Helpful Ways to Ease the Pain of Auditioning New Members

Some great tips to make the auditioning process quick and painless.

Ultimate Guitar
A rock band usually consist of 4 or more members. And it's not always as easy to find all the right pieces to the puzzle. Keeping in mind, you plan on playing live shows and recording together. 1) E-mail and text are great, but you have to actually call them. You can judge a person a lot more by listening to their voice. I'm not saying make your decision on his or her accent or anything, just use common sense on this one. 2) Make an appointment time and a LEAVING TIME. This is very crucial, if you plan on auditioning people, your going to have to let people go. So once the audition is over, don't let him or her hang around and be buddy buddy. Once it's over, tell the person, your reply requires some thinking within the band and you will "Call Them". Better yet, "E-mail Them". 3) Prepared songs, are a must. Have the person learn 2 or 3 songs to perform in front of you. If your band doesn't have any demo's yet, just have him or her cover songs of famous artist that best reflect the band's sound. - If your a thrash band, some Metallica. - If your a country band, some John Denver. Also be reasonable, and give the person a week or 2 to learn the material. What to watch out for.
  • If he brings his girlfriend.
  • If he brings his mom.
  • If he brings a CD of his own "material".
  • If he needs money for gas, to go home.
  • If he's too loud (Trust me).
  • If he's in more than 1 band (More bands = More flaking!)
  • If he's trying to be the 3rd guitarist
  • If he's trying to be the 2nd bassist.
  • If he's trying to be the 2nd singer.
  • Don't take the guy just because he has awesome gear (I know it's tempting). I know this might seem common sense to you all, but when I was starting I knew none of this. This would have saved me some time and some brain cells. Seeya.
  • 23 comments sorted by best / new / date

      So pretty much this article says that we should make a plan before auditioning and not let anyone who is generally a pain in the ass into the band. Okay..... Thanks I guess
      If only there were enough decent musicians around these parts so that I could actually put up an audition...
      Maybe the article is a little basic, but it's not a bad idea to go through a list. One of my bands suffered for many years with people who were intially very up for it, but after 6 months or less, looking for something else - not due to the music, I should add. So be on the lookout for people who are going to want to bail once the initial honeymoon period is over! It's not easy, you're basically going to have to come right out and ask them why they want to be in your band, if they'll leave your band in 6 months' time, and so on. NO-ONE is going to admit that, so you've got to be very hard-headed. These people can be very talented, have great gear, their own car, enough money and all of that, but if they don't REALLY want to be in your band, they'll be looking for the higher step up. Protect yourself from timewasters at all costs!
      Look for the 'chemistry' (i don't know how else to describe it) as well.. If the guy / girl is a right fit, you'll feel an immediate connection between all members, not only musically but also in communication.
      But sometimes you might not. And if you're serious about making music, you might just have to suck it up and take someone you're not going to be super-best friends with. Just normal courteous people is fine.
      Well, my band has three guitarists. I know we're not very good yet, but It's true. I'm the lead. We have two rhythm guitarists. I'll be teaching them how to play lead soon. I don't see why three guitarists would be a problem. It allows for more options. Believe me, just some clean fingerpicking behind a heavy chord progression can add another side to a song that was originally very good. It can make it a great song altogether. You just have to know how to make it work. Sorry, just my opinion.
      But if you're not looking for that. If you're auditioning singers, for instance, and a guy shows up with his guitar and says, "Let me sing and play at the same time"...that's not cool at all.
      There's no reason to go against these essential tips, especially the leaving time and the prepared songs. I've had a ton of auditions where the band just tries to jam the day away and achieves nothing. Sometimes it can work out, but when in doubt follow these steps.
      link no1
      Why would bringing a girlfriend be a bad thing? I took mine to an audition and was in that band for 3 years before I left. I don't like meeting new people on my own, simple. If you say girlfriend and mom (though, who would take their mom?), why not include friends in general? All in all, it's an obvious list of things to do but like most things, it's things I imagine people would actually fail to do. Always nice to have lists like this around.
      The mom/girlfriend thing is you don't want to hear an opinions from anyone but the auditioner. If the guy plays what he and his girl think is just awesome, and you (the band) thinks it's not awesome at really don't want to hear anything like, "But he just played some amazing stuff! Hire him now!" from his girl. (Same situation applies if it's a woman who brings her boyfriend.) When you say, "Thanks. We'll take some time to think about it", you just want him to say, "Thanks for considering me" and leave.
      It really depends but I'd estimate 99% of the time (100% of the time in my experience) a girlfriend doesn't give a shit about a band and is in no way productive during an audition or practice. There's no reason to bring any unaffiliated party to an audition, girlfriend or not.
      Worst audition ever was with this guy we dubbed "Psycho Carter". Instead of singing, he mumbled the words. I even had all the words printed from my computer. Later when he started talking shit about me as the lead guitar player, the drummer knocked him to the floor and pinned him down by his throat with his shoe while holding his arm in both hands. Mr. Psycho Carter was asked to never return.
      I'm going to disagree with point number 1 - E-mail and text are great, but you have to actually call them. I've hired before and have done phone interviews after looking at an applicant's resume and application. Fact is, someone can interview quite well over the phone and hide their true personality - I've seen it happen. For that matter, it's possible to hide their true personality in a personal interview sitting 5 feet away. While your article does have some valid points, I think it's a little lacking in some areas.
      A country band asking for John Denver? Not Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, David Allen Coe, Conway Twitty, or Willie Nelson, but John Denver?
      Don't know about the "awesome gear" point. That's how Dave Mustaine got into Metallica.
      Or maybe Dave is a good musician and THAT'S how he got in the band. Watch the Behind the Music of Megadeth. James and Lars walked in on him warming up and gave him the job.
      Dave in Metallica...yeah, he was such an assh*le that they replaced him. He also was a druggie, which factored into their decision. After he was fired, he stopped doing as many drugs and formed Megadeth.
      Don't Ask
      Actually, Dave did a lot of drugs when in Megadeth. Like, a lot. I don't remember if it was Dave Mustaine or Dave Ellefson who said it, but at some point they were on the stage of being completely paranoid, hiding drugs from the other bandmembers and not trusting each other. I actually think that he did more drugs in Megadeth than in Metallica, but don't quote me on that.
      Nice article, I have never really thought about that. My only complaint is grammar: do not confuse "your" with "you're", as you did in "If your a thrash band" or "your going to have to let people go."