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last minute fill-in gigs.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by One_Dude, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. I am interested in hearing opinions about accepting last minute fill-in gigs. Specifically filling in with a group you have never played with and really never even heard play. In this case, I am pretty sure I know a few of their songs, but suspect most of them would be new to me. By last minute fill-in, I'm talking about less than 12 hours before the gig.

    It sounds like they will provide charts for the gig, but I am reluctant because I have been burned in other similar situations. There are other issues like timing and basic interaction between the other players, none of whom I know or have played with before. I usually decline such requests when there is absolutely no practice session involved, but this is a group I am interested in getting to know, but also am interested in making a good impression if I agree to take the gig.

    My current thinking is to tell them that I am interested in future fill-in opportunities, but this one with such short notice is a recipe for failure.

    So what are your thoughts?

    Thump on,

  2. Do it! You only live once,might be fun and lead to new opportunities!
  3. I did the same thing about 5 years ago,changed my musical life for the better!
    kevin Hardy and interp like this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    take a chance! expand your musicianship if not your experience in general. (some cats have made a decent living doing "last minute" sub work!)

    better to make the impression live, and in person. none of us can do any better than 'our best' at any given moment. charts? = piece of cake! good luck! :thumbsup:
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm always happy to take a gig. I wouldn't promise what I can't deliver, though. If there's a lot of new music I don't know on the set list, I'll prep with whatever time I have and then wing it as best I can, and I trust the band I'm subbing with will understand that.
  6. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    If they are calling you last minute, they know there will be issues. Two things to make life a bit easier:

    1. Get a songlist (with keys - I once did a last minute fill in on a cover gig, where they neglected to tell me they did Benetar's Heartbreaker in Em rather than Fm).
    2. When you set up on stage, make sure you can see the left hand of the guitarist, and hear and see the kick drum and hi hat.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  7. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    12 hour notice with songs I’ve never even heard before? I would have to pass. I like to have fun on stage and can’t do that if the songs are completely unfamiliar to me. If it’s just one or two, fine. But if I don’t know the majority of the set after all the time I’ve spent playing in different bands or, at least, can’t hum along to the song when it comes on the radio, I’m out.
    BooDoggie, lfmn16, baileyboy and 4 others like this.
  8. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi One_Dude :)

    Sounds like? When will you get them? After the gig? :D

    You should have them already! Incl. recordings!!!

    Tell them to hurry up!


    And then rock that gig!

    may the bass be with you

    TrevorOfDoom and Roberto Nunez like this.
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I do them all the time, and with charts provided, I'd jump all over it. No charts? The less lead time I get, the more expensive I get.
    Bob_Ross, BassGuyFL, fhm555 and 16 others like this.
  10. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    As @hrodbert696 said, just make sure they know your familiarity with the tunes, so they don't come back with "you said you knew everything". When in doubt, hang with the kick, and muting is your friend.
    foolforthecity, dBChad and bfields like this.
  11. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    I don’t think it matters what we think. If you’re not confident, don’t do it.
  12. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    I've had good and bad experiences with being a last minute sub. If I know and like the people that have asked me, and if the $ is worthwhile and I'm available, then I say yes.

    If I don't know the people very well, then I always ask for money up front, or else I pass. I've been stiffed by unethical people before, and the blood-boil that it aroused in me was far in detrimental excess to the couple hundred bucks that I was screwed out of.
  13. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    I do it often. Typically ill know someone in the band and they know how i play. Always get a setlist, ask how they tune, and keys from the guitarist or keys player. Also get pay and all other details upfront before you agree. I personally love the challenge
  14. I have never learned at a faster pace then when I subbed a bunch, often times jumping in with players above my skill sets.
  15. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    If the pay is good and you feel confident in your playing, do it. If they're calling 12 hrs before the gig, they know it's not going to be perfect. But...... If you're primarily a 4/4 rock player and the gig is Jazz Fusion, or if you're primarily a country guy and the gig is high energy Gospel, etc., then I probably wouldn't take the gig.
    BooDoggie likes this.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    If you tell them you really don't know the material and they still want you, then they get what they get.

    If you can pull it off with no major trainwrecks, then you'll make a good impression.
    EddiePlaysBass and wildman2 like this.
  17. smokinjoe


    Jul 1, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    Do it! If you want a future with these guys, helping them out of a tight spot will go a long way.
    Ross W. Lovell likes this.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Only if I know their songlist. Not trying to learn a crapload of songs I don't know or even heard before.
  19. ctbass


    Jun 21, 2005
    I took my son to a Todd Sucherman (Styx drummer) clinic.

    One of many things he stressed..."if you screw up, nobody dies."
  20. Fender05


    Oct 20, 2008
    The best way to get called for future fill-ins is to take current fill-ins...

    With such short notice, they can't be expecting perfection. Do the gig, kick some a**, and make a great impression. You'll get your foot in the door, and the call next time.

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