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January 23, 2008 > Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands

By Mattie Carvalho

For forty-five years, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD) has hosted The Battle of the Bands for a selected group of musicians. Out of more than 30 applicants who go through a rigorous audition process, only 12 bands have been chosen to participate in this year's event. The style of music that will be showcased ranges from Indie, Rock, and Alternative to Punk, Funk, and Reggae.

This year's event will take place on Saturday, February 9. Performances will include the 12 finalists and a special performance by Peaceable Jones. The event will be held inside the Chabot College Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:00 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $8. Admission will be $10 at the door.

Leading up to the event, TCV will highlight some of the participating bands. This week's bands: Laroga and Good For You.



Laroga

Laroga is a three-person band from Hayward. The band members are: Alex Caldeira- guitar & vocals, Ryan Pappas- bass and vocals and Nickolus Salazar-- drums. Their musical style is reggae, dub, and rock. Musical influences include Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley.



TCV: How long has your band been together?

Laroga: We have been together for a little less than two years.



TCV: How was your band formed?

Laroga: Laroga began to form way before we even knew about Battle of the Bands. Nick was in a band called Blindsight back in his freshman year, which Alex joined for about a week. That band broke up, but Alex and Nick always talked about getting together and jamming. After a couple of jam sessions in their first year of college, Nick and Alex let it rest. It wasn't until a couple of years later that they started to get together regularly and jam, whether it was at one of Alex's crazy house parties or just an afternoon that they were both free.

Once Alex & Nick started to form some songs, we started talking about auditioning some bass players that would help complete our reggae rock sound. A few ads on Craigslist and a couple of auditions presented us with Ryan Pappas, a bassist from Castro Valley. We've been writing and recording new songs ever since, and have played at such places as The Bistro in Hayward, Rooster's Roadhouse in Alameda, Pine Street Bar and Grille in Livermore, A house party in Rhonert Park was our first show, and we plan on adding Battle of the Bands to the list!



TCV: Why are you called Laroga?

Laroga: Alex's house, located on Calaroga in Hayward, often served as the high school hang out, and became known as the Laroga spot. After searching for a band name, since this was now our practice spot, we decided to adopt it as the band name.



TCV: How would you describe your music?

Laroga: Our music has a little bit of variation including reggae, rock, dub, punk, funk, or whatever happens to come out.



TCV: Where have you performed?

Laroga: Laroga has performed in Rhonert Park at a kickin' house party, The Bistro in Hayward, Rooster's Roadhouse in Alameda, Pine Street Bar and Grille in Livermore and at Alex's crazy house parties.



TCV: Do you compose/write original songs?

Laroga: We compose original songs, however we also play some cover songs such as Pepper's Give It Up & Ese Loco, Sublime's Badfish & Saw Red, and The Police's So Lonely, and a couple of others as well.



TCV: Who are your musical influences?

Laroga: Our musical influences are all over the charts. They range from Metallica, Pantera to such bands as Operation Ivy, The Misfits, The Ramones, The Expendables, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper or even Local bands like ZBS, Oppressed Logic...the list is endless...



TCV: How do you promote your band and shows?
Laroga: Our shows are promoted through MySpace, local word of mouth and networking.


TCV: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?

Laroga: The biggest obstacles are probably staying focused on the music. I think a lot of people tend to show up to band practice, and lose focus halfway through, and get lazy. Also, finding a unique sound is a very hard thing to do nowadays, which makes it hard to get people interested.



To listen to Laroga, visit http://www.myspace.com/larogamusic



Good For You

Good For You is a four-person band from San Jose. The band members are: Christopher Schneider- guitar and vocals; Kyle Schneider- guitar & vocals; Nick Underwood- bass & vocals, and Matt Fidge- drums. Their musical style is pop punk. Musical influences include Gatsby's American Dream, Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance, Brand New, and The Mars Volta.



TCV: How long has your band been together?
GFY: Good for You has officially been a band for approximately 14 months.



TCV: How was your band formed?

GFY: Brothers Christopher and Kyle have been writing music together for about two or three years. They have performed together in other projects playing different instruments. When Kyle and Christopher finally decided to put a serious band together, they looked to Craigslist for eager musicians to join them. They tried out quite a few drummers but it wasn't until they found Matt Fidge - our current drummer - that a specific style began to develop. When the bass player that we were previously working with moved out of the area for school, the band auditioned Nick, a local jazz musician who had been working his way through school playing in jazz combos all over the bay area. With a solid rhythm section now in place, the pieces of the puzzle pretty much fell together on their own.



TCV: Why do you call yourselves Good For You?

GFY: The band name came about, actually, as an afterthought from our drummer. In a moment of desperation for a band name, Matt said, "I always thought Good for You would be a cool name for a band... it's optimistic and simplistic."



TCV: How would you describe your music?

GFY: Good for You's music is well... good for you [wink]. In all seriousness, though, the band is influenced by so many different genres. Kyle listens to a lot of pop punk and classic rock, as does Christopher. But with Matt listening to more post experimental/hardcore music and Nick and Christopher being involved in Jazz for so many years, it's hard to say that our music sounds like any one thing. But if we must generalize for all of you out there looking for a one word answer, we'll give you two: Pop Punk.


TCV: Where have you performed?

GFY: Good for You has performed in bars all over the Bay Area. We've been privileged enough to play at benefit shows in the Bay Area as well as the Los Angeles Area.



TCV: Does Good for You compose/write original songs?

Good for You composes almost of its material, save for a cover tune or two. Typically Good for You's music is written by Nick, Kyle or Christopher and then presented to the band. It is then torn apart and rebuilt with influences from every band member.



TCV: What are your songs about? Who are your musical influences?
Good for You's music is typically about its member's past and current relationships, although from time to time the songs are completely hypothetical. Good for You is influenced by bands such as: Gatsby's American Dream, Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance, Brand New, the Mars Volta, and Saves the Day.




TCV: How do you promote your band and shows?

Good for You promotes its shows mostly by word of mouth and of course through MySpace, which is a convenient way to advertise up-coming performances.



TCV: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?

GFY: The biggest obstacles for bands are getting heard, getting heard by the "right people," and getting the opportunity to play. Good for You's 12th performance was at the Saddle Rack with No More Kings.



To listen to Good For You, visit http://www.myspace.com/gfymusic

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