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Ever lose a gig for playing too well? this is LONG

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by LedBelli Bass, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    Had an audition with a local cover band. Did well and got a callback for a second audition. This is a band that does some older funk, disco, and smooth stuff along with the usual classic rock covers. One song they wanted to audition me on was "Easy" by Lionel Ritchie. I'd never played it before and so I learned it off the recording.

    Got into the 2nd audition and we start playing Easy. When we get to the triplets "push" during the verses, I do the push while the rest of the band doesn't; they just play on through in regular timing. Then, when we get to the modulation near the end of the song, I modulate up the required half-step and the band doesn't! So we stop and they tell me that they don't play it with the push or the modulation. So I'm like, "I'm cool with that, whatever you guys want, Ill play, just let me know."

    But then the keyboardist pipes up and says, "hey guys, if we're gonna do this song then we should really learn to do it with the push and with the modulation." Much grumbling from the two guitarists ensues, but we give it a go.

    For the next 15 mins we fiddle-fart around while they try to get it. Turns out, the drummer can't get the push timing, and neither of the guitarists can modulate. So they give up and say, "let's just leave it like we had it." Only the keys guy could do it.

    The rest of the audition went off well with no bugs and I leave there with the understandibg that I'm their new guy. Gig in ten days.

    Two days later I get an email telling me that they are going to keep looking for a new bassist!! No explanation.

    Why, I ask back? Answer: because they don't want a bassist who wants to come in and change everything and they don't play everything like the recordings and they feel that my expectation of them will be too high and that I will get frustrated with them.They don't want a perfectionist.


    I told them I wasn't trying to change anything and that I just need to know the nuances of how they play, etc, and I'm good to go! Wasn't it the keys guy who wanted to change it to the recorded version? They would not change their mind. Further inquiry led to something to do with the exchange during the audition about the song "Easy".

    Now here's the kicker: at the beginning of the auditions they told me they we're looking for a bass player who would help them become "the best band in the region!" I guess not if that means getting better!!

    This was a week ago and my head is still spinning at how the wheels fell off of this one!

    P.S. Does the song "Easy" even fly w/o the push or the mod? Apparently the keyboardist doesn't think so, but I paid for it!!!
    So, just like that, I go from frontrunner to "you're out" in the twinkling of an eye.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    From what I understand, TB'er "bahamabass" has lost several gigs just because he was too good. ;)
  3. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I guess you're better off without them, then. At one point I played in a classic rock cover band and we had to find a new drummer so we auditioned this young kid who played really funky and was incredibly good. The week after we auditioned a punkrock-drummer who could keep time if I worked with him well enough, but the entire band decided to go with him instead of The Funky Kid.

    Officially the reason was that we (i.e. the band minus me) felt that The Kid'd want to move beyond this kind of music soon and wouldn't stay motivated. The truth of the matter is, he was just too good for that band. I quit about 6 months later, and The Funky Kid is the only one I'm still in touch with :D Perhaps get the keys player's number?
  4. cbanker


    Jul 6, 2007
    I think you would have gotten bored/dissatisfied if you had stayed with this band. That was only one song that they weren't playing correctly. Imagine playing lots more songs beneath your ability or just plain badly! I am in a situation right now that is like that, and it is very frustrating. I don't quit because they pay me to come practice with them! They apparently like it when show them what they are playing wrong and then we "fart around" with it forever and it still ain't quite right. So I think you are better off looking for another group. Thats just my two cents.
  5. Call em and tell ya you're there if they need you and that you liked tha guys and bla bla.

    If you then get the gig, learn to know the peeps and pickup the good ones and start another band later on with them if you feel the rest of the band stink.

    If you still don't get the gig, find some other better dudes to start a band with.

  6. I'm totally frustrated with the whole auditioning process as of late. The last band I auditioned for, I showed up knowing 2 songs, and flew off the seat of my pants for a third, and they were applauding after every song. "That was awesome" type stuff. Then a 20 year old kid shows up not knowing anything, and he gets the gig. :confused: 2 of these guys are in their 40's and the other in his 20's, I'm 35. I'm going back to pick up my rig today, and they asked if I would jam one more time. I will, I figured I'd make them regret not picking me :p

    So far, from the other auditions I've heard "nobody's ever played that right but you", "you nailed it", "That was awesome!" and still I have not landed a spot. I don't think I have a bad attitude or anything. I'm easy to get along with. I am just completly stumped on why it's been so hard to land a gig lately. I've never had this hard of a time finding a band to work with.
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It's not losing the gig for playing too well. It's for knowing how to play too well.

    I've "lost" a couple of gigs in a similar manner. I'll come in and play the songs just like the recording. Then, get the, "Oh, we don't do it like that", routine.

    I believe the bottom line is that they don't want someone around to remind them of their lack of ability.

    Some people want to improve, and some are comfortable being hacks...
  9. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    I've never had an experience quite like that.

    The closest I came was a couple years ago when I auditioned for a cover band. I liked the set list they'd sent me, and after talking on the phone to a couple of them they all seemed like good guys - which they were, albeit 8-10 years older than me. When I showed up, I realized that all but one of them played in high school but were just picking it up again, and the one that hadn't (the guy that formed the band) had taken up guitar as a hobby a couple years before.

    Fun to hang out with, but while I'm no virtuoso, I was clearly on a different level than these guys and we all knew it. They had quite a ways to go before they'd be gig ready and that just wasn't where I wanted to be. Eventually they recruited the drummer's coworker and switched him from guitar to bass. i see them around every once and a while and they are having fun, but I didn't belong in that band.
  10. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    So true. So true.
  11. RobertPaulson


    Dec 11, 2008
    Des Moines
    A friend of mine was playing in a group a few years back and their bass player could not play on beat and had no groove so he asked me to come jam with them. I played well and thought everything went good. We got done and their band leader was like: "you played great, but I have a couple questions". then he says:

    I see you play with a pick, I don't know I feel about that, would you play fingerstyle instead.

    and, and this ones the real kicker.

    Can you dance while playing?


    I guess I don't know if I didn't get the gig because I told him then and there I wasn't interested, but damn - some people don't seem to care how well you play at all.
  12. thudstaff23


    Mar 10, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Not much of a head-scrathcer here; sounds like you were above it. Well, I mean, they may have mislead you a bit by letting you believe you were in. But, really, it doesn't sound like they are as much of a cover band as they are just some dudes jamming cover songs. You'll be happier in a more pro environment in the long run.
  13. kingbee


    Apr 18, 2006
    Yeah, I had a similar frustration with the last band I was in. The guys all had talent and good material but no one was willing to actually work on the arrangements in any sort of focused way. I really liked those guys a lot and we had fun hanging out, but you should strive to play with people who challenge you to be a better player and it just wasn't happening with these guys. It sounds like you were about to find yourself in a similar situation, so you're probably better off finding another outlet.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    And there you have it. So don't bother worrying about missing this "opportunity.
  15. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    ... this .

    agreed .
  16. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    My only question is why would you WANT that gig? If the guitarists and drummer can't play, why would you want to play with them?

    You might consider yourself lucky that you were passed over, because YOU would probably become frustrated and bored after awhile. It only takes one or two rehearsals watching them work out something you've got nailed to realized you may really be too good for them.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I had an agency guy ask me to audition for a band he was putting together a few years back. Even though I told him I was pretty busy with several projects he insisted it would be worth my while. Long story short, while I breezed through the audition, I didn't get the gig. Okay.

    Recently he asked me to sub with that band and since the main drummer I work with in the area was also subbing I did it. It went very well, he got lots of positive feedback. I got my money and left.

    Got a call a couple of weeks ago to play again, this time out of state. He was going to pay me less than the regular guy. I told him I was busy.
  18. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    LOL !!
    ... way to go , Brad !!
  19. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    I would have asked "And why is that?" Then listen to his lame answer and tell him "No thanks."

    Why evade the issue? He'll never learn otherwise.
  20. SWRnut

    SWRnut Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    Columbia, SC
    My favorite was I got a frantic phone call one Saturday morning from a local variety band leader that told me I had been highly recommended, his bass player couldn't play the gig at the last minute, could I sub that night about 100 miles from home ? I had the night off, so I said sure.
    The killer question, "Can you wear a size medium shirt ? We all wear these red shirts, and if you can wear a medium, then you have the gig." Well, I wear an extra large, so I ask is there anything else that you could wear for this one gig ?
    He says," Let me call around and see if anyone else is available".
    Guess who didn't play that night. It killed me that someone would be that narrow minded or shortsighted to pick a musician who could fit in the shirt rather than someone who could play the gig.

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