I rarely give an opinion on something that I have never heard or seen but with news that a new American Idol-like reality show called The Next Great American Band scheduled to debut in October, I am not quite sure how to react.
Following the same format as American Idol (indeed it is put together by the team responsible for that show), bands will audition before a panel of judges (with Sheila E. and the Goo Goo Doll’s John Rzeznik as part of the panel. Jeez!) for a “lucrative” recording contract with 19 Records (Amy Winehouse’s label).
I must admit to having checked out Rockstar INXS and Supernova from time to time in the past as a sort of guilty pleasure but I have a feeling that this show won’t even have Rockstar’s arguably limited “rock cred.” Of course when we talk about a “band” I tend to envision rock and roll although the organizers are stating that they are looking for “musical groups of all ages, styles, and genres and we’re ready to give away a record contract that could be worth millions” but the reason that I just cannot stand these competitions is that the cater to the lowest public denominator. We all know that anything a little dangerous, a little raunchy, a little well you know rock and roll stands about as much a chance at getting by Sheila E. and the network censors as Keith Richards being on the judging panel. Shows like this just tend to breed more white bread mediocrity in the mainstream media as we are forced to listen to yet another band that wants to sound like someone else, preferably someone who sells a shit-load of records since I assume this is what the organizers mean when they say they are looking for somebody to “conquer America.”.
I of course will check out the debut episode on October 19th to see if I will have to eat my words but I am not holding my breath that the winner of this “competition” will be anything to write home about. Perhaps if they put Little Steven, Keith Richards, Peter Buck, Joan Jett, Jack White (I would even accept Jack Black!) or Noel Gallagher on the panel of judges I would hold out some hope but as it stands now, I will hold the remote firmly in one hand with my thumb hovering over the “off” button and my trusty iPod at my side ready for an emergency rock and roll jolt of energy if required. This could get ugly fast.