Too many talented garage-rock musicians are languishing in obscurity, unable to catapult their blaring anthems to an audience wider than friends, family and patient neighbors, acknowledged Norm Goldberg, chief operating officer of The Wiz. The remedy, which he announced last month at a Greenwich Village unit of the metro New York CE chain, is Cavestomp.
Promoted by The Wiz and "Little" Steven Van Zandt of TV's "The Sopranos" and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band fame, the Cavestomp contest will allow unsigned garage bands to submit an application and a one song demo at any Wiz location or online at www.thewiz.com.
Twenty winning contestants will be tapped to submit a short video of a live performance, and the one winning band will perform at an upcoming Cavestomp show. The judge's panel will include Van Zandt.
"This music has always flown below the radar and it's time we recognize it as fun and important," Van Zandt said at the announcement event, sporting his trademark bandana.
In an effort to foment the genre, select Wiz locations will be adding a "Garage Rock" section to their music offerings, featuring both garage rock classics and contemporary bands handpicked by Van Zandt.
"Most of the music we sell is on a major label," said James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, parent company of The Wiz. "Music isn't like golf, where if you're good, you'll be recognized. You can be the greatest musician in the world and still be an unknown. We want to change that, to break in these new musicians and give them access to an audience they might not have had."
The contest draws its name from the Cavestomp concert series, which was founded in 1997 to showcase new garage band talent and old favorites. It is co-produced by Van Zandt and sponsored by The Wiz.
The contest ends August 31, with the winner to perform at the annual Cavestomp Garage Rock Festacular on November 2, 3 and 4 in New York.