Connecticut Teens To Compete To Be 'Next Great Family Band'
Feb 21, 2013 (The Hartford Courant - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Madison Red band, with kids from Lyme and Madison, are competing in the new reality TV show & #8220;The Next Great Family Band.& #8221;
The Madison Red band, with kids from Lyme and Madison, are competing in the new reality TV show "The Next Great Family Band." (Handout /February 21, 2013)
About three years ago, Ian Maxwell of Ledyard made a drum set out of a trash can, duct tape, a piece of wood and a tin can as a cymbal. His brother Duncan found a guitar in a dumpster. That was the start of their band.
Later, the homemade drum set was replaced by a real one, from a thrift shop. New band members joined, and some of them later left. Along with more members came more real instruments and a name, Silver Hammer.
For three years, Silver Hammer was a cover band, performing in concerts all over the state: at Lily's Pad in New Haven, The Space in Hamden, the Live Lunch Break sponsored by the New London Day newspaper, a few local restaurants, the town library, Harkness Park.
Now Silver Hammer has a new name, Madison Red. The band writes and sings original songs, and has a new goal: to win on the reality TV show "The Next Great Family Band."
They will appear on the show, on new cable network COZI-TV, on Sunday, Feb. 24.
The band is made up of Ian Maxwell, 18, on keyboards and backup vocals; Duncan Maxwell, 17, on bass guitar; Aidan Maxwell, 14, on percussion; Nolan Smyth, 17, of Lyme, on guitar; Tom Bora, 14, of Ledyard, on guitar; and the Sunshine siblings of Lyme, Braiden, 12, on backup vocals, synthesizer and percussion; and Sierra, 16, the band's only girl and its lead singer.
"At the very beginning there were 12 people in the group, including four violinists incapable of playing a G chord all at once," said Ian Maxwell, a freshman at UConn majoring in management information systems. "As time went on we condensed down to people who were really invested in it, seven people." The Maxwells asked the Sunshines to join the band after hearing Braiden sing at First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.
Aidan Maxwell said his love for music was instilled by their mother. "Until last year, I was home-schooled. We would go all over the state to all these different activities and museums. On the way, our mom would play music to introduce me and my two older brothers to different types of music, Beethoven, the Beatles, everything. So now we all have eclectic taste in music."
He said when writing music, the band's influences "depend on what we are listening to that day."
"One of the songs Duncan is writing right now he wrote while listening to the Black Keys," he said.
The band -- which is named Madison Red because Madison is Sierra Sunshine's middle name, and they all like the color red -- started in Tom Bora's basement. Now they jam and practice at least twice a week at each others' homes and recently recorded their first album at Jam 2 Nite Studios in Middletown. The Sunshines' mother, Liz Sunshine, helps promote the band.
Fifteen bands will compete in this season of the reality show, which began on Feb. 17. In order to qualify, at least two of the band members have to be related by blood. Madison Red is this season's only band from Connecticut. On their segment Sunday, they will perform an original song called "Brand New Day."
After early segments shot at the band members' homes and schools, viewers of the show will be encouraged to comment on their favorite bands on Facebook, Twitter and the show's website. Using those comments, each member of the three-person judging panel will choose two bands to mentor. That number will be reduced to three bands, and those will compete by performing at a popular music venue. The band that wins will have a song produced and recorded by the judges and the show.
The judging panel is made up of former "American Idol" contestant Kimberly Locke, former Backstreet Boy Phoenix Stone, and Samantha Maloney, drummer for the bands Motley Crue and Hole.
"NEXT GREAT FAMILY BAND" episode featuring Madison Red will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. on local cable systems Comcast (Channel 934); Cox (Channel 800); Metro Cast (Channel 417); Charter (Channel 245); and Cable Vision (Channel 109). Details: www.facebook.com/pages/Next-Great-Family-Band/. For details on the band: www.madisonred.com.
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