Strike a balance
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.
Learn the material
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.
Look the part
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.
Show up early
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.
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.
Get in tune
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.
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.
Audition them too
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.
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.
Do some digging
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.