Bad Auditions

I had a bad audition recently. And I don't mean an audition where I performed badly. I mean a bad audition.

Local band put an ad in Craigslist, and I happened to see it pretty quickly. Sent them live recordings of my band, they were excited, set up an audition for the coming weekend. Gave me five songs to learn, said I only need to know two. I learned all five, including a couple of complex rolls between phrases. Showed up at the audition early, dressed nicely, was respectful, brought just the gear they suggested. Setup quickly and we went right into the songs. And while I made mistakes (I don't think anybody plays perfectly the first time they play with an established group ...) I kept solid time and even managed to synch up some punches and flourishes just by watching and listening. Heck, we sounded so good another drummer who showed up to audition came to watch and listen to us.

Audition ends. I'm glad-handed by everyone, told my timing is great, I sound great, blah blah. They have to go through the motions and audition the other guy but expect to hear from them.

Three days later I get an email: hey man you're awesome and you'd be great for the band, but we want to audition more drummers first. We'll let you know.

My analogy was that it's like telling your girlfriend baby you're hot, and I love you, but can you hang around while I look for someone hotter? How's your sister, by the way?

Craigslist. Is there anything it can't ruin?
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
I had a bad audition recently. And I don't mean an audition where I performed badly. I mean a bad audition.

Local band put an ad in Craigslist, and I happened to see it pretty quickly. Sent them live recordings of my band, they were excited, set up an audition for the coming weekend. Gave me five songs to learn, said I only need to know two. I learned all five, including a couple of complex rolls between phrases. Showed up at the audition early, dressed nicely, was respectful, brought just the gear they suggested. Setup quickly and we went right into the songs. And while I made mistakes (I don't think anybody plays perfectly the first time they play with an established group ...) I kept solid time and even managed to synch up some punches and flourishes just by watching and listening. Heck, we sounded so good another drummer who showed up to audition came to watch and listen to us.

Audition ends. I'm glad-handed by everyone, told my timing is great, I sound great, blah blah. They have to go through the motions and audition the other guy but expect to hear from them.

Three days later I get an email: hey man you're awesome and you'd be great for the band, but we want to audition more drummers first. We'll let you know.

My analogy was that it's like telling your girlfriend baby you're hot, and I love you, but can you hang around while I look for someone hotter? How's your sister, by the way?

Craigslist. Is there anything it can't ruin?
Sad to say but maybe they gave the same story to the other drummer too and aren't really sure how to make a decision.

Even if they don't choose you it isn't bad. You played your heart out and that is all that anyone can ask of you.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Firstly I mean no offence. I'm sure you did great, maybe even killed it, but that doesn't mean you're yet the guy they are looking for.

Look at it from their view. So far their sample size was only two, and if I were them i would maybe want to wait to audition more drummers. Maybe they only auditioned two at first because thats all they had time for, or that applied *so far*...or other factors.

The analogy with the girlfriend is a funny one, but not the same as they have a right to look further, whether they shook hands with you or not. It's not a dating game. All good things come to those who wait.

Ten to one you get called in a week or so?
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Local band put an ad in Craigslist, and I happened to see it pretty quickly. Sent them live recordings of my band, they were excited, set up an audition for the coming weekend. Gave me five songs to learn, said I only need to know two. I learned all five, including a couple of complex rolls between phrases. Showed up at the audition early, dressed nicely, was respectful, brought just the gear they suggested. Setup quickly and we went right into the songs. And while I made mistakes (I don't think anybody plays perfectly the first time they play with an established group ...) I kept solid time and even managed to synch up some punches and flourishes just by watching and listening. Heck, we sounded so good another drummer who showed up to audition came to watch and listen to us.

Audition ends. I'm glad-handed by everyone, told my timing is great, I sound great, blah blah. They have to go through the motions and audition the other guy but expect to hear from them.

Three days later I get an email: hey man you're awesome and you'd be great for the band, but we want to audition more drummers first. We'll let you know.
Yeah, ain't Craigslist fun? Here's a couple of my stories:

Part 1:
3 weeks ago, the first band I contacted invited me to rehearse with them (they sent me 5 songs,too) then asked me to play part of the upcoming gig with them. Apparently things went well because the next day I got an email that said how many compliments they got after I left and that they really want me to close my eyes and get creative. It totally blew my socks off (not literally).

Everything sounded as if it was going to be great. I emailed one of the guys about the upcoming songs/practice and he said he had to go out of town for 2 days and that he'd send me the song list.

That was the last time I heard form that band.

Part 2:
I have a tryout this weekend with a band. All I know is that they are a bunch of experienced musicians (Guitar, Bass, Keys, Vocals). They focus on 60s through 90s music.

At least the band you auditioned with gave you a song list. The guy I spoke to (and it took me 3 times to get a hold of him) just gave me the time and the place for this coming Sunday; that was it. I tried to contact him regarding a partial set list but never heard anything. Maybe they want to see what I can do with no preparation - who knows?

Like a friend of mine says (he plays the guitar): Musicians are the least reliable people around.

Good thing we're drummers!! ;-)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Sounds like a typical audition.

Some bands don't know what they want.

Some bands have other inner turmoil that prevents them from making a decision (I can't tell you how many times I've heard same thing after an audition, and then I find out a few weeks later the whole band broke up).

And there have been plenty of times I've heard the same thing where I thought, good, because I could tell the situation was unstable, or not the right fit for me.

And like opentune said, maybe you killed it, but they just want something a bit different.

Bands are like dating. You go on a first date, and maybe she's nice, and has a lot going for her, but there is no chemistry. Maybe the date is fantastic, everything is great, but she never returns your call. Stuff happens. All you can do is move on.

And hey, in the big leagues, I've heard of far worse stories. I know of guys who got the gig, or were told the gig was their's, only to find out another drummer is doing it instead, for no fault of their own. Management may want a name guy over the upstart, or the singer's cousin took up drum lessons and they're hiring him, or simply, oh, this other guy we had our eye on became available after thinking he wasn't. Or name guys getting let go, simply because the singer or band leader decided to just change things up for the sake of having a change.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
It sounds to me like you're jumping the gun a bit here mate.
I'm sure you did play great and everything went smoothly but why shouldn't a band hold out for a while in case a better drummer comes along before fully committing to the first drummer they audition?
Have some patience- chances are you'll get the gig anyway.
 
It sounds to me like you're jumping the gun a bit here mate.
I'm sure you did play great and everything went smoothly but why shouldn't a band hold out for a while in case a better drummer comes along before fully committing to the first drummer they audition?
Have some patience- chances are you'll get the gig anyway.
Yeah you're the second person to reply with that thought, and while I can understand looking at it that way, I don't :p

It would be different if it were like those Dream Theater auditions where 5 top-tier drummers compete to join an established tight band.

This was a bunch of guys who just get together and play music at bars and festivals putting out a Craigslist ad.

I think it bugs me mainly because I don't know how I would proceed if they did decide the want to go with me. Part of me will always remember them holding out to see if they can find anybody better, and it will always make me think of myself as a band outsider. I like these things to be on even terms: I accept them, they accept me, we move on. I wouldn't want to join and start auditioning a new bass player. They should extend the same courtesy.

Maybe more than the girlfriend analogy, the better analogy is to channel surfing. If you're channel surfing and you come across a movie you love, do you watch it? Or do you check all the other channels first to make sure you're not 'missing' a hypothetical better movie, ruining your chance to enjoy the movie you know you like?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I think it bugs me mainly because I don't know how I would proceed if they did decide the want to go with me. Part of me will always remember them holding out to see if they can find anybody better,
You do know what an audition is, yeah?

It's not so much a case of "holding out" as it is ensuring that you have actually managed to audition all of the options available to you before making a decision. Maybe they haven't.
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
You could frequent a few local jams or open mic sessions and get gigs without auditioning at all, if it's not for you, I mean. I've been approached quite a few times at jams/mic night.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Yeah you're the second person to reply with that thought, and while I can understand looking at it that way, I don't :p

It would be different if it were like those Dream Theater auditions where 5 top-tier drummers compete to join an established tight band.

This was a bunch of guys who just get together and play music at bars and festivals putting out a Craigslist ad.

I think it bugs me mainly because I don't know how I would proceed if they did decide the want to go with me. Part of me will always remember them holding out to see if they can find anybody better, and it will always make me think of myself as a band outsider. I like these things to be on even terms: I accept them, they accept me, we move on. I wouldn't want to join and start auditioning a new bass player. They should extend the same courtesy.

Maybe more than the girlfriend analogy, the better analogy is to channel surfing. If you're channel surfing and you come across a movie you love, do you watch it? Or do you check all the other channels first to make sure you're not 'missing' a hypothetical better movie, ruining your chance to enjoy the movie you know you like?
It's all a matter of perspective I guess and I'm looking at it from a more objective POV (since this situation has never happened to me personally). Couple of points though:

1. You make the point that they are just a local band and are not Dream Theatre, but by the same token you are not Mike Mangini either (I assume). By your own admission, you played and sounded great (which I'm sure you did) but unless you pulled off an absolute stellar performance which blew them away- why shouldn't they hold off on their decision?

2. I have no idea about the quality/ quantity of musicians in your local area but maybe it's quite high (on both fronts)- another reason for them to hold out.

3. As for the channel surfing analogy- I for one will indeed surf through the channels sometimes before settling on a particular movie to see what else is on- these guys are just doing the same.

I really think you just need to take a breath and at least let some time pass before writing these guys off as a$$holes- you still may get the call and you're acting like it's a forgone conclusion that they won't pick you!
It's human nature to hunt around to get the "best deal" whether it be buying a car or auditioning a new drummer.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
A few months ago, I went drum shopping. I played on a Signet. It was awesome. Instead of purchasing immediately, I went out and spent the next 2 weeks playing on other kits. and buying something even more awesome.

20 years ago, I dated this girl in HS. She was awesome. Instead of getting married immediately, I spent the next 10 years... playing on other kits,,,, and marrying someone even more awesome.

I was going to make a point, but I've got that Lego Movie song stuck in my head now.
 
You do know what an audition is, yeah?

It's not so much a case of "holding out" as it is ensuring that you have actually managed to audition all of the options available to you before making a decision. Maybe they haven't.
Well I am kind of new to this. But previous auditions have either not gone this way, or if they have, they were smart enough to not say it outright. I've heard "we're going to decide by the end of the week", etc, but never "we're going to audition more drummers in case we can find someone better". Somehow putting it that second way just angries up my blood. Can't explain :p
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
......but never "we're going to audition more drummers in case we can find someone better". Somehow putting it that second way just angries up my blood. Can't explain :p
That's pretty much how it goes mate. A bunch of potential candidates come in and are assessed. This can take minutes, days or sometimes even weeks.......and the best fit for the job isn't necessarily the best player, nor is he necessarily the first bloke they look at. A good audition will set you in good stead, but it's no guarantee of the job. And likewise, a band owes it to itself to ensure they have covered every possible base before making a decision.

All I can tell you is that this is pretty much par for the course mate. That's how the audition process works and there'll be more where this came from in the years ahead. A thick hide is required.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I agree with Todd and Jules. They don't owe you anything, ATCNAT. Musos often say "hey, you were great" to each other because we're a naturally supportive bunch. I mean, it's not as though we're accountants playing hardball (sorry Ian :). Most of us try to be nice. Also, it's not unusual for whomever is the mouthpiece of a band to run off at the mouth in these situations and forget that they have to confer with everyone else in the band later.

So I wouldn't read too much into others' pretty words. It's like with magicians, watch the hands not the mouth. They seem to think you can cover the the gig but have reservations in some areas and are still looking. That's fine. You never know your luck in a big city.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
You come off a bit smug, even though you have a few little disclaimers. You refer to them as 'just a bunch of guys who...'

Maybe they sensed this and don't like it, or maybe you didn't play as great as you thought you did. Or they have already auditioned people on your level or better. Or maybe Terry Bozzio is auditioning next tuesday, or one of the guys didn't like you personally?

Just because you might have played well doesn't mean you deserve the gig, your playing is one of several different criteria.

This was a normal audition.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
On another note, an audition is a two way thing, you are also checking them out. What did you think, are you and the band a good fit, for you?

Did you like the songs did the rest of the band play well and were they tight? Most important of all.......did you and the bass player complement each other?

I know its easy to be all humble and respectful at an audition, its only right up to a point as the feeling is that its you that's under the microscope, but its also the existing members that have to perform and commit. Did they even ask you what you thought of the band or the audition? Without doing that they could have been wasting there time telling you they had others to listen to before they made a choice.

Using phrases like "Awesome" and "You would be great for the band" only rubs salt into the wounds.

All they had to say was that they enjoyed the session, you played well, they have no doubt you could handle the gig but they have other drummers to audition before a yes or no. And by the way what did you think, would you be interested? Simple, and no one gets over excited or offended.
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
My analogy was that it's like telling your girlfriend baby you're hot, and I love you, but can you hang around while I look for someone hotter? How's your sister, by the way?

Craigslist. Is there anything it can't ruin?
Your analogy misses the point completely - you are not a member of the band yet. And no offense but honestly this is an unwarranted sense of entitlement and a really bad attitude to take with you - it's an AUDITION. That's what they're for. That's the whole point. It's like a job interview.

Well I am kind of new to this. But previous auditions have either not gone this way, or if they have, they were smart enough to not say it outright. I've heard "we're going to decide by the end of the week", etc, but never "we're going to audition more drummers in case we can find someone better". Somehow putting it that second way just angries up my blood. Can't explain :p
They did you a favour by being straightforward with you like that. You should be glad about that and learn from it. Yes, it angers you and you can't explain it - this is because your reaction is simply irrational. You should realise this and while you can't always help the feelings you have, avoid any temptation to justify it - it's a bad attitude and it should not be indulged.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
A couple years ago I auditioned for a local band. They used to be a popular working band, I saw them a couple times. They never called me. I think since then they played three charity gigs. Meanwhile I played more than 100 gigs. I think they have some kind of internal problem.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Using phrases like "Awesome" and "You would be great for the band" only rubs salt into the wounds.
I get you here Mike, really I do. But what if the next guy was "more awesome" and "even better for the band"? It happens......in music and in life.

That doesn't diminish their initial thoughts.....if anything it just means that they may have been a shade too hasty in revealing them to the OP. Perhaps they should have kept their cards a little closer to their chests. But all in all, it's not something that I'd be prepared to hang, draw and quarter a young band for either. The OP is clearly naïve in such matters......what's to say that the band isn't equally so? From what I'm reading here, it doesn't sound like we're dealing with a wealth of experience from either angle. Again, that's not a judgement.....it just is. But given that, I can clearly see this one from both sides of the coin......and from where I'm sitting it doesn't make anyone wrong. It just means it's something that can be learned from going forward. After all, we've all been there too.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I get you here Mike, really I do. But what if the next guy was "more awesome" and "even better for the band"? It happens......in music and in life.

That doesn't diminish their initial thoughts.....if anything it just means that they may have been a shade too hasty in revealing them to the OP. Perhaps they should have kept their cards a little closer to their chests. But all in all, it's not something that I'd be prepared to hang, draw and quarter a young band for either. The OP is clearly naïve in such matters......what's to say that the band isn't equally so? From what I'm reading here, it doesn't sound like we're dealing with a wealth of experience from either angle. Again, that's not a judgement.....it just is. But given that, I can clearly see this one from both sides of the coin......and from where I'm sitting it doesn't make anyone wrong. It just means it's something that can be learned from going forward. After all, we've all been there too.
I am with you all the way Pocket, I just think they could have done things in a better way.

We all know an audition is a two way thing, a bit of tact can keep every ones options open. Tell the guy they liked him but as the add says they have others to audition before they can make a choice, and would he still be interested. That way they all part as friends with all options still open.

I could understand the stance if it was a touring band looking to replace megga drummer for some big gigs, "Awesome" drummers would be fighting for the stool, but for a pub band I somehow doubt it.
 
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