How to manage craigslist band member recruiting?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by dnauhei, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. dnauhei

    dnauhei Member

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    How do you handle this? I'm looking to put together a new band and I'm getting multiple responses.
    Do you meet each person individually?
    How to turn down poor fits without a too much awkwardness?
    What's your approach?

    :eeks
     
  2. jrjones

    jrjones Member

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    Ask for a video of them playing a song?
     
  3. luckbydesign

    luckbydesign Member

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    Eliminate everyone without a car, haha
     
  4. slybird

    slybird Member

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    I give every potential the same three songs. If they can do them all at audition then we talk, jam, or throw a few more at them if time allows. I don't ask for call-backs until we have heard everybody.

    I give no more time then scheduled. I watch the clock and don't let any audition last more than an hour. I record everyone or nobody. I try to keep an even playing field.

    If they come off as someone I wouldn't want to hang with, come unprepared, or can't do all three songs it is unlikely I would want to move forward. I am not shy about stopping an audition after one song knowing there was no point in hearing more. Often it's not because of lack of skill.

    Time is valuable, theirs and ours. Be polite about it. Thank them for their time and help them move their gear back to the car. The music scene is small is some areas and you never know when you may run into them again.

    Remember that they are auditioning you as much as you are auditioning them. They may also be in the process of auditioning several bands. Try not to be shy about showing your real personalities and work habits. If you guys normally drink beer at practice show it, offer them one. They also want to know if your group is fun/compatible gang to hang with.

    These things take time. My first band took a bit over a year to recruit and find the right people.
     
  5. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    I dealt with so many flakes the last time I gave up and I joined a band that was not what I wanted to do and a bit less skilfull but sane n stable. Worst of all: seemed 50%bass players kept wanting to jam on Rush numbers when the singers voice more a Allman range voice and did not get the clue no ones was joining in. I suggest that anyone who strays too far from the script , ie wow let's do Bohemian Rhapsody when your a blues trio.....end it there. You can do a Phone interview, get a tape BUT not till your in the room will you ever know.
     
  6. b_goatman

    b_goatman Supporting Member

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    This is great advice. I've auditioned people separately and together, but now feel that with all the curve balls that can happen in performing and even rehearsing, auditioning people together tests their skills at working on the fly.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    When I've done it (not Craigslist, but still ads in the local music things) a couple of things I've come to.

    1) Do YOUR homework first...which means you jot down information about the band you are trying to start.
    Probably first and foremost, music style (covers, originals, a mix, in any case try to refer or jot down bands that would be similar to what you want to do)
    Also how often the band will play out. This may be THE number one thing. If you are thinking about a band that will have a goal of playing out once a month that's one thing, every weekend if possible is another, depending...it could even be a band that just wants to play together in a garage, and maybe play out once or twice a year. Doesn't matter as long as ALL know it on the way in, AND be somewhat wary of someone that say they agree but seem to want more (or less). Kind of like a woman thinking she'll change the guy once they get to know each other.
    How often you will practice, shared expenses expected, etc.

    This is kind of your (as the band starter) homework. You don't have to go into each thing with each "applicant" but you should be clear about all aspects, even if you are willing to change if others want to.

    Also a part of your homework. Put together a rough potential song list (if covering songs) and mention it isn't writen in stone but just a starting point.
    Have mp3's ready, set aside to send to potential audition folk so they can hear the source...nowdays if you said "we want to play "Won't Get Fooled Again" and they were too young to know it, they may find a Polka version on youtube, and come having practiced to that! So make sure the source is the right source. You can email them to them when you set up an audition.

    Also have maps ready to send out to them to the place of practice. To send in email.



    2) Phone Audition first. Talk with them, feel them out, ask how often ideally they would play out, what kind of music style or examples of bands they are into. It isn't that they should have the same taste exactly as you and the rest of the band, it is that it should be similar enough that there is overlap. One of the BEST bands I've ever been in, and I was a kid, I was into blues, rythm guitarist heavy into Neil Young (though I wasn't crazy abou Young we played some of his songs) bassist into heavier music, yet our range of styles was wide and yet still always sounded like "us". That can work...just good to know.

    3) IF they seem to be engaged and like what you are trying to put together and you get a vibe that they may be good, schedule a day for auditions and book as many 1 hour/person units of time you can.
    A BIG thing, at least to me, tell them up front "even if I am totally blown away and love how you play we won't go into it at the audition. We get together, play up to an hour, and then part so both sides can digest and think about if it is a good match. I've been to auditions where I found the band wasn't for me, and been embarrassed when asked on the spot in front of all "SO...can you be here next thursday? we can work around it, but" which put me in the awkward position and I tried to be tactful "we can talk on the phone after", but he kept pushing until I had to say I think maybe it isn't a good match. Also have had much time wasted, some keyboardist shows up, doesn't know ANY of the songs we agreed and sent him, and there was no point in doing an HOUR even of that. Most won't be like that and an hour will go fast.


    4) I won't go on much more but...Audition EVERYONE that seems like a possible fit. Even if the third person that auditions for bass guitar is just PERFECT...talk on the phone after and say "man, we think you would do great with us. Thing is we have two more we agreed to audition so hang in, (assuming he likes and wants to play with you guys as well) and I promise to call after thursday!" and really audition the rest. You may find an even better pick (say someone as good a fit but who ALSO has a lot of connections to gigs/venues) but mainly just file away the info. If the one you pick for whatever reason doesn't work out, you go down the list and now can call someone you already auditioned and liked and see if they are still available.

    That's most of it. Be honest, and if something seems not right, not just really off but say you mention again at the audition "our goal as band, one gig a month, is that something you could be happy with or do you think you might feel it was too little?" and they make a face, seem slightly unhappy about it and say "no, that's ok for now" you may need to check more.

    HAVE questions written out to refer to so you don't forget. One last important one, IF the person is in one other or several other "projects" or bands, you might want to hear where they saw their priorities. For one thing, it really sets a band back to practice together, start to sound good and then someone says "I have to quit. With the three bands I'm in I found out it was too much , I'm never home and since this was the last band I joined I have to quit"

    Also, if in other projects what will they do with booking conflicts? Mostly it is that the first booked wins, but cases where it might be for a steady gig...have to be flexible.
     
  8. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    to weed out the bad players i would ask for some sort of recorded piece of their playing. this was after wasting much time doing auditions. if they dont have anything on video or cd then they probably are just beginning.
     
  9. JZG

    JZG Member

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    As mentioned above, a phone "interview" is a good idea. Even an email conversation can work with certain people. I've always found this to be a great indicator on if the candidate would be a good fit or not. Usually, you can figure this out after the initial email contact.

    Don't be afraid to do some cyber-stalking also. If you're bringing strangers into your home, you want to get as much info on them as you possibly can.
     
  10. chillybilly

    chillybilly Member

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    1) Write a good, honest, clear ad for what you seek. Music is only part of the equation. Lay out your expectations, probable schedule of rehearsals, gig frequency, etc. The more matter-of-fact you are about this the less likely you will get those on a fishing expedition. Obviously you may be past this step.

    2) Respond to everyone in a timely, courteous fashion. If they haven't provided enough or the right kind of info follow up to fill in any blanks so you can do evaluate somewhat evenly. It's rare these days that a serious musician albeit a part-timer doesn't have some form of online presence, including audio/video.

    3) Spelling and grammar count. If someone can't communicate effectively and promptly through e-mail then, despite the occasional virtuoso with no social skills, the odds that they would make a responsible, collegial bandmate are long. We set auditions up based strictly on e-mails and found a blinder of a bass player. It can be done without using the phone or in-person meetups.

    4) Musicians' circles are small even in large cities. Treat everyone equally because the also-rans may happen to meet each other by chance in future and their main concern will be 'Did I get a fair crack of the whip?'
     
  11. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Yeah, it is sort of a negative test. Meaning a good vibe in email or tlf, doesn't mean the person will be a good fit, but you can weed out the kind of crazies or weirdness (hopefully not the real talented ones, but) and see in some cases "this person is NOT for us".

    Weeding out to see who is a candidate for auditions.
     
  12. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Meeting for a cuppa coffee or something might be good and eliminate wasted time. Some people just aren't a "fit" culturally. Quirky, easily defensive etc. These things often come out pretty fast. One thing I learned from hiring people is; if you come away thinking there was something a little weird... in what they said or did.... it will REALLY come out if you hire them.
    Some key questions:
    *How much do they want to play?
    *Do they sing? (and can you ascertain if they insist on singing?... do you want that?)
    *Where do they work? (if they do... and will that kind of job interfere with gigging?)
    *What does their car look like? Will they have reliable transportation?
    *What kind of music do they like? (if you have a blues band but they guy loves to sing Talking Heads... will that be an issue eventually?) (do the songs they like to play represent complicated enough music to convince you they can be what you want?)
    *Are they a freelancer? Do you want a freelancer or dedicated band member?
     
  13. dnauhei

    dnauhei Member

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    Thanks everyone. I am going with phone interview followed by meet, great and pick. We'll see how it goes!
     

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