Nine times out of ten, battle-of-the-bands competitions don't mean dick. If the judges aren't clueless industry hacks or buddies with one of the bands, the categories seem straight out of a high school talent show. (Audience participation? What, should they play "Kum Ba Yah"?) But when the Freakin' Hott won the National Production Group's "Champions of Rock" contest last April, it was because of one thing and one thing only -- the Freakin' Hott freakin' rocks. And it does so with the barest of bare-bones structures -- two vocalists, one guitar, and a drum kit. There's no rack of space-age effects... not even a bass guitar. (OK, so there is a keyboard on the band's latest recordings, but it's not synth.) What the band does have, however, are incredibly catchy songs (think '60s-styled pop), loose and loud guitar riffs (think '70s-style glam-rock), and an ability to fuse the two into a sound all its own. It's the kind of music that makes you want to hum along and play air guitar.

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