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Filtering out the flakes but...they're all flakes???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by npbassman, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. npbassman

    npbassman Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2002
    It's been a while since I've ran auditions on behalf of the entire band but I'm regularly involved in the hiring process at my company so...I figured I'd give it a shot and they said go for it.

    We're looking for a lead singer, I place an ad and get about 12-15 replies. The ones that flake out fast with one sentence replies, aren't willing to speak on the phone, etc are easy filter out. See ya. My question is, what's up with the people that give you all the info you need via email, you have a great phone conversation and they ask great questions? All this usually happens over the course of a week so it's time spent for both parties but in the end - they flake out too?? I recently had a guy who was really engaged, eager to come down, loves the song list, etc, etc.

    So on Saturday I say, how about we meet this Thurs? "lemme check with the wife".

    Voice mail # 1 to me on Wednesday- "hey man, sorry i didn't call you back. Kids are sick, got busy, etc. I can do tomorrow (Thursday) but I have a softball game that night and it ends around 7 and then I usually have a beer or two with the guys after the game in the parking lot so I can probably get up there around 8-8:30 if I hurry, sound good?" Umm..not really

    Turns out it's raining on thurs.

    Voice mail # 2 thurs afternoon - "Hey man, my wife is working tonight and I have the kids, gonna be tough getting up there tonight but still super interested, give me a ring...oh, sorry"

    This was my top prospect (he even sent me clips) and so far almost every other singer has flamed out in the same fashion before even making it to an audition and the ones that do show up talk a big game beforehand ("I sound just like Steve Perry and can hit every note") and then sound like a chicken being waterboarded when they open their mouth. Is this the norm these days in the world of band member searches?
    rickwebb likes this.
  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Singers can sometimes tend to be flakes.
    You need to specify a younger responsible singer with a seriously good voice with no wife or kids who can actually make it to an audition. Do they exist? Dunno.
    Older dudes got lots goin' on...
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Buy lots of milk.
  4. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    When our band was looking for a singer our drummer contacted some guy who convinced the drummer who in turn convinced me to let this guy come to my house and audition. My drummer was all pumped up and said that with a good sounding front man we can really "reel in the females at our gigs".

    Well this guy shows up at my house and he looked to be about 80 years old and was very cranky towards the drummer for being slightly off on the directions to my house.

    We let this guy actually audition but he could not stand up for more than a few minutes at time. He would literally sit back on a chair in between his vocals.

    Funny thing is that this guy saved us the uncomfortable rejection of him by rejecting us first. It was a big sigh of relief when the guy left my house because I really don't know how to do CPR properly.

    So yes, there are a lot of flakes out there. Our current singer, a super nice guy constantly flakes out on songs and starts making up hiw own lyrics sometimes to compensate. Me and the guitar player just let out a big mutual laugh (what else can you do?).
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1 vocalists
    2 harmonica players
    And running a distant 3rd on the flakiness scale, keyboardists.

    Guitarists almost seem normal by comparison, once you get past the ego.
  6. I've decided if our band ever has to do auditions again, they're going to be firmly set on our regular rehearsal night. Can't make our normal day/time? Sorry, you can't be in our band. I'm not going to pretend it's going to work out otherwise.
  7. What really gets me are the ones who seem like great prospects. If after emails and phone calls they appear to be qualified but then aren't what you're looking for... well, OK. After investing time and effort in a "good one" and then they're flakes - that drives me crazy.
  8. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    With his audition track record it's obvious that being in a band is not among his current lifestyle options.
    He may not be a flake but his daily routine presents far more demanding responsibilities to him than your
    band ever will.

    I wouldn't waste time with further communication with him.
    Howlin' Hanson likes this.
  9. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    For real! Right before I quit them, my previous blues band was auditioning singers. I'd found a singer/harmonica player who claimed he could also play guitar, bass and whatever else. So I sent him our play list, explained that we are more rock-oriented than the average blues band and said: pick any 3 to 5 songs you want to play. Now, we had about 4 12-bar shuffles, and the rest was more riff-based blues rock. He picked the 4 shuffles and when we asked to play something else, he said: "Well, let's try [some or other song]. It's a really cool 12-bar!" He picked up my bass (a 5-string) without asking, plays a generic pentatonic riff starting on the E of the B-string and asks: "Got it? Alright, this one's in A!" He also insisted of blowing his harmonica through every part which did not involve him singing. Hung around until we finally had to send him home and somehow, when I called the next day, he was surprised to hear he did not make it.

    At the same time we had a keys player audition. Guy came in cold, completely unprepared. I did not like it, but he did a better-than-average job and we wanted keys so we said: "Welcome! Learn this, this and that song by next rehearsal." That rehearsal came around, and he had prepared nothing. Didn't even listen to the songs. So while the guitarist talked him through it, I went outside to have a look at the drummer's new car. Talk about your productive rehearsal ... I quit shortly thereafter and heard from the guitarist that they ended up firing the keys player cos he hardly ever bothered to show up and when he did, he never knew any of the songs they'd agreed on.
    SasquatchDude likes this.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've always advocated hitting open mics when looking for band members. At least you get to hear/see them before you waste band time, and can hear a bunch at once. And if one ssems promising, you can find out if he/she is a jerk.
    Joedog, StayLow and maestrovert like this.
  11. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    This. Craigslist/classifieds is such a crap shoot it's hard to justify even using it. Meet people in musical places..like at gigs or music schools. Jams and open mics are great too.
    bass81800 likes this.
  12. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    It works both ways ... I recently answered a CL ad looking for a country bass player with vocals. That's me. We exchanged two emails, they asked if I played other instruments ... and I do. Haven't a word in three days (my limit) ... if they can't even give me phone call (I included my number in the first reply) I haven't got time for wannabees. People post because a band is their dream ... and when it looks like it might happen they get scared ... of failing, and losing their dream.
    BassKnuckles likes this.
  13. Someone who won't show up can't be part of my band. If the OP's singer really DID run into an emergency, that's OK - but that's at least two strikes against him. I'd give him one more chance, then forget him and move on.
  14. pglaser01


    Mar 19, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    If only I were that good....
    Yeah I recently joined a 2nd band as a vocalist...I'm def. not a flake, help others with their stuff, setup and tear down the PA and since I only sing and have little to practice and haul I always provide the beer for practice...but I attribute that to being a bass player by trade not a singer haha band I play bass for...vocalist is a flake...she's nice but never answers emails within the same day or texts. And getting her away from her iPad lyrics is harder than getting someone off drugs
  15. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    yep, looking for guitarist here. We want a solid rather than amazing player.

    Spoke to several, but when you realise their situation it becomes obvious they cannot really devote the necessary time. Small ads have always been like this in my experience, even before the net. Plenty of time wasters. We are also going through the grapevine.
  16. We had a guitarist offer to mail us a cassette....his next option was a conference call jam. Really? A cassette? I don't think I even own a tape deck anymore. It's 2014, if you are interested send some MP3s or pack your gear and come to the studio. To top it off, the night he was supposed to come out he called and said he's getting dropped off but will need a ride home. He was in his mid thirties. That was the end of him. I'm glad we filtered him out before ever meeting.
  17. I have been in charge of "personnel" in my band since last year. Mostly because the group thinks I'm the most docile personality and I don't mind dealing with issues of hiring, firing, looking for musicians, etc. It's an unusual situation. Since this group was rebooted the members have not changed with the exception of singers. We've had this revolving door of singers since day 1. The original guy was fired due to substance issues that ruined his performances. After that, we had a bunch of subs who were hired guns or really only wanted an occasional gig, and we auditioned. Had a couple we liked but they declined the invite. Had a bunch who flaked out on auditions, or came for a couple rehearsals and quit, etc.... Every situation was different. They were all directed to our website ahead of time, given clips of our playing, given all the band info ahead of time, yadda yadda yadda.....

    We are a regularly gigging, paid cover band with bookings months in advance, usually.

    1. Had people I talked to on the phone, they were interested, scheduled auditions and didn't show up. Broken cars, couldn't leave the kids, had to work, didn't have time to prepare, etc....usually saying they were still interested, but somehow they just didn't have time to dedicate.
    2. Had one guy audition that we loved. Awesome dude, great voice, he would have been a good fit. Declined the job because he had always been in original bands and told us that there was no way he could sing for a 4 hour show, in fact he looked at our song list and said he couldn't wrap his head around performing so many songs in a night and he didn't know how we did that.
    3. Had a female singer we decided to take a chance on and after 3 weeks she quit. In those three weeks she did not learn more than 2 or 3 of our songs. She was slated to be cut, but she resigned before that happened.
    4. Had one guy who decided, last minute, not to audition. I told him we all sing lead on some songs, and he said he thought about it and was not interested in any band where he was not the only singer. He wanted to be the only person singing lead and did not care to be in a group where others did, as well.
    5. Had a couple people who said they'd be interested....if we abandoned what we were doing and adopted their list of songs.
    6. Had another female singer who kept saying she wanted to come down. She was good, at least based on her clips. She liked our band and said "I can see myself working with you guys". Waited on her for almost a month....but one week it was a stomach flu. The next it was a problem with her apartment. The next it was a conflict with a seminar she had to work at. But every day or two I'd get an email about how she really wants to sing with this band, so could we hold her audition slot open? I finally just gave up and stopped replying to her emails.

    And then we got the guy we have now. Great guy. Funny thing was, I'd talked to him sometime last year and he really wasn't interested in a cover band. He was already singing in one and wanted an original project. Well, a couple months ago his cover band hung it up, so he looked me up and asked where we were at, and I told him we were still doing the revolving door singer thing. He came down, the fit was great, and he's been the man ever since. Done a few shows with him and hopefully he'll stay for a while.

    But yeah, the flakes are everywhere.
  18. maverick49

    maverick49 Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Southern California
    It is all about responsibility and follow through, regardless of the instrument they play. I think some Mommas out there didn't teach their kids right. Keep your commitments, be prepared, and be communicative. All of the flakes mentioned in previous replies violated one or more of these basic tenets of being a good musician and band mate. When you think about the flake to non-flake percentages, it is amazing that people ever get to hear live music. ;)
    BassKnuckles likes this.
  19. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    I suppose the "flakes" get around a bit. Always looking they are, the first to answer adverts, they know how to talk the talk and have many excuses when they should be putting their cards on the table. It probably seems that there are more of them than there actually is...
  20. abbub


    Apr 29, 2014
    Fort Collins, CO
    It's hard to find a decent vocalist. We're on our second. He started out pretty green, but clearly was willing to commit to the microphone (that's the worst, when you get a would-be vocalist who gets shy and mousy around a microphone). Before we found him, we ran through about a half dozen people who liked the idea of being a singer a lot better than they liked being a singer. Our first vocalist was really skilled, but kind of lazy and a total drama queen.

    Everyone else in our band is skilled musically, and it's almost completely drama free. Our biggest issue is that the drummer can't figure out how to reply-all on emails, and with that being the biggest issue, I count my blessings. ;)

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