There was this one gig where we were asked to audition for the America's Got Talent TV show. One of the producers called, saying he really dug the tunes on our website, and the sound and look of our style. But then he said he wanted us to meet him at a cabin so they could shoot us.
Apparently that means something entirely different in L.A. Once the confusion was cleared up, I said we'd think on it. We didn't jump at the offer right away. Honestly, the band is not really Captain Ahab about any fame and fortune beyond the fun we already have each weekend. That, and I kinda thought the show was more about fire swallowers and dancing dogs than music of our type.
But then, a good many fans on Facebook caught wind of the offer and said we'd be bonkers not to give it a go. So we accepted, and were told to show up at some random address deep in the woods of Oak Cliff for "the shoot."
We roll up at what looked like an abandoned farm house from the road. Waited awhile at a padlocked fence, and began to suspect we were on a different kind of reality show and about to get punked. Eventually the AGT film crew swooped in and took us to the porch of a cabin behind the house, told us to jam, and the "shooting" commenced. Film crew loved it, and wanted our new album, so I guess we passed their informal audition.
Next day was the auditions at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, where it was a sea of cheerleaders, Chinese dragons, magicians, Michael Jackson lookalikes, contortionists, diva wanna-be's and such. Because we got shot at the cabin, we were ushered past the long lines and holding rooms to registration tables outside, where several hundred others were waiting.
With so many musicians hanging around, this just seemed like a hootenanny waiting to happen. So we pulled out our stuff and did what we do. Kicked off our little hoedown version of "Sweet Emotion."
Next thing you know, folks are clapping along. A gospel singer starts scatting on top of our jams. Others join in with ukes or acoustic guitars or whatever they had in their hands, as the song morphed into "Old Joe Clark."
This caught the attention of the AGT film crew, who had shot us the day before. They hustled over to catch the party on video. Then they hustled us up to the front of the line to try and recreate the moment. It wasn't quite the organic spirit of what we shared with the crowd. But who knows. Maybe you'll see it in their commercial teasers next Spring.
Eventually, a group of about 30 of us were herded back inside to an audition room. There, one act at a time was interviewed by a sweet lady named Nina. No Simon or Howie at this level, I guess. And each act was given a mere 90 seconds to be discovered and become world famous. Most were young singers, who'd been "practicing for years in the shower." So my expectations were awful low.
But I gotta say, there were some real natural gifts among these kids. I wanted to tell them that a better use of their time would be to hone their craft with some hard work on the local scene, learn how to work an audience, and get some DIY sweat and savvy under their belt. But, ya know, when they bring the Hollywood slot machine to your own city, I suppose you gotta go pull the lever.
So, did we hit the jack pot? Well, it's all pins and needles until they announce who made the cut next year. Honestly though, however it comes down, we had a grand two-day adventure in D-town. And I expect we'll be seeing you back at the pub for awhile longer.
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