The Detroit rock group the Muggs are happy to be “in way over our heads here,” according to singer-guitarist Danny Methric.
“Here” is Fox TV’s “The Next Great American Band,” a new reality competition by the creators of “American Idol” that airs at 8 p.m. Fridays. The Muggs are one of the 12 finalists and appeared first on last week’s episode, which reviewed the auditions for the show.
This Friday (Oct. 26), the trio will play one of their original songs, as well as a Bob Dylan cover. No one will be voted off on this episode, however, though the judges — Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, former Prince drummer Sheila E. and “Australian Idol” host Ian Dickson — will offer remarks.
The audience voting begins with the Nov. 2 episode.
“I’m every bit the realist — I really don’t think we can take this thing, but then again I didn’t think we’d make the actual show, either,” says Methric, 34, who founded the band with keyboard bassist Tony DeNardo and drummer Matt Rost.
“We’re gonna be the Muggs and rock out like we rock out, but ultimately I wonder how far that’s gonna go with America. We may be a little too intense. There’s some family friendly (groups) that sound great, are easy on the eyes, easy on the ears. Then the Muggs come in with these heavy riffs.
“But we’re not changing anything about our sound. We’re giving them some good ol’ Detroit rock ’n’ roll and we’ll see where that gets us.”
The company that produces the show, 19 Entertainment, has a first option to sign any of the 12 finalists. The Muggs were preparing to record their second album before becoming involved with the show and have now put those plans on hold.
The judges effusively praised the Muggs’ performance during last week’s premiere episode. DeNardo’s battle to recover from a stroke, meanwhile, provided a degree of pathos that made for moving TV.
Nevertheless, Methric expects the group to start getting some heavier criticism starting with tonight’s show.
“The fun and pageantry of the auditions are over,” he says. “None of us are going to be above a good TV scolding. But if they demolish us, it’ll be nothing I haven’t heard before.”
The three Muggs will reside in a Los Angeles apartment provided by the show for the duration of their run on the show.
They’re also receiving a weekly stipend to help the musicians pay their expenses back home. Methric is on leave from his job bartending at the Detroit’s Cadieux Cafe, while Rost is taking time off from his position at Harris Funeral Homes, and is missing his wife and 4-month-old daughter, Audrey, who plan to visit in early November. DeNardo, meanwhile, is continuing his rehabilitation regimen.
The show has kept the Muggs “unbelievably busy” with daily rehearsals, according to Methric.
“They run a pretty tightly organized ship,” he says. That includes keeping tabs on the musicians’ comments to outsiders about the show.
A misunderstanding with the Fox legal department got the Muggs in some hot water early on after the group prematurely revealed their spot in the final 12.
“They were like, ‘You violated your confidentiality! You’re lucky we don’t make an example of you,’ ” Methric recalls. “Fortunately they realized it was just a miscommunication. That was a good scare; we’re thinking ‘Oh God, everyone’s rooting for us and we’re not gonna make it to the first show.’
“Now we’re right on top of the rules and following everything to the letter. I’d rather go down by judges rather than getting disqualified in shame.”
Methric says the Muggs are getting along with all of the other finalists, who are becoming “a band of brothers and sisters in, like, a musical combat setting.”
He’s also heartened to hear that the Cadieux Cafe, at 4300 Cadieux Road, will be holding weekly viewing (and voting) parties as long as the Muggs remain in the competition.
“That’s fantastic,” he said. “I get excited about the idea of a bunch of people gathering in a place I should be working and watching us perform on national TV — for good and bad.”
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