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First audition in a LONG time

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ntenny, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Actually, it may be my first real audition *ever*; all the bands I've been in have evolved out of informal jam sessions, except for one case where we all knew each other well and I was invited in when the bass player left.

    Anyway, the last time I was in a band of any kind was something north of ten years ago; since then I've been woodshedding, recording at home, occasionally playing acoustic with friends, and so on. But I'm trying to get back on the horse and play out again, and I've been asked to try out for a friend's cover band. They're doing rather well locally, with regular headline gigs at a couple of local joints and the occasional opening spot for a national touring act, and their bassist is about to move out of town.

    They're basically a hard-rock/hair-metal cover band, with some reinterpreted pop; some G-n-R material, Journey, Bon Jovi, stuff like that. It's well outside the stuff I'd usually play, but it fills up dance floors and can be good shameless fun to play. It helps that my friend is a badass lead guitarist.

    That stuff isn't particularly hard material technically, but I've always been an ear player and improviser, and while they aren't a note-for-note band, they follow original arrangements pretty closely, and I guess I'm a little intimidated about not being able to rely on spontaneity.

    The actual audition seems accessible---I've had most of the band's book on my iPod for a few months already, and they asked me to "pick any 10" of the songs. I went through the list and felt like I could hold together respectably on about 20-30 of the songs, with a little bit of spit-and-polish to get down the bits and pieces that I've been fudging in solo practice. So I guess I'm actually starting from a decent bassline.

    But still, it's a little nervewracking to contemplate putting myself forward where other people will have the chance to say "nope, not good enough". Anyone wanna give me a pep talk?

  2. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    Learn the material fairly close to "as recorded.". Don't be a lead bass player and play in the pocket with the drummer. Smile, compliment them, and make sure the hang is good. Wouldn't hurt to let them know how serious and dedicated you would be willing to be. Other than that, you will do great. Covers are fun, keep you gigging, and put money in your pocket. Just remember that hauling equipment and the like is hard work, but still part of the gig!
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    If you have 20 -30 songs down then you'll be golden!
  4. Remember it's all about having fun and getting your ya yas out every once in a while. Just do your thang and the rest will take care of it's self.
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    So, what horrible things will happen if you fail? Huh?

    Look, either you will do good and succeed, or do bad and fail. Since failure isn't an option, then success is the only thing that can happen. See? Now you can smile and go in there feeling good.

    It's called confidence (although some also call it faith).
  6. dont be late, dont be nervous, dont be cocky
    be dynamic
  7. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    One thing bands don't like is candidates showing up unprepared.

  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're good enough, you're smart enough and, doggone it, people like you!

  9. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    Always remember that auditions go both ways. I don't mean you need to be over confident or cocky, etc. just keep it in your mind that you're auditioning them as well.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    If it's a gigging band your after, always confirm what their booking history is as well as what is coming up for 2013. Is it an equal pay split, where do they gig, do they own a pa, is it a professionally run operation... ect.

    Also ask if the band members are the same as what is pictured on their web site. You might not want to join a sinking ship.

    Of course this is if your offered the gig.

  11. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    That's also the cool part of it though.....the unknown factor. I always like auditions.

    Anyway, so what if they say no?
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, I mean, what're they gonna do? Shave your head and send you to Afghanistan?
  13. Thanks, everyone. It looks like we'll get together after Thanksgiving---it's not completely clear to me if this is really an "audition" or if I just need to pass a sanity check. We'll see what comes of it.

  14. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012
    Now that is hilariously funny
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    If your serious, thats something you might want to claify, what it is your meeting them for.

  16. drpepper

    drpepper Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Columbia, Maryland
    From your post, I assume you can play, and if you're prepared, what else is there?

    You'll do well. And you're already networked in.

    You might find a nugget of pep in my recent experience. I think it highlights the role preparation can have…and you are totally in control of preparation. I'm certainly not the best player in the world, but I guess I do well enough.

    The shorter version of the backstory--I played from my early teens to early twenties and gave it up for a bit over 20 years. I picked it back up and joined a band about 3 years ago. While I had a blast (when I was having a blast) some frictions started developing and in the end (September), I decided to jump ship. A large part of my difficulty in making the decision to leave was the unknown of my prospects with finding another band.

    I quit the band I had been in right around mid-September and spent a week or or so just combing ads. I lined up two auditions. They both fit my basic desirable profile (playing out a couple times a month & geared toward popular tunes that I'd like to play). Both auditions had similar formats; 6 songs from their existing lists. Most were songs I was at least causally/listening familiar with, and I hadn't played any of them before.

    In preparing to respond to ads, I had made up a pdf list of pretty much all of the songs I've played in the last two years (some only discussed and learned, but never really added), links to videos, and links to pictures. I wrote up my background and what I was looking for in terms of gigging. In communicating on the auditions, I made sure of tuning, keys for the songs, expected gear, etc.

    With the first band, because of the bios I had found in checking them out, I was expecting to be outclassed. I found that I wasn't. We played through the six songs I had been given and then a couple of others the guitarist threw out. They were songs I had heard before, but never played. Everything went well. They seemed surprised that I was ready with the songs they gave me…I felt surprised that they seemed surprised, ha! In chatting afterward, they told me that I had responded to the ad, approached the audition and dealt with them far more professionally than anyone else they had seen. It seems that it's almost the norm for people to not come completely prepared or even on time or at the skill level they had represented. Based on the comments and tone, I felt pretty sure that the spot was mine as I left, but they had two more auditions that day. They did offer me the spot by email the next day.

    The next audition went similarly well. They had been looking for a bass player for months to switch formats from hard rock to party rock, so I again had a little concern that they we looking for something pretty specific that they weren't finding…why would they find it with me? And again, it seemed that there was some amount of surprise that I was prepared to play the songs (I actually went in without one of them - I was completely unfamiliar with it and could only do so much in trying to nail 12 songs in a week) and could play as well as should be expected by what I had represented of myself. They had one more audition lined up and we said we'd be in touch. As I was about to drive off, I got a knock on the window, and they said they had already voted and the spot was mine if I wanted it, which I did.

    If you can play and you're prepared, the rest of it will fall into place or not, but those are the things under your control. Again, I'm not the best bass player in the world, and I don't presume I was the best either band saw. What I was is prepared to play and, as much as I could, click with them. Apparently there's an awful lot of people out there who either misrepresent themselves and/or don't treat the process with effort that it minimally requires. I can't imagine setting up an audition and showing up barely knowing anything that was required.
  17. Get as close to recorded basslines as possible, there are a lot of very iconic bass parts in that genre. Also be prepared for a louder volume than you have experienced recently, and if necessary turn up you amp etc. so that you hold your own. Metal bands are looking for a pretty thunderous lower end in my experience.
  18. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    Firstly, have decent gear and turn up on time. First impressions really matter, and if you turn up late or turn up with average equipment, then it's not going to look good for you. I remember when I turned up to one audition, the rest of the band spent a good few minutes basically examining my gear and talking to me about my instrument. That was before I even played one note. You can tell how serious someone is with music by their gear.

    If they tend to stick to the original arrangements, then don't throw any improvisations in. Some cover bands don't mind that because they tend to be loose with their arrangements, but this band doesn't sound like one of those. Listen to the drummer and lock in with them.

    I agree with the others who said you are also auditioning the band. See how they operate, see if you get on with them personally and don't feel like you have to immediately commit.

    Good luck!
  19. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    The OP stated he didn't know if this was an audition or some kind of get together.

    Wouldn't that be something you'd want to clear up before showing up for an episode of The Twilight Zone?

  20. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    Thats not what he said....he said he wasn't sure if it was an audition or a "sanity check" meaning that he already has the gig if he's a competent player. Either way, his preparation should be the same.