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Oy, why can't I get away from losers and posers?


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Tuesday night I go to an audition as a bassist. One band member is out of the country, due back next week.


The band consists of a drummer who somewhat resembles "Animal" from the Muppet show, an older guy on keys, one powerful and talented female lead vocal, and another very talented backup female vocal/guitar.


I'm told to expect the kinds of songs I'm into, according to what they saw on my ad.


I show up and after the first few songs it seems inticing. My gut feeling is that this is just no good, in spite of the tremendous talent of the members.


Then they jump into radio top 20 mode, testing me on my knowledge teeny pop radio songs from the likes of Pink, Britney Spears, Shania Twain, Michael Jackson, Rap, Celine Dion, Jewel, Amanda Marshall, Melissa Etheridge, Norah Jones, and even some 70s disco.


Yesterday they give me two CDs of material to memorize for tonight's rehearsal.


My gut feeling is this is definitely NOT where I want to go. Some of the songs make me cringe severely, especially the Rap, and songs from Britney, Pink and Celine.


But my gut feeling is vague sometimes and I still like to give the benefit of the doubt.


Besides, I DO like the songs from Jewel, Amanda Marshall, Melissa Etheridge and Norah Jones. But the rest of it makes me want to puke. Shania is just a puppet nowadays. And that girl, Pink? Man she is psycho or something!! Who did she sleep with to get her record deal? Listen to some of her lyrics!


So I leave work and show up at 5 for the 6:30 rehearsal, at one of the member's house which is set up in the basement for loudness, just like I was asked to.


I wait in a local greasy spoon, munch on a coffee until 6, then drive the mile to their house. The lights are dark and it's obvious that nobody is home. It snowed today and the only vehicle (a cube van) in the driveway has no tire tracks leading up to it, so it's been there at least since morning. But it was like that before, then 15 minutes before the time to start, the lights come on and people show up.


I wait, engine idling, amp and bass in the car with me since morning. 6:30 comes and goes, not a sign of any of the members.


Wait until 7 pm, then until just 1 minute past 7.


No sign? I'm outta here! Leaving 19 year old 4 barrel 8 cylinder engines idling in the winter cold, just for my benefit, isn't economical.


Man, you know......since my work in the last band has finished up and they found their permanent local bassist, it's been all like this. Bunch of freaks and idiots!!! At this point I'm thinking of just up and selling my bass and amp, forget all about music forever, maybe take up Turkey farming or frying chocolate covered snowballs, just something!


I can't stand yo-yos who just yank your chain and f%$k around!


I get home, try calling the guy. No answer. I'll call him tomorrow, tell him how I feel about his band.



Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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REALITY CHECK: Musicians are flakes, man. Let's be quite honest here - no matter how well we might play, most of us just SUCK. Isn't that right, guys? Wouldn't the musical experience be so much better if the majority of us weren't dopes and posers and ego-trippers and UNRELIABLE DUMBASSES?


If you want reliability and consistency in your partners, you'd better find another line of work.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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yeah, see how many people respond to my ads, when i say things like "no drugs, please."


not a peep. it's funny, the last band i was in did a lot of drugs (myself excluded), and they still managed to be professionals about it -- show up on time, play when and what you're supposed to, and leave. thank the club for the gig and wish them well. it's not hard, but some people think bars and clubs owe them the gig.


talk about a way to introduce tension to a band, though. three of the four other guys smoked pot every day, and the fourth was borderline alcoholic. i didn't have to say anything. eventually i was ostracized for having an attitude. woo!



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Dude... I feel your pain.


This is why I'm a dictatorial asshole about this stuff with my band.


We all have cell phones. We have a "phone chain" when it comes to rehearsal reminders and cancellations. You just call the next guy in the chain if there's something to pass along. This saves one guys from making all the calls.


We have an agreement about "extracurricular" activities at shows -- no drugs or drinking before the set, and nothing afterwards until we're sure that we (and the gear) are in a safe place. Now, our drummer will pull a beer before we play sometimes, but he never has more than one. He already knows that more than this will screw with his playing.


Also... when we're in public, everyone is a nice guy/lady as far as we're concerned -- this means we don't talk shit about other bands, club management or anyone in public. Privately, we might rank someone to the dogs and back, but nobody ever hears this stuff in public.


We always behave politely and thank booking agents and bartenders after shows.


It's the pro way to do things.


I've dealt with people who don't/won't do these things. They either learn how to act or wind up playing with another band. I can't have that bullshit in my world.



"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Read "The Real Frank Zappa Book" about the time he nearly got kicked out of HIS OWN BAND for refusing to drop acid with the Mothers - basically, his EMPLOYEES!

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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This happens to everyone, not just bassists of course...I always give them the benefit of the doubt, and never call. If they call, apologize, and let me in on why I was left out in the cold, and its a good reason (never got one yet...) then i'll go back.


Of course, I've never needed to go back....

Check out my work in progress.
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Originally posted by CMDN:

this means we don't talk shit about other bands, club management or anyone in public.

we always had a saying: ITV -- "in the van".


everything was kept private. any complaints, gripes, or observations took place in the van on the way home after a gig.



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Sorry about your bad experience. Try not to get too depressed, eventually you will find some people to play with.


Don't be too hard on the choice of top 40 tunes. You may not like the personality of Pink or Shania or any other pop star, but they are not on stage with you. (Although I'd love to be touring with Pink, I bet there are some pretty wild scenes backstage).


You're just playing some songs. I actually like playing Get This Party Started by Pink and have even sung it a few times (try not to cringe as you imagine this 54 year old bald guy singing the song). The groove, although simple, really cooks and it gets people dancing immediately. The words are silly, but how many dance songs have meaningful lyrics?


Meanwhile, those out there who have said that all the flakes are in the music business, try something else, are wrong.


In my day job (teaching computers) I have had 8 managers in the last 5 years. People lie to get the job, quit with no notice, don't fulfill minimum job requirements. I don't even know why I have a manager, I don't know what it is they are supposed to do.


At the coffee shop where I get my coffee in the morning, employees don't show up, are rude to the customers, can't even make change properly, and want a tip for handing you an empty paper cup and pointing to the coffee urn.


Meanwhile I have been playing music with a lot of the same people for over 20 years with very few problems.


There are horror stories in every industry.


Just keep your head up and keep on playing away.

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George - like the others I encourage you to hang in. Maybe this will work out, maybe not. Try to remember that you WILL find something - it may help you keep a calmer head....


As to songs you don't like, I've had some recent experience with this. I always felt like I couldn't play what I couldn't at least tolerate. Recently I had to play some stuff that I would not have chosen. Three things happened.

First, I found I could learn the song, enhance the bass part slightly, and it was OK.

Second was that I could zone out and just do it.

Third was that the other musicians (especially the singer) did a better job with the song than the original. I started to enjoy it!!


We're bass players. If you stay with this band, it would fit for you to (slowly) move toward the type of responsibility that CMDN demands. You'll do more than relieve your own stomach ache - the band will be better for it.






Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Once again, I find myself agreeing with Jeremy. I have heard flakey stories, but I have never experienced too much of that.


But I think it's the type of music I'm playing that makes the difference. Every type attracts different sets of people...generalizations I know...but country guys are beer drinkers, rock bands do weed or coke or whatever.


The proto-jazzers were addicts, but gigging jazzers nowadays seem to be quiet and meditative. I play in pit orchestras a lot...and it's just like a really fun job...get to work on time...have your gear ready and your shit together. Complain about the folks dancing on stage above your head, throwing feathers into the pit.


Church musicians seem to fall into that same category mostly.


I think your problem is a "niche" problem.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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My biggest problem is that I hate being the bad guy, so even though I hate many of the songs and am ticked that they stood me up at their own rehearsal, I don't like to create waves. I've never quit a band before, and though technically I'm not a member of these guys, I don't like the idea of burning a bridge or leaving a bad taste in anyone's mouth, even if I can't stand their choice of material.


I know about the drugs and junk......once I got a call for a recording session downtown. Talked to the lady on the phone, she seemed to be on a similar wavelength to me. I agreed to go.


When I got there, it turned into a metal session, and they were ALL into the drugs. Halfway through, a couple of them were chopping up leaves and rolling them into paper. Another was heating white powder in a spoon, with a cigarette lighter. There was a bottle of Jack Daniels there as well.


And I'm definitely NOT into metal!!


But I gave my word, so I was committed.




I fulfilled my word, as I said I would, provided bass for their tape recording, then ran out of there as fast as I would go when it was all done!


Eh.....we'll see how it goes. I'll call the guy tonight and let him know that his music is "too young" for me, that he might be much better off finding a younger bassist whose head is into that kind of stuff.


I'm more of a Norah Jones/Oscar Peterson person (my roots are in Swing, Jazz, Country, Folk and Blues, never got why rock seemed so popular).


He's more of a Led Zepplin person.

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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I can relate. Boy can I relate, I've been through every bad scene you can think of. The band I'm in now is falling apart because the two main guys are completely inexperienced and can't focus on simple goals. I'm dreading going back out to look for another band.


I would relate similar war stories but I don't want to get depressed. Sometimes this music scene SUCKS :(

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Well, I just got off the phone with him, and we've come to a mutual agreement.


I'm a big softie, that I am. I'm gonna give it just one more try, this time with the full band being there.


At least there are no drugs or anything. If there were, the answer would be No immediately.


Essentially it boils down to these few points where we are very diffferent people:


About Him:

He can freely suspend his beliefs, his personal core connection with what he's playing, just for the sake of a song, even if he hates it.


About Me:

My music has and continues to ONLY represent what I believe in my inner core, what I feel and my connection to myself and the universe. (It's a very intimate thing for me, believe it or not MUCH MORE SO than ANY of my relationships with women. I'm not so jealous if my woman leaves me (it's happened before) but I'm extremely jealous if someone else takes my playing position in a band.) Playing something that doesn't work for me, or in a group that doesn't respect this, it feels like if I were to marry a prostitute, you know? Without that core connection (I have tried it many times) I find I am completely hollowed out, crippled and unable to play anything at all.


Both of us agree that you have to be able to give 100%. Anything less is completely unacceptable.


So basically:


He gives 100% by ignoring himself completely, playing almost robotically to most songs.


I give 100% ONLY by putting myself into it completely, heart and soul. I have a wide experience of genres I have played and do enjoy, like Dixieland, Swing, Bluegrass, Country, Jazz, Blues, Big Band, Folk and only a few samplings from the world of "rock and roll".


My only criteria that is a MUST is that I have to be able to put myself completely into it.


He knows what I think about things (I'm not a vulgar person, so no profanity left my lips), and based on my playing last week he still wants me to show up and give it one more shot Monday evening.


I always try to be resonable and try to give another chance, because I know how valuable that can be. People always deserve second chances (except where drugs are concerned, then I owe myself a duty to protect myself from arrest and bad stuff).


So, cautiously, I'm gonna try it once more and see whether there is anything for me or anything I can really offer them. Wish me luck.

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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Hey if you have that "gut" feeling I'd go for it. Hmm 2 CD's worth of material in one night is a little much to handle but if you can do most of it and what I can gather you seem pretty knowledable in playing dept. Hey there's always songs on the set list I ALWAYS HATE to play but that goes along with the territory. Check it out for awhile, you can always get (ahem) sick and not show one night.
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