Didn't pass the audition. Venting.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Thunderthumbs73, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I usually do very well at auditions, and I think there's only 3 that I can remember where I didn't get the gig in 14 years of playing. This makes number four. It was an originals band. I'm in my mid-thirties, the other guys were in their early-mid forties.

    I don't get it. I make friends pretty easily, and get along well with folks in real time, and my experience/resume/playing and so on speaks for itself, so I'm not into tooting my own horn. I try to be humble and open but yet show I am confident and capable without being ego-driven. I come to the audition honestly interested in making a go with what I feel is a good band. I have (and provided) a demonstrable past history that should make it clear to any reasonable person beyond doubt I can play/perform at the level of the band.

    The only negative I can think is that I didn't have the CDs for more than a day or two before I did the audition. Of course, I didn't have the songs, mastered and down tight. I believed surely that a judgement of whether my ability to be a good fit for the band would be tempered by the very short timeframe in which I had the CDs, and also that it would be received favorably that I would be happy to play/audition at basically a moment's notice, and trying to be flexible with their schedule.

    It is frustrating to know you are completely capable, open to and receptive to direction, and enjoy and have experience with many kinds of music, and that no information or conversation was had during or after the audition indicated I did something wrong or even less than satisfactory. Basically, all I got was an email follow-up of sorts saying "we think we're going to continue looking to find someone who is a better fit." I appreciate some response which is infinitely better than no response, but I was surprised.

    In my experience, in bands where I have had an audition, and was ultimately successful in landing the gig, the potential band and I have been able to talk openly about any differences/changes in approach/style. Even during the audition. I think it is fair to assume that those potential bands knew I clearly had the technical ability to play the music, and that just tweaking the approach (more pick playing or less slap or whatever...) would give the sound they were looking for. I know "style" is important, but I am happy to play things differently as needed, and have generally been able to make style a non-issue through either changes to my own approach. I'm not so "precious" about my own "style" such that I'd rather hold on to my "style" and be gig-less. Clearly, I know being flexible and capable leads to more gigs and opportunities rather than an "emasculation of artistry or personality." It doesn't mean that I automatically default to the most generic of parts, but it also doesn't mean that I take a straight ahead rock song, and try to make it a slapper's funk-fest either. I try to play what is appropriate and musical without being mindless. I think I do the right thing- to serve the music first, and then, only then, add a little bit of myself into the music if it fits.

    I basically played through about seven songs one time only. I could have conceivably played the song in many ways with various note choices and techniques, being tasteful all the while, and its annoying to feel like that since I didn't somehow divine the one "right" way to play the song at the very first take, then I don't get the gig. Especially with no signals (verbal or not) that would indicate any issues.

    Considering the very short timeframe in which I had to prepare, I believed with good reason that my audition would have shown if not my ultimate performance level, it would have shown a clear and undeniable ability to ultimately deliver the goods as I have for many bands over the years.

    I don't think it takes a genius to discern a qualified, professional, friendly, personable bassist when you see/hear one, but this audition result is a head-scratcher.

    Unfortunately this band had something I really wanted aside from original music I liked, which was a demonstrable track record of playing the local festivals and concert series which are hard to get into, and which my current band (which does corporate and political events) doesn't have an "in" into...

    Thanks for reading. Maybe if you failed an audition even though you were quite capable and personable and all of it, and you're scratching your head like I am, feel free to share.
  2. What a mess

    What a mess

    Aug 20, 2008
    Valdosta Ga.
    Do you play like you write? That was a lot of information.

    We had a drummer audition they didn't want her, I lobbied for a second chance & she was with us for years and a good fit.

    Did they want someone less or more expressive? Loud funky ego driven or a wall flower? Did you ask what it was they made you a bad fit?

    You are not a human doing but a human being. If you are emasculated by not getting the gig your identity is tied up in what you do not who you are. Either you are okay just because you are or you'll never be okay unless you have a change of thought process.

    Good judgement comes from experiance, most of that comes from bad judgement.
  3. write your own songs and audition people yourself :)
  4. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Doesn't really sound like you failed. Sounds like they don't
    really know what they want.

    Your profile indicates a wealth of musical background. I don't
    really expect that you had technical issues or playing issues.

    OTOH, 1 day of prep for 7 originals isn't giving you much to work with either.

    I am going to guess there is a friend of the band who has the
    inside track already, but other band members wanted to look
    around and there is still band politics going on.

    Did I (we) fail this audition?

    Recently, a drummer friend and I mutually auditioned a
    guitarist and keys player. The were looking to put together
    a bluesy, funky combo. We email, pick a few songs, take a
    week and gtg and do the following:

    Nasty Habits (Tommy Castro)
    Rack'em Up (Johnny Lang)
    Help the Poor
    Come On (Hendrix)

    Plus we bring
    Call me the Breeze
    Tip On In

    We agree to get together a week later and do basically
    the same songs without the Hendrix number, "Let's Just
    See Where It Goes IF Everyone Comes Ready..."

    That night the guitarist had had a miserable day at work and
    just missed being laid off. So I mentally gave him a bit of a pass.

    We play the songs we brought. He asked to hear them on
    an iPod before playing them. (Guess he hadn't done his homework.)
    Then we work through them.

    We then do their 3. I think we did them pretty well. On Nasty Habits
    I used a P style bass to funk it up. I don't think I
    missed a change on any song.

    Two days later we get an email saying that timing,
    preparation and groove is really important to them
    and they are going to keep looking. Wow. I didn't
    even have to ask to listen to the material they
    wanted, I already knew it cold.

    The drummer and I are still wondering what happened here.
    They brought a train wreck, but they are still looking. :confused:

    We are kind of still amused by this whole thing.

    I politely told them to let us know when the project
    comes to fruition, I'd love to see the finished result
    when they take it out.

    (Key player did mention that they weren't getting any younger
    and this might be their last shot at doing a band where they
    could watch chicks shake bootay. I can't say that that aligns
    with my primary musical goals, though I appreciate the beauty
    of the fairer sex as much as the next guy. Maybe they needed
    a younger lineup 'cause at the advanced age of 56 JimmyM
    and I are sharing fans. ;) )
  5. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Sorry, I had a hard time understanding what you were trying to say in your last two paragraphs. Thanks, I think?
  6. lol thats messed up thor, but I imagine if they had said LETS DO IT AGAIN! I probably would have said no thanks...
  7. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Don't worry about it.

    There are so many variables that are outside of your control in an audition. All you can do is do your best at those things are are within your control - knowing your tunes, having equipment that works, and doing your best to present yourself as a professional team player.

    But all of those things within your control are sometimes no match for outside forces...Maybe someone in the band has a brother or a wife who they are lobbying to get the gig for. Maybe a band member has a secret beef against guys who play (insert brand name of bass here). Maybe they are looking for someone with a certain "look" and you just don't have it. Who knows? Bottom line, you may never find out, so best just look forward to your next opportunity and stay focused on being you!

  8. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Ok. I'll remember that for the next time I see a band that plays songs I like, plays in places I want to play, and is actively seeking a bass player for their band. Thanks.
  9. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I think you have some good points, and I appreciate that.
  10. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Wow, this is a good in-depth reminder that things don't turn out for the best intentioned of us. Thanks!
  11. Jehos


    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    I agree with Lonnybass. I could be any number of things ranging from they don't really know what they're looking for, to they know *exactly* what they're looking for and you just don't happen to be it. It might not hurt to ask for some constructive criticism why they chose to pass on you, at least you'll have an answer, and it may point out something you weren't previously aware of.
  12. akaTRENT


    Jan 10, 2009
    New Jersey
    You know what. They sound unproffesional. Any band I have worked with i layed it out like this.

    I need a few days to sit down with the tracks, and also want to meet with you to go over parts (un plugged). Then When everything is hammered out lets have a full band practice go over the parts. Then go over what was wrong and meet a second time to see if it clicks.
    The process usually takes a week or two. but you get to know the members hang out and have everything taken in account. not whether you can just play 2 songs really fast like.

    No one has ever had an issue with this and it has usually landed me the gig.

    I feel bad that you got snuffed. its happened to me once before and it sucks. Youll find a better gig :)
  13. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Sorry to hear that you didn't get the gig, I'd echo alot of what is said here, but especailly that there are tons of reasons you might not have gotten the gig that are either out of your control, or just a roll of the dice

    Perhaps they didn't...
    1) like your appearance
    2) like the way you played something
    3) like the bass you brought
    4) think your personality would be a good fit
    5) think your views on booze and drugs (pro or con) would agree with them
    6) have someone better that tried out before you that they will go back to after they "keep looking"
    7) like your age.

    Lastly, I don't mean this as a dig, but... It appears you're a good musician and a good human being and have done very well in auditions in the past. However your post makes it seem like you were really expected them to choose you. Confidence is great, but you really don't have any right to assume that it's your gig when you tryout, regardless of how "qualified, professional, friendly, personable" you are. You'll just set yourself up for the kind of disapointment you experienced this time.

    Best of luck in the search.
  14. Toshiro


    Jul 21, 2004
    Man, ya never know what people are thinking when they audition you.

    I auditioned for an originals band, did pretty good with the audition from a playing perspective, but didn't get the gig. I suspect, but I don't know, that the reason was that I wasn't over-the-top enthusiastic about getting the gig. I was positive and I liked the tunes and said so, but I think they wanted someone who was rah rah gung ho.

    Which is strange considered that they weren't a 'serious' originals band. They weren't looking to tour or make it big, but rather just write songs, record them and do the occasional gig.

    OP, don't sweat it. You'll never find out exactly why you didn't get the gig.
  15. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Thanks for the message. I know there are a number of variables I can't control, but I know I can change or modify a lot of things to fair degree in the name of professionalism and flexibility in hopes to make things work. It is still surprising, especially since the drummer of my band now (who I'm on excellent terms with) produced a few of this band's CDs, and we had a nice long conversation about "the scene" and the similar musical circles we were both in and who we mutually knew and so on. Of course I don't assume the gig is mine, but also I'm not going to try to join a band if I think I can't cut it in the first place.

    Yes, it's "their loss" but I also know it's my loss, considering I like the music and the gigs they do are hard to break into.

    Well, thanks for reading and responding.
  16. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Good points.
  17. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I say blessing in disguise.

    We all have our own take on things. Sounds like you feel a bit confused, as it seemed to go well even though you didn't get much notice to get the tunes down solid, and so it's odd they passed. Maybe they don't have the means to see that you are a good fit. It's possible they did you a favor, you may have found yourself the only sane one in the asylum.

    Didn't pass the audition? So what, it's a big club. Consider it, learn what you can and move on, no sense in spending your energy on trying to figure it out.

  18. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008

    Yeah, I may never find out, but then again I might. Who knows. I tried not to burn bridges, and said something to the effect that while I was sorry to hear the decision, and that while I of course disagreed with it, I had to respect it. I further asked to be put on the band's mailing list to keep me apprised of future gigs.

    At least I got some kind of response from the band. That's better treatment than some have received.
  19. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I really feel that alot of auditions are more about the person or player than what you play. Dont get me wrong if you go into an audition and blow the riff to "Cocaine" your pretty much done. I have been thru several in the last few years since i am a fairly new bass player and back in the band game.
    I hear time and time again its attitude, looks, commitment,equipment, employment, honesty and being sober that gets most gigs. If i had a dime for all the bands that start with "Well the last guy" :rollno:
    Playing great is good but not always first.
    In a classic rock band a few years back we tryed out a few guitarists. It was frustration x10. One never made although he called from down the street saying he was pulling up to the house after several attempts to get him to the band space by phone :scowl:
    One that did show was a hot player and good with a slide. He was kinda strange thou and didnt appear all together ..ala Keith Richards. He said his equipment needed updated and he needed practice and gig schedules to work out with his old lady :( The next guy was not as good of a player . Better prepaired but was a drummer turned guitarist and struggling on a few songs although he had the basics down. He had a good appearance, open schedule, great equipment and willing to do what he had to to play. The second guy got the gig although the first blew him away on guitar. After a month or so the guy we brought in was great..just needed time like all of us.

    A new project band i am in tried out a pro keys player. The guy was awsome could really lay it down. The problem was he was bossy, took over the songwriters songs turning his americana ballads and story songs into the wanking fests and was not good at advice on laying back...next! I am not saying this is what happend to the OP and his audition but it can be you were not the fit. I doubt it was your playing it was something else they didnt want. Good Luck.
  20. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I also have to touch on the other sentiment expressed on this message... Absolutely, one can't make assumptions. I've nailed auditions, and ultimately been turned down. I've also bombed them, and still gotten offered the gig. Fairly often, bands have some idea of what they're looking for, and its some combination of personality, looks, and ability.

    I've learned not to take not getting the gig as any reflection on me personally, even when I felt I nailed it. If it really bothers me, I'll try to talk to them about it - find out what they were looking for that I didn't have, or whatever. But often as not, I can identify the issue without any input from them - be it personality, style, or simply appearance.

    Bottom line, either bands 'fit' on all the important levels (and this is importance as defined by the band, not the auditionee), or they don't.
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