Trying to help singer build a band. Audition process is the pits.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jakelly, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    I've been working with this singer trying to help put together a band. When I came aboard about 3-4 weeks ago, the singer had a guitarist and drummer already in place. They are both gone now, and so is another guitarist. The drummer wasn't going to cut it anyway. We auditioned a guitarist a couple of days ago. He had first class equipment but couldn't play very well.

    I would love to get a few musicians I know (or know of) to try out but they are already busy for the most part. I have very little experience auditioning potential band members, but I know the "if you show up you're in" approach doesn't work. :ninja: Any suggestions?
  2. Start ups, and auditions, are the pits. All you can do is be resourceful, use every method known to man to find musicians and sell your idea, and don't give up.

    On that note, the more solid your game plan, the more interest you'll be able to sustain. A lot of musicians are wary of start-ups.
  3. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Run an ad on CL, and make sure you mention that y'all are "professionals." Don't elaborate on what it means.
  4. You need to be can take a while. Took me well over a year to get my last band in place, and it can be a very frustrating process.

    You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince
  5. Obviously the poster isn't a Pro. Don't waste everyone's time advertising as, and for, Pros.
  6. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    If your singer is good, that will help. Finding a good singer has always been the hardest for me. Except for maybe finding a good drummer...

    Do you have any recordings? If not, I recommend recording some quick jams with the two of you so people know you actually have skills. I've become pretty skeptical of posts on craigslist (and similar sites) looking for too many members without any indication of what you sound like or are capable of.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If you can't draw from a network of proven players, start-ups can take time—even more so if it's for an originals project.

    Be picky about who you say yes to.

    In the meantime, be active. Get the other bits of business together. Put together your songbook, charts, and demos. Settle on a name, secure a URL, sketch a website design. Start squirreling away ideas for the look of your web presence and gig announcements. Figure out harmonies. That way when you find the right players, you'll can be ready to go very quickly.

    If it's a covers project and your songbook is together, can you cover some gigs with players you know on a one-off basis? It'll be a lot easier to recruit decent players if you're gigging and visible.

    It can be harder for originals projects to put together gigs using freelancers (b/c for them, learning an unknown singer's originals isn't a good time investment). However, most new singer/songwriters write pretty generic song structures. If that's the case and you have the songs charted (and especially if you have them charted *and* demoed), you still might be able to bring in quality players for early one-off gigs.

    If *you* can play keys or guitar and can harmonize, consider launching the band as a two-piece. You can gig-test the songs this way, it will build your chops (and value), and it'll also make it easier to attract other players.
  8. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    You guys are great. This is some very good advice.

    No, I'm not a pro. Even Semi-pro would be a stretch. Yes, the singer is very good. Better than most around these parts. Probably the best I've worked with.

    Yes, I can play guitar and sing. My harmonies need practice, but that's doable. Starting as a two piece is a great idea, if the auditions continue as they have been. PA would only need to be minimal. A couple of powered speakers and a small mixer. I like that idea a lot. A 3-piece could do the same.
  9. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I believe that was a reference to the "professionals on CL what's-the-deal" thread. Irony detector should be on...

    To the OP, I've been in a similar situation; paired up with a singer/keys player who had lots of experience, we had a solid plan and should have just launched a band no problem. Instead, months and months went by and we just couldn't get the right combination of people in the room. Either people auditioning wouldn't be any good, or if you did get a drummer who was good he'd say "let me know when you find a guitarist," and when you found a guitarist he'd say "let me know when you find a drummer," and by then the drummer you found earlier had committed to some other project... I finally joined a different band and pulled the plug on that project.

    Sorry that's not very encouraging, but sometimes that's how it happens. My advice would be to give yourselves a time limit to try and put the rest of the band together, and be patient and keep at it for that length of time. It may come together, it may not. If not, move on with no regrets.
  11. lilcrate

    lilcrate Tortdaddy

    Sep 9, 2013
    St. Louis
    A good singer?

    Then the hard work is done from my short experience. Be patient and keep searching.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Finding a singer and a bassist is usually the hardest part, so you've got that covered already!

    Musicians are a flaky bunch and finding the right ones is difficult. Start-ups are also difficult because you've typically got nothing to show prospective members. They have to envision what it's going to sound like or be very open minded to sink a bunch of time into finding out down the road.
  13. Hit some open mic sessions as duo with charts of the simple songs. Any house bassist should be able to hang with it, ditto drums.
  14. Putting a band together is all about salesmanship. You are selling yourself and your musical plan to a prospective "buyer". As was mentioned already, a solid game plan is a must and you need to be able to communicate that plan effectively. Vague plans and ideas do not generally produce good results.

    CL and such is a crap shoot. Referrals are the way to getting the best results. Talk to other musicians. Talk to music store employees. Somebody knows somebody who knows somebody. Got any colleges nearby with any kind of music department? Email someone on staff asking for referrals if you don't know anyone personally. I can tell you from experience this is a tremendous resource and you will be amazed at the quality of players you can get "handed" to you.

    Once you actually start auditioning players don't just take whatever walks in the door. Look for the total package. Be selective. Don't forget to sell yourself to the auditionee. Players who are onboard and excited about the project don't say "Call me when you get so and so", they say "Let's find so and so".

    Good luck and ...

    YMMV, IMO, IMHO, LMFAO, etc., etc., etc....
  15. Perhaps worth considering is personal rapport. Don't under estimate the value of being liked .....or liking the other person.
  16. Just out of curiosity - originals or copies, male or female vocalist, style/genre(s), and how good and experienced are they (sample links)? Oh and do they have a PA and a place to rehearse?
  17. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    I recently used a craigslist ad for a guitarist. It was titled Established Variety Band Seeks Guitarist. In the ad it said we play casually a couple times a month. I think I had 5 or 6 replys, all but one were heavy metal, and almost all were 100% guitarist, as in, this is my only job. We found an awesome candidate, dude played in his basement 35 years. He was studio musician quality. Unforunately he suddenly had to move away.
    The next ad will read something like. "Play Guitar? Get out of your basement and onto a stage". I think theres a lot of talent out there that feels underqualified by ads.
  18. Urgh. Hate those so much. Still trying to find a project myself, not expecting to get in with an established band, but if it's an undeveloped project it would make sense you'd get a fairly fresh bassist, right? Urgh.
  19. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Not seeing what age you all are, but perhaps asking around your local college music department would be a good first step.
  20. FWIW: Glenn is/was joking (inside pet peeve joke of ours). ;)