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Just Playing or Playing for Real? How do i work out if a band has a future

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Vegiehead, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. Vegiehead


    Jan 23, 2006
    Hi Guys

    Ok everyband it seems at the moment is looking for a bass player.How do i work out the ones that are going somewhere and the ones that are just dreamers?

    Is there a time limit to how long you'd Jam for before they giged?

    Basicly id like to get onto a stage and play but finding a band that has that as a real intention is hard ... most seem to have the idea to start of with then they just seem to not turn up at Practices, drink to much etc etc etc.:bawl:

    So how do i know the men from the boys?:ninja:

  2. Risk = Reward ;)
  3. Neb Maro

    Neb Maro I don't think, but I still am.

    Oct 20, 2006
    So. Cali
    I guess it depends on the maturity of the other guys/gals in the band, How they are at practice, how they handle their gear, how they are with business. Can they even handle business? How skilled are they? Do you seem to fit well in jams? (more than one jam would be logical) Do they drink too much or do drugs? I've never been in a band so you can discount my questions, but it seems like common sense.
    Also another question deals with ambition. How ambitious are they? How hard are they willing to work to prove that? What is their past experience?
    If bassists are so high in demand, it should be the bassist interviewing the band IMO.
  4. Bingo. Ask them a few questions about what their "action plan" is, and if it's not what you want, just say you're looking for something a little different. If they act like tools after that, then you probably shouldn't have been playing with them in the first place.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think you're asking the wrong question(s) and one that really can't be answered.

    The questions you should be asking are :

    Do I like the music - is it what I want to play, does it excite me.. etc. etc.

    Do I like the band members - can I get on with them for a long period of time, etc etc.

    Answer Yes to both = join the band!!

    Answer No to either - don't join the band!!

    EASY!!! ;)
  6. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    How long have they being together? do they have a complete lineup, apart from you, or are you going to be haning round for the next six months looking for a singer/drummer/brass section/tibettion nose flute player...

    Have they giged so far? Have individuals gigged with previous bands regularly?

    do they have a setlist? Can they PLAY that setlist?

    Get them to pick two songs from the list, and you pick another two - take a week to learn the set. Turn up for the audition - 1,2,3,4... you play them. If you get to then end of all four songs without major misshapp you've got a half decent band who can get out and gig.

    Obiviously they can't gig without a full lineup, but if you're the final piece and they ARE serious, then they should be ready for you to slot in (or have they been messing round for the last couple of years trying to find the right people, but not learning the stuff themselves). If you can learn the set in a month, then you can go out and gig in a month.

  7. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yes, you have to get along with them on a business level as well as a personal level. I'd specifically ask questions about what their goals are, what target dates they have for those goals, and whether they view music as art or as a business with a product. Past accomplishments are also a useful guide, especially whether people consider things like "my last band would have gotten signed if not for _______" or "we played ____ gigs for three beers per person" accomplishments or failures.

    There are no "right" or "wrong" answers to those questions but you have to understand each other and be able to reach some agreement on what you're doing, why, and when.
  8. VanillaO

    VanillaO Poop?

    Oct 14, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Also, if the band you join happens to be a group of already close friends, are you going to be comfortable with that? I joined a band like that and we all get along very well, and it's kind of like I am their old bassist and never left (we jsut gel that well). But, I can imagine it being very different quite easily
  9. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    My approach from now on is simple. Lay it on the line...tell them what you are looking for and ask them what they want. Ask if they drink or do drugs..yes ask upfront....ask if they have a demo a presskit a website and ask to see it. ask if they have scheduled gigs and how offen they gig or what their plans are. Find out practice schedules and band members jobs and personal schedules. If all this fits you idea of a band and fits your personal style then try-out....yea then try-out.

    Go into the try-out with 4-5 of their songs and know them well. You will know then if they are gig worthy or not for the most point. Remember it is as importent to you as them to see if they are right for you as you our to them. Why just show up to play find out the band is super tight and great players to then see them getting trashed or them being ego heads or the bands schedule wont work with yours...do the ground work first then decide if trying out is worth it...you can then move on to other bands who do fit your needs and save gas and time.
  10. Neb Maro

    Neb Maro I don't think, but I still am.

    Oct 20, 2006
    So. Cali
    You could like the music and like the band, but if they show no drive, then why join? From my understanding the guy wants to go somewhere with his music. Though I think your two questions are perfectly decent, they don't, IMO, cover everything. But then, what do I know. :D
  11. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Just speaking for myself, I don't have time for "projects". If I were looking for a band, I'd be looking ONLY for an already gigging, established band....or at the very least, one that is very close to gigging, with established contacts.

    I've rarely been in the position of having to look, but its amazing the amount of BS you run into when you do. I think every band that advertises for a bass player has: 1. a possibility of being "signed", 2. a guitarist that used to play for "name an old popular band", 3. many gigs booked. When you get there and actually meet and jam with them, it's "OK..Smoke on the Water...1,2,3,4....and they screw THAT up. It's usually obvious within the first 30 seconds of an "audition" which bands will NEVER escape the basement.
  12. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH

    im right with you cheese. make sure they're serious and not a bunch of hooligans.
  13. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    A lot of your serious bands have already been playing. In fact, it's not uncommon for a serious bassist in a serious band to say "hey, guys, I'm going to have to leave the band in three months" or "I need to quit as soon as you find a replacement and can get him up to speed" and so the search is on.

    If you can find a situation like this, then you're looking at a wonderful gig that treats it professionally. The only thing is that you should do the same. Nothing is more frustrating than having gigs on the schedule and then a member just flat quits.

    My most annoying instance of this - I had a lead guitarist who decided that he didn't like our alt rock band (he was a metal head) and would play the rest of the schedule (at the time, about three shows). He played the first, and then didn't show up at all for the second. There were a few weeks until the last show, and he didn't come to rehearsals during any of that time. We just figured that he was done, and we were actually enjoying how the band sounded as a four piece.

    Fast forward to the last gig on the schedule. We get there and load in, and he shows up! If I was the guy then that I am today, I would have told him sorry, but technically, he hadn't quit yet, so I let him set up. He didn't ruin the show, but we were playing a lot of songs that he'd never played or that he hadn't played in a while, so he stepped on a lot of toes just wanking needlessly. Heck, there were a couple of songs that I wrote out the chords for so that he could actually follow us... sigh...

    Little did I know, the guy had been talking to the bassist and the drummer. They were all of like mind (metal = good) and they all quit after that last show. Left me and a singer. End of that band, and I didn't join another for about six months (which is a long time for me to not be in a band).
  14. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Of course, I'm likely a lot older than you, so my priorities will be different. But, if the band isn't already working, or ready to work immediately, I just walk away. I have been with too many groups that are going nowhere fast and it's really just a waste of time for me.

    I avoid the following like the plague:

    1. bands that do drugs
    2. bands that don't have a complete set list for a full 4-5 hour gig
    3. bands that have crappy equipment
    4. bands that don't read music
    5. drummers with bad time
    6. bands that play for the door money only, or even less
    7. bands that tell me what type of gear they want me to use

    If the band can't meet the above requirements, than it's no good for me. That doesn't mean it's not good for someone else, though. I guess the point here is that you have to know what YOU want and what you're willing to sacrifice (if anything) to be in the band ..... :cool:
  15. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Fortunately in Poland a 3-hour set list is enough for anything except weddings but I'd add to that:
    • bands that care about what music I listen to more than what I'm willing and able to play
    • bands with people whose "day jobs" require then to frequently work night shifts
  16. Spoiled Grape

    Spoiled Grape I <3 Darkstar

    May 29, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    I've never had to try out for a band, as mine has sort of grown over the years from a highschool "jam group" to a serious rock group, but I have had to try out a drummer or twelve.

    Here's how I advertised/tried out the drummers. I think we did it fairly professionally, and I tried to organize it around the way I would like to be auditioned. Basically, I put everything up front.

    1) The meet and greet. Introductions are made. We help him load in, and do most of the talking during the loading/set-up process. We make note of his choice of drums and ask him why he chose the set in particular. In all honesty, it didn't really matter, I just thought it would be nice to include "shop talk" to break the ice. It was also interesting to hear drummers talk about tone and the ease of set-up/take down, just like we do here in TB.

    2) We play a few songs that I have instructed the drummer to learn earlier. If he doesn't remember song names, or have them written down, it's a big negative. The songs are all off our record, thus, he knows we mean business and are serious.

    3) We talk again after jamming the songs. I lay it out that we are a serious band, let him know the drinking/drug situation, as well as our personalities. Than I show him a list of our gigs, and ask him if he's available to play those dates.

    I don't know, but if an "established" band can't provide that, they probably aren't established. As far as non-established bands, if they can't provide you with a relatively realistic plan, than I'd say they are wasting your time. I'm not talking about a twelve page report lining up your shows all the way to the "Farewell Tour," but rather, just a short time line maybe discussing practice dates up to your hopeful first few gigs.
  17. Yes. I think you really have to judge it on a face to face basis. Let's face it, some of those online ads or flyers in music stores can sounds pretty good, but then you actually meet people and find out they're not as good as they said they were, or they have other issues (drugs, disorganized, bad equipment, they're 35 and living in their mom's basement, etc).
  18. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Sometimes the really short ads that don't try to sound impressive have the most serious musicians hiding behind them. I've found the same thing with ads for day jobs, actually. You never know...
  19. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    A good indicator if a band has momentum is whether or not they are gigging now, have solid dates lined up and have a history of playing out. This also goes for the members as well, if this is the only band they are in and the band is gigging every three months or so, there isn't much momentum and the rehearsals are pretty much a social get together. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want. If you want to play live in front of people you have to make that known from the start and when you see that's not going to happen despite promises to the contrary you need to move on. You also need to be in position to play many styles, be able to read, negotiate charts, play by ear so that you can drop into many more situations.
  20. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    This is a smart man here.

    However, as stated it depends on what you want. For me, I can deal with moderate drug use (weed/MODERATE alc), people that can't read sheet music, and little to no money.

    As an all-originals band there is little NECESSARY reason to learn to read sheet music for all members of the band, imo. For the rest I agree 110%!

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