Band Auditions: Rarely Done Right, Usually Hilarious

I once auditioned a singer, and it didn’t go well at all. He needed to be picked up from a bus stop, which is fine but I don’t live near a bus stop. That should’ve been a sign1 that holding regular practices would be rough, especially since the busses don’t run late by us.

We sat around to chat for a bit, I offered a beer.  He declined because he had to overcome alcoholism.  No worries, just not what you expect from a 21 year old.  Unfortunately, that didn’t preclude him from getting really, really high.

For maybe the first 20 minutes of us hanging out, he was fine.  But you could definitely see things going south fast.  We didn’t really plan anything out, so I tried to do an impromptu song with him.  He had some notes scribbled down on crumpled paper, and he kind of mumbled them while I played.  That wasn’t going to work.

Then he grabbed a guitar.  He started playing one note, I think it was a D on the G string.  I remember, because he played that one note over and over and over.  I think maybe for 10 minutes.  Maybe longer.  I left the room at one point, came back and he was still at it.  Completely zoned out as if he was using that one note to speak.

Thankfully, I got him to leave, with a little force…

These days, auditions are different.  If it’s someone I don’t know, I’ll meet them at a bar, coffee house, anywhere that’s not my house.  Asking people to learn a song or two before coming over is obvious, but overlooked in the majority of auditions I’ve gone to.  It’s not even about safety, but just about not wasting time.  I think too often we don’t take these things seriously, or have a plan at all.  And maybe we miss out on a good musical partner because things are disorganized and frustrating.

Which leads me to this…

  1. Another sign should’ve been the way he talked about his living situation.  He lived on, as he called it, his girlfriends father’s “compound”.  It was a large house, I gather, and he stayed in the guest house.  But he was so against this father and his compound, but not enough so that he’d move out…
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