Vocalist Audition Idea: Rockband?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by FunkMetalBass, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    We're in the process of auditioning vocalists, and our current technique is to send them some vocal-free tracks, give them a week, and see what they come up with. It's a great way to see the general lyric/melody-writing style of the vocalist, but it can't be the be-all/end-all of the audition. We need to really test his/her vocal ability, and the best thing I've come up with is cover tunes.

    Now, everybody has different ranges, styles, etc, so to it'd be beneficial if the vocalist could pick a song that really showcases his/her ability. On my way to lunch today, I considered using Rockband (the video game where you play plastic instruments, to those who aren't familiar) as a tool for having the vocalist pick out his/her song and really letting loose.

    Has anybody ever tried this or something similar with decent results? Does it sound like a good idea? I'd love to hear constructive criticisms as I've never had to audition a vocalist before.

  2. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Go for it!

    Random Person (to vocalist): So, how did you end up in the band?
    Your Vocalist: I beat them all at Rockband, four times in a row!
  3. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Finally a good use for Rockband.

    That's a great idea. Make sure you tell us how it goes.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Haha, that`s an interesting idea!

    I can see the situation(like all others) having pros and cons though:

    Pros -
    Laid back and should make the singer relax and showcase his instrument well
    Gives him a chance to choose from a pool of very well known and popular songs
    The rest of the band doesn`t need to learn any songs if they don`t want to
    At the end he gets a grade =P

    Cons -
    Listen to him close! He might be hitting the notes but how`s his tone and timbre
    He gets a bit of a cheat sheet since the game shows you a form of 'relative' pitch to the notes given that you have to sing
    You don`t get to feel him out with the band. Maybe he can sing well, but can he feel the band and learn to follow/lead them as well
    He has to sing the song note for note. This allows little room for interpretation or improve that could spice the song up

    Just a few ideas that came to mind pretty quickly. I think it would be a great way to see if someone at least doesn`t suck fairly quickly, but I`m not sure how well it will work over all. Like I said, there`s pros and cons with this, as there are with all other forms of auditions. In my mind, it can`t hurt to give it a try!

    ** One more thing - he better be singing on expert! I sing most songs on expert myself(a few on hard that are out of my range) and I`ll average around 87-92%. My point being is this though - I`m not a good singer! Like I said in the cons, you`ll definantly need to listen to HIS voice. Luckily the game allows you to turn down the in game vocals so that should help.
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Right, which is why it would be a secondary part of the audition process, the first of which is to have him/her try to write something to one of our songs and present it to us. It'll give us a clue of his/her writing, timbre, and abilities in a live band with no cheat sheet.
  6. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    Why not learn a hand full of covers to play for auditions and let the siner pick 2 of 5? or something like that
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Valid point, but I figured:

    Why waste my time learning covers and potentially have the singer not feel comfortable with them? We have to judge the vocalist on his/her ability to get completely lost and comfortable in a song, and what better way to do that than to have that person pick from a large catalog of music that he/she really enjoys?

    Plus, we're auditioning tomorrow - no time for covers. haha

    Thanks for the negative-ish input. I like countering opinions - they spark creative and progressive thought.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Keep us updated. This may become the new way to audition singers, haha.
  9. neatobassman


    Jul 16, 2005
    Antelope CA
    Please video tape it and post it on youtube.
  10. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Lol. I probably wont go that far, but I'll definitely let you guys know how it works out. I'm very optimistic that it will have positive results.
  11. Brass Brawls

    Brass Brawls

    May 6, 2009
    love the forward thinking but I don't like the idea, unless you were in a coverband......maybe
    but as an original band I don't. you need to know what kind of melodies your singer is capable of writing, and i don't like a singer trying to sound like someone else.

    My singer was on a video game covering another bands song and he is imo a truly amazing singer, it just didn't do him justice.
  12. totallybacan


    Mar 30, 2009
    Sadly, Rock Band is not a good method. Why? As mentioned, the "cheat sheet". A good solution though would be to have them turn around and have the lyrics on paper or such. This way they still have to work on the song themselves and they won't have a visual indicator of their performance, only an aural one.

    But the second problem with Rock Band is the phonetic recognition. In an interview with one of the designers, they state that on hard an expert there is a system that makes sure you actually say the words and not just hum the pitch. Good right? Well, it can mess up of you are trying to sound like the singer of X band OR if you are trying to make it your own style. This could potentially pass a failure or fail a completely talented person.
  13. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    I don't play the game (tried it once) but I do have a suggestion. Turn the video off while they sing. No one needs it. You are auditioning a singer and not a game player...the music track is simply an easy way to allow them to showcase their voice on a song that your band doesn't know.
  14. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I see your point. My only argument is that it would be in addition to the audition process, which currently consists of having the auditionee write lyrics and a melody to an instrumental version of one of our songs (their choice of 5).

    I should have been specific about our grading. We aren't using the rockband scores to judge the person auditioning. In fact, we'd have it set to "easy" to insure that any remotely qualified vocalist can make it through the song. It'd be used merely as a "loosen up and go balls out (excuse the vernacular) on some song you know and can have fun with" type of tool. The scoring on Rockband is hardly sufficient for anything except drunken bragging rights.

    My previous response works here as well. We really aren't interested in the singer's ability on rockband. It's just a method to save us time from learning covers, have the *edited* correct lyrics easily at hand, and as an ice-breaker. I'd hate to turn down the perfect singer because he/she felt intimidated and nervous during practice. It's like test taking, in my opinion - some people are just better at it than others, but I've never seen it fair to base all judgement off of that singular test.

    I might have to take the suggestion of turning off the video while it's going on. The only reason I can think of to keep the video on is to give the impression that we're just playing and having fun, and not grading.

    Great thoughts, guys. I think, personally, I'm seeing more pro's in this situation than I am seeing drawbacks, so I'm pretty sure we're going to go through with it. We wont, however, be telling the vocalist that we're judging off of this at all, we'll just call it a "fun warmup" or something to eliminate tension. =)

    TB, you guys rock.
  15. this is a really neat idea and probably a lot of fun. I guess what my issue with this might be, as a bass player who sings, is that rock band is nothing like playing and singing with a real band. you aren't going to get the same energy or tone for that matter. I don't push nearly as hard or sing nearly as well as i am through the p.a. and feeling the music. I think that you might be doing a disservice to the singer and possibly to the band by getting the wrong person. Unfortunately i just don't think that rock band would be an authentic experience.

    in the end you might be best to have the singer pick two cover tunes that show off the talent, have the band learn them or use charts, you only have to make it through the tune, it doesn't need to be perfect. Who knows maybe you'll learn a cool new lick or be inspired by something you hadn't thought of.
  16. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I don't like it. Our singer's girlfriend has a very good karaoke voice, she can really impress. But she sang with us twice and it was really, really awful. And to me, RockBand sounds like it's basically karaoke.
  17. Mr 600

    Mr 600

    Jun 11, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I think it sounds like a fun way to break the ice and have a good time. Turn down the vocal track to hear the auditionee's voice a little better, and play the game through a stereo, at a high volume. Can't wait to hear how it works out...
  18. cheamo


    May 19, 2009
    Saskatoon, SK
    I just have to say that Rockband is by no means the only game that you could do this with. *cough singstar* *cough loads of other karaoke*. Your offending those other companies that didn't market as well. :eek:

    Definitely an interesting idea. Certainly necessary to keep an open mind and ear aside from how well the game judges a singer though.
  19. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Inactive

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    any news on this?
  20. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I'm curious as well.

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