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Auditions in Hell

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4 hours ago, Bluewine said:

Cool, I know it's not a popular position on BC, however age does come into play on some of these issues.

I agree, which is precisely why I'm paying close attention to all these horror stories. Hopefully I'll pick up on a few of the alarm bells that experience gives xD

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Here's something from a couple of months ago on another thread:

So, for a covers band, always try and join an already well established band with solid gig and personnel history

If a recent 'audition' for a new start up covers band I went to is anything to go by, I'm going to be looking for decent gig for a good while yet..................

So, I turn up on time at the audition, having learnt (or refreshed my memory) of numbers the bandleader says he wants to run through for my audition.

- Drummer listens to song for first time ever, and starts trying to work out drum parts.

- Keyboard player announces he might already be leaving the band because of work pressures (!)

- Lengthy argument between drummer and guitarist about someone else's wife, and what she did or didn't do.

- Huge sulks from keyboard player when I merely suggest that one of the chords he's playing might not be correct?

And these are guys in their 50's, who apparently have been gigging for years in various bands...................a complete waste of time, they're never going to be gigging.

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BOURNEMOUTH 2005

I answered an ad for a local band called SYSTEMA - they were playing originals that were heavily influenced by Rage Against The Machine - brilliant guitarist, excellent drummer and a very decent singer.

It was between me and a guy I knew well called Fab. I'm a very technical bassist relying heavily on theory, scales, modes, arpeggios, etc. whereas Fab had a more natural feel - he just had something, he could pick a tune up and create a cool bassline almost on the spot - just a superb bassist... but I also knew he was very, very flakey and never stuck with bands long.

The band gave us both a CD of the material to learn a week before the audition - the CD didn't have any bass on it which I liked because I was able to write the parts myself of course. Anyway the audition came, I played my basslines to all of their tracks, played in key, played in time, etc. I generally felt I wouldn't have changed anything and I also like to think I'm very reliable and a pretty laid back, easy hang.

I didn't hear anything from the band and figured they'd gone with Fab - it wouldn't have been a problem if they'd just told me straight - I don't get hissy about these kinds of things - it's far more irritating not being told.

About a month later, the singer calls me up and tells me Fab hasn't shown up to any of the rehearsals, didn't actually learn any of the tracks and jammed through the audition - he then tells me he wanted to go with me originally, the guitarist wanted Fab, the drummer was ambivalent and would I be interested in coming in now. Even though I took what he said at face value, I just figured it'd be more agro than it's worth joining them - they're either at odds with one another or telling lies.

Edited by thebassist

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After some false starts in Hertfordshire I found an ad for a country-rock style band. I contacted the guy who was the singer and songwriter writer. He tells me he has recorded albums in Nashville and does hundreds of gigs. We agree a time and place for me to meet up and play with his band. Then I eventually got links to YouTube videos....

The videos were badly shot, badly lit, videos of an old (nothing against that per se) man sat in his garden strumming a guitar. The recorded singing playing over this was utterly dreadful. My face dropped. My wife absolutely pee'd herself laughing. "It's like Kermit the frog!!!" She roars, now crying with laughter. There are a handful of these videos, each more painful than the last. I hadn't played in a band for a few years and was itching to go. "You just can't do this to yourself" my wife said, saying what I was already thinking. 

I made my excuses far in advance of meeting by emailing something about reforming my old band. I then get an email obviously meant for the rest of the band slamming me and my attitude saying I had "cried off". I replied stating that he probably meant this mail for other people but I will manage to hold back the tears.

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Blandford 2012

Having played in a  swing quartet for a couple of years, I ditch electric bass gigs as upright has taken over &, at the ripe old age of 51, discover Skiffle. 

Swing quartet won't move away from standards/western swing, so I decide I've got enough free time to find a gigging Skiffle set up alongside the jazz lot.

See a "Bull-fiddle" player wanted for established Skiffle band advert on BandMix. Establish that they mean double bass (crazy Skiffle-rs' me thinks) and pop along to local consevative club skittle alley for audition.

Turns out established band was an old fella (OF) & a younger (40's) drummer. 

I'd practiced the list of songs I'd been sent (not particularly difficult, but I'm looking forward to a fun & energetic set).

I set up my bass/amp/music stand (forgive me, it was a rehearsal situation) and tall stool which I often use in a rehearsal.

We start with obligatory "freight train", which "established" guitarist/ singer has difficulty singing & playing the guitar to, is slowing down & speeding up. However, the drummer is excellent & we quickly establish a nice groove...exchanging nods & smiles.

However at the end of the song, OF decides I am at fault for not "keeping up" & starts to comment on the strings on my bass being "wrong kind" for this genre (I clearly hadn't researched)....I ignore, smile politely & we move onto next simple enough song. Same thing happens again, OF can't remember how songs go, but establishes with no lack of confidence that I am at fault. Anyway an hour into the "audition" OF decides it's time for a break. I decide it's time to pack up & go. Whilst he's gone to the loo I speak to the drummer, & ask how long he has been playing with OF, to which he replies "play with him in a band? sod that for a game of soldiers, I'd have killed him by now if I was in a band with him. I only came along as a favour as he knows my family" and laughs.

I leave before OF returns, to save myself from life imprisonment.

Week later, undeterred, I put an advert on same website as double bass available for Skiffle band. Only to be contacted by OF (using my same email address as before) stating that he thought " they" had found a "bull fiddle" player, but the guy was not up to it as he sat down whilst playing & had the wrong strings on his bass. Would I be interested in coming along for a try out, as there were gig's waiting.....

Oh dear. 

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Surrey 2014ish

This story has two parts.  Had been playing in a covers band but had lost our (excellent) drummer, so we had to find a new one.  3 auditions were set up but on the day, only one turned up, so although I had reservations, he was in by default.  He didn't know any of the songs but over subsequent auditions, told me that I was playing wrong parts (although he couldn't actually play them properly himself). 6 months in and I was fed up, as he was gradually sucking all of the enjoyment out of the band for me. 

I therefore decided to have a look for something else in the meantime & answered an advert for a band influenced by a load of bands that I liked. Met the guitarist & drummer in the pub and they seemed decent guys (although a bit younger than me - I was over their ideal age but because I liked a lot of the bands they did, this was all good).

Set a date for first rehearsal and they only sent me two songs to learn, as apparently these were songs they played all of the time and they talked a good gig (although thought that was a bit odd). Got to the rehearsal and set up, the guitarist counted us in and I then found out that the drummer did not really know either song at all even though they had apparently played these many times.  We kind of hacked our way through with the guitarist 'singing' and then started talking about other songs, which I then found out that they didn't have any but the guitarist "had written one", which he could kind of play but couldn't explain how to play, wasn't actually really a whole song & had nothing written down.  After giving it a go for a bit, we then had a bit more of a chat, where I found out that although they had been playing together for a few years, didn't have a name, hadn't been able to find a proper vocalist, nothing had really happened & they hadn't had a bass player stay for more than 2 rehearsals - I managed this one only!!

Luckily, the drummer in the covers band decided that we had lied to him about the kind of band that we were (which was rubbish) and he quit - thank god!

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7 hours ago, Bluewine said:

Cool, I know it's not a popular position on BC, however age does come into play on some of these issues.

You can only imagine how differently I look at band dynamics at 65 as compared to when I was 20.

Blue

If I knew then what I know now, there would have been a few thrown down the stairs with their gear alongside them! :D

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They used to do that to Vox AC30s too. 

Allegedly.

 

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These stories are brilliant. And you tell them beautifully, Mr Happy. I'd definitely enjoy reading a blog of this stuff.

S.P.

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7 minutes ago, Stylon Pilson said:

These stories are brilliant. And you tell them beautifully, Mr Happy. I'd definitely enjoy reading a blog of this stuff.

S.P.

I think Jack should be renamed Saint Jack. You've got more patience than I have HJ 😀

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Seconding Stylon! Thanks Happy Jack. This kind of stuff is why I only play at home anymore... or maybe I'd be the one the other band members started a blog about... whatever :D

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This isnt a "hell audition" but we did laugh. A lot.
We were a fresh from school band. All of us between 18 - 20.
Quite well known on the "local scene".
Our set list was fairly heavy rock. Metallica, Free, RATM, Led Zep, Black Sabbath etc.
One of our guitarists was going to university so we were auditioning guitarists.
We had 3 or 4 people coming to a practice to audition.
We sent them all emails with 3 songs to learn, and aid if they had BVs or vocals it would be a massive bonus.
The songs were "Wishing well ", "Black dog" and "Enter Sandman".
So first guy turns up. Long hair, pointy dimebag guitar, Tight jeans, big boots, a amp and cab that was far too big. You get the picture.
Nice enough though, had a chat as he was setting up, got on fine. Looking good.
He tells us he can sing a bit, and would be happy to have a go with "Wishing Well".
Fair play to the man.
So he starts....
"You hear me , so clearly....."
He starts singing Wet Wet Wet's version of Wishing Well.
Brilliant. We were all crying laughing. The guy clearly felt a little embarrassed, but we couldn't stop. Too funny!
DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!
 

Edited by FuNkShUi
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I am truly gutted that I had nothing to offer this thread. Not had any experience even close to any of these so just a big thank you to all the contributors. This is pure gold .................

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26 minutes ago, Steve Browning said:

I am truly gutted that I had nothing to offer this thread. Not had any experience even close to any of these so just a big thank you to all the contributors. This is pure gold .................

You could always ask Dave Kitching to tell you about the time someone called 'Pretty Woman' and he went into the Albert King song. Rest of the band were playing the Roy Orbison song of the same  name. But you can imagine that when Dave tells it, it's a whole lot better than that!

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Bristol, 2011

The last audition I had was for a band that the drummer who was in my jazz band had joined about six months previously.  The band had regular gigs but didn't have a bass player up to that point as there 'wasn't enough money to pay a fourth person'.  Anyway, they wanted a double bass player and the drummer wanted me in the band so he booked a local rehearsal space and the singer/guitarist drove the 60 miles from his home to Bristol for the occasion (which he moaned about all the way through the audition).

I'd learnt the songs from the album the band had just recorded - it was pretty easy as there was no bass on the album, so I could just do what I wanted and it was all Johnny Cash style G/C/D stuff. Easy peasy.

The singer/frontman bailed out of the session half an hour before it was due to start as he'd forgotten he was supposed to be playing football. No problem says drummer, the guitarist can sing the other guys parts.  The audition got underway and everything seemed good to me. The drummer was mostly playing along with the guitar as that's the sound they had evolved without a bass player, but the drummer and I had been playing jazz together for the past three years so I wasn't bothered about having to play along to a non-standard drum part.

The guitarist wasn't happy though..... when the drummer asked him how he felt it was going, all he could say was 'I dunno - it's not what I was expecting'. Further questioning from the drummer revealed that he actually didn't know what to expect as he'd only ever done solo stuff and had never played in an actual band before this one and had never played with a bass player before.  No problem says the drummer, we'll have a proper rehearsal next week, before the next gig with singer/frontman and we'll see how much better it is.

Fast forward to next weeks rehearsal, the frontman/singer bails again because he has a hangover... so we go ahead anyway and rehearse the set. Drummer is happy, I'm reasonably happy but guitarist still doesn't know if I sound like he thinks he wants it to sound, even though he can't explain to me what that sound is. He's also demonstrating an alarming tendency to be unable to remember which key the songs should be in.  Drummer reckons we're all sorted for the gig next week. I'm less convinced.

Alarm bells should be ringing - I've not yet met this flaky singer/frontman who I'll  meet for the first time at the gig next week and the guitarist is still being very non-committal  about whether I'm in the band or not. it's only my faith in the drummer and his insistence that 'everything will be cool' that I'm not walking away - but it's not looking good from my perspective

The gig comes round and I meet the singer/frontman for the first time. He's actually a pretty cool bloke and apologises for not being at the audition/rehearsal, but admits that as he's never been in a band with a bass player before, he would have no idea if I was any good or not and therefore would have no meaningful input to make. Fair enough really.

The gig goes pretty well, the band's fans say they love the addition of bass, so I'm in if I want it.....

7 years later I'm still in this band. we do 60+ gigs a year and have released four albums.  Not all auditions from hell end up staying in hell.

The original guitarist is gone though - he whinged one too many times about having to drive to Bristol for 2 gigs and two rehearsals a year.

 

Edited by TheRev
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I may have been someone else's audition "hell". In the days before mobiles and internets my local music shop had an incredibly polite "bassist wanted" ad stating a wide range of influences and "we will be sure to play something you'll like". At this point in time I was seventeen, had a Tanglewood p bass copy and really crappy 15w practice amp. I had some tentative attempts to play with guitarist friends that never really got going, not a whole song, but I answered the ad and got invited to a guys house. I made an excuse about my amp being repaired and he says it's fine he's got one I can use.

I arrive at the house and there is a room of amazing guitars, priceless some of them. There's a huge 80's Peavey bass amp for me to use. For some reason I chose to wear a reproduction 1970's Man Utd shirt (no idea). The guitarist has a Marshall stack. The guitarist/ singer is 20 and is a bit posh. The drummer is a big unit and very friendly. I hand over a list of songs i can play. There's some Hendrix on there so he says good, let's do "hey Joe". There began the most professional, unreal quality rendition of hey Joe I'd ever heard and somehow I was playing along with it! The guitarist improvised and sounded like Hendrix, the drummer was playing crazy but tasteful fills all over the place. I was so shy I turned my back on them a lot to concentrate. They were amazing. Terrible singing but everything else made up for it. 

Somehow I was "in". Turns out they had a great friend who was their bassist for a while but wasn't at all musical so he literally played an E as close to in time as he could for all the songs in E! So I was a small step up! There began my first ever band. Playing with such great players taught me so much and I'm forever grateful to them. But God knows what they said about me after that first audition!!

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Northampton circa 1987

One of the above posts reminded me of another "interesting" audition / short lived band, I have always loved Reggae and really fancied creating a band,  I fell in with a older Jamaican guy whose name I seem to remember was Glenroy, he was a decent singer / songwriter / guitarist who had some musicians lined up but no bass player.....I was in, we booked a rehearsal room and everyone turned up, Glenroy would start playing something and we would join in, for a first rehearsal we actually sounded pretty good, after each jam / song I would score out a very basic bassline ACDG x4 etc, we recorded on an old double cassette machine a horribly distorted tape of the rehearsal which we copied so everyone had a copy....at the end of the rehearsal we agreed it was worth taking forward and the band shall be known as Culture Mix....

We agreed to get together the following week for another rehearsal prior to playing at the Riverside festival in Bedford the following day!!!

We met up, set up and started to play.....everything in a different key to the week before, it ground to a halt, I said "we play this in G".....

"No man we have always played it in D"....

"err no I wrote it down last week".....the keyboard player nods in agreement, he also scored the parts the previous week.....

"nah man you are both wrong I have never played it in G".....

so we fire up the tape which shows it was in G.....

"nah man your tape player is playing it slow!"

Virtually every song was in a different key to the previous week! We still managed to finish the rehearsal....the singer says we are still playing the festival in Bedford tomorrow....

We got to the festival about 11.30 the following day, what time are we on? I ask....

"Later on" is the reply

2 pm comes and goes still nothing. so I ask again

"in a bit" is the reply

4 pm comes and goes and still nothing.....by 6 pm the singer finally comes clean, we were not even booked for the festival he just thought we would turn up and blag our way onto the stage, which unsurprisingly wasn't going to happen

That was the end of the band and the end of me playing in a Reggae band! 

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This thread is the definition of tragicomedy. Some unbelievable stories. Keep 'em coming folks!

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I must be lucky as I've never experienced anything remotely like the scenarios described here.

I played with some "interesting" people in my early bands, but back then I was barely competent on any of the instruments I played, so I wasn't really in a position to criticise anyone else's shortcomings in terms of musicality or personality. Besides it was era of punk and post-punk and having characters in your band was almost a requirement. It certainly didn't hurt the chances of my first two bands both of which managed to do pretty well with limited ability and to a certain extent limited ambition.

Since then I've been careful about which ads I answer and how I describe myself when  advertising, and have only had positive experiences. The Terrortones had a couple of less than appropriate drummers audition but that was mostly due to our original drummer being one of those extremely talented musicians who made everything he played look easy even when it wasn't, and the fact that we thought the auditioning drummers were just being overly modest about their abilities (they weren't).

Edited by BigRedX
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Only ever done one audition, way back in the 60s, when I sat behind a kit.  Not an audition from Hell, but it turned out fine for me.

I answered an ad for a drummer wanted for a re-forming showband, there were three or four blokes turned up, which were quickly reduced to just two of us. We were using the band's old drummer's kit for the auditions, but chatting it transpired that the other bloke and me both had identical kits, red silk Premier, and he was left handed, so set his up as a mirror image of mine.

Well, it was a showband, (sax etc) so they decided to offer us both the job, to have two drummers, and left it to us to get together to swap notes etc.  When I phoned him to arrange, his dad answered, and told me in no uncertain terms that his son wasn’t going to be one of two drummers, and he, Dad, would make sure his son got the gig.  I phoned the band leader, who said he’d just heard from the Dad, and was about to phone me, to ask if I’d have any problem being 1 of 2, to which I replied no problem.  In that case you’ve got the job, he said.......

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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 17:41, uk_lefty said:

band with two awesome female singers. One of the singers had a pub 

hmmm, sack the drummer

and the guitarists

and everyone else

Marry the girl with the pub

 

not that you'd regret NOT doing this , 11 years later.......:)

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Really wasn't sure whether or not to post this one, since there never was an actual audition. This one crashed and burned before ever getting that far! The advert was for what was clearly going to be a Dad-rock outfit playing in Herts. and the only really off-putting thing was that the guy wanted to rehearse on Friday nights, which struck me as very odd.

What follows is verbatim, although I've changed all names. Yes, I really did keep a record of this.

Day #1

Are you fixed on Friday night rehearsals?

What other night do you suggest

Anything that isn't a gig night, i.e. not Friday or Saturday. Personally, I can do any day except Tuesday evening.

Trying to get a Thursday night at the rehearsal rooms but so is every one else lol

sorry forgot to ask where you live mate

I'm in Sudbury Hill, Harrow.

We mainly rehearse in kings Langley and three live in Hemel Hempstead one in Barnet, I know Sudbury Hill used to go to the rising sun

Hah! I lived in Highfield for years. Have you guys got any YouTube you can share?

No nothing on youtube mate are you still interested we rehearse at Debras in KL

KL is not a problem, rehearsals on a Friday would be! Got to be worth an initial hookup though, see if we work well. What's your set list?

I'm in the middle of reorganising it 6 rock n roll up to stuck in the middle, proud Mary, cocaine, one I love make me smile, honky tonk, black magic woman, killing floor, new rehearsal, still got the blues for you, no love in the city, human, hope your still interested,

There's obviously a few more but that's the heart of it oh yeah free bird

Human?

Rag and bone man, recently a hit, LLL

Not Human League then ...

No mate

LOL

OK, most of those I can play without prep time so a first hookup still makes sense. When do you want to do this?

Waiting to hear from the rehearsal rooms for a Thursday mate

Did you like Human

It's OK. Not sure how it fits with Killing Floor or Stuck In The Middle, mind ...

How do you plan to sell/promote this band to venues?

am gonna get Robert lead guitar to talk to you have to get on with Sunday mate will talk later, LLL

OK, I'm around all day.

Later that day I take a call from Robert, a lovely chap, very easy to talk to, happy to share. He has some contacts at well-known local venues and will be the chief gig-getter, he sounds like someone I'll have no trouble being in a band with. He is as puzzled about Friday night rehearsals as I am, and agrees that it's a silly night to be in a rehearsal studio.

Day #2

Hi jack, how does Thursday week sound, can't get a rehearsal room Thursday this week, LLL

Thursday is fine. Where and what time? What keys do you play those songs in? Which version of Black Magic Woman do you do?

Could you ring Robert please

Spoke to him yesterday, is this a new call?

Sorry what is a new call, same guy

No worries.

Hi Jack, hope you didn't think I was being rude, LLL.

No! We're all good. See you in 10 days, but do confirm where and when, OK?

{post code}

Ta.

Should be 7 to 11 mate

I call Robert and he starts taking me through the set list. It's completely different from the one that LLL has given me. Instead of the 12 songs listed by LLL, Robert lists 30 more songs with no common theme at all and which seem to have been picked with a pin. When I ask him about the 12 that LLL listed for me, most are greeted with the proverbial sharp intake of breath followed by "I thought we'd agreed to drop that" or "he hasn't mentioned that one" or "but he knows we can't do that with this line-up".

Day #6

Hi Steve, as you come off the roundabout you take the first on the left and immediately first gate on the right, the gate is normally open, the rehearsal rooms are tucked away to your left, see you late mate, LLL

Wrong guy, LLL. Jack

Sorry mate still ready for next week

Yup.

I'm a half wit nothing to do with my age lol

Day #11

Are we still good for tomorrow? Do I need to bring a bass rig?

Yes please to both mate

OK, I'm struggling to find this place. I can't find Debras on Google, and Maps says that {post code} is a Wedding Car hire place! Where exactly am I coming to?

Kings Langley, Watford

I know that, I used to work in Watford and live in Hemel. What's the name & address of the place I'm coming to?

Will sort it soon, couple of hours I'm up to my eyes at moment

{obscure streetname} lane {post code} how's that mate I don't think Debra advertise's

[The lane in question is a mile-long country lane leading to a dead end, with yards and properties all along both sides, a sort of rural industrial area.]

Sorry LLL, I don't think God intended us to be in the same band. Don't want to waste anyone's time so I reckon I'll just back away now.

 

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1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

Really wasn't sure whether or not to post this one, since there never was an actual audition.

I'll allow it. Maybe we should broaden the scope to "Auditions (And Pre-Audition Conversations) From Hell"

S.P.

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