Getting Suckered

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ZonGuy, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    Answered a call for a pro put-together band for a musician who supposedly travels nationally,has an agent, got all sorts of high dollar gigs (>$300/head) he is going to line up. Has a studio, blah blah blah.

    Meet together for first time. Studio is extremely minimal part of warehouse being used by other bands with poor sound insulation. Top notch players recruited. All great players - except the "pro". Played down 20 songs for first rehearsal in two hours.

    End of rehersal, I asked some direct questions about future gigs to which I got total squirmy b.s. "Of course, we may have to take a few low dollar jobs to get established". I looked at him and my demeanor probably said "the games over". Got my walking papers by email a week later. Cut my losses, but I was still out a couple hours plus gas and load in/out.

    Caveat Emptor
  2. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    But you got the other good guys' phone numbers?
  3. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Yeah, I've been suckered on a few auditions myself.

    The next to last audition I went to.... Rock and grunge players who thought they'd go country because they had a singer who leaned toward country. OK fine, except it all sounded like crap. I spent way too much time learning a handful of their songs, because naturally, I wanted to impress them, and I expected these people to be good (my fault I guess, but you just can't find out everything over the phone). One song in particular I thought would knock their socks off, the way I worked out the bass line. Except they couldn't really play it, never learned it very well, so it was all wasted effort. The lead guitarist was a wanker, who played continuous solos, even OVER the vocals. I kept it to myself, but I was P.O.'d.

    The last audition, these people were supposedly veterans of big time gigs, tons of experience, etc. But they sounded so rusty that you got the impression they had just picked up their instruments after a 10 year hiatus.

    Makes me appreciate the band I'm already in so much more. I was auditioning with other bands to try to pick up some work. My current band hasn't been playing out often enough to suit me, averaging only one gig every six weeks or something like that. Hopefully, that's fixin' to change. I was told, just last night, that we would be scheduling more gigs, more often, in the very near future. To be fair to them, we have had drummer issues, replacing two. That appears to be fixed now. But I want to see gigs on the books. I was promised that from the get-go.
  4. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Oh well, sounds like you didn't lose anything really. A couple of hours plus gas is the price you have to pay to go and do auditions. The only thing I can see that would differ in that respect is when you are in a position to charge an appearance fee. I know people like Tony Levin can probably get away with it...

    At least you had the sense to know when your chain was being yanked.
  5. I put ads up on Craigslist and get lots of guys with email address's that say'[email protected] I had one today and he replied saying he was a pro and kept asking me questions and would not answer any of mine...smelled fishy.
  6. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Actually, I have a worse story than that about auditions. I had one band call me to do an audition for a show they had coming up. The guy wanted me to learn a few of his bands songs and meet up with them the following weekend. No problem, the songs were easy enough to learn took me about half an hour all in all.

    So the day of the audition comes and it's a public holiday. Lots of traffic and I had to travel into the city itself. So I'm almost at the place I was going to meet up with these guys and I get a text message. "we found a bass playr we like and going to go with him tnx for ur time".

    I was this close to actually going to the place with my invoice book out. I figured it wasn't worth wasting my time on people that stupid anyway.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm on my way to what very well may be the same kind of gig next week. :) They're all over craigslist. I'm used to it. I usually ask lots of questions including what gigs are lined up and what venues the artist has played before. Sometimes I'll take a gamble if there's enough plusses. The rehearsal I'm going to next week I orignally said no to, but then got a call by the producer who I googled and comes up nicely. He's also playing in this band. There's some potential, no promises. I try to look at it all as networking nowadays and I do my best to keep my eyes wide open for when to bail gracefully. It doesn't hurt me to take an extra night out of my week for a couple of months to see if something is going to pan out.

    I had a guy once who was going to fly me out to san fransisco and put me up for a while (and pay me) to rehearse with his band so we could tour the west coast. He was going to pay me $300 a gig because he made a killing in real estate and just wanted to tour with the people he felt comfortable with. The guy sounded completely on the money (and I still think he was sincere) until about the 3rd phone call when I started to realize he was manic. He had half songs, half lyrics, no talent, a lot of money, and a crazy dream.
  8. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    It's all part of the gig game.

    Network, get pone numbers?

    What does not kill you, will make you stronger?
  9. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Everyone on Craigslist seems to have "Gigs lined up, recordings, label interest..."

    Usually the poster is one guy who's looking for every instrument in the band because he doesn't even play well enough.
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I love those ads.

    First record almost done. Looking for lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass player, drummer and possibly keyboard player. Helps if you can sing lead and backup vocals.

  11. HomeBrewTJ


    May 16, 2004
    Lafayette, IN
    Those are usually the guys that can't keep a band together because of their personality, be it overbearing or aloof.
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    You didn't get suckered. Suckered would be if you'd actually bought into that jive and went along with it.

    There's no harm in checking out the situation. Well done. :cool:

  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I got a call from a lady who portrayed herself as an experienced vet who said she has a band that is 'so busy' that she had to start a second band that she wanted me to be the bassist for. Cool. Anyway, she calls me on a Thursday and tells me she fired her (main band) bass player and needed a sub for a wedding reception that Saturday. She meets me on Friday and hands me a cd of 4 songs to learn. Talk about cramming for a test. Anyway, I learn the songs and write charts for me to cheat with. Get to the gig (clue #1 back yard of a home). We are supposed to start at 7pm. No drummer. He had an earlier gig and is running late. Gets there at 8pm and is set up and ready to play at 8:30pm. There's 3 ladies who are allegedly the 'singers' of which all were of Karaoke caliber at best. None could sing any harmonies (clue #2)! The main lady calls out the first song and I'm ready to go and guess what? No one else in the band knew the song. Ok, next song........nope...didn't know that one either! Same goes for the last 2 songs! I was THE ONLY ONE who knew the songs! One lady decides to sing Betcha By Golly Wow several keys! I tried to help her by playing along but I gave up trying to figure out what key she was in (clue #3)! After that, the main lady turns around and says just play something. 15 minutes later the cops show up and shut us down! The easiest $100 I ever made for just an hours work. Afterwords, I said 'buh by'! She actually thought I was going to be in her band! Pfft! I think not!
    tunejunkE likes this.
  14. When I first moved to the SF bay area, I got suckered into two time-wasting experiences. The first was the "I pay musicians, even for rehearsals" line - shoulda' known that was too good to be true up front. The second was from a, cough, producer, cough, who had an independent movie soundtrack lined up. A guitarist and keyboardist made it to that "session" as well, so I guess I wasn't the only one in misery. The producer-slash-drummer was a cab driver in real life, and probably knew more about quantum physics than he did music.

    Lessons learned...we've all got the stories, right? Definitely fun reading through this thread to share in the, "Ahh, yep. I feel your pain" experience. I'm a definite Scrooge/grumpy old man now, though - I ask a ton of questions up front and turn down far more opportunities than I accept. I generally only take work on known gigs with known players working with known bandleaders, with the occasional "for the love of music" thing thrown in there for really passionate artists who are fun to be around.
  15. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    :D Hey... great laughs a story to never forget and an easy 100 bucks nice!
  16. pendergasta

    pendergasta .- .- .-. --- -. / .--. . -. -.. . .-. --. .- ...

    Jan 7, 2008
    North Carolina
    All you old dogs need to keep sharing though! Alot of us are just starting to get out there and can definitely benefit from your wisdom! :bassist:
  17. Been there done that entirely too many times. These days I typically ask for some sort of clip before I even think about loading up my stuff and going somewhere. I swear, I live in a town where everyone is a damn legend in their own mind, but not to the ears of a real musician.
  18. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I almost always ask for a clip too, but 99% of the time, they dont have one. And some of them get down right uppity about me even asking. ***?
  19. LOL, bad signs all around. In this era, any musician worth their salt should have some decent recorded clips, especially if they've been around for a while. Shoot, I'm not even that good with computers and have a myspace with some decent clips from the last couple of years. I'd almost go so far to say that it should be a standard in this day and age.

    Still, it's entertaining if they have BAD clips and promise that they have gotten better since then. Everyone says it and some believe it, but very few can improve.
  20. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I learned 17 funk/R&B songs in a few days to audition with an "established" band from the area.

    When I got to rehearsal, I knew all the songs. They didn't.

    Some of them had been in bands before, but this was a completely new outfit.

    Also, the drummer was terrible. I was out of there in a flash!
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