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Warning signs...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by fralim01, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. I have a couple of auditions coming up with some local bands to be their new bass player. What are some instant warning signs I should look for to know if there is going to be trouble down the road? Everything can look good for the first couple of rehersals..that I know from experience!
  2. Just some general common sense warning signs (I've never auditioned with a band, since I've been with one band for the last four years, but here's what I'd look for):

    - When you're playing with the rest of the band and none of the players look at each other. It's especially telling if the guitarist just goes off into his own world doing a bunch of solo guitar wankery without paying attention to anyone else.

    - If they are generally rude, swear a lot, etc.

    - Drinking at the rehearsal/audition. I don't mean just one or two at the end, or maybe one beer in the middle... I mean starting to drink right away, or even before you guys start playing.

    - Drug use. Some people might be cool with it, but my experience has been that people who use drugs, even just occasional pot use, can't be relied upon and usually don't take the music seriously.

    - If they have no real rehearsal space, or if they lack reliable transportation. You don't want to be the one hauling around everyone else's gear and giving them rides all the time.

    - If they seem disorganized (eg, not giving you a set list in advance). Also, if they are late, that is a bad sign.

    - If it seems like they have crappy equipment (ie, the drums are taped together, the guitar amp looks like it's been dropped down a flight of stairs, they use Walmart brand microphones, their PA is hopelessly inadequate, etc, etc).

    - General excessive bragging, too. If they are a new band and they are already talking about how awesome they are, and getting ahead of themselves in their plans (like "yeah, man, we're gonna get a recording contract and go on a tour of the US", when no one has ever heard of them).

    Maybe I'm going a little overboard, but I've seen all of the above in various people I've encountered in my short time as a bass player.

    Good luck, though...the main thing is to enjoy what you're doing and not settling for a band that doesn't seem "right." If someone seems like they will be trouble, they most definitely will be.
  3. In my experience the most demoralising problem in a band is if the guitarist doesn't respect you as a musician. Some are ok but some have the attitude that the bass has only got four strings so it's easy.

    If he starts telling you what you should play or if you try something and he says, "what are you doing that for I want you to play it like this", or if he asks you to use a pick when you normally use fingers or vice versa, then I think you can assume that he'll always expect you to be following the root of what he's playing.

    If you're playing covers and he keeps telling you you're playing it wrong then that's also a good sign to just walk away.

    Of course this attitude may not become apparent in an audition.
  4. The band leader keeps telling you he likes your mouth! :ninja:
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    A couple of things to look for are punctuality and professionalism.

    Did the audition kick off at the time it was supposed to?

    Was every one else there set up and ready to go before you got there or did you have to wait around for one of them to show up? (Preparedness)

    Did everyone know their parts inside and out?

    Was the rehearsal focused & diciplined, while still maintaining a "laid back" atomosphere or was it more like "What should we cover or do you know this song" type of approach?

    IME when an audition started late because some people showed up late or were'nt set up and ready to play, the vast majority of the rehearsals always started late. It was usually the same person(s) that was the culprit for the subsequent times.

    I'e found when the audition wasn't focused and disciplined the result was often unproductive rehearsals. When the guys are standing around sayin stuff like "what should we do next or did you learn/know this song?" The rehearsal are often the same way. End result is very little gets acomplished.

    If everyone didnt learn their part for the audition then chances are good they're not doing that either at rehearsals. This again slows down productivity of the entire band.

    Every situation I've been in like that has resulted in a band that has not seen the stage. Its a shame because there were good players in them. The lack of focus killed them.

    None of what I said is etched in stone because there are always exceptions.
  6. AMEN!! I've had times where I spent days learning a song note for note, then had the g****r player tell me "no it goes like this" ....Of course he proceeds to play it completely different from the recording....sometimes he admitted he didn't even have a copy of the song, he was playing it the way he remembered hearing it on the radio....
  7. birdsg


    Dec 18, 2003
    Birmingham England
    +1 to that, focus is everything in my opinion.
  8. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    This I find true, except this often seems to be because no-one in the band plan for the future, as in sets goals. I've been in bands that worked well as the most junior member, which didn't gig because no-one saw opportunities or took chances arranging anything with venues. They ended up sitting in the basement, grinding the same cover set for months at a time before breakup.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone of you has ever "kickstarted" a band, as in took leading position, worked out the set list and arranged gigs all in fast pace? I think it can be done as long as the players are doing their jobs, but have never done it.

    I'm asking this, naturally, as I'm in a situation that would need bit working out - joined a new band, decent middleaged players but with very little gig experience, needs professionalism in their act, that kinda stuff I'm going thru.. :meh:
  9. #1, most often, is communication. The band should be able to communicate on and off stage. If the other members seem to ignore each others cues or don't get along well, that could be a trainwreck.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I've tried doing that in a couple of bands I was in. It didn't take to well. Everyone was in agreeance of what I was saying, but ultimately, it failed when came putting it into action. Certain people didn't want to do the work.
  11. Well, I had my first audition last night...lets see...

    "What should we cover or do you know this song"


    "When you're playing with the rest of the band and none of the players look at each other."


    "If they are generally rude, swear a lot, etc."


    "Drinking at the rehearsal/audition. I don't mean just one or two at the end, or maybe one beer in the middle... I mean starting to drink right away, or even before you guys start playing."


    "If they seem disorganized (eg, not giving you a set list in advance). Also, if they are late, that is a bad sign."


    Well..do you think I took the offer??

    Thanks for all of the help guys..I was actually funny when each of these things came up and checked them off in my head :help:
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ohhhh - That is great, Man!

    I get such a kick out of this place...

  13. Yah, I've done that with just about every band I've ever played with. I'm generally the last piece to join a band, just becasue I don't want to go through the initial crap of starting out (and I don't have jamspace). I usually lay low for the first couple months, get a couple gigs under our belts, then get tired of waiting for the current 'management' to get things going to the next level. Success is usually painful to achieve going this route as you really have to mold the other guys into being more professional.
  14. That is kind of what I'm going through right now...our band has been together for basically four years (with a couple three to four month "break periods")...just got a new drummer in June, and went through some crap with a second guitarist that didn't work out...but he got canned in August and we've been fine since.

    We are good, we have our material down, we can easily do a 3 hour gig and get good reactions from the crowds we've played for. However, we have been having trouble getting gigs lately. We've done lots of free shows, but we haven't been able to get anything that pays. Now the drummer (who has been unemployed) finally gets a new job, but it is second shift and requires him to work on Friday nights...so I don't know what to do at this point. Things are starting to come together otherwise...we have a website (below), t-shirts to sell, and a decent demo of some covers we do...all pretty much stuff I've put together and spearheaded...it just seems like we're not getting out of the "constantly practicing week after week in the guitarist's basement" stage...

    Any advice anyone can give?
  15. Yeah that sounds familiar too. When I'm auditioning for a band and they give me a list of songs to learn, I ALWAYS learn them note for note and then at the audition I nearly always find that I'm the only one who has.

    There's also nearly always someone who says "sorry but I've had no time to learn anything", and sure enough he doesn't know a thing.
  16. Sounds like you guys are on the right track, although I don't see how you could completely get out of the basement with a band member who regularly isn't available on one of the 2 biggest gig nights.

    Just get your promo material in a nice package and start soliciting venues for shows, it'll happen for you eventually if you have your stuff together and you don't suck. You just need a little motivation and elbow grease.
  17. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    These are good tips but everyone in one of my bands belittles each other, it's kind of fun but not a good first impression ;)

    I agree with the bragging as well, don't get too ahead of yourself, just do it for the music and whatever happens happens
  18. Yeah, I understand. Our band is the same way. It's one thing to joke around with each other. It's another to cuss in every sentence or swear whenever any little thing goes wrong.
  19. That is one thing I'm getting hung up on...we have a demo, but I've just been burning them onto blank CD-Rs. Should we have them professionally burned and labeled? I dunno if we can really afford that right now.

    Also, I've never really _seen_ a promo pack. What does one actually constitute? We are considering having some business cards made...would a business card and demo CD be enough, or do we need more? How should we present it. Thanks again.

  20. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    A)Typically a quick run through of who you guys are, how long you have been playing and a general sound of your band. (Where you are from doesn't matter and either does places you have played if it is to a label) Contact info of one or more members - e-mail, phone, cell.

    B)Glossy group photo of your band (not a live shot typically unless it is done professionally) to show them what you guys look like. If you have a great shot of you guys and a huge crowd that will show who you are sending it to that you can make them money, this is secondary though.

    C)Your demo of course, preferably not on a CD-R. MusiciansFriend has a decent low volume cd pressing.

    D) Goodies like buttons, stickers, maybe a Tee.

    [update] Searched the forum for this link