Interview by Brian McLean
A Clearview of INXS Rock Star
When the TV show Survivor aired in the fall of 2000 on CBS, no one knew what impact the reality based series would do for nighttime programming. Immediately there was an instant draw to the show with viewers taking sides and picking favorites. Odds were even set in Vegas for the final outcome on who would walk away with the one million dollar prize.
In the five years that have passed, there’s been many reality based shows touching on such subject matter ranging from marriages to music with one production company creating the more popular shows like The Contender, The Apprentice, and of course Survivor.
That production company, Mark Burnett Productions, has yet created another series that started airing in the second week of July. But this series is not going to be a search for the next bride, groom or unknown up and coming business executive. It’s a search to find an unknown rock star that will front the platinum selling Australian rock band INXS, the show being called Rock Star.
The search for the unknown singer began in January with open call auditions that were available on a first come first serve basis through out 14 major cities in the United States as well as countries such as England, New Zealand, and Australia.
Series hopefuls could show up at the open calls with application in hand or they could submit a song sample ahead of time in the requested format. If chosen, the contestant could then by pass the open call lines of Round One.
Texas resident Todd Clearview who fronts the Dallas based The Sound saw a flyer for the auditions that were to be held in Austin at one of the Dallas area Guitar Centers and made the decision to seek more information.
Clearview sent an e-mail to the contact person listed at the Rock Star website. To his surprise within one business day, Clearview had a reply asking if he had any MP3’s they could review. The response time proved to him that the auditions were being held in a professional manner.
Upon receiving the e-mail, Clearview replied and submitted three songs from The Sound’s official website, behindthesound.com.
Apparently the submissions contact liked what they heard because Clearview was granted an invite to bypass Round One. It was a glimmer of hope in the Rock Star galaxy.
Clearview said he feels fortunate that he was able to bypass the first round based on the strength of the songs available on the website.
The auditions were being held three hours south of Dallas in Austin at the long-standing live music venue called the Back Room. As Clearview said, “I wasn’t keen on making that drive back and forth two days in a row.”
The quick response time gave Clearview over a week’s
time to prep for his audition, which would include one original and two
cover songs that would be performed on an acoustic guitar.
The rules stated that those who auditioned had the option to perform solo, solo with an acoustic guitar, or with one accompanist.
Since he’s a guitar player, Clearview opted for the acoustic solo performance.
For his Rock Star venture, Clearview took the day off from work and hit the road around 9:00 AM to make sure he arrived in Austin by his scheduled appointment time of noon.
Clearview arrived in Austin three hours later, which gave him time to go to a nearby park and run through the three songs several times before his audition.
As he said, “I felt as ready as ever and arrived at the Back Room ten minutes early.”
Once at the club, Clearview signed some papers, had his photo taken and then was asked to wait in the bar area until his name was called.
“At this point, things were going smooth and I was going with the flow,” said Clearview.
But the wait proved to be longer than what he had anticipated.
There were roughly 30 other vocalists with the majority being from the Austin area and all were in the same waiting area. He didn’t recognize any familiar faces from the Dallas area and leans to believe that he was the only contestant from the North Texas area.
After awhile Clearview started thinking that he had been there a while.
“As the clock moved forward, I noticed that nobody was being called in for their audition so I pulled out my guitar and hung out in the back, strumming and running through what I would be playing for the judges.”
For Clearview, the wait continued to drag on and the bar area now began to fill with patrons who were playing pool and hanging out.
Clearview simply put it, “I was getting frustrated with the wait and the atmosphere.”
His name was finally called after two plus hours of waiting in what he called a smoke filled biker bar. Clearview was now able to enter what he considered the real line but only after feeling like he was losing his mojo with each half hour passing.
“They brought in the people auditioning one at a time behind a gate, I wasn’t able to see what was going on and how it all worked out. I was in this line for ten or 15 minutes and then I was up.”
Clearview entered a rather large and dark room where his acoustic guitar was quickly plugged in and he was seated on a stool by the show people. Located in the middle of the room was a single individual that instructed him to proceed.
Clearview said from what he was able to hear, the guitar was removed from the mix where the single judge was only hearing the vocals but those doing the audition could hear the full mix. For Clearview, that was his voice and the acoustic guitar.
“Knowing that all the others auditioning were not listening to you was a bit comforting but it was still extremely bizarre.”
The lone individual in the middle of the room didn’t look familiar to Clearview, “It seemed to pain him listening to these hacks all day long.”
He added, “I was also under the impression that they were sort of going through the motions, almost as if the contestants for the show already had been picked. There was nothing said, just a feeling I got.”
The experience for Clearview was a humbling one. For his two hour drive, the two hour wait, it was all over in the matter of two minutes when the lone judge spoke the gracious words, “Thank you.”
Clearview looks back on the experience as an interesting one and as something that he will never forget. He’s also glad the whole thing is over and hopes that his audition isn’t shown on the TV or Internet.
What benefited Clearview for his brief audition was the confidence of doing it and pulling it off even though there were to be no more rounds.