CL Audition Blues...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mrcbass, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Not looking for guidance, just whining because I can....

    As my fans :eyebrow: know, I'm pretty long winded so TLDR at bottom...

    I've been looking for a second project (current band isn't keeping me busy enough) so have been watching the CL ads for a few months. Responded to a "dance" band ad about six weeks ago.

    In typical CL fashion, I didn't hear anything for about a week. Then out of the blue the BL reached out and asked if I was still interested. We exchanged emails including their playlist and website address. I watched a few 8 year old videos (not videos of 8 year old people!) on their site and found them to be a very polished act, which intimidated me a bit - I'm not sure I'm really "shiny" enough to fit. We chatted on the phone for about an hour and he said he'd get back to me regarding audition list and date.

    This band plays a lot of stuff I'm familiar with from my young adult years, but the genre is not something I've really ever worked on - a lot of disco/light fink type stuff along with some somewhat newer "club" music. Some of it I love, some of it I hate. I didn't think much about it until I started working on a few of their songs - "Wow - I need some different chops for this stuff!". Just don't have a vocabulary for this yet.

    So while waiting to hear from him, I decided that some of this stuff should be in my catalog regardless of my audition results, so I created charts for all their playlist and started working through the list a bit. Most of it is pretty simple form and pretty simple in general - just not something I've worked on, so my instincts can't kick in.

    They're a working band and have had a couple of gigs this month, so I expected it to be a little bumpy process, but after having not heard from him after a week, I reached out to him. I think I somehow slipped through the cracks of his process, because I got a "sorry it took so long to reach out, can you audition on Wednesday after the other guy we have auditioning?" (two days). If the songs had been more in my lane, I might have gave it a go, but they're not so I told him that was a little ambitious, can we do it the following week. He said he'd try to get it scheduled.

    I poured all my spare time into really working out the 6 songs he asked me prep for the audition. Was pretty close to just calling it off because after the second day - I felt I was getting nowhere and was on course to embarrass myself. Not having a disco-like vocabulary was really getting in the way and I wasn't about to show up for an audition with out solid lines. For me, those disco octaves are tough and when I miss something, it sounds like crap!

    But this isn't the first time I felt this way - on more than one occasion, I've felt inadequate for a new genre and almost bailed before the audition, but went anyway and not only did I not embarrass myself, I landed the gig - so I just kept at it and finally, by about Sunday, I had lines I was comfortable supported the groove properly and I was able to play with confidence. Not the original lines for the most part (in some cases by a long shot!), but appropriate and passable.

    Oddly, one of the ones that has taken the most effort is the song on their list that I knew the best - "Sweet Child 'O Mine". They do it a step and a half up from the original and I ran out of neck to play the solo the way I had been, so had to burn it in using a new fingering. Normally transposing is not a big deal for me - because I'm normally not so far up the neck and not typically trying to pull of an iconic solos - but such a specific and known solo required the effort.

    I heard from him again on Monday and said he couldn't get the band together for an audition this week (gig this weekend). "We have a temp guy for our gig in September, but we're not sure he's going to work out. I'd like to meet with you. Would you consider subbing for us?" I told him, I might be interested, what did he have in mind?" and haven't heard from him. Again, an out of town gig this weekend is probably distracting him

    This all seemed very weird to me for such a polished band. It is a CL ad, so some of this is par for the course, but it sure seems odd that 1) they have such poor communication habits and 2) they are going to do a gig next month with a bass player that they're just "settling on" without even hearing all options. Since it's a new genre to me, it's quite possible that I'd stink up the room, so I may not be the answer, but still, had they been a little more organized, they may not have had to settle on someone.

    If it was the usual situation, I'd be long gone - the poor communication is a peeve, but this would be a step up for me in terms of level of gigs, pay, musicianship and definitely good for my resume, so I'm being patient and trying to not rock the boat. At this point it's just something that might happen if I'm still available when/if he calls me.

    I'm a little annoyed after putting all the work I have into learning their stuff - have basically ignored my current band's stuff (not that it needs a lot of attention). Most of my effort has been because I wanted to expand my catalog, but it would have been at a different pace had it not been for a pending audition.

    I am finding that some of my technique gaps are closing a little because of this (my octave grooves are improving!) and I'm much more comfortable in the genre now, so at least I'm growing from this and will be more prepared if they call back or if another opportunity pops up that utilizes this genre.

    I doubt I'd plan to be a sub for this project though. As much as I'd like to start building that reputation, that's just a huge amount of music that really doesn't fit anywhere else to have to keep sharp on - very few songs that cross over into other bands I've played with. They would be fine with the use of charts on a tablet, which helps, but it's just all the little stuff that regular rehearsals bring that make some of this stuff work. Never say never and all that, but it doesn't seem likely that I'd be a good sub for them.

    Anyway, thanks for listening - I feel better now.:smug:

    TLDR: Put a lot of effort for an audition with a band with poor communication and audition never materialized. Growing as a bassists despite the headache.
    BOOG, LowActionHero, murphy and 7 others like this.
  2. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    Is this the bass thing after the guitar intro right before the verses start.

    Original is tuned down a half step we play the verses in D C G. I start this riff 12th fret D string - I think it goes as far up the G sting as the 16th fret. That's pretty far up. It's hard enough for me to play it up there. I don't think I could play it any higher up, I maybe would have to drop it an octave in your case.
    sludgetail likes this.
  3. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Yeah, I had learned in the original Db. Was able to keep it pretty manageable by starting on the A string (about 15th fret (no bass in front of me) and doing it on three strings. In E, I need to do it all on the D and G strings with a 4 note run on the G string that I stumble over. I'm getting it, just new muscle memory. I only mentioned it because at a glance I figured it was one song I wouldn't need to spend much time on...
    sludgetail and oldrocker like this.
  4. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    I stumble over that 4 note run no matter where I play it :eyebrow:
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I read the whole thing :)!!!

    Sounds like you're pushing at your comfort zones, which is great.

    I had a very similar experience with a RHCP tribute band. Learned about 15 songs that were NOT easy to learn, to have them flake out right before the gig. Their old bass player decided he would do it.

    I was pissed, big time, but I believe I'm a much better bass player for having put in the work.

    I'm sure the same is true for you.
  6. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Which is why I converted it to a three string lick to begin with!
    oldrocker likes this.
  7. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Yes, very much challenging myself with this one.

    I have previously auditioned, been accepted and the replaced by the original guy before, so have played that game too. That was a situation where I was willing to sub and asked them to keep me in the loop of any set changes. Original guy was dealing with medical issues and it wasn't clear how reliable he'd be able to be. I kept that material fresh for a few months until I stopped hearing from them.

    Not really pissed - like I said most of the effort was because I opted to, not because they asked me to. But yeah, if I'd have gone through 15 RHCP songs and then been hosed like you were that I would have been big time pissed. I've played a few of their tunes and don't even pretend to try to cop Flea's lines. That's a whole other level!

    I am just mostly frustrated dealing with bands looking for help and then they just don't know how to communicate. Just not a lot of options around here, so every opportunity seems so critical. It could still happen - just blowing off a little steam! :cool:
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    read: "busy, very busy."

    ok, you whined. you're not ready for a band like this. good on you for the stretch. keep doing that and it will pay off, literally! good luck! :thumbsup:
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    If you really want to play/sub/gig with them, I suggest reaching out again and letting them know you have the songs ready and are ready to do more.
    sqlb3rn likes this.
  10. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Not sure that I do want to sub for them. Not sure that I still won't get an audition. That's the problem with poor communication - I don't really know where I stand when he doesn't respond to what I consider and active email exchange.

    I'm sure not going to chase him down, but if he reaches out, I'll be ready for an audition and much closer to ready for a gig and will let him know that I've worked on their entire playlist....
    Stumbo likes this.
  11. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    I'm gonna give that a try. Thanks.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    You learn something new in every situation and grow musically.
    Keep at it.
    Good luck.
    mrcbass likes this.
  13. I once quit two jobs and learned several nights worth of cover music to go on the road (west clubs) playing keyboards, only to be told three days before loading up the bus, that they'd decided to go with a second guitar player, instead. As was said, I became a better and more desirable player because of the effort, but I was pissed at those guys for years.

    If I really wanted to find out what was going on with those guys, I'd probably do a little traveling to catch a show. That way you can see if they are worth your time. No need to tell them your going or even that you're there. Relax, enjoy the show and get some answers before you ever have to deal with them face to face.
    LT131, Flooflox and ELG60 like this.
  14. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    If you look hard enough, you can find something positive in everything you encounter in life...

    ... I'm sure most can relate.
    murphy likes this.
  15. LT131


    Jan 25, 2015
    Deep South
    You have to remember that lots of musicians, myself being one, have other jobs and the band is not the priority. It is frustrating to be sure but we all have to give some slack. On the other hand some musicians feel they are exempt from professionalism or common courtesy. Look out for those.

    Be glad you stretched out and keep learning that disco and funk. Good exercise for any bass player!
    murphy likes this.
  16. disco / funk / 70s dance music is a riot to is different on bass as it requires a different mindset as does most genres your not used to playing.

    I'm always learning songs that my band don't play. I think that it is a good way to practice and learn new styles and it doesn't hurt to enlarge your repertoire. I even learn stuff that I know I will most likely never play in a band like steely dan songs and Chicago, but they are difficult sometimes and I think I learn something from that.

    I wouldn't feel that bad about it, I would be a little disappointed after learning the songs ( by the way, what are the other songs you had to learn?)..however maybe you can find another band that does those songs..or similar stuff..You most certainly grew as a bass player as a result either way.
    Stumbo likes this.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Yeah, put out your own CL add..."Starting disco/funk/70's dance music band"...then list all the songs you know as a starting point. You never know...
  18. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I responded to a CL add last October. They took their sweet time getting back to me and sent an audition list full of songs I’d never thought to play before. But they gig a lot and do weddings and casinos and everything, so hell-to-the-yes I dug into the list. Then nothing. A month goes by. I gave up, but was like, ya know, whatever, I’m a better bassist now that I’ve learned these tunes, etc. Then they finally got back to me and I’ve been playing with them since January. I’m just sayin’ that you never know. Keep your head up.
    Stumbo and ELG60 like this.
  19. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    I just posted a craigslist ad looking for some musicians who want to do acoustic guitar stuff with bass and light percussion only (Im needing to give my ears a break from the onslaught of a full band). I know none of the people I usually play with would be interested so went the CL route not expecting much.

    I posted VERY specific things in the ad, requisition the following:

    The location/zipcode of the person responding

    A recorded example of their playing (i've been saying this for ten years, there is simply no reason to NOT have a sample of your playing these days and its even truer now than it was a decade ago).

    I asked that the person responding provide both of those things in the initial email to save time on communication.

    I was also extremely clear in what I was looking for and specified what I wasn't looking for.

    I got one response. The person did not provide a recorded example or specify his location in the first response. Fine...I followed up. Second response was more or less full of typos and a couple of vague statements. I didn't bother following up.

    I've learned over the years that how someone communicates in an email or over the phone is indicative of how successful a collaboration will be.

    Not responding with requested info, emails with lots of errors, vagueness, etc...based on previous experience absolutely zero chance that it will be a successful collaboration and the person is probably too much on the flakey side even for me.

    OTOH responding with TOO much information, such as a response 4-5 paragraphs long explaining who they are, what they've done, etc..etc..usually indicates the person is probably a little too difficult to work with or not someone I want to spend a lot of time with (in other words usually a blow hard or full of themselves.

    O.P. Don't look at your efforts as time being wasted. I worked on about 4 Billy Joel songs on Saturday afternoon in anticipation of a Sunday night gig with those. One of those songs was the Ballad of Billy the Kid and I probably spent 30-45 minutes working on the piano interlude part. I show up to the gig and only 2 of the 6 tunes got played, and the Ballad of Billy the Kid, while played lacked the piano interlude.

    I don't look at working on those tunes as wasted time, it was just another lesson in ear training and problem solving.
  20. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Been in your situation a few times.I understand your frustration...and excitement!

    Sounds like they have the bass player they want.
    BL likes to keep other bass player in his back pocket(you) in case it doesn't work out
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    Primary TB Assistant

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