Bang Camaro resuscitates the rock anthem with nearly 20 vocalists on stage

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:: Bang Camaro :: :: Aggie Theatre :: February 20 ::
:: Fox Theatre :: February 21 :: Bluebird Theatre :: February 23 ::

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By Brian Kenney

In years past, Christmas has come early for Boston’s Bang Camaro. The band has twice received the ultimate pop fuel-injection in the form of their inclusion in the year’s most popular X Box and Playstation video games: 2006’s Guitar Hero II and 2007’s Rock Band. Both hit the shelves just in time for the holiday rush and both have propelled Bang Camaro, with roots deep in the late ’80s hard rock sidekicks of Skid Row, Def Leppard and KISS, into a higher culture bracket as they reap the rewards of Christmas commercialism.

“Involvement with Guitar Hero and Rock Band has launched us into the national sphere,” said Bang Camaro guitarist and co-founder Bryn Bennett in a recent interview with The Marquee. “And we’ve been pretty lucky with iTunes,” he continued. “I think the whole industry is shifting right now. Maybe playing live shows is what’s going to push the market right now.”


The Marquee caught up with co-founders and co-lead guitarists Alex Necochea and Bennett as they geared up for a tour in support of their self-titled debut, which will bring them to the Front Range for a late-February series of headlining shows in Fort Collins, Boulder and Denver.

What makes Bang Camaro, a pseudo five-piece hard rock act made up of core members Necochea, Bennett, bassist Dave Riley, drummer Peter McCarthy and guitarist/keyboardist Maclaine Diemer, so unique is that they’ve taken the essence of what we love about arena rock—the memorable fist-raising choruses and dueling guitar solos — and “distilled” them into three-part guitar harmonies of catchy hooks and vocal harmonies with loud choral refrains.
Splicing Jake E. Lee Ozzy-era guitar fills with a choir of sound that brings to mind KISS in their “I Love it Loud” hey-day and Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild,” Bang Camaro brings back the big sound without the big hair. They’re not hair metal and not glam metal: they call themselves “Anthem Rock.”

But what sets bang Camaro apart from other bands trying to emulate arena rockers of the past is their vocal arsenal. The band has between 15 and 20 singers — a full-out choir of vocalists on any given song.

Born out of the idea that most fans only want to hear the choruses and solos of their favorite songs (and not the cliché lyrics which turned the ’80s hair metal bands into caricatures of themselves), the core of Bang Camaro conceived a “distilled version” of ’80s rock where the need for a solitary lead singer was moot. They still kept the ’80s bigger-better-faster-more concept that nothing exceeds like excess, as they brought on a bunch of local vocalists, or more truthfully, friends, to shout, sing and recite the choruses, and the concept grew from there.

“It’s more complex than it sounds,” Bennett said of the added vocalists. “It’s not just a bunch of guys who jump on stage with us. There’s a lot of training that the supplemental choir has to go through. They get a training DVD and they have to audition.“

Auditions were solicited via Bang Camaro’s myspace page and subsequently were simulcast on youtube. This, of course, invited your prototypical sociopath to audition. “The auditions were great! One guy said he didn’t have a way to record himself visually, so he just sent us pictures of himself drinking Forties,” Bennett said with a laugh.

Taking a choir of an extra 15 to 20 vocalists on tour invites trouble and it also creates an expense account that a young act like Bang Camaro might have a hard time fronting the bill for. But early on Bang Camaro had a solution: “We travel with a core of six singers who are with us no matter where we go,” Necochea explained. “We’ve also been building these supplemental choirs in different markets and in different parts of the country. The idea is to roll into town and then meet up with some new people in that area, get to know them, go through the songs with them, and then we hit the stage.” Ultimately, the vocalists are responsible for the refrains and choruses.

Gone are a lead singer’s verses or fade-out diatribes. Gone are lyrical messes. Gone is the pity-party tear-jerking drama of a lead singer that made fans ultimately despise the glam era. As a result, you won’t find Warrant’s Jani Lane or Stryper’s Michael Sweet sitting in with them. Instead, you have Satriani-influenced fist-pumping numbers and loud, boiled-down sing-along choruses. All that matters to Bang Camaro are the memorable anthems with a wall of vocalists. “Bang Camaro is a party band and vibe. We’re there to have a good time, not to go on some mind expanding thought process,” said Bennett.

Bang Camaro is a happening of cosmic proportions; a Brian Setzer orchestra meets a heavy metal Polyphonic Spree. “We’re really a live band and you don’t really ‘get’ us until you see us live,” said Bennett.

:: Bang Camaro ::
:: Aggie Theatre :: February 20 ::
:: Fox Theatre :: February 21 ::
:: Bluebird Theatre :: February 23 ::

Recommended if you like:
• Joe Satriani
• Def Leppard
• Skid Row

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