Tales from the Trenches

Bill, a musician, says he didn't take part in a December 3 "battle of the bands" at Mira Mesa's all-ages Epicentre. He's been down that road, though. "If you were standing in line for a big concert somewhere like Rimac, this guy would come up to you and ask kids in line if they were in a band. If you say you were, he tells you he can help you get bookings. He gives you a flyer, but he doesn't tell you it's for a battle-of-the-bands thing."

Bill participated in the last battle of the bands (in 2002) held by Toronto promoter Gary Gottlieb. The December 3 event, organized by the same promoter, "went from noon to midnight," Bill says. "There were 30 bands. It's a nightmare with 30 bands."

No judges were evident at the competition, but the band that won, Repulsed, says there were judges.

"We got to choose between 15 hours of studio time at Track Star Studios [in La Mesa] or $600 cash," says Brian Tyranski, vocalist for Repulsed. "We took the studio time. We're used to this thing where promoters take all the money. But we do it so we can get our name out there."

Bill says, "Whoever sells the most tickets wins. If you sell the most tickets, you get the best time slot and you also win. They say it's all about audience response."

Tyranski, whose band sold 75 of the $12 tickets for Gottlieb, doesn't agree with all of Bill's statements.

"We know another band called Our Ivory Tower," Tyranski says. "They also sold 75 tickets. Two other bands sold all 100 of their tickets.... The bands who sold the most tickets got to pick their time slots."

Epicentre assistant manager Albert Zaloga says Gottlieb rented out the Epicentre.

"We didn't seem to have any issues with him," says Zaloga. Gottlieb did not respond to a request for comment.

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