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What's been your experience meeting up with strangers as potential bandmates?

MSmithDF

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This feels like a silly question with no good answer, but I've been invited a few times to go jam with some people on bandmix. Having grown up in some bad areas of NY and having seen some bad things happen, my street smarts kicks in and says that's probably not the best idea as you're completely vulnerable and you have no idea who these people are or what their story is. But the rational side jumps in and says this is super common, don't overthink it, and just go have fun.

Anyone ever have issues? Are there certain precautions that you always take? Seems a little weird to say "Let's get a beer first" and would be even weirder to say "Now that I've met you, I now know that I don't want to jam with you". Not easy to force it be in a common area because it's where ever the gear is and a common area you'd have to rent. Also not easy to bring a friend if the band doesn't need an extra person. And finally, not easy to let them into your house either (especially since I have a family).

What's your experiences been? Shady? Or just positive? Do you think twice about it? Do you have certain conditions?

Thanks for humoring me on this "silly" question. I've just been trying to come up with a good plan and haven't had one, so perhaps there's no good answer and everyone just does it. Or perhaps everyone is like "Hells no...I never do that without [fill in the blank]"
 

Tony_H

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Not a silly question at all. You have no idea what situation you will be walking into and there is no way of really determining that even with a pre-meet at a bar, cafe, or whatever. I haven't had to deal with this situation in many years, but when I did have to, I always had an effective means of protection with me. I won't go into specifics in order to keep this discussion on topic, but I was well prepared and always let my wife know exactly where I was going. She had the address, the phone number and name of the person that I was communicating with, etc...

Now that I'm in a very stable band we have had people come to auditions for us and they brought someone else with them, and we were totally comfortable with that and understood that they were taking the same precautions we probably would have.
 

Squirrel Man

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That's a great question, nothing silly about it at all.

"Musicians" as most may realize can be quirky. I like meeting new people, bandmates in this sense and personalities are all over the board. From completely professional and business like to weekend warrior types to the angry aggressive and controlling types.

I learned quickly to find like mindsets and mates who were easy to work with. Now I never did this professionally, this is purely a hobby for me and when I had my band going we were all on that same page. It would be a totally different approach if this was a full time, pro gig.

So for me finding a good fit with bandmates is most important, everything else comes second.
 

Polska

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Check social media. Do they have a band presence? Individual pages? You can learn a bit about people depending on the things they post, so I'd go ahead and peek. Also, has the band played any gigs? If you see that they have, then it could be a little more reassuring knowing that an invitation to play is for a band that isn't just a basement jam band (or worse). Also, do you know any of them or do you know someone who does?

Thoughts that would go through my head before I pack up and head to a stranger's house.
 

DrummBumm89

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Assuming they know you can play and you know they can play, the hang is the most important thing. I don't find it awkward asking to meet up at a coffee shop or bar for a drink first to feel out things before you play. I've very rarely gone straight to an audition without chatting them up first. When I have, I do let the Ms' know the address, contacts etc. I do also do a quick social media check to see if anything is there. If it's an established band I would be suspect if they didn't have a page.
 

rsmittee

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That's a really great question. I've been fortunate to always jam with folks I know in familiar surroundings. I have been on the other side when we were auditioning singers, and I often wondered why on earth these young ladies would show up at our sketchy old rehearsal space in the bad part of town. I guess they just want to sing that badly, and perhaps it's obvious we are absolutely harmless. That said, I have no good answer to a not so silly question. I can easily see being lured to a place and getting robbed. It's a crazy world. Trust your instincts.
 

frankmott

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I've never given it a second thought, and I've walked into cold situations like that dozens of times. What do you fear will happen? I doubt people up to no good would bother to go to such an elaborate scheme just to snare a new victim.
 

Blue Zurich

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Our world is full of horrible people who cook up elaborate schemes most sensible folks would be dismayed by. Nothing wrong with a pre- jam hang and being cautious, both my kids had separate horrible experiences that came out of the blue just yesterday in the safe and normal going about their day situations. Sh*t happens. I am convinced there are more 'baddies' post internet and you have to be savvy.
 

Houndog

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Look what happened to George Castanza ..


1663954205020.jpeg
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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Not a silly question, I went through a period of meeting numerous random people/bands that I'd discover through Kijiji. I'd always let my wife know my timing and whereabouts, and tried to make sure we were meeting at known and public spaces.

I've spoken of this elsewhere on this forum, but it seems especially relevant here. I once went to meet up with a band during this period, and after playing for a bit with things seemingly going well, the lead singer went on an antisemitic tirade about certain Jewish musicians, and getting "jewed" out of monies owed, etc. Being a pretty Jewish looking Jew myself, his bandmates turned to me and whispered that it seemed their singer's "jew-dar" was broken in that he didn't recognize me as one before exposing his bigoted views. As he continued his drunken rant I packed up my gear and walked, his bandmates following me and apologizing as I left. Thankfully nothing more came of that, but it could have gone sideways quickly and it shook me up a bit.

The next ad I responded to coincidentally turned out to be an all Jewish Grateful Dead cover band, and I've been with them for the last 4 years!
 

Houndog

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Not a silly question, I went through a period of meeting numerous random people/bands that I'd discover through Kijiji. I'd always let my wife know my timing and whereabouts, and tried to make sure we were meeting at known and public spaces.

I've spoken of this elsewhere on this forum, but it seems especially relevant here. I once went to meet up with a band during this period, and after playing for a bit with things seemingly going well, the lead singer went on an antisemitic tirade about certain Jewish musicians, and getting "jewed" out of monies owed, etc. Being a pretty Jewish looking Jew myself, his bandmates turned to me and whispered that it seemed their singer's "jew-dar" was broken in that he didn't recognize me as one before exposing his bigoted views. As he continued his drunken rant I packed up my gear and walked, his bandmates following me and apologizing as I left. Thankfully nothing more came of that, but it could have gone sideways quickly and it shook me up a bit.

The next ad I responded to coincidentally turned out to be an all Jewish Grateful Dead cover band, and I've been with them for the last 4 years!
You must live in very large city to have an all Jewish band ….Toronto? NYC ?
 

MSmithDF

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Thanks everyone! I looked at FB profile and also did a google search for "[name] arrest". Some eyebrow raising stuff did appear on someone that I had planned to contact myself, so just avoided that. Good tips here!
 

Tornado

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I've never had a problem, but I guess I have a pretty good sense of who people are going to be based on other clues. If it's an ad, I can tell pretty quickly by how its written if I even want to talk.
 
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Vistalite Black

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I think you're generally OK going to a fixed address if you let someone know where you're going to be. But, I'll add these disclaimers:
  • Don't hitch hike.
  • Don't be the first to go down into a basement.
  • Don't pick up an ancient book and read any phrase in it aloud.
  • Never follow a spooky sound or a creepy character down a dark hallway.
  • Don't assume the bad guy is dead.
  • Don't ignore mysterious happenings.
  • Never put your weapon down and walk away from it.
  • Decline if asked to use a Ouija board or have your Tarot read.
 
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rtown

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I've never had a problem, but I guess I have a pretty good sense of who people are going to be based on other clues. If its an ad, I can tell pretty quickly by how its written if I even want to talk.
Yup. I've played with a LOT of random people, both posting and responding to ads on craigslist. I've had a lot of good luck for the most part. And I'm still alive.

You just have to be able to spot the weirdos (the bad weirdos, some weirdos are harmless and just called "musicians"). Complete sentences with mostly proper punctuation is a good starting point. It's all about communication.
 

BennyK

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I used to do it all the time to score gigs .

Today there are scenes I'm not comfortable being around and discern what I might be stepping into . Location can be an accurate indicator .
 

Squirrel Man

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I think you're generally OK going to a fixed address if you let someone know where you're going to be. But, I'll add these disclaimers:
  • Don't hitch hike.
  • Don't be the first to go down into a basement.
  • Don't pick up an ancient book and read any phrase in it aloud.
  • Never follow a spooky sound or a creepy character down a dark hallway.
  • Don't assume the bad guy is dead.
  • Don't ignore mysterious happenings.
  • Never put your weapon down and walk away from it.
  • Decline if asked to use a Ouija board or have your Tarot read.
I did an audition jam in an abandoned parking garage once, old school punk stuff with a bunch of college kids. In hindsight yeah, probably not my smartest move but we had a blast playing Ramones tunes. I wound up going with another band I had previously auditioned for.
 


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