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How to audition for bandmates


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I am looking for players to form a band, well, actually, at least a trio for now. Two different things: mostly originals I have written but some covers. Me on guitar and then I need bass player and drummer. I know nothing of this procedure. How should I audition?

 

Just say Hey show me what you can do? Play samples of beats I like in recorded songs and say Play that for me? Give them recordings of my originals with me and guitar only and say Play something to that? Just get together and play and see how they follow along? Any tips how to do this?

 

If I put up flyers, what should I say in there?

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Next to your "significant other" and perhaps your day job associates, you will be spending a lot of spare time with the musicians you select. Make sure you get along with them as people; it's important. If you disagree on something and can resolve it through listening, mutual respect and consensus, that's a very good sign you'll work well onstage together.

 

People pay to see a band play together in public, not argue with one another. Leave your grudges and hammers at the back door.

 

I leave the rest to my esteemed colleagues.

:wave:

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Just say Hey show me what you can do?

 

This might make some people uncomfortable and may not highlight what you're looking for. That's almost like telling them to do a bit of solo work for you, and some may not have prepared it. Plus, you don't want to fall into the trap of picking the most talented hotshot soloist, only to later discover that s/he considers every song an open invitation to overplay.

 

Play samples of beats I like in recorded songs and say Play that for me?

 

That's probably a good idea if you're planning on doing covers. I would suggest telling them beforehand if possible to prep one song that you both know and have them play that, and then throw another fairly well-known but not necessarily rehearsed one at them on the spot to see how they approach learning new material.

 

Give them recordings of my originals with me and guitar only and say Play something to that?

 

A very good idea to test out their ability to create and jam.

 

Just get together and play and see how they follow along? Any tips how to do this?

 

For bass players, do them the favor of prepping a chord sheet or something. Some people can cheat off of your hands well enough, but the minute you pull out some custom chord (not an obvious barre or open chord with the root in the bass), they might get lost and flustered.

 

If I put up flyers, what should I say in there?

 

List a few of your influences. Be fairly clear about the committments involved in terms of number of practices, gear, and styles of music. And your phone number. Don't forget that part. :)

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i looked at the title and went to get my matches. thought i was going to get a chance to flame him :rolleyes:

 

oh well :)

"I'm thinkin' we should let bump answer this one...

Prepare to don Nomex!"

-social critic

"When I install my cannons, I'm totally going to blast their asses back to the 16th century; Black Beard style"

-bumpcity

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I think the flyer should be like Clark said. One interesting addition I got from Cherri over at the "Band" forum - include a sense of humor as a requirement (of course many would say I don't qualify for my own band...).

 

As a bassist (and I don't see why it would be any different for a drummer), hearing a tape of voice/guitar would be the best. I would add some sense of the style you want (this is a slow blues, this has a country feel), as you might not be playing in such a way that defines the style. For at least two of the songs, ask for two interpretations - this will help you see their creativity level.

 

Make them bring their own equipment to the audition. I had a guy show up with a curly headphone cable instead of a real guitar cable. That was indicative of his preparedness to join a gigging outfit.

 

I'm starting to think I'd want to sit down and chat with anyone that gets past the playing part of the audition. There are plenty of things they can hide, but you can get a feel for the type of person they are, and if their priorities, life situation, drug usage, etc. meets your needs.

 

Don't make it a band to start - it's your gig for now. Let it grow into being a band as you build your material.

 

Good luck!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

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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I would frequent the local music stores first, if there are any. Get to know some folks, you might get some referrals for really good folks.

 

Talk to folks on the phone first. Ask them if they have any recorded material that they can let you hear. If the answer is no, that doesn't disqualify them, and if the answer is yes, that doesn't automatically qualify them. Talk to them first to make sure you like the person and think you can get along with each other. The best bassist and drummer on the planet isn't going to do you any good if you can't work with them.

 

Give them your music, and let them get comfortable with it, then have them come in and jam with you.

 

Find out what their aspirations are, and see if they're a reasonably close match to yours.

 

Although being well prepared and having sufficient resources (gear, time, etc.) is important, don't let fancy gear alone impress you. I've seen great bassists playing an old beat up bass going direct into a PA, while I've seen guys with top of the line gear that didn't have any idea how to actually play music.

 

There's a million other things to consider, but here's one final thought:

 

First, decide whether you want to be a (1) famous guitarist/singer/songwriter with a band, or you want to be a (2) guitarist/singer/songwriter in a famous band. Second, for the final candidates that you're considering, you have to figure out from them (even if you have to ask them) whether they'd rather be a (3) famous drummer/famous bassist, or (4) a drummer/bassist in a famous band. Do you see where I'm going with this? 1 and 3 probably won't work well, 2 and 4 will probably work the best, 1 and 4 will probably work well, and if it's 2 and 3, you're probably not going to be very happy yourself. (Of course, I could be totally off-base...figure this part out for yourself, and make the choice that is best for you).

 

Good luck!

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

Don't make it a band to start - it's your gig for now. Let it grow into being a band as you build your material.

Whaddya mean by that Tom? I have the material. Over 300 originals written in three years, ready to go. Well, ready to practice like crazy and then go.

 

EDIT: Actually, there's two things. Focus is these originals but I also have an "act" written up because I know much covers are a requirement for awhile.

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I mean that if I "joined a band", I'd like to contribute and move it in my direction. Maybe see about doing a few of my songs. What if a bassist does credit to your material during the audition and you accept him/her, and they say they've also got 300 songs, and can't we start with 20 from you and 20 from me?

 

My sense is that you want to hire side-people to fill in your music and help build your act. That doesn't mean that they are second class citizens, or that you won't listen to their suggestions - but you want to be the leader.

 

It doesn't matter to me how you run this (TX is too long a commute for me to apply for the job, though I wish I could). I'm mostly trying to help you be clear about your expectations, and be upfront about what you expect from your rhythm section.

 

Good Luck finding the right folks!!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

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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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

I mean that if I "joined a band", I'd like to contribute and move it in my direction. Maybe see about doing a few of my songs. What if a bassist does credit to your material during the audition and you accept him/her, and they say they've also got 300 songs, and can't we start with 20 from you and 20 from me?

 

My sense is that you want to hire side-people to fill in your music and help build your act. That doesn't mean that they are second class citizens, or that you won't listen to their suggestions - but you want to be the leader.

 

It doesn't matter to me how you run this (TX is too long a commute for me to apply for the job, though I wish I could). I'm mostly trying to help you be clear about your expectations, and be upfront about what you expect from your rhythm section.

 

Good Luck finding the right folks!!

Tom

No, this is precisely where I am coming from. If possible, I do not want to find someone who wants to go their own direction. I don't have much time. I'm an old fart. I want to hire "sidemen" with no "agenda" for now. And then go from there.

 

I have my life's savings invested in these songs. What the hell. I'm going for it. If nothing happens after awhile, whatever that is, oh well. I don't have a wife, a dog, nothing, so who cares. I'm going for it. Of course, I'd like to find people that really get into it but for now, I just need players and let's see what happens.

 

The problem is dealing with all of the people that can really play but they want to do THEIR thing. I understand that. But playing covers is not where I'm headed. A million bands do that and I don't chastise people for that cuz I like to go hear cover bands. But that's not what I'm doing.

 

There are not that many people that can write good stuff. I hope I am one of them. I'm just going by what I get from the public at gigs. I just moved here; nobody even knows my name. When total strangers come up to me with accolades at gigs... that's a good thing. It ain't easy but I'm gonna go for it long as I can. I got the P.A., I got the songs, I just need a few players.

 

I just saw a bass player tonight who played with me recently. Everytime I see him, he says Man, please call me. Let's make it happen. I like this guy a lot. He loves my material. If he didn't smoke like a fiend, I'd be all over him. He is a hopeless tobacco addict. I like him. I might be able to work around it, I like him so much. But it's pathetic, he is SO addicted. And he cusses them all the time. He's an addict. I effin hate cigs. I have to breathe the crap but I hate 'em.

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Have you written any paens to the evil of tobacco? Maybe he can inspire further tunes. I mean, god forbid you should end up with the combination of drug addicts and alcoholics many musicians routinely work with... I hear cute aerobics instructors are getting into music these days. Hold out for one of THEM ; }
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Sheesh, just be happy the musicians you're playing with aren't addicted to coke and/or heroin and count yourself lucky.

 

Cigs are nasty smelling, but being a former smoker myself I can't bring myself to condemn smokers to damnation...I just hope sooner or later they'll wake up one morning and get tired of that nasty congested feeling in their chests.

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