by Paul Peterson
Say what you want about Battle of the Band competitions, but they aren’t going anywhere.
Battle of the Bands has been around for as long as I have been in this game, and then some. Its original intention was to develop some healthy competition between bands. The real question now is, does a battle of the bands serve a purpose?
Let’s look at how it’s been repackaged in the last 10 years, and then you’ll find how valid it really is.
When I was coming up, “Battle of the Bands” was repackaged as “Star Search.” Today, we have “American Idol, The Voice, Duets,” and probably 10 others glorified battle of the bands in development. That’s on the larger scale, but what about locally?
Unfortunately, some of these competitions prey on the naiveté of these young bands, but I have seen one competition in the Mpls/St Paul area stand out and deliver everything “as advertised.” That is Rawkzilla’s Battle of the Bands, which is going on right now.
David Hitchcock took on the daunting task 3 years ago to do a “proper” battle, priding himself on the integrity of the competition, and surrounding himself with sponsors who believed in the idea. After careful calculation, he learned he made a whopping 26 cents an hour, followed by 61 cents an hour last year. “It’s all about doing this the right way” Dave said. His rewards are about to come.
Because he has done this the “right way,” he is on his 3rd year, and the contest has gained in popularity, and exposure. He is launching a nation wide battle, renamed “American Battle,” along with filming a full on reality television pilot this January. Unlike “Idol” and all of the other reality shows, he is NOT demanding an exclusive contract. They will offer the top placing bands artist/management deals, but they are under no obligation.
I have personally judged the finals for the last 2 years, and I am always amazed at the talent, dedication, and turn out.
Rawkzilla Battle of the Bands certainly serves a purpose in the local music community. MMI is proud to be a sponsor of this competition for the 3rd straight year. We recently had the Atlantis Theorem, aka Breaking Day in Studio A for 4 days with MMI graduate Ray Clark at the board.