Xconomy Battle of the Tech Bands Finds Judges Who Rock

5/21/09Follow @gthuang

With summer on its way in, we’re starting to gear up for Xconomy’s Battle of the Tech Bands, which is happening on July 30 at the WTIA Summer Celebration at the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle. If you or someone you know plays in a band that has at least one member who hails from a Northwest tech, life sciences, or tech-investment firm, we want to hear from you (application info and event details are here).

The field is already shaping up to be pretty competitive. How will we choose the finalists and the overall winners, you ask? Very carefully. To that end, we are enlisting the help of some of the Seattle area’s finest tech and music minds (and ears) to serve as judges for the event, in addition to the Xconomy staff. Their duties will range from vetting demos and selecting the finalists to helping us decide which bands get the awards on the big night.

We thought you might like to know a little bit about the judges we’ve recruited so far. Their professional expertise spans the worlds of software, venture capital, and music history. Their musical tastes span everything from heavy metal and Eddie Van Halen to post-punk and alternative rock. Without further ado, here are the luminaries who will help us decide the outcome (not sure who will be the Simon Cowell yet):

—Peter Blecha, music historian, author, and former senior curator of the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Peter is the author of the recently released Sonic Boom! The History of Northwest Rock: From “Louie Louie” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Backbeat Books, 2009). He calls himself a “rock and roll archaeologist,” and has been a drummer with a number of bands in the Seattle area, including The Debbies.

—Steve Hall, managing director at Seattle-based Vulcan Capital, the group that manages Paul Allen’s investment holdings. Steve leads the firm’s early-stage venture capital investments across the technology, life sciences, and alternative energy sectors. He also plays a mean lead guitar, and notes that he has been brushing up on his Eddie Van Halen guitar solos in the past year.

—Jeff J. Lin, Microsoft program manager of Virtual Earth 3D. Jeff is the co-founder, guitarist, and pianist of the Seattle-based band Harvey Danger. You probably know them from their infectious hit single of the late 1990s, “Flagpole Sitta” ( “I’m not sick but I’m not well, and I’m so hot ’cause I’m in hell…”). Harvey Danger has released three full-length albums, played shows with bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Green Day, and once appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.

We’ll have more details on the judges and prizes soon. But don’t delay, the deadline for submissions is June 12 (event details and info here). If you want to enter, please e-mail your band’s info to techbands@xconomy.com.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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