Thanks for visiting!

GSNN Primes
The Next Great American Band

8p ET Fridays

SS Monday SS Tuesday SS Wednesday SS Thursday SS Friday SS Weekend SS Archives Primes Lineup About Us
InSites On the Buzzer Numbers Game State of Play WLTI Block Party Video Wall Replay News Archive Contact
Previous Episodes

The people who turned seven ordinary Americans into American Idols are looking to discover the next great band.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host: Dominic Bowden
Judges: Ian "Dicko" Dickson, Sheila E., John Rzeznik
Creator: Simon Fuller
EP: Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America


Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. Copyrighted material appearing on this site constitutes fair use, and no challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

Powered by 1&1 Internet

October 19

So you want to make a band, huh? Well, you can go about it one of two ways...

1) You can rally up some of your friends, learn how to play some music, go out from venue to venue, starting small and working your way from bars to county fairs to dance halls to mega-arenas within the scope of five years, all the while signing a recording contract to sell yourself out to the RIAA in order to boost sagging CD sales, then fade into obscurity...


2) You can get on this show.

Last summer, the producers of "American Idol" sent out the call to bands and band-wannabes to see if they had what it takes to become The Next Great American Band, hence the title of this series. There's only one rule... There ARE no rules. Any age, any style, any... umm... well, you name it. Hell, you don't even need instruments!

Sixty bands... Three judges.. one chance. We have the stage. Do you have the chops?


Let's meet our motley crew. Dominic Bowden is the host of "NZ Idol" and their version of "5th Grader". He's gone halfway around the world to our base camp in Las Vegas to find an incredible band. The panel of judges: Dicko (nee: Ian Dickson), a judge on "Australian Idol". He's helped launch the careers of Pearl Jam and Ozzy Osbourne. Sheila E (she of "The Glamorous Life") is the sensitive, nurturing, but not-gon-take-no-mess judge. She's worked with Prince and Ringo Starr. Rounding out the three is John Rzeznik, frontman of The Goo Goo Dolls.

First up, the Sizzling Happy Family from Cunningham, TN. They got their name presumably from a Chinese dish. They got their sound out of old-fashioned rock'n'roll. This is basically their one last shot at greatness. Even with the greatest guitar hero in Cunningham, TN, it's nothing we haven't heard before. Their gimmick: playing the guitar with a chicken. The judges like it. Dicko says no, because they can't sell records. Sheila and Dicko immediately go at it. So yeah, John is the decider. After their defense "We have better songs". Johnny? "If you had better songs, you should have played 'em"

It's a no for the flying chicken. One down, 59 to go.

Next band is Tres Bien from LA. They were raised on LPs and sounds of the 1960s, i.e. the Kinks and the Zombies. Their song is an original called "Your Graceful Soul". They had me until they started singing. John likes the song and the stage presence. Dicko thought it was great. It's a three-way sweep and Tres Bien is one step closer to becoming "The Next Great American Band".

Time for what we call at the net, "The Obligatory Reject Reel", featuring... The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad! What about Light of Doom from San Marcos, CA, a band of shirtless kids... (Hatergram: BLEAGHGHGAHGAHGAHGAHGAHGAHGAHAGAGGHGHHGHGHGHGGHH!)... Yeah. Their biggest fans: their parents. Their influence: 80s Metal, ninjas, boobs, and explosions. I think they're more of a stage band than a recording band. I will give them the concession that the guitarist can really wail on their cherry axe. Sheila thinks they'll be amazing in a couple of years. John likes the stage presence. Dicko think that it's a bit too cute right now and gimmicky.  He says no. Sheila says yes. Johnny says... Oh just say it already... He wants to say no, but Sheila won't let him, so they get a pass... Begrudgingly.

Next is the Hatch from Brooklyn. They do "Use Me" by Bill Withers. I hope this is a good cover. It really is, but the thing just sits there. I'm wishing that they could've done more with it. Johnny thinks the voices are good, and the frontman is "a movie star". Dicko thinks the default is set of "boy band", "Maroon 3.5". Sheila wants to see the lead guy's eyes. And it's a three-way.

Noon on day 1, and the temp outside is a staggering 110. Being a former singer in what you'd call "a boy band", I can tell you from experience that this is murder on the throat. Xenovibes out of Texas are murder on the ears. Ballroom Dancing out of Tennessee are murder on the everything-else. Disco Stu... New Wave... and polka? Forget about it!

Next is Big Toe, a hard rock/vocal harmonies band. "Something that feels good, but is a little bit dangerous." The lead singer/bassist plays guitar with his feet (he was born with no arms). He says he isn't a guy to feel sorry for. He thinks that it's hard to play "Stairway to Heaven" with the trombone. Like the singer said in the bio piece, I don't even notice that he's playing with his feet. Dicko, on the other hand, thinks that it doesn't sound recordable. Sheila thinks that it's a little raggedy. John agrees. Big Toe gets cut.

Next up, CJA of Mesa, CA. Piano and strings. It's different, I'll give you that. And, like Tres Bien earlier, they had me until the singing.

Austin, Adam, and Ashley made up the Clark Brothers. The brothers stayed in, practicing what they were born to do... Play tent revivals. Their parents are traveling evangelists from Nashville. They really wail on "This Little Light o' Mine." And I would kill to learn to play the Dobro like that. Dicko says that this is what he was hoping to see. Their instincts will see them through to the main rounds. John and Sheila agrees. John wants to see a drummer and a bass, but hey, they don't need it. They're going through.

Day 2 begins... and everyone's bright-eyes and bushy-tailed... Okay, not. First band takes an extended "brain burrito" breakfast. They're the Zombie Bazooka Patrol from Nashville, TN. They're "real zombies". They hope to melt Johnny Rzeznik's heart like they melt him. They sound more like Corky & the Juice Pigs. At least their music is in sync. They're more of a YouTube novelty band than anything else, though. The judges were surprised, calling it a "fabulous waste of time." Sheila and Dicko give'em a pass.

Chicago's Dot Dot Dot is next. They've been together for five months, performing three times. They go with "Always Something There to Remind Me" by Burt Bacharach. They look like a band. They play like a band. They put their best punk foot forward. Reminds me of Green Day-lite, though. The two ladies did a great job. They have a very awesome look. The arrangement was great. Note of caution from Dicko: they're going to have to prove themselves. Dot Dot Dot is in in in.

Northmont's Ward Bell and Justin Tana promised their kids that this was going to be a make-or-break gig for them. And this is their last go at it. This Dayton band may have life in it yet. They cover "Long Day" by Matchbox Twenty. Dont' look now, but Ward Bell is climbing the scaffolding while singing. John sensed some desperation. He's not sure that they have the musicianship. Sheila thinks that they're playing loud and that Ward is carrying the band together. It's not over for them as Dicko gives them one more chance later this week.

So as Northmont tries to bring it together, we meet another band who's brought together by tragedy. The Muggs from Detroit had a member (Tony) with a hemorrhagic stroke. They stuck by their fallen comrade. Even though he was half-paralyzed, he learned to play bass with the keyboard. It turned out for the best, as they can really come together in the clutch. The judges like the Muggs. "Guys like you stop the music biz from turning into the fast food industry."

But it seems like they're the only true rock outfit to make it in day 2... until Fifi LaRue, the Gothic Killer Clown of Rock'n'Roll from Hollywood... with Darth Maul on the drums, ladies and gentlemen! Definitely not KISS... John calls them on the KISS-lite. "It wasn't heavy metal. It was just... heavy." Sheila thinks it's scary and horrible.

Next is a big band outfit, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. They were one of the first bands off the bus at 5:30 in the morning of Day 3. I'm a big big band geek, and imagine how thrilled I was to see this sort of thing embraced. That said, it was a far cry from Brian Setzer, but they're on their way. The judges seem to agree. John thought they were great with stage presence. Sheila thought it was great. Dicko thought it was okay, but Denver has a problem with stealing hearts and breaking hearts, comparing him with Ned Flanders. Still, it's a pass from all three.

Next up, a band that is completely out of this world... Zolar X. One of them is from Plutonia... One of them is from Lumin... and I'm sure the third is from Iowa somewhere. I don't know. They play an original, "Retro Rocket." And I'm waiting for them to rocket on outta here. "That sounded more like the sound of Uranus."

Next, Nashville sends up Sixwire, an edgy country/rock outfit. They put an album out, but it didn't really do well, so ... yeah, you can call this a comeback. Their song, fitting... "Good to Be Back". I'd take this over Rascal Flatts, really. Dicko says that they are amongst the best in the contest so far. Judges overwhelmingly take Sixwire back.

Cliff Wagner & the Old #7 are a bluegrass outfit from San Pedro, CA. Dicko wants to hear a cover that "isn't written by a 70 year old raccoon hunter." They agree to do a cover of "Like a Virgin". John says that the music flows from them. Sheila agrees. But is America ready for a bluegrass band? All three send them through along with LA's The Likes of You (pop/rock), Red Halo from Jasper, AL (pop/rock), Lexicon from LA (rap rock), and Blackbird from Georgia (Southern rock).

Next up, Philly club regulars and church-going bandsters Franklin Bridge. They bring their rock'n'soul with an original, "Incredible". Standing O from the judges says it all.

After the break, Arlington's 440 Alliance gets 404'ed after a string arrangement of the "Knight Rider" theme. The Lords of the Highway from Cleveland are derailed after shaking it up and down. The doo-woppers of the Van Dells (from Cleves, OH) fell as well. And after that bit of band hell, we have to do some praying with a gospel quartet, Heaven Bound from Buffalo. And... oh God, they're off key. Fall back, ladies. Dicko calls it "a semifinal in a cat-strangling competition."

Can the ladies of LA's Rocket rock it? They think that being in a band is like being in a family. They all live in a house in East Hollywood. They want to break stereotypes of girl bands. So far, with their cover of the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop", the only thing I can see is a stereotype of a band that'll do commercials after a year. That was Joey Ramone-lite. Dicko doesn't think that they're the best musicians or the hottest chicks, but he would sit in a bar all the way through. John digs it. They're through.

It's getting close to the end for the auditions. Mezcal from Visalia, CA are out to impress ONE judge in particular... Sheila. She's an inspiration to their Latin flavor. And it shows through their performance, as they are tight on the phythm sections and the harmonies. ... On the other hand, they're lacking a little cojones. Oh, and get this, Sheila had to go up on stage and show'm how to do it. John thought it was lacking guts. They pass.

One band left... It's Northmont.  Will they take advantage of this second chance? They spent the last of their money trying to get better in one night. They go into it...

Is "Had Enough"... enough?  John likes the band, but wants a heavier sound. Dicko thinks that Ward is one of the better front men. The band is letting him down. Sheila thinks that they have to work on tone. Dicko says no. Sheila says yes... Johnny.... "I gotta say no." Unfortunately, it's the end of the line for Northmont. At least in this competition.

But for these 12 bands, the journey continues...

Tres Bien
Light of Doom
The Hatch
The Clark Brothers
Dot Dot Dot
The Muggs
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra
Cliff Wagner and the Old No. 7
The Likes of You
Franklin Bridge

Next week, they perform for your votes. Now get off!