By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
With shows such as the almost-hypnotic Behind the Music, VH1 has solidified its reputation as the music channel that's actually about, you know, music. About is the key word in that sentence, because if you've seen more than a dozen videos a day on any music channel, you're most likely watching M2 (MTV's all videos all the time spin-off) on whatever satellite system you happen to own. VH1's motto is "Music First," and it's still too soon to call bullshit, but the channel is dangerously close to following MTV's lead and putting music a distant third behind reality shows and "rockumentaries."
Example: Bands on the Run, a new reality-based show that will follow three bands, including Dallas-Fort Worth's own Flickerstick, as they travel back and forth across the country. Think Road Rules meets The Monkees, then stop thinking. The one-hour show, still in the pilot stage, will send the groups out on identical nationwide tours (albeit with three separate starting points) with a van and trailer provided by VH1, producing enough footage for at least 13 episodes, and as many as 20 episodes. That is, if the network decides to pick it up. Flickerstick is scheduled to film the pilot in Los Angeles between July 24 and 29.
"Crazy shit, huh? It's a very, very weird, cool, don't-know-how-it'll-turn-out-yet type of deal," says a source close to the band. (OK, it's band manager Paul Bassman, who, gallantly, didn't want to take the focus off the group.) "I mean, how can you turn down VH1 when they're talking about maybe putting you on television for 13 weeks?"
Flickerstick was chosen as one of the lucky trio of bands after several months of negotiating, screen tests, and battle-of-the-bands performances. VH1 first contacted the band after hearing one of its songs, "Talk Show Host," on a Billboard magazine compilation disc. The group--singer-guitarist Brandin Lea, his bassist brother Fletcher, guitarist Cory Kreig, and drummer Dominic Weir--finally made the cut after a three-song set in Los Angeles surrounded by cameras, only a small taste of what the next few months will bring. As Bassman points out, "We were cast for the show. It's not like we won a contest or something."
The best part for the band: In a turn of events predictable even by television standards, Flickerstick will release its debut album, Welcoming Home the Astronauts, on August 15. It's what we movers and shakers like to refer to as synergy, baby. Can't wait for the tie-in lunchboxes.