Advice please?


Senior Member
I've been drumming now for less than 2 years. Taking lessons every week, practicing every day, playing along to tracks and really enjoying it. I think that there's not so much point though unless I can play with other people so I put an advert on gumtree and bandmix looking for bands to play and gig with.

And, holy moly, I've now got three bands interested in me trying out with them at the same time. I'm pretty excited and pretty scared at the same time. I've not played drums with other musicians before let alone established bands with a long list of gig dates in the coming months.

OK, so I'm not a spring chicken and in my late 40's. I've not got much 'attitude' and I'm pretty laid back. I've gigged before as a bass player, and I know it's going to be hard work but, does anyone have any advice as to how to approach the try out? It's mostly classic rock stuff (Stones, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison etc.) Do I just keep it simple and not try to put in complicated fills? Will I come across as boring just keeping a simple 4/4 beat?

What was your first try out like? Any big mistakes to avoid?


Pioneer Member
I've been drumming now for less than 2 years..

.. What was your first try out like? Any big mistakes to avoid?
Great questions!

Try to know what you will be expected to play. Practice those songs before you go. Don't misrepresent but also don't be self-deprecating. Just be honest.

Definitely underplay some. In your head concentrate and remind yourself to just keep time and leave any cymbal flair or busy fills for ONLY any highpoints in any song that are appropriate, otherwise, the "less is more" standard rules the day.

If you can and it is it a jam style audition, ask the guys how you want to end songs. A lot of covers played like the album version just fade, so sometimes it is an astute question to ask.

Be likeable and have fun. That will come across much more than any fumbles.

Don't give a shit about any of the gear and certainly don't complain about anything. Just roll with it and it will be a good experience.

If you're still nervous, try and pick the first audition that you do that is the one you think will be the easiest for you. You'll have less jitters for the following ones.

Most of my advice is common sense.

Good luck!


Nothing boring about a steady 4/4, and a strong back beat. Keep it sweet, simple and in the pocket. Listen to the other players. Don't play too loud. Snares are exceptionally powerful instruments!

Remember to relax and be yourself. Don't sweat your mistakes. Also, be on time!

There's nothing better that playing with others. It's more fun than practice, and will push you to that next level.

Not knowing the setup of the audition, make sure to have an extra throne in your car. I was auditioning a couple years ago and did not do this. The ratty throne I had to use lowered itself during every song. I'm tall, and sit high, so it was quite annoying. I ended up cutting myself trying to adjust it, and left the snare head smeared with blood. It was a bit of a nightmare (but I got the part!). When confronted with adversity, just stiff upper lip it. That's when you get call backs!!


Platinum Member
No advice at all, but I'd just like to say good luck and I hope all three try-outs go really well! (Bands really are like buses, aren't they?)


Pioneer Member
There's nothing better that playing with others. It's more fun than practice, and will push you to that next level.
Yes yes yes. It is the reason I make sure I play with someone, somewhere every Friday night.

5String's advice is the most important lesson from all of this.


Platinum Member
Prepare the material as best you can.

Then, play like your bass player self would want a drummer to play.

Make lots of eye contact and try to respond and interact emotionally with the band.

Be punctual (early). Be friendly. Be solid and straightforward.

Relax, and nail it.


Senior Member
Hey - good advice (and wishes) - thanks :)

If it doesn't work out I'll just have to prepare more next time!


Platinum Member
Remember that you're auditioning the bands as much as they're auditioning you.

If it ain't fun it ain't on!


Senior Member
I always bring my own bass drum pedal - nothing worse than using a kit that's provided for you at the practice space and finding a crummy pedal that you'll be fighting against all night.


Platinum Member
Keep it simple. As Steve Jordan said: "Simple doesn't have to mean stupid".

Be able to listen. Forget about fills, and being showy.
Bring your own snare, pedal or even cymbals, if that helps you be you. You don't have to unpack them if their kit is fine.

Auditions are both ways. If you hate them, ya leave.
If you have a little doubt, maybe give them a 2nd chance too.

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Do I just keep it simple and not try to put in complicated fills? Will I come across as boring just keeping a simple 4/4 beat?
Keep it simple. If you want to avoid being boring, smile and make eye contact. Pretend like you know what you are doing :)

What was your first try out like? Any big mistakes to avoid
My first two were utter, miserable failures. I thought I was ready but I was just lost. My third was a failure because I still sucked and I played to loudly.

I finally hooked up with some friends and we kind of learned to play together. There was no auditioning and no pressure and it helped tremendously. That was 40 years ago and I still play with those guys :)


Senior Member
If they're coming to your place to audition you, help them carry their gear in and out. It worked for me.

Other than that, just have fun!


Senior Member
Time and time again I see cover drummers overplaying..........why?

Do what the record does............end of

No drummer over plays unless in the studio unless it's prog rock or death metal, so copy the fills and beats as the original

The original drummer has done the hard work for you ; - )



Platinum Member
Be familiar with the material, be friendly, and don't worry about any fancy fills. As others have said, for a cover band, do what is on the record to the best of your ability. Concentrate on feel rather than fills.

As for my tryouts, most have gone fairly well. I did blow a tryout in the 80's with a punk band called Minor Threat. I just didn't know their material going in, and it showed.


Platinum Member
Play the way "You" play. Be honest. Why play in a band that you cant be the drummer you are or want to be?

If all the drummers they audition decide to play it dead straight then how do the band chose one? Take your drumming personality with you and enjoy it, thats being honest with the band.

If they ask you to play in a certain way then fine, If you can and want to, do it.


"Uncle Larry"
As WhoIs? would say, just shut up and play. That particular combination of people will either work, or it won't. I'd say don't ask a lot of questions, don't do a lot of talking, unless they obviously are asking about you. Show them your ears are bigger than your mouth. If it works, great, if not, don't even worry and just move on. Be honest with yourself. You have to like it. If YOU don't like it that's OK. Find situation you do like.

If you never played with people before...well you're jumping in with both feet.
I don't want to discourage you but maybe it's best to attend some jams first to get used to driving a band before jumping in to one.

Depends on the caliber of musicians you are auditioning for.

Props for getting out there. You don't start to learn to be a real drummer until you actually play with others.

Other tips: Don't be in your own world, make eye contact. Look at the others. Show them that you are present and accounted for, meaning be mentally alert to what the others are playing. Even though it's YOUR audition, notice them, make sure they know you can see/think past yourself. If you have a genuine compliment, say it. Otherwise, be a sponge and don't drift off mentally while playing. It's as much a personality assessment as a playing assessment, so don't embarrass the family.

Jazz Man

LOTS of great advice from everyone.

I had a similar experience a couple of years ago for the same kind of music.
I hadn't touched a drum set in 30 years, so I was a bit nervous (almost nauseous) just before showing up.
I only had a few days to practice my parts from their song list.
I did nothing but listen, listen, listen to those songs over and over.
Then I got on the set and practiced which ever songs I'd never heard before.

When I showed up, I was trying to relax and enjoy playing with others again.
I made some mistakes but tried to flow with them (not the end of the world).

Afterword, they unanimously hired me on the spot!!
I beat out 5 other drummers that showed up that day.
Needless to say, I was shocked!!! So it can all work out just fine.

Over prepare and have fun when the time comes.


Senior Member
OK, well i've spent two days solid now playing the 7 songs we agreed to 'jam' together over and over again. When i'm having a quiet break I can hear Bryan Adams' voice in my head (which isn't really welcome) ;)

I've found that if I hold a steady beat and avoid trying any clever stuff, and if I relax into it, then it's OK - the beat is steady and it's pretty solid. I'm pleased with it so far but I think when I'm there in person and there's a band waiting for me to count them in, it may all be *very* different.

Playing with other people is *way* out of my comfort zone but I have a feeling that it will be worth it in the end.

Monday night it is then - just me and the band in the backroom of a bar.