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Oh, those auditions ...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Finsterino, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Finsterino


    Mar 8, 2007
    I bet I am not alone in these situations. Where you go meet the band, they pull out the playlist, and they want you to just jump right in.

    Now if I was a better bassist, I would not struggle with these songs. Like Fire on the Mountain (Marshall Tucker). I've heard it for 20 years, but never played it. And I did not pick it up fast enough during the audition. Fail!

    Of course I should have asked for a playlist in advance. My mistake.

    But even playing a song I have played dozens of times in the past (Seminole Wind) throws me for a loop if I don't have my cheat sheets and/or playing with the live band, and not the recording. Another Fail.

    So one way to make this work: I bring an mp3 player to the audition with a few of my fave songs, and ask the band to play those for my audition. (these songs would be some that most folks should know - nothing off the wall). So we could all start by playing along the the recording. That way, I should be able to demonstrate that I am a capable player, given enough practice.


    Also, I have heard nothing from the band for a week, so I am not positive I was rejected , but ...
  2. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    This may seem pretty straightforward but ask them for 3-4 songs to audition on in advance so you can learn them? (IF you don't know them)
    Go play THOSE 3 songs, and if they like you they will offer you the position.

    I would never go to an audition with out 3-4 songs prepared in advance. (and I also would NEVER learn 20 songs for an audition, unless it was with Bon Jovi or something)
  3. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Going to meet a band and having them play along to a few songs that YOU like isn't the way to go. I'm not saying that you have to bow down to their every need but they are looking for someone to fit into their band. Once things are established and you become a member, then you can start trying to make suggestions/changes and moving the furniture around in the room, so to speak.

    Keep your chin up and be prepared to nail it the next time.
  4. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010
    When we audition, I'll send them our set list and ask them to pick 3 and I'll pick the other 2.
    This way I can get a feel for how they play when they're in 'their zone' and how they play when they're not so much in there.
    I wouldn't however, have the person auditioning bring in what they know or want to play. Unless you are leading a song.
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    No, I've never experienced that.

    When and if I audition for a band I ask them to give me 3-4 songs to learn prior to the audition. Then I learn the songs so that I can nail them cold at the audition.

    If a band can't come up with songs for me to learn prior to the audition, I pass on it.

    Also, I've never heard of an audition where you bring your favorite songs and ask the band to play along.

  6. That just about says it all.

    Live and learn. Not only should you see a playlist, but you should narrow it down and decide on a manageable number of songs to play.

    And while you're at it, ask a lot of questions about the band, dynamics, policies, pay, venues and performance opportunities, etc.
  7. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I agree with Blue. You need to screen them to see what kind of band they are and go in prepared.
    I would never go to any audition cold with no information or Idea on the music the band is playing.
  8. +1

    It is as much about you auditioning them to see if you want to join them as them auditioning you.

    Not getting a list of songs to work up beforehand is just wasting everybody's time.

    The older you get the more you realise this. As a kid I would just roll up to an audition without a clue as to what I was expected to play. Now I want to know which songs and if multiple versions are out there which one I should learn (youtube links are good) and keys if not as recoded. If originals then ask to have mp3s emailed.

    It is so much easier now than when I was a kid.
  9. Skygonzo


    Jul 8, 2012
    Looks like a DOA kinda' scenario. The band didn't give you a quick rundown of what was expected of you and you failed to ask. In essence, you cold-called it which works sometimes but not always. I recently auditioned a drummer for a series of shows and he didn't quite have the songs we wanted but he did have great chops. In that instance I chose to jam it up for a few minutes. I saw his potential so we gave him time to warm up and show us. The guy turned out to be awesome and 100% in-the-pocket. So he didn't nail the songs from the start......oh well....but he did get the gig and did very well. For us it was a matter of cutting the guy some slack for the sake of observation.
  10. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I've been lucky, I guess, but most of my auditions were about us all talking and finding songs that we were on common ground on to play and see how I fit in. Sure, I had seen the set list beforehand, but we didn't pick any particular tunes out beforehand. I even got one gig NOT knowing most of the songs because they could see that I had chops and understanding enough to learn them all.
  11. Having an iPod with you as a reference is one thing, but learning songs at practice and playing along to it is lame. That's homework. Bad idea.

    You failed on a song you knew? Needed cheat sheets? For SEMINOLE WIND? Not sure how I feel about that one... Perhaps you needed more time in the wood shed before this audition?

    I learned very early on to ask for set list and agree on at least 6 for an audition. Sorry to say it, but basically, you went in not prepared. Lesson learned.
  12. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    I can't imagine even considering joining a band without looking at the set list first. Of course you need to agree to the songs to play for the audition, but I also need to see the whole list of songs they're doing. How do you know if you like the kind of music they're playing??

    As far as being prepared... I've been on several audition's where, after we run through the agreed-upon songs, the band will ask if I'm willing to jam around on a few other songs on the set list . IME it seems that bands not only want to see how you perform the songs you agreed to, but also how you handle a little pressure, how easily you can jump in on a song, plus it tells them a lot about your temperament. I think it's a pretty good tool for the band and I just go in expecting it now... they're usually pretty forgiving of this process . It works out well for me because I only audition with classic rock cover bands and I've heard those songs all my life so there are always a few that even if I don't already play them I can usually jump right in pretty easily, just tell me the chords and I'll give it a shot ...
  13. Standard Operating Procedure

    Band Auditioning
    Prior to the rehearsal,
    *Get their Song list w/Keys
    *Agree on 5-6 songs to go over
    *Learn those 5-6 songs so you can play them in your sleep
    *Have a working knowledge of the rest of the songs. 5-6 songs only take around 20mins to play so,
    you'll more than likely end up having to play others. Best to not get caught flat footed.

    Use caution if you hear one these statements:
    "We have a home studio" (Garage with the car not parked in it)
    "We're playing Classic Rock but make it our own" (We're unable to actually play it as recorded so we've dumbed it down)
    "We have some standards we do but we also Jam" (Play 12 bar blues in 'E' for 20mins, then in 'A' for 20mins, drink a bunch of beers and repeat)
    "Here are the songs I'd like to possibly do" (We don't actually know them and was hoping you could show us)
    "We like to have fun but are serious about our music" (One or all of us are perfectionist Divas)
    "Can you sing backup?" (None of us can sing worth a damn and hope you can carry the load)
    "We have mgmt and gigs lined up!" (My girlfriend's brother's step-uncle knows a friend of a friend who knows a guy who worked with Tito Jackson on his solo album in 1982 and can maybe get us a gig)
  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    That's what I was thinking and I also thought you had been in this business for a while, so it was a mystery to me that you went into an audition blind?

    Was there some extenuating circumstance here?


  15. Big Brother

    Big Brother

    Feb 13, 2011
    San Diego
    Roving sub-demon
    If you want to impress on people that you are capable you could do a couple of Youtube videos or post some samples for people to listen to prior to the audition. And ask for same if possible.

    That way you can both see if your mutual range of abilities are in the same league before meeting, which takes the pressure off and makes the audition more about group dynamics and such than whether or not you can 'hang.'
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I always ask them for a few songs in advance and then work on them before the audition. I have never used cheat sheets.
  17. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Sounds like you need an attitude adjustment to me. I can't play your stuff, so I'll make you play mine? All I can say is "wow".

    I assume you must be kidding when you say that for future auditions, the band should play your songs. I hope so.
  18. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    For auditions requiring vocals, I've had bands ask me songs that I can sing that they can prepare for rehearsal.

    But for my last one, here's what I did. I got the band's set list, and I charted out every song on it. I brought in my notes, and was ready for any song that they presented to me. I played their 2nd set, and it was a deal.

    The way I look at it, even if I didn't get the job, they could see that I would be ready to jump in as a sub if needed.
  19. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    I would never go to an audition without checking out a song list, but if someone my band was auditioning showed up with a tape and asked us to play their songs that would be an automatic no.

    Not to pile on, but how could you consider audition for a band without seeing their song list? How do you even know if you want to play with them?
  20. Being fairly new to the bass scene I am curious to learn how to chart out songs. Do you have any links, suggestions or tips for me?