have described.

    Do you have that kind of experience under your belt, if yes I would say your chances are good.

    My only advice is to keep your eyes and ears open at the audition and be prepared to sing. I have found that even when they say singing isn't required, they will always go with the bass player that sings.
  9. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Luckily, its an instrumental group. If any vocal ability were even remotely desired I'd have no shot!

    I don't have an in with this band at all. It's kinda strange, to be honest with you. I posted a CL add trying to start a group of my own, just a local thing to try and book some gigs for the summer. This band contacted me based on similar influences. I can definitely play the gig (I've already got a pretty good grip on the 6 tunes they sent me, one of which I already knew). I imagine they're in quite a jam considering the time-frame, their stature and the fact that they were looking for bass players on CL- but if that's the door that's open, then that's the door I'm charging through.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    Cool, the fact that they came to you should really play in your favor.

    Good luck!

  11. JumboJack


    Dec 31, 2007
    Break a leg!
  12. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    Best of friggin' luck! You can do it, just punch out the tunes.

    (and I advise against alcohol till after the audition:) )
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Not saying what I'm about to say to knock you, saying it to help. You made 2 posts in a row that made me think you've got a good chance of blowing this.

    In my experience those are precicely the thoughts and attitudes that will get the other guy the gig. IMO and experience you need to nail the material, note for note (especially since you said it's not all that challenging), and be able to play it as if you've been playing it for years. I do everything in my power to make sure I know the material better than the band. I want my body to know it, not just my brain... and it's possible in a weeks time. It all depends on how much you want it.

    When I want a gig badly enough I listen to ONLY their music, and put hours a day into sitting with the stuff. I play it sitting, standing, jumping. I rehease it in my car or wherever I can every opportunity I get, even without my bass in hand. You can go over every note and go through songs in your mind while driving and doing other things.

    I've gotten asked to play in pretty much every single audition I've gone on (and I've gone on lots), and it's not because I'm the greatest bass player out there. It's because I go into the audition 150% confident that I'm gonna smoke the music, and it shows every time. I've learned to smile and keep my mouth shut too.

    Do yourself a favor and turn this week over to learning and knowing the material better than anyone who's ever played it before. And forget the idea of not making it perfect. You may get the gig thinking like that, but you'll have way more of chance if you listen to what I just said.

    I'd have worded that all better... but I'm in a hurry and just really wanted to put it out there. :) Sending good energy your way. Kick their butts and get that gig!
  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good call Joe,

    A lot of times those pre-audition conversations and the information they give you can be very mis-leading. You really want to know the songs inside out regardless of what they are telling you.

    You cant aford to go in making any kind of mistakes or taking a loosey goosey approach to the audition.

    Believe me, if they are auditioning other guys, some will come in un-prepared and will have all sorts of excuses like, I really didn't have time to rehearse much , but I think I have the general idea of the how to play the song. You don't want to be in that camp. You want to be the guy that stands out a head of the pack.

    And remember your rehearsing at home, when you play live with them all the dynamics will be different.

    + we all know that at any serious audition somebody in the band is going to throw you a curve ball. Be ready for it.

    Good luck

  15. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    be 10 minutes early.
  16. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Go to there web-site ,check out the pics of the band and dress they way they dress.

    If they want you to bring your full rig, bring it.

    If they want you to use a rig they provide, use theirs.
  17. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I've auditioned drummers, we do lot's of New Orleans funk etc, one guy showed up who didn't blow off the audition as an easy blues oriented thing nailed it. He was the only one who came in and when we said 2nd line asked which one? I've done fill in gigs with the drummer (yes we hired him) in other bands. Nailed everything that was complex, stops, weird rhythmic things etc. 3 sets no rehearsals, just did his homework for a top level blues act. Be that guy.
  18. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Good advice, and I'm definitely not taking it lightly. By "loose arrangements" I meant the players are mostly improvising their lines as opposed to having written parts, so my focus is on learning the chord progressions so I'm real comfortable with those and then trying to pick out some of the other bassist's more memorable licks.

    As far as them being laid back, that comes from their approach to the whole process. I know they'll expect me to be ready when the day comes, and I will be.
  19. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Best of luck man! Any links to the bands music? My curiosity is aroused and it sounds like a really cool band. I love instrumental projects.
  20. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'd rather not talk about who the band is until the audition happens. Not sure who else they may be auditioning or if their regular bass player even knows they're looking. I should be able to provide updates, including the somewhat frightening tour schedule, on Thursday or Friday.

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