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The art of saying no

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by dirk, Sep 20, 2000.

  1. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    Hey guys, as a new bassist I'm having a slight problem. Bassists are in demand around here and I've played out a couple of times for Church Youth events. Since I've played out on these two one shot deal gigs I've had a lot of other offers. I'm new to being a gigging musician, and I don't know what the right questions to ask are. I know to ask what type of music, obviously, and other basic stuff. What I need to know is the art of saying no. What do you ask to determine whether the gig is going to be good for you and your career. I don't want to get a reputation for not sticking with a band. Let me hear some input on how you determine what gig you want.

  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    There really are no set rules for this IMO.
    Just don't commit yourself too soon. Hang out with the guys and see if you like their personalities and their music. Try to decide for yourself if this is the band you want to be in. But there aren't any guarantees! A band can be perfect from the outside and still be the wrong one for you. Just try to be a mensch and a good musician - and people will respect you and will want you in their band. Just go for it. I think it's too early to worry that much about it. Hits and misses - it happens to the best of us, too.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I think I'd want to find out somehow how experienced the musicians are. That sounds odd, but, believe me, if they are rank amateurs and you are a lot better than they are, you might find yourself in an awkward position of playing with some folks who are wasting your time. However, in contrast, if they are a lot more experienced than you are, you may be in an awkward situation of being intimidated and feeling inadequate.

    One way to determine how serious they are is to find out a little of their group's history. How long have they been together, how many gigs have they played, why did the LAST bassplayer leave, what is their long range plan...touring, casual gigs, a regular "houseband" gig or what?

    Get the ones who invite you to tell them as much about their band as possible, listen carefully for cues that they know what they are doing or that they have only a vague notion of what they want to achieve. Run in the opposite direction, if they can't be specific about their objectives, especially in terms of music.

    Jason Oldsted
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Well, the fact that you're uncomfortable is a good sign. All too often, bands have this "pie in the sky" communal attitude when looking for new members. You, on the other hand, are the new guy trying to do what's best for you, and trying to fit in. All of this takes a little time, so you shouldn't feel embarassed about asking a few things up front. You should go into a band situation by knowing what it is you want to accomplish, and let them know what you expect from them. And, absolutely, check their credentials to make sure they are what you want (they don't have to be masters, but they should fit what you want to do). Most of the answers they give you should help you decide - but remember that you have to decide what you want first. Are they looking for a clone of the guy that just left, or do they want to hear what you can do? Are they willing to accept creative input, or are you just there to play parts? Do they want to socialize, or is it strictly business?
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Tommy Tedesco, the most recorded guitarist in history, used to look for three things in a gig(in no particular order):

    1: Money

    2: Fun

    3: Good connetions for the future.

    If a gig or a recordidng date didn't offer at least two of the above, he'd turn the gig down. I think it's a great way to decide if a gig's worth it or not.

    Will C.:cool:
  6. Will's quote of Tommy T's is right on. Good way to look at potential gigs.

    And will, about your quote:

    "Will C.

    Omnirings are for newbies."

    I only got one thing to say: PBBBBBBBTTTTTT!!!! :p :D
    (as I hide my Omniring....)

  7. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Here's a clear telltale: steer clear of anyone who acts like they're doing YOU a favor by offering you the gig. Chances are, they're full of baloney about their band, how good they are, their prospects, etc. And even if they're not, it wouldn't be any fun playing with butthead like that anyhow.
    Winfred likes this.
  8. Excellent points Ed.
  9. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    If we're talking about actually JOINING a band (as opposed to accepting one or two gigs), then I would say the easiest way to get all of the above-mentioned questions answered is to PLAY WITH THE GROUP in an audition situation. Go to their next rehearsal. See how they play. See how they treat you, musically and personally. Play at least an hour with them, and you'll know whether you and they are a good fit.

    If you ever "join" a band without doing this, you'll have to "quit" if you find out it's not what you want to do. The way to avoid that, and that "quitter" reputation you don't want, is not to "join" until you know what you're getting into.
  10. NiKo


    May 2, 2000

    You can learn the art of saying no only trying
    and trying over again perhaps someone will tell
    you a ****. But I'm sure is better to get a ****
    than playing in a band that doesn't play the music you like to play. Anyway if they tell you a ****
    and don't understand you like not the music
    they are not a good choise at all whenever you'd
    like the music.
    This is only my opinion but is better to say no
    than having not fun while playing.
    Stay heavy!!! NiKo Raven
  11. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    just try saying no see if you like it maybe saying no is right for you
  12. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Yes, figure this out first.

    Do you want to join a band? Or do you just want to be a sideman on call for several bands? Do you want to play in an original project or a cover band? What kind of gigs do you want to play? i.e. bars/nightclubs, private parties/weddings or corporate events, theme parks, fairs/festivals, etc. Do you want to make money? How much? Do you want to rehearse? How often? What kind of music do you want to play? What kind of people do you want to work with? How often do you want to work? How far will you travel? Realize that all these conditions can and will change over the course of your career.

    Consider all this and more when "shopping" for outlets for your musical talent. I've turned down gigs and offers to join bands because they played too often or not enough, or in places I didn't want to work, or payed to little, or the gigs were too far away, or the musicians were no fun, etc. At first I wasn't as choosy, couldn't afford to be. I needed to network, hone my craft, gain experience and connections. Now I'm more picky.

    Sure, you might take some gigs that you wish you wouldn't have. Just be a pro and do the job. You'll make some mistakes along the way. It's called "paying your dues". It helps you learn, grow, challenge yourself, gain experience, and fine tune what you want your music career to be.

    Best of luck to you. I wish you all the best.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Mark Plays Bass likes this.
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    For bands:
    • Do you have clips I can listen to?
    • How often do you aim to gig?
    • What venues do you play?
    • How frequently do you intend to rehearse?
    • What's the organization and decision-making (is this band-of-equals, band-leader + contract players, singer-songwriter + sidemen, etc)?
    • What other bands have the musicians been in? what other bands do they gig in now?
    • Goals for the next 12 months (aiming for particular bookings, touring, writing, recording, agency work, etc)?
    For one-shots:
    • Pay?
    • Hours (from load-in to end of last set)?
    • Songlist
    • Event, date, and venue?
    • Rehearsals (where, when, terms)?
    • Any other players I know on the gig?
    I don't recommend being inflexible about asking all of the questions, as some folks will give a clear vibe of *not* wanting you to be too businesslike about the gig. In any event, once you figure out who's involved, check around a bit to get a sense of their rep. Good players? Easy to work with? Reliable?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  14. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    If you are brand new, try out as many different scenarios as you can reasonably handle. Focus on upping your skill level first, then you can shape your career. The two biggest things to remember are to always try to play with people who are as experienced as possible, and be upfront about your commitment and skill level. Your first couple of bands can feel like there is a lot of pressure to decide and commit. Just remind yourself that there are a billion musicians in the world and twice as many bands.
  15. I wasted too much of my life on this zombie thread.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  16. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    So, now that you have 14 years of experience, how did this turn out?
    PurpleDrank and FatBoutedGirls like this.
  17. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Oh snap! I didn't notice this was a zombie thread. Oh well, maybe someone new will find it useful. :)

    My thanks to Mr. chuck norriss for bringing this thread to our attention. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Nice: 14 yrs before resurrection. TB started in what, 1998? Does this set a new TB zombification record?
  19. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Since it's been zombified and it's in bass humor:

    The best way to get better at saying no is to ask a lot of very hot girls out - way out of your league. You'll be rejected in many different ways, and then you can figure out which of those rejection methods you can reuse on bands. Of course some of the girls won't reject you, so you'll have to deal with that too.
  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If you have trouble saying no, I just hope you are not a girl or things are going to be rough for you in the music biz.

    Seriously though, as mentioned above, fun, money, future contacts? If not at least two of these, the answer is no.

    Good luck and don't let some slick talk you our of your 2 out of 3 requirements for accepting jobs. There's a lot of selfish people in music and there are plenty who will not give two poopiees about you other than what you can do to advance their standing, bank account, ego, etc., so fine tune your BS detector.

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