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Categories: Events

“Mario Speedwagon” Advances To Regionals in National Rock Band Competition

Mario Speedwagon celebrate in the VIP lounge after qualifying in Lake Tahoe.

“Mario Speedwagon” celebrate in the VIP lounge after qualifying in Lake Tahoe.

Mario Speedwagon, the “house band” for Ground Kontrol’s weekly Rock Band Tuesdays event, will fly all-expenses-paid to Atlantic City on Wednesday, May 7th to compete for the chance to win $10,000 and open for the B-52s in the “Total Rock, Total Rewards” competition sponsored by Harrah’s Casinos and MTV.

Mario Speedwagon is “MC Destructo” on vocals/bass, Joseph Garrison AKA “Joseph Hendrix” on guitar, Brennan Thome AKA “Debbie DayGlo” on bass/vocals, and Chris Wiza AKA “SomeGuy” on drums.

“We’re thrilled to represent Rock Band Tuesdays, Ground Kontrol, Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and anybody else who wants to cheer us on,” said MC Destructo, who also hosts Ground Kontrol’s weekly Rock Band event. “When the contest was announced, I first thought it would be ridiculous to enter. Then I realized we’ve been playing this game onstage at Ground Kontrol almost every week since Rock Band 1 was released. With nearly two years of live experience, it would be ridiculous for us not to enter.”

There were obstacles along the way, however: The contest didn’t even include a northwestern venue at first, offering only Western, Southern, Central, and Eastern locations. Eventually, Lake Tahoe, NV was added to the Eastern region, offering a relatively close destination for qualifying. The band planned to fly there on April 17, the last possible night, but almost didn’t make it when their flight was overbooked, leaving their drummer without a seat. A volunteer eventually came to the rescue, enabling the band to make the trip. They played the last song of the evening, posting a top score that qualified them for the Eastern Regionals and a free trip to Atlantic City.

Bands in the next round will be judged on appearance and performance in addition to game score by an American-Idol style panel of representatives from Harmonix, makers of the Rock Band game, and MTV. Destructo thinks the band is ready.

“This is a dream team. Everyone in the band is giving their all. We’re good at playing the game but, more importantly, we know how to put on a great show and have a great time while doing it. We’re planning to go all the way.”

The band promises to post updates on their MySpace throughout the competition “except when we’re sleeping in the limo, like rock stars.”