Just like the X Factor

Mike Scott, The Waterboys

Hey! Look at that! Mike Scott uses the same capo as me! It’s like we’re soul mates!

Oh, I never did get round to telling you, did I? But a couple of months ago – Wednesday 11 September to be exact (or 9/11 if you’re from across the pond) – I went to my first ever band audition.

Now, as regular readers will know, I’ve been in a number of bands. Quite a big number. 24, to be precise. But this was my first real audition, as in turning up at someone’s house (someone I’d never met before) to sing and play my guitar and find out if they think I’m good enough to be in their band and whether I want to be in it. A bit like a very very small version of The X Factor – an X Factor of one, if you like – but without the hairstyles and the dance routines.

I’d come across their advert completely by accident: I was in Dawson’s Music in Liverpool, just killing time waiting for Amy to finish clothes shopping. I saw a couple of people putting flyers up on the notice board and wandered over to have a nose. Ordinarily I’d not bother: I’m now quite happy to be a solo artiste (open to duets and guest spots, of course). But I happened to notice this particular advert that said “singer/rhythm guitarist required, our influences include The Waterboys, The Pogues, Saw Doctors, some Country and Western…” Wow! It was like they had come to my White Lion gig the weekend before and written down my set list! (Well, the middle part of my set list for that particular night – I happened to be in a folky/country mood that night).

Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan, lead singer with The Pogues: not lost his looks.

Well, hey! It was obviously destiny calling, and who was I to turn her down? So I scribbled down the email address on the back of one of my own business cards (knew they’d come in handy one day) and got in touch. “Hey, look no further, you’ve found me! I’m the guy you’re looking for! I know the Fisherman’s Blues album off by heart! I can do a pretty good Mike Scott impression; I saw Glen Campbell on his last ever tour; I often act and sound very much like Shane McGowan towards the end of a gig night! Get in touch forthwith, if not a teensy bit sooner!”

They replied later that same day: could I come down to theirs with my guitar and have a little jam and get to know each other? Oh, and here’s our usual set list to give you an idea of the stuff we do. Well, try as I might, I couldn’t find any mention of the Pogues or the Saw Doctors, and uncovered only a single solitary Waterboys number. Ah. Well, some Country perhaps? No Glen Campbell, no Kenny Rogers, no Willie Nelson… not even a Toby Keith. Not looking good.

Not to be easily put off (which is unusual, coz when it comes to playing music, I’m normally very easily put off), I turned up at the appointed place and time, guitar in hand, capo and plectrums in pocket, weighed down by my songbooks. They gave me a beer, we admired each others instruments, we talked about bands we’d been in. They played one from their repertoire, I played one from mine. We talked about music, musicians, drummers, work, life. We had another beer and some lovely sausage rolls (hot, not cold – can’t stand cold sausage rolls) provided by the bass player’s dear old mum. We sang some more songs, finished the beer and the sausage rolls, said our goodbyes, and as I drove away I thought “what a lovely bunch of people, and what a pleasant night I’ve had, but I don’t think we’re meant to be together.” I emailed them when I got home that night.

And that was the story of my first and last audition. Maybe next year I’ll try for The X Factor…

5 thoughts on “Just like the X Factor

  1. Maybe a return to peninsula life then? You built a bridge to the unknown with that audition, even though it was only hot sausage rolls that seemed to be the benefit.

  2. Trouble is, you probably have to go through 10 or so such experiences before you hit something close to where you want to be, if you do indeed want to collaborate in a wider sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s