So, Would You Play the Gig?...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Motorhead Mark, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Ok, here's the situation...

    Guitar player and I from work have jammed around a couple of times. And that was it, we each went our own way as far as bands go. His bar band is doing something like 80 or 90% covers to originals has a regular weekend spot at this bar a stone's throw away from here. Now, talking to him today at work, he asks me if I want to play a show with them on New Years. It pays, pretty good I might add, and drinks are free (but I don't drink) but...I don't know any of their songs, and I told him this. He says something to the effect of "just ride the E, and relax"

    They are doing classic rock covers, Stones, Mountain, Sabbath, Skynard, Zepplin, KISS etc etc. Now I know the music to sing along on the radio, but have never played any of it. I have a couple of days to confirm, and 18 days to learn a entire set if I take it. Good exposure, good pay, but I don't want to end up looking more stupid than usual, and I don't want to piss the band off either. And...I have a show with my band on the 22nd that I have to prepare for as well....Transportation and gear are not an issue, just the tunes, hmmm

    Decisions You Play the Gig?...
  2. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    i somehow doubt riding the low E will solve your problems. just like a guitar player to say that.

    if you can figure out the tunes and be comfortable with them and confident that you wont botch them and make you or the band look bad, go for it. if not dont.
  3. If I was in your shoes I'll take the gig I mean rock playing is'nt that difficult but you have to know the song structures in this style which can be daunting also bring your pickplaying skills although you may use your fingers alot artist I know that play this style prefer pick but that's just my experience

    Do it for the enjoyment factor payment is just a bonus but being able to groove is more rewarding in itself
  4. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I'd take it. 18 days to learn an evening's worth of rock songs which you already know somewhat, especially the stuff you've described, shouldn't be a big deal. If you're worried, write yourself a fake book. It sounds like it'll be a lot of fun, especially if he's talking about it paying well.
  5. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Yes, *I* would play the gig. But I have experience "faking it" when I don't "know" a song. I have half-way-decent relative pitch skills, and I can usually get by if I am at least a little familiar with a song. If you are in real trouble, you can turn down your volume and tone, try to play something in key and on time, and just try to fill up some sonic space.

    I think you have to ask yourself if you will be able to have some fun and enjoy playing on this gig (which will translate into the band sounding and looking better). Or, will it be a long stressful night with you having to fake your way through every song on New Year's Eve (which is no fun, and usually not worth what you're getting paid)?

    Another thing to consider is whether or not the band can find another bass player who is more familiar with their material. If it's you or nobody, then that may take some pressure away from your responsibility.

    If you accept the gig, have some fun, and good luck! :bassist:
  6. I definitely would. You can recognise the songs right? Learn what you can, and pay attention to the guitarist when needed. It's a good experience in song cramming, and the occasional improv due to the lack of preparation. Sounds like fun to me.
  7. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Yeah, I'd do the gig. But, it depends on the experience and comfort level you have.

    If it's songs I have heard before and know well, it will take me less time to learn how to play them, since I'm familiar with them in some way (melody, tempo, feel, structure,etc.). If I've never heard em before, I'd at least want to get a recording to listen to and practice to before the gig. If none of the above is available, then I'd be a little concerned. But, I'd still do the gig.

    Get a list of the songs from the band leader with the key the song is in. That way if the band transposes it 3 steps down to accomodate the singer, it won't surprise you after learning the tune in the "right" key. If the band has any charts, that would help too.

    I imagine that you'd get in at least one rehearsal with the band prior to the gig, so get your homework done prior to that and iron out the stuff you can't figure out on your own then. But, iron out as much stuff as you can.

    Lastly, take notes! Write out chord changes changes, tempos, feels, structures, anything that you think you might stumble on at the gig. Put your notes near your setlist, and you'll be golden. Just take a quick look right before the song.

    Good luck
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Jive speaks the gospel. It depends on your personal comfort level.

    I personally LOVE to take fill-in gigs and fly by the seat of my pants, but I have good confidence in my ear and pick up tunes very quickly. The current band I'm in, I had ONE DAY to learn three sets of cover material - I showed up for a Friday gig, took notes and recorded the show, then crammed all day Saturday, and performed Saturday night, cheat sheets and all. Incredible rush for me. I love that stuff, but if that kind of pressure isn't for you, then there's no shame in avoiding the gig.
  9. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004

    get the bands set list and a CD. I bet you can find over 90% of these songs on , and/or and do a bit of pratcicing

    "Power listen" to the CD a few times a week. (By that I mean pretend you are playing, recall what chord comes next).
  10. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I have and I would.

    I got the same advice as the other posters have given in this thread when I was faced with this challenge earlier this year.

    Along with the "fake book" (or "performance notes" as I like to call them), I had a CD of the tunes compiled that I played constantly for the two weeks leading up to the gig. I also got together with the guitar player in the band to go over any arrangement weirdness that they might have planned - and thank god for that....

    All in all, the gigs went quite well (two nights), the band was happy, I made a ton of money and they hired me again.

    It was a challenge to my skills but it was worth it. :hyper:

  11. Get a list of the songs from the band leader with the key the song is in. That way if the band transposes it 3 steps down to accomodate the singer, it won't surprise you after learning the tune in the "right" key. If the band has any charts, that would help too.

    Great advice.

    Heck yeah, take the gig. You never know what doors that will open for you, and that is fun music to play.

    Decide before you go in though, how "right" you want the basslines to be. I can tell you it's not hard to figure out some basic basslines that work for some of that stuff you listed, but to do it exactly the way people will remember it is sometimes more involved than you think.

    Its one thing to take a blue gig or oldies gig because the progressions are so easy to identify or create, but some of those tunes are a little unexpected in their progression so you can't completely "wing it".
  12. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Great advice (as usual) from Jive. Definitely make sure you do this, or at the bare minimum ask the guitarist about key changes.
  13. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Great advice from others... 18 days is plenty of time to learn an evening's worth of material. I've learned 20 new songs in 2 days for a sub gig, and I know others can top that easily... you can do it if you have the motivation! You know you want to do it, right?!? :hyper:

    I hope you take the gig and have a great time! :)
  14. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I'd take it, but I have had experience doing this before. Get the song list, make sure you know if they are playing any of the songs different than the original version (such as key change, as Jive mentioned), and make any of your own notes that will help you out as you are learning them.

    FWIW, the country rock band I was in a few years back gave me 4 days to learn a nights worth of material before my first gig with them, which was a very large outdoor dance. I got it done, but it took late nights sitting in front of my computer (which doubles as my home stereo) with my bass and notebook. The end result was great though. I landed a good gig that kept me very busy and making a good deal of money and having a great deal of fun.
  15. Yeah...I'd get working on the set-list ASAP and go for it...
  16. I'd definitely play it, and echo the sentiments of just about everyone else who has posted. I mean 18 days, that's a ton of time to learn a set of material.

    Besides, it's New Years. The audience will be so hammered they won't notice if you screw up :D
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    You know what I found is wierd? I've been playing bass for about two years now, and have been in a newly-formed band, just rehearsing for most of that time (just a couple small 'test-gigs' for a while there -- now we have more than a dozen on the itinerary. OH-BOY!). We still struggle a bit with some of the first songs that we learned together - I mean harmonies, and even remembering arrangements! The thing is; it seems like every new song we learn is just BANG! I mean we nail'em in just a few times through (of course we've all at least bassically learned the riffs and patterns and progressions already on our own before practice) - harmonies and all!

    This 'new songs come together fast' thing has happened so many times in the last couple months, that I feel like we could scrap the whole list, and make a new show in a month or two! Ya see, for a long time we stuck with ONE cast-in-stone 30-song list, and said "we're not learning another one until we have THESE dicked!". Now I think that held us back! We somehow got 'stuck' on some of them or something.

    Make sense to anyone?

  18. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I'd play it if I could play the songs correctly and not hack my my through.
  19. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I was going to say something to that effect;
    "I'd do it, but I wouldn't want to have to watch it."

    some of the bands mentioned rely on signature bass lines, I would probably be kind of ticked to see a band attempt Zep and 'wing' the bass... but that's just me.
  20. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'd take the gig.

    You have'nt truly lived until you play live music for a gig that you have little to no experience with. IMO/IME It'll make or break you and you'll find out very quickly what aspects of your musicianship you might need to improve on.

    Like Jive said, try and get a copy of the songs you'll have to learn for the gig. Listen to them over and over again until you're sick of hearing them, then listen to them even more. Write out charts for the verse, bridge, chorus, etc. These will be an invaluable tool for you.

    If for some reason you can't get a copy of the material, then at least get one member of the band to write out the key and changes of the songs for you. Then you will have a rough idea of what you can play and when.