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Too intimidating to audition?!?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. After running cover bands the past couple years I decided to hang up the band leader boots and just be a sideman for pay. Too many headaches for too little reward in this wee little town :)

    I've been putting ads up everywhere I can think of and have been actively trying to get into bands. But for the most part I don't get past the initial emails or they check my myspace page and I never hear from them again...my myspace isn't that good either :)

    One guy said he felt intimidated by "the package" I brought because I sounded more prepared than anyone else in the band and might lose interest...this was because I:

    - Told him they weren't charging enough for gigs
    - I wanted a band willing and able to be up and running in 6 weeks (not a stretch for established cover muso's)
    - Wanted to work a few times a week.
    - Don't mind being in multiple projects, both original and covers, provided there is some coin involved (as well as fun good music etc)
    - Said I wasn't full time, wasn't in any bands atm, but sure would like to be supplementing my income from covers and intend to do so.

    He suggested I tone down my approach and then should get plenty more invites to audition ( I suspect that means don't mention the words "money" or "work" haha)
    So any advice on toning down my approach to be less intimidating, or even whether you think I should, will be appreciated while I digest this new information this weekend.

    Oh yeah and I talked myself into the audition anyway, so hopefully something will come of that.
    Rant over. Thanks :)
  2. Don't change a thing, your approach should only scare away basement bands, not bar/working bands. You don't want more auditions if those auditions are a waste of time. The goal is an audition with a real band, not just an audition.

  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're looking for something very specific. Don't be put off if bands that don't meet your requirements tell you no or don't respond. They're doing you a favor.
  4. I agree. My 5 piece has gone through 6 members over the last couple of years. When we look for new members we look for someone like you. We want someone properly equipped with motivation. So I say piss on them if they think you are intimidating, you are simply prepared.
  5. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    So you've been a bandleader. What did you expect from your sidemen?

    Regardless of the level of band, from basement to fully pro, I'll bet you wanted someone who would fit right in and go with your bandleader decisions not some smartass who would wade in an start dictating terms to you. If you were the bandleader you wouldn't be calling back anyone who was challenging you either would you.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    They're doing a favor by not wasting your time. Really. The majority of CL ads looking for players are basement and garage wankers who'll never be much more than that.

    If someone who "gets it" will see your ad you'll get an audition.
  7. ^ THIS.
    Unless of course you are willing to compromise.
  8. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001

    With all due respect, when you hung up the "leader boots" you may have missed the peg.
  9. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I see nothing wriong with this at all. I did the same when i ran an add to chase off start up projects,rockstar wanna-be's and..... guys who love to jam drink beer escape the wife and kids once a week and never leave the basement but dream to gig bands :D
  10. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Naw man.... he just wants to join a working band, rather than a half-organized group of friends jamming. He wants those things to already BE there, instead of him having to set it up. That's what he's looking for.

    And I'm sure you'll find it, too, bud. Those aren't unreasonable requests at all. Somewhere out there is a band who needs a bassist and they are looking for you right now, thinking to themselves, "maybe our expectations in bassists are too high." :D
  11. LiF


    May 11, 2008
    Melbourne, Australia
    I think the answer is that a lot of musicians are just flakey, full stop. They don't have a business-like approach. They expect to sit back and everything just happen for them.

    I arrived in Perth(from the UK) a year ago. There is a great music scene here and I'm a decent player. I have not been able to get a gig, apart from a brief period as a dep. Similar experience to you, people showing initial interest then nothing, despite never meeting face to face, let alone them hearing my playing. I have finally caved and started my own covers band, that was an ordeal in itself and it has taken 3 months to get people reliable enough to bother turning up for rehearsals. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, don't worry, it's not you, it's them.

    BTW, when I'm ready to go for gigs, can I PM you and get some advice, being as I am new to the city and have no contacts?
  12. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I think that you and me are the only ones that get this.

    Everybody else seems to have assumed that the OP's comments must mean that the bands he's talking about are flaky basement bands who will never get their act together.

    I read it as if he wanted to join an established covers band as a sideman. I've been a bandleader in originals and covers bands, not wannabee bands either, ones that've had a regular string of well paid gigs (mostly Friday and Saturday nights). Like the OP from time to time I've become tired of running around doing all the organisation and joined other well organised gigging bands as a sideman.

    When I'm playing as a sideman I'm very well aware that the existing bands I've joined have already got things just the way they want them. They charge what the market will bear, they gig as frequently as they want to and do so in a well organised way where everyone shows up on time and takes a well drilled approach to setting up. Where everyone is committed enough to learn their parts to a high standard and put on a well rehearsed tight show. But I also realise that when I play as a sideman I'm the one that fits in with the band, not the one that dictates what they'll charge and how often they'll play.

    Frankly, as a bandleader, I've never auditioned a bass player of course but I had a very similar situation when trying to replace a lead singer. We had one guy who swanned in and, before we'd even heard him, started laying down terms. He was good, but the guy that got the gig was the guy who was, by the merest whisker, not quite such an accomplished vocalist but also came without the giant ego
  13. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Sounds like you just need to keep looking for the right fit. If you're not comfortable with their approach to the enterprise, then pass.

    Having been in bands where there was a clearly defined leader and bands where it was decidedly committee rule, I prefer the organized approach, but I don't want to be the guy who does the organizing.
    I'm the guy who practices all of the suggested songs from last practice only to find that everyone else forgot that they were even mentioned, I bring tools to gigs, and spare cords, picks, strings, flashlight, etc... but in joining someone else's band, I don't think it's my place to tell them how to run the band.
    I WILL offer suggestions if asked, however.
  14. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Saying, "I want to stroke an oar but only if you steer the boat the way I want." is a hard sell in any navy.

    It's all how you frame the conversation
    "You work too cheap" = bad
    "I can get you more money"= good

    "You don't have enough gigs" =bad
    "I'll turn you onto some solid booking contacts" =good
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    I suggest you put your requirements in the ads that you place, that way you'll only get calls from bands that meet your expectations.

    This way you won't waste anyone's time explaining what you want out of a band.

    IMO, you may never get any calls because most cover bands aren't run the way you want them to be run.

    Good luck.
  16. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    I think you need to do less talking and more listening. There is more than one right way to do a lot of things and maybe you'll find a band that works but doesn't do things the way you would have thought at first.
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    DC -

    I think you're going about this the right way. So what if you're being a bit blunt? A band of kindred spirits will appreciate your candor and your businesslike directness, and will not be put off.

    Consider that you're in effect employing a "wannabee filter", i.e. automatically weeding out all the dabblers and wasters. That's a good thing.

    I look at it this way: While a prospective new band may be auditioning you, you should also be auditioning them. It's not a one-way street.

    I don't know Perth, having never traveled to Aussieland. But it's just possible that you have outgrown it. Maybe time to consider relocating to Sydney or Melbourne?

  18. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    With the exception of the first point - I wouldn't tell a band I wasn't a part of that they're not charging enough - I don't see any problems with your requirements as long as you aren't communicating them in an arrogant manner.

    I think there is a perfect balance. Sometimes, you want to have stipulations to weed out the wannabes, as others have said. You may want to make sure that you're not getting in with a bunch of druggies. Likewise, they may be a good band, but only want to gig once a month. You'd both be wasting each other's time by not getting that up front. On the other hand, you can sometimes narrow yourself too much. I've seen ads that were so narrowly defined, the chance of that person finding his or her ideal gig was a chance of 1 in 100,000. Similarly, I've read ads where the person wrote a pretentious diatribe, and that really turns me off. For example, here's an ad on my local music scene board: http://rockpage.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=24170&highlight= I wouldn't play with that cat based on his ad if I were literally starving for a gig.
  19. I think you may have come on a tad strong. If I was still part of a band (currently I'm a "free agent", I guess) and someone told me all of those things right away, before even auditioning, I'd probably get the sense they were trying to take over the band. Sometimes it's best to meet in person first and get a better sense if you will even fit in.
  20. A lot of great perspectives in here thanks.

    I just want to work in a cover band that doesn't undercut the market and makes it worth my while showing up to rehearsals and gigs, both musically and financially.

    I didn't say how things should be in his band or lay down any terms as such. I did say upfront I wanted to be a sideman and set boundaries which I've learned is valuable to do in this game...and as we chatted about his band, I shared my experiences when running a cover band, asking why it should take months to get ready and why the money was low (undercutting) etc. I was just upfront about my needs and surprised at the lead time and gig charge until I clarified the target market.

    If I'd have waded in and demanded terms much like many of the people who joined my cover bands have done to me time and again (and got their way only to quit anyway at the slightest bump in the road /rant lol), I'd agree with the 2 who "get it". ;)

    And LiF yes you can PM me.

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