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So I Auditioned for this 80's Band

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by StyleOverShow, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    I am looking for a band to go steady with, for a while at least, nothing serious or long term. Tried out for an 80's band and thought it newsworthy enough to share with my sisters and brothers of the low end.

    First, the 80's are my least known decade. Some may argue, with merit IMO, that it wasn't a grat time for popular music, with Disco dying, metal rising, and the birth of the pop stars Jackson & Madonna
    1980s in music - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I was busy raising a family, starting my first full time day job, in my 30's then, and didn't have much time for playing except for a dance band that played 70's and an Elvis impressionist, Dennis Colt who picked auto parts by day in a local GM plant and was the King of the Elvis Impressionist by night. The dance band introduced me to the new wave musicians who brought soft drinks, Hansens if you recall them, to the gigs and didn't drink or smoke dope which at the time seemed like a third set requirement.

    Sorry for the long intro. The tunes for the audition included Jump, Words by Human League, I Will Survive, Don't You Want Me, Time After Time, Brass in Pocket, Stop Dragging My Heart Around, Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Beat It.

    I was struck how like the 70's pocket groove RnB these tunes were with double time layers over "full time" rhythms. It was groove city in many ways, with lots of 8ths in the bass lines. It was easy to slip into this genre that i didn't play much over the decades as I applied the same approach that I cut my milk teeth (Motown and RnB).

    The band had decent players at key positions and they all sing, and that adds a whole lot in the overall sound IMHO.

    Cyndi Lauper's Time after Time is a great tune in its simplicity and changing energy and Stevie Nicks got a big time groove down with Stop Dragging My Heart Around. Funny, I play in a straight ahead jazz band, on upright, with Bob Crickmore, an original member of Pat Benatar's road band.

    The kicker was Jackson's Beat It, a great dance magnet still. Like the original the intro is in modal Em and the song is half step lower. Didn't want to octave it up to get the Eb so I lowered my E string half step, thank you TU 95 quietly, and could play the altered line with an open string.

    Don't know if I got the gig yet as the auditions continue but enjoyed the music. Just wanted to share and see if anyone has had similar experiences....
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    We just played it in "E"...though, when I first learned it (& played along with the LP), I re-tuned my entire bass (is it really an "EB" or is it somewhere near "Eb"? I forget). Anyway, the bass part is simple so that wasn't necessary after 1-2 daze. One night, I do recall having a total brain freeze on the opening riff...our female singer (who could nail MJ's voice) just stared at me aghast at my fumbling around. At the break, it was SHE who was scolded by the band leader.

    My recollection when I played in an '80s R&B/Top-40 band-
    • Mucho synth bass that I needed to cover on a 4-string instrument (with no pedals, etc). Stuff like Madonna's "Into The Groove", songs by The System, etc. If you have a strong keyboardist, your job may be easier (I didn't have that luxury).
    • Ska/Reggae-influenced tunes (The Police, Madness, Haircut 100, etc). Cool, fun to play tunes.
    • "What I Like About You" always packed the floor...that surprised me. "Billie Jean" was another floor-packer...and we usually doubled it up (so it ran 6-7 minutes).
  3. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    The kb is covering the synth parts, but yeah The Police, etc. Good bands for the era.
  4. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    So, did you get the gig?
    The 80's were filled with some really great music. I think it just took a bit of time and distance for many musicians to realize it.
  5. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Don't know about gig as the "chick singer" and band leader is sick with flu, it's making the rounds in SoCal. Bands make decisions for all kinds of reasons and they have a few more players to hear. I did a good job as far as I can hear from my recordings. I record most times I play. There is always room for improvement and sometimes it's revealing.

    I am a baby boomer and rile against the commonly accepted proposition that the 70's had it all. The 80's were in the classic rock era's shadow, and definitely went in another direction with more production, bigger hair, synths, etc.
  6. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    I love playing in cover bands if it's music I dig. I like all kinds of music from all eras but I have always wanted to have a band that did 80s stuff with an emphasis on new wave.

    The Police, The Cars, B52s, Devo, Blondie, Wall Of Voodoo...maybe a few more mainstream things like Billy Idol. Be fun I think.

    Every pissant town has some bands playing 70s classic rock. That's fine, but I think people eventually get tired of Eagles and Clapton covers, and that's not the kind of thing I want to play.
    StyleOverShow likes this.
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I was an 80s teen (sound like a horror movie), and there was a lot of music going on, lots of different stuff. Frankly, when I saw the audition list, I felt like they were throwing you softballs. There were a lot of popular 80s tunes where the bass line effectively WAS the melody, the synths just did their sequenced shimmery stuff and guitarists hit whole-note chords. Duran Duran's "Rio" comes to mind, or Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," or Phil Collins' "Sussudio." That was a decade of major session bassists - Tony Levin, Pino Palladino, Tony Frankin, all those guys. There was also a lot of pumping-8ths, but if you want to play some great bass lines, you can do it in an 80s band.
    StyleOverShow likes this.
  8. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    ^^^ Yeah, was talking about this on another thread. Seems like a lot of bands in the 1980s were very bass-centric...lots of post punk, new wave and goth bands seemed to often build songs from the bass line up.
    StyleOverShow and hrodbert696 like this.

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