Notes on Bleu's L.E.O. project and the Global Battle of the Bands
When Boston-bred rocker BLEU first toyed with the idea of recording an album in the orchestral-pop style of Jeff Lynne’s ELO, it wasn’t something he took all that seriously. But as the group who’d come to be known as L.E.O. shaped up, he found they had a real knack for Electric Light orchestrations. It started when MIKE VIOLA, a Boston transplant in NYC, invited Bleu to join him during a Paradise Lounge residency for a cover of ELO’s “Telephone Line.” It grew until Bleu had recorded an entire album of faux ELO tunes, L.E.O.’s Alpacas Orgling, which is due October 17. Along with Viola, the cast includes Bostonian TONY GODDESS, Boston-expat PAULA KELLEY, and the HANSON brothers.
Bleu, who’s just moved to LA, says he wasn’t looking for something “cool” to do — “It’s such a ridiculously unhip project in almost every way that it’s crossed over to be the hippest thing around.” He has two more discs in the works, a proper Bleu album and one by another side project. And he’s “trying to find a new home” after his recent split with Aware/Columbia. But he admits, “I’m luckier than most, because I have this L.E.O. record to keep me occupied until then.” He also has three East Coast dates coming up that include November 11 at T.T. the Bear’s Place, where he and his backing band are likely to play several L.E.O. songs.
Battles of the bands are a staple of any local scene, but the third annual “GLOBAL BATTLE OF THE BANDS” takes it right over the top. Bands from 33 countries will compete for a top prize of $100,000 and a world tour. (Last year’s winner was Kopek — remember them?) In the US, there are 14 regional finals from September 30 through October 19, with as many as 15 bands a night playing two songs each. The winners play the US Final at LA’s Key Club November 11. And that winner goes on to London for the World Final in December.
Boston’s battle takes place next Thursday, October 5, at Harpers Ferry. My favorite band name out of the 11 slated to play: Sleepypisser Thunderhole, from Easthampton.
On the Web
Global Battle of the Bands: http://www.gbob.com/
Email the author
Jim Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org
: New England Music News
, Jeff Lynne, Mike Viola