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First Audition After Laying Out for Years

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FriscoBassAce, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    What would you do?

    I have an audition on Saturday for a classic rock band. I have only recently picked up bass again after a very looooonnnng time away from the music biz (17 years).

    I talked to the band leader a few days ago, and he gave me an incredibly long set list. I don't know what to do because I simply don't have enough time to learn all of those tunes.

    Should I concentrate on about 10 or so of them and try to ace those? My thinking is that I can say that I can play "X song" with authority and be able to do well. But, what if they want to play a song that I didn't get the chance to learn? I'll be screwed then. :confused:

    Anyway, I'm interested to see if anyone else has been in this boat before, and what did you do.

  2. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    learn as much as you can, and get those songs done tight, and just say to him, i got all these perfect, but im still working on theothers. figured why learn them all if i dont get the gig.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'd suggest concentrating on the ones that you (a) vaguely remember from the past (giving you a headstart) or (b) have easy access to (and which sound pretty simple). Don't get hung up on working out every nuance; concentrate on getting the basic form of the song down.

    When you get to the audition, tell them the ones you're most confident on. There's no shame in not having them all down cold - if these guys think it's a problem, you're probably better off not choosing them as a way back in anyhow. If they want to do some that you don't know or are shaky on, just ask them to quickly walk you through the changes; again, if they're not willing (or not able) to do this, you're probably best off out of there.

    Above all, relax and enjoy it. Maybe you'll get the gig or maybe you won't but you can ensure that you benefit from the added experience.

  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Absolutely correct. And I'd make sure that a couple of the songs with the most complex bass lines are included in the ones you learn. That way, you can show them your capabilities on the harder stuff, and not appear to have simply learned the easy ones.

    If it clicks on the ones that you know (and assuming they don't need you for a gig that same night), asking for a bit more time shouldn't be an issue.

    I'm generally not a big proponent of tab, but given a short window of time, it can be helpful.
  5. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I'd say learn 5 really good and let'em in on those. No audition I've ever been on you play more than 3 songs, but it's good to be safe. It's a classic rock band, how hard could it be? Do they play Yes, Rush or Crimson? If so, buckle down.

    Classic rockers like to jam, make sure you remember notes and chord changes and smile a lot. :smug:
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I wouldn't waste too much time on difficult songs. After all, if you don't get the gig, it might turn out to be wasted effort; it will help you grow as a musician but I think you'd be better with ten easy songs than being halfway decent on one hard song and having to skip the rest! After all, you've no idea if the rest of the band really know that song or if someone in the band just thought about doing it once!

    Also, if you've got a reasonable collection of music from the right genres, put a bit of practise time towards just jamming along with a disk without preparation (although you may want to tape yourself if you've got an analytical mind so you can go back and spot what kind of things tend to trip you up). That will get your 'jamming muscles' back in shape, which is probably more important than mastering anything at this stage.

  7. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    It seems that Wulf and I are not of like mind on this point. Which is cool; reasonable people can disagree.

    But if it's truly an audition (and especially if others are also auditioning), I think there's going to be some requirement to show them what you can do, to show them more than 1-4-5 and the ability to play root notes under the chord changes.

    Certainly know more than one song; that won't cut it. But if you don't show that you can play at least one of the "tougher" ones, they're going to wonder if you can....
  8. snake


    Jul 21, 2004
    Aurora. CO
    I think most bands would assign you about 5 songs. That way they can compare bassists. But I agree with the others for the most part. I would learn 5-6 songs. A slow one, a couple of fast ones, and maybe one or two hard ones to show off.

    I know the feeling. After joining the Navy, I didn't play for 16 years and had the opportunity to slowly get back in it.

    Be confident, kick ass, and you'll be in the band next week.

  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'm working on the basis that they've provided a big list of songs; my guess would be that they're going for the general feel rather than looking for note for note perfection or bass virtuosity. That's not to say that I'm right, of course ;)

    My experience, when getting involved in the band scene again two or three years ago, included a group doing "classic rock" (albeit with a very broad definition). I got given a big list of songs, some of which I either knew or had recordings of. I told them which ones I was going to concentrate on and it wasn't really an audition - we got on well, I could play the ones I'd been able to work on, and they were just pleased to have someone to play bass again.

    That does prompt the thought that you can be a bit more proactive - look down the list, identify the ones that will be easiest for you (because you've played them in the past and / or you've got access to recordings to work from) and then let them know what you're focussing on. You can always make it clear that you're happy to look at other tunes instead but those are the ones that will give you a solid starting point.

    From the other side, if I was auditioning people for a band, I'd try to keep the same principles in mind - give them a clear idea of what I'm looking for, probably starting with a relatively short list of songs to work on but being willing to explore alternatives if those choices were too limiting.

  10. I think the ONE thing you should definitely concentrate on is feel, I think they expect you to make a mistake here and there, no problem. Go to a verse instead of a chorus? No problem, IF you jump back to the right spot quickly. You're not familiar with the tunes yet.

    The key is on the occasions when you are playing the right notes, are you groovin, are you fun to play with? Playing all stiff and tentative, even if not missing a single change, will lose you the audition too.

    You can learn the songs better in a week or two. A good groove is more of a "ya got it or ya don't" kind of thing, takes a lifetime to learn. That's what I look for in musicians, not a cold sterile technically flawless performance.

    So play your heart out, f*** up as often as necessary, but MAINTAIN THE GROOVE at all costs.

  11. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Wow! Great comments by everyone. The different viewpoints actually provide the feedback I'm looking for.

    The leader gave me a list of about 25 songs, and was just kind of rattling them off. The tricky part was he said, "some of these we know really well, and others are on our set list and we are working on them in practice."

    I've asked him to narrow it down to about 5 or so but I haven't heard back from him on email yet (emailed him earlier today). Hopefully he'll reply and I can spend the next few days really digging into those songs.

    I've been practicing some of the harder ones and some of the easier ones....they're all fairly easy compared to thrash metal or classical or some kind of fusion jazz....just your standard Led Zep, Beatles, etc.

    I'm looking forward to this audition. Even if I don't make the band, for a variety of reasons, I'll have spent several good days practicing and learning new songs, which in the end, will make my NEXT audition even better!

    Thanks for all the input guys!
  12. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Something I suggest also is to closely observe them.
    I am 100% certain it has happened to the other posters(It sure has happened to me) where the band you are auditioning for is not at your skill level.

    Just because you have been idle for awhile don't translate(to me) you could be the weakest link in the band.

    Watch them closely, watch(as well as listen) how they play together and if there are tunes you know that werent on the list in the classic rock genre, mention to jam them out. See how they perceive them. If you can do vocals, THEN JUMP IN AND DO THEM! That will REALLY set you apart from the other bass candidates.

    I try auditions with the intention of auditioning the auditioners!

    I hope this helps, and I sure hope I made sense.

    Good luck FriscoBassAce!!!
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That's it! It's like going for a job interview and the same common sense applies - don't be too worried about whether they want you; make sure you come away wanting to commit your time to them. If you're rehearsing weekly, learning songs, practising to improve your skills and gigging, that's a lot of time to invest so don't throw it away on the first bunch of people who want a bassist.

    Of course, they might be excellent, so don't dismiss them too easily but if you don't click with them, you're free to look for another band while they're without a bassist... takes the pressure off a little!

  14. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Yeah.....I was planning on using my ears and making sure that I wanted to play with them. Once, long ago, me and the guitarist of a band I was playing in that was slowly falling apart decided to audition for a band that was in need of a guitarist and a bassist. We showed up and played several songs, and the guys were very enthusiastic about having us join them. The only thing wrong was that their drummer, who was a founding member of the band, couldn't keep time! So we didn't take the gig. I'll be watching and listening, not only to their music, but also to their attitudes and demeanor, to determine if I want to join should I be offered the job.

    I finally got a copy of the set-list from the guitarist, AND he even said to focus on 4 or 5 songs from the list that I was comfortable with....so that makes things much more simple. Now I can be very confident, and even work on backing vocals as well. Should I bring a mic and a stand as well? Kind of a dumb question, but I don't know what the protocol is on mics.
  15. I agree with a lot of what has been said EXCEPT the comments about not "wasting effort" learning too many songs etc. ***??

    If you don't want to "waste" ( :confused: ) any of your time or effort, don't go for the audition!! :D :D :D

    IMHO, preparation is at least 60% of getting the gig and, without blowing my own trumpet, I've never failed one. :D :D
  16. Nazman


    Mar 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    Hey FriscoBassAce ,
    Is this the band that was advertised in the dallas musician classifieds as a couple of old farts looking for a bass player for classic rock? Just wondering..I started to call them
  17. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Is that me you're talking about? My point was that, given a finite amount of time to spend on preparing for an audition, it's not sensible to concentrate on the details of one or two songs before you've developed a general feel for a wider range of material.

    If you turn up and can play one song perfectly, including the short bass fill at bar 37 and the subtle bend on the second repeat of the third chorus, that's all well and good but you're probably going to lose out to the person who's got five or ten songs in the bag well enough to provide a solid, confident bassline.

    You've certainly got to put some effort into preparing for an audition but, unless you've got a lot of free time to devote to it, working smarter is going to win out over working harder.

  18. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative

    No....it was another ad. I actually emailed those guys....they said they had a guy lined up and would let me know if he didn't work out. A few days later they posted another ad, so I guess the other guy didn't work out. However, I'm glad they didn't call.....Arlington's way too far to drive to from my house! :D
  19. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Frisco, please post the set list. Perhaps the TB community can help you out :)
  20. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    It's better to do a few things well than a whole bunch of things 1/2 assed.

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