Going to auditions / joining a band....

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KiniooKinioo Frets: 15
edited February 8 in Music
Morning All,

I have been trying to get back to play live, so have been looking to form a band...

I tried with my other mates (I play a guitar, and other two are drums and 2nd guitar etc.) but after few rehearsals I dont think its going anywhere.

So, I started to look for 'musicians' or bands to join etc.

Now,

How do you feel when you get in touch with a bunch of people (usually they do know each other and have been playing for a while etc.) but you dont know them?

You say - yeah I play a guitar and you are looking for a guitar player, so.....

How do you feel i.e. a) am I good enough ? b) are they good enough ? c) would their music suit me ????

TBH, I am very, very skeptical when I see an advert when the band is looking for a musician and they say - we have been playing for x,y,z years, have 50+ years of experience, have been touring for 20+ years all over the World etc.

Ok, it may be true; I dont say they are not 'professionals' etc. but very often you find out that they are not that good etc.

I can also say - I have 20+ years experience, have done 100+ live gigs etc. - but to be honest, I dont think I am great guitar player - far from that. I can play a guitar but I would not say I am a guitarist.

In my 20s, when we had a band and were gigging regularly we were bunch of friends, we knew each other very, very well and it was something more than just meeting up for a gig/rehearsal etc.... if you know what I mean ?

Anyway,

How should I feel going to, lets say, auditions with the band/musicians I dont know??

Chris    


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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319
    edited February 8
    Consider it a two-way process. For me, this is a hobby. I'm too old, too fat and not cool enough to be a rock star, so if I'm going to play music it's going to be music I like, with people I like, or it's going to be for enough money to make up for the first two (there's music and personalities that it's pretty much impossible to compensate financially for...).

    So, you see the "guitarist wanted" ad. Stalk the band (or solo artist, or whatever) online. See how well they promote themselves, how many gigs they have advertised, and where they play. Do they have gig videos? A website? Soundcloud? Any local press, fanzine coverage etc? It should give you a decent idea of whether they're any good, whether they're serious or not, and whether you can play what you'll be expected to. If I do this and don't feel like "fuck yeah, I want to be in this band", I wouldn't bother.

    When you do contact them, try to strike the balance between a professional-sounding "covering letter" and a friendly, informal  enquiry. You don't want to come across as an uptight twat, but you don't want to sound like a total idiot either. Make sure you get that "fuck yeah" feeling across. You want to be in this band.

    You can learn a lot from how they communicate back- how quickly does someone get in touch? How's the spelling, grammar etc. Do they sound like uptight twats, or like the sort of people who'd be late for their own funeral, then have to go back home to get the coffin? What level of easy-going-ness versus drive-to-succeed are you happy with? If you're determined to "make it", while they're determined to get a night away from the missus and a few beers every few weeks (or vice versa), it's not going to end well. Lost that "fuck yeah" feeling yet? No? Good.

    Find out what they want you to do for the audition, then do it to the best of your ability. Make sure you keep up your end of the bargain, and come on the day ready to play- on time, good attitude, fresh strings, arrangements and parts learned, all gear working properly etc. Then see if they've done the same- were they on time? how was their attitude? do they know the songs they asked you to learn? Does their gear work? Or on the other hand, does their level of preparedness and organization make you look bad? Uh oh. Still got that "fuck yeah" feeling? Alright then.

    Watch how they interact- do these people like each other (do any of them like each other too much?), or is there an atmosphere? Are they all sober? Are they considerate, or are people constantly shouting over someone noodling? Did anyone express an opinion that you found offensive? Are they receptive to your suggestions, or do they want you to shut up and do as you're told (and which do you want?). Is there a "leader"? Does the leader have a clue, or is there someone else in the band who's really making things happen? Are they "carrying" anyone- for reasons of deficient musical skills, social skills, addiction etc (but he's our mate from school...)? Are they people you can stand to spend hours at a time in a rehearsal room with? Do they seem to have ideas, ambition? Can they make decisions? Basically, do you want to be in this band? Still got that "fuck yeah" feeling?

    Ultimately, you could lose your boner for this band at any time in the audition process, and there's no shame in zipping it up and going home at that point with a "thanks, but no thanks". Only worry about what they think of you after you've finished the audition and you've still got that "fuck yeah" feeling. 

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9436
    What @english_bob said. Spot on.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 208

    @english_bob covered a lot of that very nicely!

    The key point is "you are also auditioning them".

    I've done a fair few trying to find "the right project" I was approach the first contact trying to find out exactly what they are trying to achieve.  I'm lucky in the sense that I have a LOT of stuff online so I make sure I send links to that as well, that way from the start they know if I'm the right style of musician ... no point otherwise.  From that point its "do we click".

    After that, follow Bob's advice to filter the twats :)  

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8460
    edited February 8
    Totally agree with the above, all I would add is that if you end up looking for musicians rather than a band who already exist but are short of a guitarist, look for the singer first.

    Too many musicians get together with the best of intentions but treat the singer as an afterthought (oh I suppose we'll need one of THOSE if we want to gig...), but if you have a good singer the other musicians will turn up automatically. 

    Similarly, if a band you're interested in says they're also looking for a singer, don't waste your time auditioning. 

    Disregard all of the above if you're a surf instrumental specialist.
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  • KiniooKinioo Frets: 15
    Consider it a two-way process. For me, this is a hobby. I'm too old, too fat and not cool enough to be a rock star, so if I'm going to play music it's going to be music I like, with people I like, or it's going to be for enough money to make up for the first two (there's music and personalities that it's pretty much impossible to compensate financially for...).

    So, you see the "guitarist wanted" ad. Stalk the band (or solo artist, or whatever) online. See how well they promote themselves, how many gigs they have advertised, and where they play. Do they have gig videos? A website? Soundcloud? Any local press, fanzine coverage etc? It should give you a decent idea of whether they're any good, whether they're serious or not, and whether you can play what you'll be expected to. If I do this and don't feel like "fuck yeah, I want to be in this band", I wouldn't bother.

    When you do contact them, try to strike the balance between a professional-sounding "covering letter" and a friendly, informal  enquiry. You don't want to come across as an uptight twat, but you don't want to sound like a total idiot either. Make sure you get that "fuck yeah" feeling across. You want to be in this band.

    You can learn a lot from how they communicate back- how quickly does someone get in touch? How's the spelling, grammar etc. Do they sound like uptight twats, or like the sort of people who'd be late for their own funeral, then have to go back home to get the coffin? What level of easy-going-ness versus drive-to-succeed are you happy with? If you're determined to "make it", while they're determined to get a night away from the missus and a few beers every few weeks (or vice versa), it's not going to end well. Lost that "fuck yeah" feeling yet? No? Good.

    Find out what they want you to do for the audition, then do it to the best of your ability. Make sure you keep up your end of the bargain, and come on the day ready to play- on time, good attitude, fresh strings, arrangements and parts learned, all gear working properly etc. Then see if they've done the same- were they on time? how was their attitude? do they know the songs they asked you to learn? Does their gear work? Or on the other hand, does their level of preparedness and organization make you look bad? Uh oh. Still got that "fuck yeah" feeling? Alright then.

    Watch how they interact- do these people like each other (do any of them like each other too much?), or is there an atmosphere? Are they all sober? Are they considerate, or are people constantly shouting over someone noodling? Did anyone express an opinion that you found offensive? Are they receptive to your suggestions, or do they want you to shut up and do as you're told (and which do you want?). Is there a "leader"? Does the leader have a clue, or is there someone else in the band who's really making things happen? Are they "carrying" anyone- for reasons of deficient musical skills, social skills, addiction etc (but he's our mate from school...)? Are they people you can stand to spend hours at a time in a rehearsal room with? Do they seem to have ideas, ambition? Can they make decisions? Basically, do you want to be in this band? Still got that "fuck yeah" feeling?

    Ultimately, you could lose your boner for this band at any time in the audition process, and there's no shame in zipping it up and going home at that point with a "thanks, but no thanks". Only worry about what they think of you after you've finished the audition and you've still got that "fuck yeah" feeling. 
    You made my day !!

    Brilliant! Thanks for that!

    ...Fuck-yeah !

    C.
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 809
    Can you not sort out the problems with your other Mates before you make your move. How will they take it. How much do you value there friendship etc. Do they know how you feel or that you are looking for a new band?
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319
    p90fool said:
    Totally agree with the above, all I would add is that if you end up looking for musicians rather than a band who already exist but are short of a guitarist, look for the singer first.

    Too many musicians get together with the best of intentions but treat the singer as an afterthought (oh I suppose we'll need one of THOSE if we want to gig...), but if you have a good singer the other musicians will turn up automatically. 

    Similarly, if a band you're interested in says they're also looking for a singer, don't waste your time auditioning. 

    Disregard all of the above if you're a surf instrumental specialist.

    Plus, if you want to play originals, you need to have (or be) a songwriter.

    If you know a few other musicians, find a singer-songwriter with some talent and some decent songs doing open mics and talk about backing them up. I've been in a few really good bands like that.

    The great thing is that if you find a singer-songwriter you like and can call up people you already know can play, tell the time, respond to emails, play nicely with the other children and generally refrain from being a massive bellend, most of the hard work is done.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8460

    If you know a few other musicians, find a singer-songwriter with some talent and some decent songs doing open mics and talk about backing them up. I've been in a few really good bands like that.

    The great thing is that if you find a singer-songwriter you like and can call up people you already know can play, tell the time, respond to emails, play nicely with the other children and generally refrain from being a massive bellend, most of the hard work is done.
    This is exactly what I've been doing for years, almost always with the same rhythm section, and is the reason I can do a couple of gigs a week in a remote rural area without ever travelling more than 30 miles. 

    When I find a new singer/songwriter I can usually get them gigging in a couple of weeks, and venues booked. 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319
    p90fool said:

    If you know a few other musicians, find a singer-songwriter with some talent and some decent songs doing open mics and talk about backing them up. I've been in a few really good bands like that.

    The great thing is that if you find a singer-songwriter you like and can call up people you already know can play, tell the time, respond to emails, play nicely with the other children and generally refrain from being a massive bellend, most of the hard work is done.
    This is exactly what I've been doing for years, almost always with the same rhythm section, and is the reason I can do a couple of gigs a week in a remote rural area without ever travelling more than 30 miles. 

    When I find a new singer/songwriter I can usually get them gigging in a couple of weeks, and venues booked. 

    Imagine how much easier it is in a big town... :grin: 

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • KiniooKinioo Frets: 15
    JAYJO said:
    Can you not sort out the problems with your other Mates before you make your move. How will they take it. How much do you value there friendship etc. Do they know how you feel or that you are looking for a new band?
    Well,  I tried twice - didnt work.
    I mean, the drummer is fine and we are on in the same boat re: type of music, however if it comes to the quality of playing etc. not really...
    2nd guitarist is much better regarding technique / sound quality but he doesn't really follow us if it comes to the type of music we want to play.

    I have already 'adjusted' the songs to suit more the other guitarist (but still within the 'margin' of tunes I can/want to play); additionally we try to keep the drum 'patterns/infills' etc to the minimum, so the drummer can keep up....

    But it still sucks !!
    We are fairly good mates, so the 'spirit' is there but....nah, cannot see us taking it to the next level really.

    On top of that, the other guitarist said that he wants to focus on his 2nd (or in this case 1st) project - recording some light acoustic stuff with his wife.... so may have limited time in the future to spend on 'our' project etc.

    That's why I started to look somewhere else.





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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 112
    Great thread. Best of luck finding a band that works for you.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 373
    I have limited experience compared to some forum members but if I was looking to join an established group now, I wouldn't be that bothered about their musical ability or mine.  I've always lived in rural areas so finding like minded musicians has always been difficult (especially if you don't like country and western) and involved a degree of compromise. 

    Far and away the most enjoyable times I've had have been with a couple of guys who I would socialise with outside of the band.  We didn't share the same musical tastes, we weren't that great technically, but we did get good feedback I think because we clearly enjoyed each others company and it came across on stage. 

    But I made the mistake of thinking I could do better with people who were "proper" musicians.

    I persisted for ages with a guy who was a very good musician but we didn't see eye to eye on anything, and he hated any interaction with the audience, just thought we should play our stuff and get off.  There was another bloke who again was a much better player than me but totally obnoxious.  Then there are those who are neither engaging personally or skilled musically and you really wonder what the motivation is maybe their wives just want them out of the house.  

    You hear all the time of bands where the member hate each other and if you rely on it for your living I suppose you have to put up with it.  But for those of us where it's simply a hobby it has to be fun, almost all the time, so there's no point if you aren't on the same wavelength socially. 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319
    Neill said:

    You hear all the time of bands where the member hate each other and if you rely on it for your living I suppose you have to put up with it.  But for those of us where it's simply a hobby it has to be fun, almost all the time, so there's no point if you aren't on the same wavelength socially. 

    Yep. Either music you like, people you like, or payment commensurate with the lack of one of the others.

    Two out of three, minimum. Three is the holy grail.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8974

    Yep. Either music you like, people you like, or payment commensurate with the lack of one of the others.

    Two out of three, minimum. Three is the holy grail.
    The Tommy Tedesco criteria: money, fun, street cred for doing it. 2 out of 3 minimum.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319

    Yep. Either music you like, people you like, or payment commensurate with the lack of one of the others.

    Two out of three, minimum. Three is the holy grail.
    The Tommy Tedesco criteria: money, fun, street cred for doing it. 2 out of 3 minimum.

    I knew it wasn't my line, I just didn't know who it really belonged to. Sorry Tommy Tedesco!

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1677
    Great thread and sage advice from @english_bob . You've got to enjoy it basically. As my singer says every time we audition someone: "fitting in is more than half the battle". Last time I successfully auditioned I got the "James May fizz" feeling and couldn't believe I was part of such a great sound - sometimes this is worth putting up with a bit of grief for.

    We've just got a new bassist and he's amazing - he can learn stuff, he's a nice bloke and he books loads of gigs. We've all had to step up as we'd gotten lazy. We've got more work lined up than we've had for 10 years. Just what we needed.
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  • I've been on the other side of this process a lot, by forming bands via auditions. I was never lucky enough to know a drummer or singer in my local town thus had to place adverts on the internet to find people. 

    As I've progressed from band-to-band I've paid more attention to what type of person they are as opposed to how good they can play. I've met people who are amazing at their instrument but are total dickheads in terms of personality, they're late, or like to show off/have an ego etc.

    Others may not play as well but prove to be reliable and "work for the team" so to speak. If I was to join a band I'd want to get the impression I would get on with all the members outside of the practice room as 80% of time spent together isn't on stage. Especially if its a touring band.

    Small things like not being made to feel welcome on first meeting counts, no vision of what the band wants to achieve, etc etc will put me off joining. Ok I take it seriously and others may not but these things are important to me. At the same time make sure you make a good impression on them, turn up on time, in tune, learnt the songs, gear sounds good, etc etc. There have been auditions where I've been really impressed with their preparation work.

    Good luck.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319
    Lestratcaster said:

    As I've progressed from band-to-band I've paid more attention to what type of person they are as opposed to how good they can play. I've met people who are amazing at their instrument but are total dickheads in terms of personality, they're late, or like to show off/have an ego etc.

    Others may not play as well but prove to be reliable and "work for the team" so to speak. If I was to join a band I'd want to get the impression I would get on with all the members outside of the practice room as 80% of time spent together isn't on stage. Especially if its a touring band.


      Yep. In originals bands, technical ability doesn't need to be a bar (up to a point, which will vary depending on what type of music you want to make) if the player can make up for it with creativity. Could Maureen Tucker play drums for Metallica? No. Was she perfect for the Velvet Underground? Probably.

    Lestratcaster said:

    At the same time make sure you make a good impression on them, turn up on time, in tune, learnt the songs, gear sounds good, etc etc. There have been auditions where I've been really impressed with their preparation work.


    Even if you don't get in to the band, the preparation you put in to an audition can be really helpful to your progress as a player. The last time I joined a band they'd just finished recording an album, and I had the task of learning their old guitarist's parts for eleven songs (although only three for the audition). It was difficult, but really interesting to get an insight in to how he played.

    Months later, I learned that the other guy they'd auditioned for "my" job had learned all the singer's acoustic guitar parts.

    Whoops.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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