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THINGS COME TO THOSE WILLING TO BATTLE:
by PT Rothschild & Bill Gould
Perhaps in an effort to balance the scales of Providence for being taught ‘The Game Of War’, Man was allowed to discover ‘Music’. But even being allowed into something that soothes a savage beast, a battle is enjoined, a battle to be engaged for The OZZFEST, a touring festival of ‘metal’ and alternative rock bands set to begin this year’s summer tour shortly. Named after Ozzy Osborne, an old school metal master, who enjoyed a bigger comeback via MTV, than when AEROSMITH met RUN-DMC. Planned for this year’s festival is the slot reserved for the unsigned/unknown band who won the competition which was filmed during the 2004 OZZFEST and aired this past fall on that cable channel. It’s a chance to tour with the big boys, having ‘roadies’ load your equipment in and out instead of your Dad or the latest Band-Aid, and of course, to have your music heard by thousands across this free country.
call was issued forth from MTV and nearly one thousand bands answered
from the four corners of the U.S.A. One group, FINAL DRIVE, from Saint
Louis, Missouri, made the final cut of eight bands, or rather eight
people, since only one member of each band was chosen for this MTV style
‘battle of the bands’. This story of Providence begins simply
“Jordan (Gaw, frontman) and Nathan (Easter, guitar) were out in L.A. ‘shopping’ the CD (‘Good Things Come To Those Who REFUSE To Wait’) when somebody called and told them about the MTV contest tryouts.” Hightailing it to the Internet, the forms were filled out and a CD submitted. At this point FINAL DRIVE, as a band, had been a band for about three years, however, Providence was about to make a move on the band. Between the time of applying for the contest and being notified that they had been chosen to audition in person, the band’s bass player got hitched, hence the ‘yoko effect’. “Jordan calls me up and asks me if I’d like to go audition with the band in three days, in New York? I was home doing a load of clothes,” says Chelsea Muckerman, now bassist for the band. “I said ‘sure,’ and thought to myself you only live once.”
Chelsea, employed by a local music club, the Midwest Music Pit (@hotmail.com) in Wentzville, MO, and former lead guitarist for another band in the area, the tall and statuesque blond who displays a genuinely wholesome smile, tells the tale of being on the TV show. “I’ve known Jordan since we were kids. My family used to baby-sit for his family.” “We all grew up in small farm towns around St. Louis and now we all live in the suburbs, like St. Charles and St. Peters,” chimes in Dan ‘the merch man’, about the band of 20-24 year olds. “I learned six or seven songs and we flew out. We got there early (for the audition) and the line was around the corner and down the street. We were band #118. We did one song for them then stayed in New York for a week, waiting to hear something. When we didn’t hear anything we started back and were in Pennsylvania when they called and wanted us back (in New York City). We’re in the middle of this huge snowstorm, a blizzard, and they’ve told everyone to stay home and get off the highways. We get back and (that’s when) they picked me. I had no idea. I don’t know how I got picked.”
“Then, I couldn’t tell my family or my friends about going on the show. Only the band knew. I just told my Dad I was going to California. He thought the whole band was going with me. He practically freaked when he found out I wasn’t with the band. They didn’t want any word out about the episodes. You ‘can’t ruin the show’. We had to (keep quiet) until we got the clearance. Once when we played in Missouri and they had me in this cow suit, some of my friends saw me and tried to talk to me and I’m going (clinches lips) ‘Can’t talk now’; ‘No, it’s not me’; ‘Will tell you later’, as I’m walking away from them. They kept us on the bus a lot but the show was a lot of fun. Bill Ward is a big sweetheart. I got to meet Ozzy and Sharon (Osborne), all the guys from Black Label Society, and I got to hang with all the second stage bands.”
“They only showed her worse parts (moments) on stage (in the show),” pipes in one band member. “Yeah, I got this ‘you have no talent’ and ‘you suck’ sent to me online from that. Also I watched each episode and saw where someone had pretended to be my friend and then said I ‘couldn’t play the bass’. I’ve only been playing the bass for seven or eight months but I’ve been playing guitar for over two years since my Dad taught me to play.” On the subject of pretenders, was the portrayal of the wosie wiener accurate or did they just show his worse moments? “No, he was like that, a real pain in the ass. He got into an altercation at the Roxy.”
Chelsea, on life after MTV: “I love playing music. If I could I would just go around the country and try to spread music a little farther. I get girls writing to me on my myspace telling me how watching me gave them the inspiration to pick up an instrument and learn to play. And even though we’re still shopping for a label, MTV got our foot in the door. The show got our name out there and our shows have gotten bigger.”
FINAL DRIVE and their ‘three day’ bass player are currently touring the Southern California coast. Check their itinerary at their myspace then grab your umbrella and see what MTV didn’t show you.
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