Teens compete in Brattleboro battle of the bands

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(Host) A European rock entrepreneur is staging a free concert Saturday in Brattleboro’s Memorial Park. The show will open with a local teen garage band to be chosen Thursday afternoon in a battle of the bands at the local teen center.

VPR’s Susan Keese has more.

(Keese) Then man on lead guitar is Jaye Muller. He’s a slim, brown-eyed 20-something with copper dyed hair and a gold necklace. He had a hit CD in Europe titled, “We are the Majority.” While touring with his album, he came up with the idea that made his fortune.

It’s an Internet service that automatically transfers voice mail and fax messages to the user’s e-mail. With his partner Jack Rieley, he formed a company called J2Global that currently serves about 4 million customers.

Muller now lives in Brattleboro part time in a spacious mock Italian villa. He and Riley restored the mansion four years ago and added a high tech rock studio.

(Muller) “And then afterward I got to know the town and the people and the surrounding area and it was a pleasant surprise.”

(Keese) Brattleboro has a rich adult music scene. But Muller noticed a lot of interesting looking young people hanging out around town. And he thought that they needed a place for their music too.

(Muller) “Like a place to hang out, like a club or – you know, most of them hang out at Harmony parking lot. They’re not allowed to skate board, they’re not supposed to hang out. There’s no place they’re legally allowed to go.”

(Keese) So he and Rieley are holding a free open air rock concert on Saturday night with the cooperation of police and the local rec department. It’s called Hot Music:

(Muller) “There’s going to be four bands, actually five bands because we’re also running this battle of the bands thing. And that’s actually very interesting because we invited local bands to send in their tapes, CDs with a few songs on it.”

(Keese) Muller listened to the tapes and picked five finalists. He says one local band will be chosen to open Saturday’s show. The decision will be made a few days before the concert at a Battle of the Bands at the local Boys and Girls Club. More than a dozen groups have submitted tapes.

(Muller) “And I don’t know how old they are but they sound young and they sound fresh and they sound interesting, also quite different from one another. So it’s going to be quite a battle I think.”

(Keese) Muller pops in another one of the finalists’ CDs:

(Music from one of the entries) “I met her on the first day of high school….”
(Muller) “This appears to be the song, “Only two of my best friends are actual people.”

(Keese) Muller says concertgoers Saturday will hear a mix of sounds that ranges from acoustic to pop rock. He says it’s music for young people, though anyone of any age is welcome to give it a try.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese in Brattleboro.

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