10 killer audition tips

20th Feb 2012 | 16:22

10 killer audition tips
Strike a balance
Avoid overplaying or exhibiting too much flash.

By all means flex your chops, but this isn’t your band yet, and alarm bells will start to ring in your prospective bandmates’ minds if you furnish the plaintive bridge section with a masturbatory tapping lead.

Equally, don’t stop playing mid-song. A few bum notes and fluffed changes are acceptable, but grinding to a halt and then waving your arms around like a dick isn’t.

10 killer audition tips
Learn the material
To fail to prepare is to prepare to look foolish.

Beware the band leader who suggests, ‘y’know, a blues jam or whatever’.

If the band are going places, they’ll have a demo of original songs, so learn the changes, master the parts and don’t deviate too much – yet. There’ll be plenty of time to exercise creative control later.

10 killer audition tips
Look the part
The word that springs to mind is 'niche'.

We’re not saying you need a Gok Wan-style makeover, but turning up in deck shoes, chinos*, a starched polo shirt and silk neckerchief is terminal unless you’re trying out for Roxy Music.

Be yourself, just be the most rocking version thereof.

*Although chinos are making a comeback according to our Style Editor.

10 killer audition tips
Show up early
When a man owns this many watches, he has no excuse for being late.

It’s not unlike a job interview.

If you crash through the door late, still in your sweat-drenched Homebase uniform and wheezing like a thirsty bulldog, your banter will be stilted, your playing will be jittery and your phone will never ring.

10 killer audition tips
Travel light
A couple of choice stompboxes are a safer bet than something that looks like it was built by NASA.

You’ll need your guitar, amp and any important effects, but now is not the time to unveil pedalboard exotica.

Quite aside from the fact that something will always let you down, you want to come across as a collaborative team player, not a mad scientist who won’t start playing until he’s cleaned the tube of his talk box in a bucket.

10 killer audition tips
Get in tune
In 2012 there is no excuse for not owning, and using, a tuner.

Checking tunings is easily forgotten, at least until you hit your first powerchord and realise the guitarist and bassist have tuned down half a step.

Just cringe through the song and get your coat. Unless it’s Babyshambles, that is.

10 killer audition tips
Be cool
Okay, so you're not going to be as cool as John Lennon was in 1964. Don't even think about it. But it's good to aim high...

Bands can smell desperation.

When you’ve finished playing the songs, don’t drop to your knees, kiss the frontman’s ring and ask, “How was I?” like a needy lover with erectile dysfunction. Shake hands, thank them for their time, remind them of your mobile number and turn on your heel.

10 killer audition tips
Audition them too
Two men who know a little bit about band chemistry.

Bands are like marriages, and chemistry is vital.

If you sense friendship, musical fizz or positive friction, then bust your balls for a callback. But don’t waste your golden years on a bunch of going-nowhere pub sloggers who’ll cancel half the rehearsals to have their prostates checked.

10 killer audition tips
Be selective
If you are an eighteen year old girl, you probably shouldn't be auditioning for this guy's band.

No-one likes an audition slut, so study those classified ads and lightly interrogate frontmen in advance to be sure you’re in sync.

There’s little more crushing than expecting your prog-metal brethren only to find bank clerks who want to play covers at their office party.

10 killer audition tips
Do some digging
Do some stealth research and find out what you are getting yourself into.

Now it’s time to get all News Of The World on their arses.

Are they getting paid gigs? Do they have label interest? Are they a county-wide joke who were pelted with Müller Rice last week? Will you be expected to perform in a loincloth? Did the last guitarist die in suspicious circumstances? This stuff is important.

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