Battles of the bands are typically a chance for unknown acts to get in front of larger crowds. That description hardly fits Bop Skizzum. The band has been around for long enough to amass a sizable fan base, and they're not exactly at the level where picking up a handful of new fans and the dubious honor of winning some contrived contest are much use. So what is the outfit doing in Hard Rock Rising, the Hard Rock Cafe sponsored battle of the bands? Great question.
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Turns out, this is no ordinary battle of the bands. Winning this contrived contest is serious business, according to Andy Guerrero. The winner gets to play a set at the Hard Rock Calling Festival, alongside acts like Bruce Springsteen and Alabama Shakes. Then they go on a six-city world tour, get the chance to record a record, get a van, a video and the promotion of the Hard Rock brand. The kicker is, at the end of it, they're not beholden to Hard Rock in some kind of American Idol-esque nightmare contract that basically signs over everything for a shot at stardom.
"It's pretty awesome," says Guererro. "The best thing is it's all philanthropic for them -- they push you really hard for a year, then you own your masters and you own everything that you recorded. For a band like us that's kind of different and trying to do our thing, having someone help you out and try to get that exposure, while knowing that whatever product you make you can keep at the end of it is pretty amazing."
That alone was enough to convince Guerrero and company to get onboard, and they've done well in the early rounds, taking the local title and moving on to the international stage. Voting is underway now (you can only vote once from a laptop of desktop device), and they're looking to make it to the next level. A week of voting determines the cut to the top 25, and from there, a panel of industry pros will pick the top three. Guerrero is confident that if his band can make it past the initial voting to the final cut, hopeful that his band's eclectic take on modern pop will help them win it all.
"I think we have a good shot at winning one of the top three spots," he declares, "just because we're diverse, and we're young, and we mess with hip-hop and funk and rock and all that." Even if the Boppers fall short, Guerrero expects it will all be worth it.
"There's no magic formula to be successful," he notes. "You just have to play shows, write songs, grind and build a rapport with your fans. Anything that helps you out is good for the band. Anything that can get you exposure in a positive light is great."