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4 Question You Would Ask A New Prospective Band

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How many gigs per year are you looking at
Re gigs, are they local or distance gigs, if distance what`s the set-up on transport/staying over/driving back
If covers - as they get paid better - what`s the division of the fee
Did the last bassist leave or were they sacked, if sacked, what for

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1450740592' post='2935482']
Any context that will make your decision easier.

I might ask for mire detail on the bands mission statement and if they feel the mission is realistic?

Blue
[/quote]

I would never join a band with a mission statement.

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Who is in charge?
How many gigs booked?
What's the financial split? (as opposed to how much do I get paid)
What new repertoire is in the pipeline?

But in my non-pro experience it really is down to how you get on with each other that is THE most important factor.

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I just have one really and that's "Will I be in complete control of my own basslines?". I won't be a part of anything where I'm dictated to and told what to play. I am the bass player and I will write the bass parts, if they don't like them they can find someone more suitable :)

That's the only music question I ask when joining new projects. There's some lifestyle stuff too like I won't be dropping everything for a three month tour of Gateshead... Any perspective band would have to understand my job is more important.

... also no bagpipes... :mellow:

Edited by CamdenRob

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I'm about to go for an audition tonight (covers band). I know the drummer and have depped in one of his former bands so know that he can at least play/keep time, so I'm reasonably confident the band will be OK as players (not a question as such as I haven't met the rest of the band). However I will want to know;

1. How often and where do you rehearse (individually and as a band)?
I have no problems with members getting together in homes to iron out or busk new ideas but I won't travel 20 miles for a rehearsal where the band haven't picked up an instrument since last rehearsal.
2. Who owns the PA and if it is hired in what is the situation with gig money?
I own my own bass gear inc' my own mic, mic stand, vocal monitor etc. I expect vocalists to have PA... some might find that unreasonable but IMHO it shows commitment. I presently own a vocal PA which I bought as my previous band was made up of friends where nobody was the lead singer; agreement was that I'd get £20 from each gig to put toward the payment of the PA. In hindsight it isn't a reasonable payment as the PA will take donkey's years to pay off but in the meantime I have a PA for my use. Regards money - it isn't a driving factor with me but I expect to get paid and I want a fair share of the fee.
3. How often do you intend gigging?
I've been in bands where I've gigged every weekend (+weekday gigs as and when), sometimes doing Fri/Sat/Sun but those days are behind me and I now play for pleasure/enjoyment and don't want more than about 3 a month and if a band wat 1 every 2mths or back to my old routine, then it isn't for me.
4. Does everyone have their own transport for rehearsals/gigs?
Sorry but I'm not about to get involved with being the free taxi service for the sponger in the band!
5. Are any of the band members in other bands?
Not the limiting/deciding factor but if someone is in a band that is out gigging regularly and this band is their 2nd (or 3rd) string then chances are fitting in gigs to suit everyone is difficult, especially if members have shift work for day jobs.

See what the responses are tonight! ;)

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1450747306' post='2935531']
I think the issue here is more about our ability to spot unprofessional aspects of a band and members before joining.

Blue
[/quote]

You see my problem is I don't have the ability to be able to look into the future. The singer was a perfectly nice chap when he was setting out the bands mission statement. However it's easier to spot other peoples shortcomings than see your own and we've all got perfect vision in hindsight.

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[quote name='warwickhunt' timestamp='1450775228' post='2935640']
I'm about to go for an audition tonight (covers band). I know the drummer and have depped in one of his former bands so know that he can at least play/keep time, so I'm reasonably confident the band will be OK as players (not a question as such as I haven't met the rest of the band). However I will want to know;

1. How often and where do you rehearse (individually and as a band)?
I have no problems with members getting together in homes to iron out or busk new ideas but I won't travel 20 miles for a rehearsal where the band haven't picked up an instrument since last rehearsal.
2. Who owns the PA and if it is hired in what is the situation with gig money?
I own my own bass gear inc' my own mic, mic stand, vocal monitor etc. I expect vocalists to have PA... some might find that unreasonable but IMHO it shows commitment. I presently own a vocal PA which I bought as my previous band was made up of friends where nobody was the lead singer; agreement was that I'd get £20 from each gig to put toward the payment of the PA. In hindsight it isn't a reasonable payment as the PA will take donkey's years to pay off but in the meantime I have a PA for my use. Regards money - it isn't a driving factor with me but I expect to get paid and I want a fair share of the fee.
3. How often do you intend gigging?
I've been in bands where I've gigged every weekend (+weekday gigs as and when), sometimes doing Fri/Sat/Sun but those days are behind me and I now play for pleasure/enjoyment and don't want more than about 3 a month and if a band wat 1 every 2mths or back to my old routine, then it isn't for me.
4. Does everyone have their own transport for rehearsals/gigs?
Sorry but I'm not about to get involved with being the free taxi service for the sponger in the band!
5. Are any of the band members in other bands?
Not the limiting/deciding factor but if someone is in a band that is out gigging regularly and this band is their 2nd (or 3rd) string then chances are fitting in gigs to suit everyone is difficult, especially if members have shift work for day jobs.

See what the responses are tonight! ;)
[/quote]

That all sounds very sensible... you're getting all the business stuff sorted upfront, saves any arguments down the line.

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[quote name='Billy Apple' timestamp='1450775287' post='2935641']
You see my problem is I don't have the ability to be able to look into the future. The singer was a perfectly nice chap when he was setting out the bands mission statement. However it's easier to spot other peoples shortcomings than see your own and we've all got perfect vision in hindsight.
[/quote]

You don't need to see into the future but I've been able to ascertain within one meeting/rehearsal if something is going to work for me. If on the first meet a band member turns up 30 mins late with no apology and nobody bats an eyelid because that's just typical of them, then I'll likely walk because in my book that type of person will invariably get my back up at some point. :) Likewise if persons in a band don't know how to use stuff they've owned for years or don't know their parts then it might indicate a lazy attitude... doesn't sit well with 'me' (though some may be more tolerant). I'm not expecting perfection but if the rest of the band won't pull their socks up for a first meet then chances are they never will.

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[quote name='CamdenRob' timestamp='1450775666' post='2935645']
That all sounds very sensible... you're getting all the business stuff sorted upfront, saves any arguments down the line.
[/quote]

From experience those kind of things need airing and sorting straightway as they will be more difficult to approach at later dates; added to which most other questions I'd have I'll not ask verbally, I'll be looking at 'attitudes' (see above). :)

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[quote name='warwickhunt' timestamp='1450775228' post='2935640']
...I will want to know...
[/quote]

These are good, practical and useful questions. I wish I'd asked at least a few of them in the past. :)

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1. Can you send me a setlist with the keys on it.
2. When is the next practice.

That's about it, I'm sure any other answers to any other questions are not pressing and will be answered in time.

I'm not entering into a lifetime legally binding contract with massive penalties for disolving the partnership.

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1450777463' post='2935673']
...I'm sure any other answers to any other questions are not pressing and will be answered in time.
[/quote]

I think the OP was (light-heartedly) wondering what those 'other' questions might be. :)

We all have different priorities and newbies might not consider some questions relevant... well not till they've been in the band a few months and invested time/effort/money and THEN they realise 'If only I'd asked...' ;)

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[quote name='EssentialTension' timestamp='1450774134' post='2935618']

I would never join a band with a mission statement.
[/quote]

Same here, unless it was The Mission, who I guess should be allowed to have a mission statement.
Having said that I very much doubt if The Mission have a mission statement.

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im all original so i would go with

do you have any songs written and recorded
do you have any gigs booked
do you practice regularly at home and as a band
am i going to be wasting my time dealing with your issues, girlfriends, personal life or your self motivation

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Based on my limited experience of being in a band the only one I'd add to the many great contributions here is:

Thanks for sending the 368 pages of stuff for me to print and learn, but before I learn the bass parts, can I expect to be playing what is recognised as the bass part, or is that already covered by the keyboard player's left hand?

Maybe this is more easily covered by the question, "do you have a keys player?"
"Yes."
"No, thanks then. Bye"

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[quote name='warwickhunt' timestamp='1450777731' post='2935676']


I think the OP was (light-heartedly) wondering what those 'other' questions might be. :)

We all have different priorities and newbies might not consider some questions relevant... well not till they've been in the band a few months and invested time/effort/money and THEN they realise 'If only I'd asked...' ;)
[/quote]

Of course.

Maybe I should have answered more cynically and said; Questions tend to be a bit pointless as quite often you'll be told what they think you want to hear, or what they think they do. It's unusual for the answers to bear any relation to the real world.

So, you'll soon find out the answers and more. ;)

3. When was the last time you had a blazing argument over song choices because the singer will only agree to sing songs from some obscure artist no one has heard of since the 70s and the Rolling Stones.

;)

.

Edited by TimR

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[quote name='Grangur' timestamp='1450779179' post='2935713']
...Maybe this is more easily covered by the question, "do you have a keys player?"
"Yes."
"No, thanks then. Bye"
[/quote]

This is the one question I always ask. I'm sure there must be really good keys players out there, but in forty years I've not had the good fortune ever to meet one of them. :D

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Assuming its a pubs/covers band already gigging and with nothing in writing, how is the money split ? Made the mistake of not asking once, and found out by accident the singer and lead guitar player thought they were the stars, or at least were lying about fees to the rest of us.

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Given recent experience, my questions would be:

(1) What kind of sound are you trying to achieve and how are you doing that?
(2) How strong is your music theory?
(3) What you see the role of a bass player as being?
(4) What music outside of the bands style do you listen to/enjoy?

My thinking is that (1) would give me a good chance to see if they had a cohesive sound in mind, and it would also allow me to check to avoid problems such as I have been having with my scooped-tone guitar-hero buddy. I'd ask (2) since I would want to know how difficult (or easy) it would be to work with them writing songs. I'd not be after super-levels of theory but I would like to check that they know their basic chords and scales. (3) is more to check that we are on a level. I'm very lucky at the moment in that my current band is keen for me to play some lead stuff on bass too - I get to do the odd solo and so forth in addition to doing lots of solid chordal work. I'd like to know that they want me to do more than just plonking root notes. And finally (4) would be a way of checking to see how musically interesting they were as people. Personally I listen to a wide range of stuff from 1920's blues to cutting edge electronica. I'd like to know that they had at least reasonably broad appreciation for music too since it makes song-writing a lot more interesting.

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1. Describe your ideal musical year.
2. How gigs has the band cancelled in the past year?
3. What do you expect of me?
4. Describe your worst musical experience.

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[quote name='RhysP' timestamp='1450778139' post='2935685']
Same here, unless it was The Mission, who I guess should be allowed to have a mission statement.
Having said that I very much doubt if The Mission have a mission statement.
[/quote]

... and, of course, if The Blues Brothers were putting the band back together and were on a mission from God.

... and talking of The Mission, I did a private party gig last spring and the drummer from The Mission, Mike Kelly, joined us on percussion for the last couple of songs.

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[quote name='gary mac' timestamp='1450775024' post='2935638']
Do you play Mustang Sally?

Do you play Brown Eyed Girl?

Do you play Alright Now?

Do you play Johnny B Goode?
[/quote]

You play all of them?

Great! I'm in!

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[quote]I'm very lucky at the moment in that my current band is keen for me to play some lead stuff on bass too - I get to do the odd solo and so forth in addition to doing lots of solid chordal work. I'd like to know that they want me to do more than just plonking root notes[/quote]

I bet that on the guitar equivalent of Basschat, your scooped friend is complaining about you impinging on his sonic spectrum :P

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When I replied earlier I forgot my golden rule - is there a couple in the band? Never a good idea in my experience.

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