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azrae1l 08-06-2010 12:30 AM

auditon horror stories
 
kbadd's post about canning band mates got me thinking. tons of stories for bad sacks but i can think of thousands more for bad auditions. you know the one's i'm talking about. the "pros" that show up drunk, can't tune, can't hold a beat, yeah those guys.

here's my all time favorite which seems apropriate he was a drummer and this is a drummer forum. dude emails us of a craigslist ad and sends me this essay of a letter about how pro he and all his pro gear and how good he is and why we should hire him, no sound clips, no websites. he shows up and we b.s. for a while and he pretty much repeats everything in the email. we tell him to go ahead and bring his stuff in and set up. we go outside and smoke while he's doing his thing, come back in and sitting before us is his "pro gear"...

i kid you not....

first act "now in adult sizes!" drum kit, seriously! still has the first act reso on the bass drum. his cymbals i swear looked like he made them himself out of tin foil and sounded like it too. we just kinda shook our heads at this, i know not everybody can afford real nice equipment and you make do with what you got so we over look this small little fact and tell him to start laying down some beats for us and we'll jump in and jam a little. then the real fun starts...

"well i gotta go get stoned first, i gotta be pretty high to really play good.........."

...

...

"NEXT!!!!!!"

so, whats the worst audition you've had the misfortune of being part of?

larryace 08-06-2010 01:57 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
Definitely not the worst, but it was just last night. I was the one being auditioned.
I don't know I guess I have too many opinions about the way people conduct themselves in regards to music.
Before the audition, in the emails and phone conversations, all the songs and bands that the leader mentioned were all right in line with my comfort zone.

When I get there, (the place was lit by one light bulb about 1 foot off the ground) we play probably 90% of their original stuff, which of course I never heard before. Minimal cueing, everybody just staring at their instruments, the leader just noodling on his leads for way too long for an audition in my mind...If the songs were really pro sounding and fully formed, I could have followed better, but since I had mimimal help, and the songs were half baked, played by guys whose level of musicianship was below what I'm used to, I just kept as solid time as I could and tried to feel the changes.

Is it just me, do I have too high expectations? If I was auditioning someone, I would tell them all about the song we are about to do, what style, how fast, and any other pertinent info about it. I got nothing, no title, no style...The bass player wasn't playing real bass lines, they were more like a hybrid of guitar parts and bad bass lines (all played with a pick, gak...)...I just see so many things that are wrong that I think it must be me.

KBadd 08-06-2010 02:14 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
We auditioned a guitar player the other night. First we talked for about 1 hour regarding band mate responsibilities, being on time, returning texts and emails, lugging gear.....even if it's not yours, etc etc......

Then we jammed. He did what we asked because we said "do this, do that". "First, learn our songs then please write down 20 songs, including originals, and bring them to rehearsal, email, CALL". He is a pro. More later.

On the other hand I "auditioned" for a band when I was 16........I sucked. I played syncopated, TOP Sh%# when I should have played boom boom chick.

mikeg 08-06-2010 02:29 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 730773)
Definitely not the worst, but it was just last night. I was the one being auditioned.
I don't know I guess I have too many opinions about the way people conduct themselves in regards to music.
Before the audition, in the emails and phone conversations, all the songs and bands that the leader mentioned were all right in line with my comfort zone.

When I get there, (the place was lit by one light bulb about 1 foot off the ground) we play probably 90% of their original stuff, which of course I never heard before. Minimal cueing, everybody just staring at their instruments, the leader just noodling on his leads for way too long for an audition in my mind...If the songs were really pro sounding and fully formed, I could have followed better, but since I had mimimal help, and the songs were half baked, played by guys whose level of musicianship was below what I'm used to, I just kept as solid time as I could and tried to feel the changes.

Is it just me, do I have too high expectations? If I was auditioning someone, I would tell them all about the song we are about to do, what style, how fast, and any other pertinent info about it. I got nothing, no title, no style...The bass player wasn't playing real bass lines, they were more like a hybrid of guitar parts and bad bass lines...I just can find so many things wrong that I think it must be me.

Your expectations aren't too high if your dealing with professional musicians. It doesn't sound like these guys were there yet. My group will ask a prospective player to furnish a recording or YouTube video of their playing prior to getting together. That saves a lot of wasted time. If I were auditioning for a band I would expect to hear a sample of their playing unless the band is already well known. If they're not, then the audition goes both ways.

madgolfer 08-06-2010 04:45 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
Here's a second hand story from a friend who attended a prominent jazz program in NYC:

Apparently, a prospective applicant (trumpet player) went in to an undergraduate audition at this institution only to be surprised by the accompanying band. Not grads, not undergrads. Jack DeJohnette on drums and Kenny Werner on piano! Can't remember who he said was playing bass. Can you imagine, though?

The poor kid sees these guys sitting there ready to play and pisses his pants. In so doing, he also drops his trumpet on the floor and damages the bell of the instrument. To his credit, however, he played through the audition.

azrae1l 08-06-2010 06:39 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
ok i got a quick one before i leave work...

i went to an audition for an 80's rock cover band, little break away side thing from my normal growling and screeching. i show up with my mic bag and a little p.a. and a few toys ready to belt out some ozzy and alice cooper. walk into the room and almost get floored by the smell. i was kinda expecting older rocker types, i stumble into hippie heven!
i swear it smelled like those dudes didn't take a bath for 20 years and painted on the old spice concentrate to cover it up. between the almost gagging from b.o. and my eye's and throat burning from the alcohol mist so thick i thought the room would spontaniously combust i got out a little "what the F*CK is that smell?!?!?!"

ok so it was more like a yelled it really loudly.......



needless to say i didn't get the part......

DrumEatDrum 08-06-2010 07:11 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
I originally posted this here http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...850#post728850

But it's worth re-posting in this thread:

I've been on both sides of the audition process numerous times, and overall, what a waste of time!

I get that 20 years ago, we had no choice. All you can do is interview someone over the phone, and then if you get a vibe, meet up in person, maybe you jam, or maybe it's just listen to a tape. But the tapes were always awful, because no one had access to decent recording gear without spending a ton of money. And 90% of the time, meeting someone in person was a totally different experience than what you expected based on the phone conversation.

These days, everyone can have a website/myspace/whatever page you can go check out their pictures, hear their playing, and get a decent sense of their musicianship. From there, I think the next part is just seeing if their is some chemistry, and is this the person you want to spent a lot of time with. Much like a date, it doesn't have to be perfect experience, but is their a spark.

I think too many people focus on well does so-and-so play the songs 100% correctly the first time. Which, I get if it's a name artist, and they just had Josh Freese or whomever do their album, and now they need a drummer to replicate the parts for the tour, but those people are paying for that perfection, and it's more of a job than a band.

But in most cases, you should know the person can play based on what you've seen. You know they'll get it, be it rehearsal # 1 or #3, the focus should be on is this the person you want to be gigging with, not if they nailed every single note cold. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying who cares is they show up unprepared, or don't know any of the songs, just some people seem to ignore every other factor in favor of perfection.

I remember one band I was in (pre-internet era) we needed a bass player, and after the 1st few auditions, I realized I didn't even care if the guy could be perfect (we were playing prog rock, so the music was rather complex) what I cared about was the person willing to work with us, and were they someone we wanted to work with.

When I read Mick Fleetwood's autobiography, he said he never auditioned anyone for Fleetwood Mac. When he needed a new guitar player, he heard Lindsey Buckingham's playing on a record, and said "I want him in my band". No formal audition, no worries about if Lindsey could play the past material, it was was "I know you can play, come bring that skill and create something new with me". And of course, Lindsey said, if you want me, you have to hire Stevie Nicks too, and so he did, and the rest is history.

Music history is full of such stories. Which seems to be a much more organic way to do things than just the cattle call and formal audition so many bands engage in.

[/Rant]

azrae1l 08-06-2010 08:22 AM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
i would agree some blind auditions are a waste of time but this wasn't really about the audition process or how people went about it. and i can honestly say with out blind auditions a lot of talented musicians with no means to make recording or myspace and facebook pages would never get a chance to play with anybody. not everybody can afford to go out and get recording equipment to make a decent recording or own a computer to get a myspace/facebook page or have the ability to even create the codes to make it decent so your logic is somewhat flawed there...

but again this this thread wasn't about debating that issue. the audition itself can go good, bad, great, horrific and sometimes in retrospect is often humorous. that's what this was about, the experience.

and in my experiences, one blind audition led to a 4 year old child i'm very proud of so i don't really think their all a waste of time...

ok, so i got an ex i'd like to light on fire and put out with a pitch fork too, but again not the point.....

jon e rotten 08-06-2010 06:57 PM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
I think the year was '88. The band I had been playing in had broken up and I was kind of floating around looking for something. Somehow I get this audition for a 'metal' band. I pull up to the address I had been given and it's pure southern Illinois gold. Sofas on the front porch, various junked cars and lawn mowers in the yard. I hop out of my truck and look around for someone, but no ones around. A mail man walks up and we start talking.
I don't remember the conversation, but I end up saying something insulting about the state of the house, and naturally it ends up being his house and he's the lead singer in the band.
Strike One.

We go in and hang out until the rest of the band shows up. Finally everyone shows up and it's clear I'm at least 10 to 20 years younger than everone else, and while I'm not exactly super model material, this is one motley crew. We load all our gear down to the basement and set up. I'm in one room, the bassist and guitar player are in another, and the singers (yes the mailman's wife is also in the band) are in the hall.

We start playing Zeplin covers, and what do you know, this guy has an incredible voice. We jam for about an hour and things seem to be going pretty good. Then they ask if I smoke weed. Not sure how to answer i say 'rarely'. Wrong answer. Someone yells "what are you some kinda f*cking cop", and they suddenly seem really put off with me.
Strike Two

Jamming over, we head back upstairs and begin discussing what they expect in a band member. First, no blue jeans on stage we only wear spandex. They give me one of their posters to look at and I start laughing.
Strike Three

Somehow I didn't get the job.....can't figure it out.

BrewBillfold 08-06-2010 07:13 PM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
The most frustrating auditions that I've done have been the ones where I feel like I'm playing fine, the music is a good fit for me, I seem to be meshing with folks okay personality-wise, they take the time to run through at least a few songs with me (which should be a good sign--if they thought you sucked or there was no way you'd fit the band because of personality, age, look, etc., they wouldn't bother with that), but then they just don't say much either way while you're packing up and you never hear from them again. It helps to at least know what they weren't satisfied with.

For being the one holding the audition instead, I don't have any unusual stories, disappointingly--I've heard plenty of doozies from other people. The worst ones were pretty much folks who just couldn't play or sing, folks who just didn't listen to what anyone else was playing (and sometimes mostly soloed on top of everything--some guitarists seem particularly prone to that), and folks who obviously had substance problems or just seemed like they would be very unreliable.

I agree with the philosophy that at least half of the job is simply being professional, showing up on time, being prepared, being personable, dependable, etc.--who wouldn't pick a player who had that stuff down pat but was only, say, half as good as a player who you have to worry if they'll even show up to the gig, or someone who is going to be impossible to get along with? But it's amazing the number of people who have problems with that stuff. Oh well, that gives the rest of us an advantage.

BrewBillfold 08-06-2010 07:18 PM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by madgolfer (Post 730793)
The poor kid sees these guys sitting there ready to play and pisses his pants. In so doing, he also drops his trumpet on the floor and damages the bell of the instrument. To his credit, however, he played through the audition.

Haha--I don't blame him, man. I'd be weak-kneed in a situation like that, too. Auditions for music schools of that caliber are high-pressure anyway. Walking in and seeing those cats is like an invitation to faint.

BrewBillfold 08-06-2010 07:33 PM

Re: auditon horror stories
 
Nice story jon e rotten
Quote:

Originally Posted by jon e rotten (Post 730951)
Then they ask if I smoke weed. Not sure how to answer i say 'rarely'. Wrong answer. Someone yells "what are you some kinda f*cking cop", and they suddenly seem really put off with me.

There were a couple bands I wasn't in for very long because of that--I'm not at all a partier. I don't do any drugs (I experimented with them when I was a kid but didn't really care for them), and I typically won't drink more than one beer or glass of wine with dinner or something . . . and even with that, it can be months between drinks. I don't have anything against other folks doing whatever they like to do as long as they can play the gig alright, but some people have seemed uncomfortable with me not partying.

Luckily, some haven't cared, too.

When I've been on the road, I've typically tried to go to sleep as soon after the gig as possible, so if the schedule permits it, I can wake up early and do some sightseeing. I've been in situations where I've been able to take a band vehicle and go sightseeing for half the day--when i got back to the hotel/band house/etc., the rest of the guys would still be sleeping, since they were up partying until 5 in the morning or whatever.


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