Yes, there are more local band battles than you can shake a stick at, but the Fort Lauderdale-based Ghost of Gloria is poised, possibly, to win a big-deal national one. The Hard Rock chain has, over the past few months, sponsored its own "Ambassadors of Rock" series. Hard Rock Cafes across the country held their own local battles, with the competitors aiming at a performance slot on a major festival in London.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood (in the Seminole Hard Rock complex) held its first installment this past April 16. The radio-ready active rock quartet Ghost of Gloria won that first heat, and then again came out on top at the regional finals on April 30.
Beating out a crop of other locals might seem relatively easy, but here's the impressive part.
A tape of that winning April 30 performance was sent, along with tapes of the 21 other national (and Canadian) finalists, to a panel of judges. And these are people known for their taste in music: Live Nation VP of Promotions Toby Leighton-Pope, Planet Rock DJ Nicky Horne, SPIN magazine editor Doug Brod, and even Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and the awesome "Little" Steven Van Zandt, who was head judge of the whole thing.
They watched the tapes and picked the five best. Surprise -- or well, not a surprise to their fans -- Ghost of Gloria again came out among the finalists. The other four are Beatnik, from Hollywood (California); Rudy Vaughn, from Atlanta, The Last Good Year, from Indianapolis, and Versecity, from Houston.
Here's where the band needs your help. The Hard Rock Ambassadors of Rock official web site is now hosting performance videos of all five finalists. Check them out, and then vote (and, well, vote local.) The prize package is a serious deal: The winner gets round-trip airfare to London, three nights in a hotel there, cash, and a slot on the Hard Rock Calling festival in London. Also on that bill? Oh, some little acts you may have heard of: The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, among others.
Right now, Rudy Vaughn leads the votes, with Ghost of Gloria in fourth. Click here to check out a video of the band and vote. (And, laudable on Hard Rock's part, to avoid as much ballot-stuffing as possible, you'll need to enter a first and last name and valid e-mail address for every vote.)