Touring For A Major Motion Picture Sound Track, And I Almost Blew The Big Audition!

I recently wrote an article titled Tips For Auditions, asking the reader… Are You Ready For That Life Changing Opportunity? I should have taken some of my own advice!

Sean Spicer - Staff Writer - Rocking God HouseI recently drove across country to Los Angeles, California, in a Honda Civic packed with my gear and high hopes of landing a gig touring a movie soundtrack coming out next spring. During this process I made some critical errors. (The drive was okay it’s the audition where I made my errors!)

Imagine this: I get to the audition. There’s a panel of top industry experts, arms crossed, and unemotional. Los Angeles is a brutal place and should not be taken lightly. At this level, they expect nothing less than the best.

As I prepared for the audition, I was experimenting with a new high tech guitar rig which only a NASA scientist could figure out. During the audition my shiny new rig was a catastrophic failure. The tone was missing, and I just could not resolve it on the spot.

Wow. I was wondering if I made this trip for nothing. How could I make such a huge mistake?

Fortunately, several on the panel were aware of my musical background and decided to give me another opportunity to land the second guitar slot.

I should have never taken such a complicated piece of equipment to such a high stakes audition without knowing the equipment inside and out. I was determined not make that mistake again. For the second audition I would be using pedals and an amp. No midi-effect processors with amp modeling, speaker simulators, and a million other things I didn’t need.

It is human nature to feel the need to incorporate new found knowledge. We all want to showcase our new gear, new techniques, and fresh approach. Yes, it will keep you on the cutting edge, but the improper implementation of your skills and knowledge diminishes your ability to get opportunity. As I mentioned a few articles ago, it’s like the novice guitar player who wants to impress someone by attempting their most difficult licks and riffs. The anxiety of pulling it off coupled with a lack of timing and skill usually causes the novice to appear, well, like an amateur. Just play what you know and play it well!

I’ve been playing professionally for a long time; I know better! Yet here I am, passing my new life lessons to the world!

Here are some tips and advice:

Play it safe and keep it simple. Simplicity is always the best approach—especially when it comes to equipment. What can go wrong, will go wrong.

  • Do not overplay. Play only what the song requires. This was embarrassingly pointed out to me. On some tunes I decided to play like Alex Lifeson on “Working Man”—letting it rip! However, what was required and expected for the song was for me to play similar to B.B. King or Eric Clapton—slow and meaningful.
  • Try not to appear to be nervous or unconfident. (See the Rocking God’s House article on “My Audition with the Voice, Can Stage Fright Be Controlled?”) This is difficult, but it is critical when it pertains to those big time opportunity auditions. This is difficult, but it is critical when it pertains to those big time opportunity auditions.
  • Finally, make eye contact and smile. Remember why you love music and remove all distraction. Pray before each audition and have fun!

After this experience, I will be making the necessary adjustments. Those adjustments will be done in a setting where I can experiment in a timely manner. I will stay focused and positive and take it to higher level.

Until next time.