Would you treat this as a red flag?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Silas Martinez, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    So, a couple of weeks ago, I got a response to an ad I had out. Initial email asked if I was still available, and the follow up basically was a repeat of the first, with mention of bands they cover. Bands sounded interesting, and it seemed like the kind of gig that would work for me, so I asked for more info.

    A week passes, and they finally get back to me, saying they'd like to have me come down for an audition, and if I'm available, they'll send me an audition list and an address. This was Friday. I sent a response saying I'm interested, and to send me the list.

    They want to audition on Saturday (a week later, essentially). I was hoping for taht week to get the audition material down - maybe I over-prepare, but it gives me more confidence. Still no response back from them, though, with the audition list. At what point would you decide the guys are flakes and/or too busy, and that this is shades of things to come - and that ultimately, the gig probably isn't worth it.

    My concern isn't in learning the material. My concern is centered around a lack of attention to detail, of failing to be timely in communication. I also don't think its unrealistic to hope for a week or so to nail 5-10 songs of which they'll be randomly picking a few to audition on.

    Maybe because I'm expected to be prompt and thorough in my email communication at work, I have that as a kind of expectation. It seems like common courtesy, to me, though - a week between emails seems a little lengthy to me. I check my email periodically throughout the day, and almost always respond within a day or so. Am I being unrealistic?
  2. Toshiro


    Jul 21, 2004
    "Am I being unrealistic?"

    Nope, not at all. I'd have the same expectation of timely communication.
  3. He** yeah, sounds like LOTS of red flags down on the play...if they can't get stuff done on time and such when setting up an audition, are they going to be any better when setting up practice/rehersals, let alone getting to gigs on time???
  4. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    i would call those flags a nice burgundy. they are in the deep red category.
  5. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    I also like to prepare in advance for an audition or first meeting with an established group.

    I've worked with 2 groups (at different times) that did not provide a set list or audition pieces. We would play songs we both knew or they would show me the basic chordss of some stuff they were working on. I ended up playing with both groups for awhile but they proved to be unfocused with high turnover in group members - no big surprise.

    I worked with one group that provided a 45 song list. These guys were very focused but very inflexible. They wanted to play these 45 songs - no more no less. And they were not very good. I only stuck with these guys for a few weeks.

    I'm now playing with a group comprised of former members of these groups.

    So I'm not sure which is better - i think it's best to go out and play with people and make contacts. Even if this doesn't work out it may lead to something that does.
  6. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Thanks, folks. My wife thinks I'm being too negative, or not patient enough - but she admits that she doesn't know a lot of other musicians, and doesn't really understand my expectations. Her thinking was that ... with the holidays and all, some extra time is kind of to be expected. I would agree, within reason, but find the utter lack of any communication to be telling. (My gut feeling is simply that my wife just really wants me to get out and find another band to play with - she is the kind that would rather have me out and playing and happy.....)
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    IME good playing doesn't always go hand in hand with good business etiquette.

    If they can get it together, the tryout might still be worth a shot. If it feels good, maybe you can take over communication duties. And if it's lame... well then you can take your sweet time getting back to them.
  8. Fly Guitars

    Fly Guitars

    Dec 29, 2008
    I'd say you need to meet these people. There could be a million very good reasons for slow communication.

    A week doesn't sound that slow to me either, especially if the band needs to communicate amongst itself beforehand.
  9. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I always get a phone number right away if I'm interested in auditioning for a group. Though you check your email regularly throughout the day and always respond right away, not everybody does. I barely check my email twice a week. If I were talking to a musician I wanted to work with I would probably check it more often, but maybe they don't.

    You talked to him on friday, it's only monday. Give it a day or two. They may be flakes and may not be worth your time, but maybe he just screwed up. Don't throw this opportunity out the window yet.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I'd call it "strike one". It's not time to slam the door yet IMO. But if strikes two and three roll around...

    Also I agree about getting a phone #, as some people are just not email savvy.
  11. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Deja vu all over again. This is almost exactly like a band I once auditioned for. Not enough communication. When I was working on their songs for the audition, I needed to know what key they did a song in, so I emailed, called, never got a response.

    I did audition with them, but it seemed like I wasn't really in favor. They said don't count myself out, but they had other bassists to audition. Fine.

    Three weeks later I get a call from the guitarist asking me if I had been working on their songs (obviously they didn't have a bassist yet). He made it sound like we had just talked 2 days ago, but in fact it had been 22 days since my audition, and this was his first communication since then. He said he emailed me a song list, but I never got it. I told him no, I hadn't been working on their songs, that it had been 3 weeks since my audition with them and nary a word until now, that I had moved on, joined another band.

    Probably a good thing.
  12. atheos


    Sep 28, 2008
    Tampere, Finland
    There are lots of people who are not into email and they may check it every two weeks or so. That's where the telephone comes in, if the guys can't be reached even by phone then it's a red. But not being active with email doesn't mean that one wouldn't get other things done efficiently. I wouldn't worry about email, I understand that not everyone is Internet addict like me.
  13. are you being unrealistic?


    do you know the persons circumstances? they may not have access to the net or only limited access. i have a full time job and an email address at work. just because i have the email address doesnt mean i sit in front of a computer all day and refresh my inbox every 10 minutes.

    emails are not instant messengers. people expect an email reply almost instantly, i personally dont think a week is too long for a response as long as it is a useful response. but then i also wouldnt want to wait much more than week for the response for a list of material to learn.
  14. svenbass


    Dec 12, 2002
    Meh, I can be just as guilty as the next guy sometimes, so I tend to be pretty tolerant of slow internet communication.

    I also think that e-mail is a very easy form of conversation to blow off / forget / misplace, or delete compared to a phone message. E-junk and whatnot can just fall through the cracks pretty easily these days, so I try to get a phone conversation happening asap as one can get a much, much, better sense of how another operates.
  15. Skarekrough


    Aug 7, 2006
    I remember answering an ad in the early 90's for a bass player and meeting with the guy for all of fifteen minutes. Didn't hear from him for a week when I met him outside of my dorm (I was in college at the time) and he drove by and handed me an envelope with six tapes in it and said "Here....learn this."

    A month and a half goes by and i don't hear from the guy. Then I get a call out of the blue telling me we have a gig next week.

    I spent the next five months playing out more than I'd ever had and learning more than I thought I could. It was a total education in every aspect of playing out. I finally called it quits as I didn't have the time to devote to it anymore.

  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    + 1.

    I don't think any judgements should be passed before you meet and play with the people. One of the groups I currently play in took weeks between correspondence and I just assumed they either changed their mind about me, or were flakes. Turns out they were auditioning guitarists and saving me the headaches. Also turned out to be awesome, completely reliable and professional people.

    There are countless reasons a band might not be getting back to you immediately, most already mentioned. Most probable reason however is that they're dealing with more bassists than just you, and if you've ever been on the other side of the audition process it can be a bit of a hassle.

    I've learned to not have any expectations and let the people I'm auditioning for run the game. I think it might be a good idea to practice letting it go until you meet everyone and you all see whether it's worth a shot or not. I also set my limitations as to what I can learn and in how long. I'm willing to put 4-8 hours a day into learning something if necessary. For me a day per song (original material I've never heard before) is what I'm comfortable with, but I'd learn a set in a day if the gig was worth it.

    Last note - I've had people contact me for gigs months after auditioning or swapping info. I wouldn't read into anything. If it's going to happen it will, if not it ain't meant to be and there's something better out there for ya. I really believe that too. :)
  17. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    +1 Wife is correct. People get busy this time of year. Give it til at least 1/2/09.
    It's funny how people who do a lot of computer time think everybody else does too. I run into this all the time.
    Patience, brother. :p
  18. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    The follow ups were spot on. Guy called me last night, after he'd talked with the rest of the band and confirmed the rehearsal. Two guitars, lead singer, drums, percussion, and keys. Its a go for saturday. I guess a 6-7-piece can take a while to get full confirmation. They only rehearse every couple of weeks, play out (once everyone is up to speed) 1-2 times a month, perhaps a little more if things go really well. Rehearsals had been put on hold due to holiday schedules, as well. The only part that has me a little nervous now is the lack of song list, but during our conversation, he mentioned a couple of songs, with the caveat that I wasn't to spend too much time getting them note perfect, because they did a bit of 're-interpretation', and that as long as I was aware of the chord changes and basic flow, I should be fine - and that they also wanted to mix in some originals, and see how I did with chord sheet and the band around me.
  19. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    A minor follow up.. For the audition, he wants me to learn about an hour's worth of material, some 11 covers, a couple of originals... The plan is to play it like a set, or as close as possible.

    With a break, and then an 'open jam' after that.

    Seems a little ..... lengthy .... for an audition. He said, figure on about 3 hours. In Sacto, I did several 'come in, play a few songs, talk, and move on' auditions - thats also the sort I've done when I was 'running things' (with the caveat that if it went really well, I'd offer to have them stick around, if I didn't have another scheduled after). The couple of auditions I've done here in Denver, its been 'come to one of our practices, and see what you can do, the whole time'.
  20. Three hours is way too long for an audition. I think the ideal length is about an hour. Play 5 songs or so, and then have a discussion about goals, time commitments, etc... to see if it is a good fit besides just playing.
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