Monday, November 5, 2007

Them Terribles makes the cut


It might be the guerilla marketing, the dozens of shows they’ve played over the last month or two, or simply the thousands of music fans who listened to their music and loved what they heard.
Whatever the reason, Santa Barbara-based Them Terribles made the cut in MTV’s Dew Circuit Breakout, essentially a nationwide battle of the bands that has brought previous winners, including Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday, into the music scene spotlight in a big way.

The foursome is now one of six remaining groups with a shot at getting a music video into rotation on MTV and a boatload of national exposure.
“It can be pretty big, especially for an unsigned band to have a music video already in rotation,” guitarist Jonny Black, 22, said. “I think if we win this thing, we will have gotten a lot of exposure and be able to tour.”
Just being in the top 12 has brought a lot more attention to the group, which comes at a good time, since they released their first 7-song EP — titled Rock, Paper, Terribles — a few months ago.
“We’ve been selling out most of our shows,” vocalist Matt Green, 22, said. “A lot of people have been coming out and things are moving real fast. More than anything, it’s kind of given us all further reason to buckle down and practice a lot more.”
Black signed Them Terribles up for the competition on a whim sometime during the summer. With about 4,000 to 5,000 bands throwing their hats in the ring as well, they didn’t expect much.
“It was free to enter, so we kind of just decided to throw up a song and a picture and kind of forgot about it for a few months,” Green said.
About a month and a half ago, a MTV producer called to let them know they made the top 12. Since then, it’s been a blur of practicing, playing shows and trying to get people to go online and vote for them. Last weekend, they played a show in Bakersfield, Calif., and have gigs lined up at the Wildcat Lounge at 10 tonight (21 and over) and at Jensen Guitar and Music Co. on Saturday at 7 p.m. (all ages).
“I feel like we’re going up against some bands that have been around a bit longer and have a larger fan base,” Black said. “…We’re just trying to get out there as much as possible.”
Black, Green and Terribles drummer Joey Benenati, 20, all grew up in Santa Barbara and met in elementary school and high school. After playing together in a few bands during high school, including local punk staple Standard Issue, the threesome headed off to Los Angeles for college and the Hollywood music scene.
After Benenati met up with Bay Area bassist Geoff Franklin, 23, at the Musician’s Institute, the four rockers started playing shows together and formed the group now known as Them Terribles.
“Joey’s dad is in a local band called The Tearaways,” Black said. “We just kind of jokingly called them The Terribles and then kind of decided to take that for ourselves.”
Although Green had difficulty pinning down a precise description of their “sound,” describing the group as a mix of rock, indie, alternative and acoustic, he said they have a distinct sound among the remaining six bands.
“Ours is kind of the most garage band kind of rock and roll of the group,” he said. “There are a couple that are more kind of pop punk.”
If Them Terribles makes the top three, they will fly to New York City to play live on MTV before a final round of online voting determines the ultimate winner. Voting is open at, which also provides a bio of Them Terribles, a few song samples and a link to the group’s MySpace page.
“I think we have a good chance of making the next cut,” Green said. “I think we’re just going to have to reach more people. We need everyone in Santa Barbara behind us.”

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