The assist from a revolutionary video game didn't hurt. Bennett, a developer at Harmonix, had the band included in Guitar Hero II, exposing Bang Camaro to a generation still too young to go to club shows. And while those kids were shredding in their bedrooms to signature hit "Push Push (Lady Lightning)," their parents were getting psyched over music that reminded them of Whitesnake shows when they were their kids' age.
"We were in the right place at the right time," Necochea adds. "The first tour, we didn't even have a record out, and because of these games, we were able to sell out Middle East Down-sized venues across the country."
On their first trip to Los Angeles in 2007, they sold out the Troubadour. "Very quickly there were 45-year-old dudes saying, 'Yeah, real music is back!' " recalls Bennett.
Meanwhile, Necochea and Bennett became the middle men between the singers and management and labels. They also had to deal with the emotional and financial difficulties of taking a band, with choir, on tour. "Put 15 guys in a 15-passenger van cross-country a few times and things get fractured," says Bennett.
That didn't stop the Mötley Crüe lifestyle playing out across Boston and beyond. Bang Camaro were recognized by a soccer mom at a Montana rest stop and posed for pictures and signed autographs. They were scolded by a Live Nation rep for drinking all of Silversun Pickups' beers and the Bravery's vodka at the 2007 Best Music Poll concert at Avalon (where, on stage, they observed a girl in the front row have sex doggy style as she watched the band perform). They played Lynyrd Skynyrd's 2009 Simple Man cruise to the Bahamas and were scorned for their raucous behavior, which included arguments with Hell's Angels, one singer passing out on the floor of the ship's casino, and another knocking a full Marshall-amp stack off the stage and almost into a pool. They shot a video with the guys in American Choppers and played Lollapalooza with a choir made up in part of Chicagoans who'd learned the songs off educational Bang Camaro DVDs sent out to cities to ensure there'd be more than 10 vocalists at each show.
At the 2008 Boston Music Awards, a few Bang Camaro singers were almost removed from the Orpheum for drunken behavior. That same night, Necochea admits to a casual attempt to hit on Bobby Brown's female companion. "At the time, I was so drunk I thought it was Whitney Houston." The woman in question was actually Brown's underage daughter. "We made a habit of burning bridges."
Urban legend has it that John Petrucci of Dream Theatre once walked out of a Bang Camaro gig because he thought they were an affront to everything about music he believed in. And Jon Norris of MTV once famously quipped, "Kiss has an army, but Bang Camaro is an army."
But the morning after always arrives on time. Eventually, some members moved away or left the band, and some who stayed treated it like a second job. "It became a weekend-warrior gig for a lot of the guys," says Necochea.