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 Post subject: Auditions
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
G'day all,

I have an audition next Saturday and for the first time I am real nervous. I live in a city that is not more than a small town and more often than not have to settle for a style I can live with rather than one that inspires me. As a consequence I have never really cared whether I got the gig or not in auditions and generally aced them on both bass and drums. I have been in well over a dozen bands but they have all imploded before getting a gig. Some we got as many as 4 songs written, most didn't make the third jam. I have now come across a band reforming in need of a drummer. They previously played an eclectic mix of latin, jazz and funk mixed with rock and popular styles (original songs mostly) and at least half the band has played together before, gigged and recorded.

Listening to old recordings the singer's voice is great and she has band leader skills (ever since seeing James Brown, George Clinton and Jay Kay I have realised how important this is) and knows how to work a crowd. The bassist is amazing, inspires me and can groove through all these styles. I don't know if the current version of the band has horns but the previous incarnation did (horns are way cool) and their previous drummer could kick my butt with one hand tied behind his back. I really want to be part of this band and I think I can expand my groove repertoire to at least successfully fake all these styles within 3 to 6 months.

But right now I can only do about a third of the grooves I need to a confident level. I can nail some early James Brown feels (ghosting, displaced backbeats etc), really BASIC shuffles, FAKE a jazz feel (one) and do rock of course (easy). I have been working on some new orleans elements (stanton moore is my current drum hero) but it is not ready (and new orleans swing is elusive) and latin styles I know roughly know the basics (clave) but don't yet have the feel or the coordination down.

I'm hoping that some of you out there have been in the position of auditioning prospective band members and can give some tips to present myself well. What are the most important things you look for in a potential bandmate? Have you placed a value on potential, is someone with a good attitude and solid foundation worth giving a couple a months to 'get there'? Roughly how long do you expect a band to get from formation to ready to gig?

I have pretty solid music theory and can play bass and some guitar - will this help? I have a professional kit, own decent recording gear and have a studio at home and neighbours who actually support what I do and have stated they won't mind me having rehearsals at my home. How desirable is this to decisions you have made? I know I'm not ready but think I am genuinely on the cusp - just a couple of months and the focus the band will give me will get me across the line I am sure. The only other down side is I have no reliable transport until may/june although I do have access to three cars on weekends that I can borrow.

Anyway, thats my situation...how would you rate my chances, what are the most important qualities to sell and what should I downplay? Give me confidence by all means but be honest in your assessment too.

Thanks in advance, I'll let you know how it turns out.


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:38 pm
Posts: 54
Whats up SteelHard? Been in your situation, and feel your pain. I'm no expert, but thought my situation might help?? I also joined an existing band as the new drummer. They rehearsed with me several days, before asking me to perform (thank God). This was a southern gospel band (nearly r&b). I was not familiar with any of the songs they played, and sort of sucked at first. I had been playing drums 20 years, but some of their tempos, (I mean flawless pushing the beat) was some what new to me (my timing was off). Almost no tom's or cymbals, but the beat had to be dead on time. The only thing that saved me was a good hearted bass player, that was also a drummer. This guy worked with me to get my kick drum, to fill in some of his rests. We worked on my snare, on and off the beat. The few times I touched the rest of the set, he and I was very tight (catching each others slack).

We started locking the groove so tight and hard, (defined) that the rest of the band, had to hope on and ride. All that to say, practice with the band. Come early and stay late to practice with your bass player. If you do, every time you play, you will get better, understand more, grow.

If they want a pour out the box, and add hot water drummer; the hell with them!!! If they are willing to nurture you and let you grow into the group, take it. I'm glad I did!

He bro don't forget the practice pad, and rudiments. If I didn't help you, hope entertained, something. It's important to alternate (evenly), when playing multiple instruments, and take a day off every now and then. Free your mind and your ass will follow!!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
Thanks so much for your post, just in the nick of time. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that. Audition is this evening. I've never met them in person yet so I don't know the details of the situation yet but after hearing recordings with their old drummer I was somewhat intimidated. I've worked my butt off this last two weeks and have managed to add a couple of jazz elements and working on clave for five days I might even be able to fake latin (bossa and rock are pretty similar kick drum grooves anyway) and been mixing that with jam block clave patterns. Surprised myself but realised that latin basics are pretty much how you knock on a door - probably wrong but I'm gonna go with that. Not sure if I'll use it but good to know my bag of tricks has gotten a little bigger. Learnt to displace backbeats solidly in just two weeks too. I'm really proud of that.

I'm taking confidence in my solid groove (as a bass player I had the feeling in me before I jumped on the drumset) and I'm told I make time feel good. My other strength is the ability to play to what the other band members are doing, you know throw in a ghost note here to support the guitarists riff here and an occasional tom to fill in the bass players groove there. Can't do it if I think about what I'm doing though. Just need to hit a groove and I should be fine, free my mind and all.

Thinking like a bass player I tend to play a lot less notes than other drummers and like to drop out as many notes as I can without throwing the other musicians off. I like to savour every note. With beginners I obviously have to fill in the subdivisions a lot more but more advanced guitarists have been okay with it. I've been told by my teacher that I naturally fall into a linear style so maybe I'm just comparing myself to the wrong drummers. I've only had positive feedback from people in the last couple of months but this is my first time playing with semi-pros so still very nervous. But like you say, if they are semi-pros there's a good chance they'll like what they see and be willing to work with me, depending on their timeframe.

Will let you know how it goes. Gonna go hit the pad now and do a pre-warm up to get loose!


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
I GOT THE GIG!!!!

You were sooo right Godschild. I just played the most amazing jam of my life. These people are REAL musicians, the kind I have dreamed of playing with for years. I've only played with one musician who could sit in with these guys and account well of themselves. There were a bunch of people from other bands just hanging out and joining in. It was unreal! I busted so many musical cherries I can't even count. Finally played with a full band, first time playing with keys, singer is unreal, guitarist was restrained and soulful, even had didjeridoo at one point. They made me a better musician. Nailed swing for the first time, was able to pull off some latin things I've only been practicing for 3 days. The connection between me and the bass player was instant and so potent. He plays double bass as well - I had a go myself, wow! Gotta get one (and a bunch of bandages for the damage its gonna do to my hands). And flatwounds - oh my god!

Its funny, the very things that their previous drummer did that had me stressed were things they were trying to stop him from doing! They already rate what I can do. All the hard work is finally paying off and they've discussed giving me a whirl on bass for a couple of songs so I'm not even gonna miss out on my first love. They are well connected locally and I am finally gonna reach the stage in just a matter of weeks! (cue next bout of nerves :shock: ). Weekly rehearsals - straight into writing next weekend, the whole shebang. Best night of my life!


Last edited by SteelHard on Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
P.S. I didn't even play my best and they were as excited as I was!


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:42 pm
Posts: 85
Wow! now that's enthusiasm! I'm very happy for you. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:25 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:27 am
Posts: 584
Location: Los Angeles California
Been sick for a while boys, it was really bad!! but, glad to read the good news once i was well enough to turn on my pc. Congradulations SteelHard!! Knock em dead!!

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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
Thanks guys. Feeling pretty pleased with myself at the moment so I'm probably gonna fall flat on my face soon :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:38 pm
Posts: 54
Sorry it took so long to get back to you SteelHard. Glad your audition went well, very proud of you. It goes to show us drummers or (dummers), can contribute too.....lol


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 Post subject: Re: Auditions
 Post Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
Thanks Godschild. Unfortunately it went the way of every band I've ever been in...3 jams then nothing. It wouldn't bother me so much if it was because I was shit or there was a personality conflict but it always comes down to slackness and lack of dedication. I thought things would change with better musicians but I guess not. The other members were married (to each other) with kids so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I should join a cover band but I've never been that good duplicating parts exactly. But when I finally get that mythical fourth jam I'm going all the way baby!


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