Four young Evans musicians have already been through boot camp, slugged it out in the trenches and are now preparing for full-scale war in a battle of the bands contest.
Austin Peters, Cody and Chase Stringfield and Ian Ribble, members of the rock, funk and blues fusion band The Mood, will soon take their next step toward earning a $1 million recording contract as part of the semifinal round of the Bodog Music Battle of the Bands competition.
"We're really honored to get this far," said Peters, who is the lead singer and a Greenbrier High School senior. "We're proud and happy to get this far, but want to go farther. We know we're young, but we have a lot of originality."
The Mood formed when twin brothers Cody and Chase, 18 - the band's lead guitarist and drummer, respectively - and bassist Ian Ribble added Peters to the lineup late last year. Their influences include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In short order, the band landed a gig opening for Collective Soul and Sister Hazel at pro golfer John Daly's annual Lion's Heart Invitational charity golf tournament in June.
Now, The Mood find themselves in a nationwide band search, which boasted a field of thousands in May. The battle of the bands carries with it a militaristic theme.
The Mood earned their stripes in the first round of the competition, called Boot Camp at Vinyl, in Atlanta, besting several bands to move on to the second round, called In The Trenches. There, the band earned another first-place finish and on Nov. 18 at Center Stage in Atlanta, the band mates face their toughest challenge in Citywide Warfare, the semifinal round.
If they beat out the 11 other top bands in the Atlanta division, The Mood will earn an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to compete with the best bands from major cities throughout the country for the recording contract.
The band mates say they're confident in moving to the next round.
As they have before the previous two competitions, the group is writing a new song to give the crowd something fresh to hear. Cody said that as the competition has gone forward, their confidence has grown.
"Everybody there is looking for you, to watch you play, so basically we play our hearts out," he said. "We're very confident in our music and ourselves and how we look onstage and stuff. We give them a show."
Ribble, who along with the Stringfields graduated from Greenbrier last year, said the sudden success was a surprise.
"I never thought anything this big would happen this soon," Ribble said.
If the band wins the recording contract, he said, classes at Georgia Southern University might have to take a back seat for a while.
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