Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands

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The FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands is an annual music competition for amateur company-sponsored bands in the United States, Europe and Australia. Created in 2001, the contest's proceeds benefit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, which also serves as the location for the final round of the competition. The FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands is presented through a partnership with FORTUNE magazine and the Rock Hall, and is sponsored by the NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants), Gibson Guitars, Marshall Fridge and Fender Premium Audio.

The competition is sometimes billed as a “celebration of musicians with day jobs”.[1] As of 2013, a requirement is that all participants must be employees of the submitting company.

Contest origin and purpose[edit]

The Battle of the Corporate Bands was developed as a joint effort between FORTUNE Magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to enhance the Museum’s profile in the business community. The two executives most responsible for its creation were Kip Meyer, Director of Integrated Programs for FORTUNE and FORTUNE Small Business magazines, and Steve Dobo, Director of Sponsorships and Promotions at the Rock Hall of Fame.

The competition serves multiple purposes. First, it serves as a fundraiser for the Museum’s Educational Fund. In the 2007 contest, each entrant submitted a $200 entry fee, and each finalist's company donated $7,300 to take part in the final round. The Museum also earns contributions from the competition's corporate sponsors and from ticket sales.

The contest also provides increased exposure to the companies which sponsor the bands, via the media attention generated by the contest, and via recaps of the contest that appear in FORTUNE magazine.

Contest format[edit]

The contest entry process begins early in the year, when bands submit a three-song CD to a panel of judges, typically due in late April. During the first three years of the contest, this panel selected the eight national finalists. For every year since then, the judging panel selects 18 US bands to participate in one of three qualifying US regional “Battles” which are held in the summer. Locations for the US regional contests vary from year to year—the 2007 regionals were held in Nashville, TN, Los Angeles, and Austin, TX. In 2008 a European regional was added for the first time, in London, UK. Six bands from around Europe are selected for the European regional.

At each regional event, each of the six bands performs a 20-minute set. The judges then choose two finalists from each US regional, plus the one winner of the European regional. After all of the regionals have been completed, the judges choose an additional one or two bands as "wild card" finalists, typically making eight finalists in all.

In some years, a finalist is included from Australia. Since 2004, Telstra, an Australian telecommunications and information services company, has sponsored their own national competition, called ROCKINC. The winner of ROCKINC is automatically entitled to a spot in the FORTUNE competition final.

On the day of the finals, held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October, each band performs a 30-minute non-judged showcase for the public during the day. That evening, each band plays a 15-minute set for a panel of music industry judges. The judges will then select a winner, dubbed “The Best Corporate Band in America” for that year, along with 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Contest awards[edit]

Members of the winning band receive an expenses-paid trip to the annual NAMM Show, where they will be a featured performer. In 2007, Continental Airlines also awarded two airline tickets for each member of the winning band. The band also has its name and photo displayed at the Rock Hall of Fame for one year as part of a permanent exhibit honoring the event. The winning band also receives a "gold record" trophy, along with varsity jackets embroidered with their band's name and the contest logo. First-place bands are not allowed to enter the competition again.

Awards are also given to individuals for Best Guitarist, Best Bass Player, Best Keyboardist, Best Vocalist, Best Horn and Best Drummer.

Results[edit]

Result Band Corporate affiliation Location
2013, September 28
1st OTN Speedwagon Ciena Corporation Hanover, Maryland
2nd Detached Retina Excella Consulting Arlington, VA
3rd Cassius King Mesirow Financial Chicago, IL
The Telematics Kiewit Corporation Valley, NE
Toy Box ePrize Pleasant Ridge, MI
Toys 2 Men Hasbro Pawtucket, RI
Class Action Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin King of Prussia, PA
Peripheral Vison Olympus Center Valley, PA
Best Vocalist Gina Bloom (Cassius King / Mesirow Financial)
Best Guitarist Paul Bullock (OTN Speedwagon / Ciena Corporation)
Best Drummer Jonathan Bruskin (Detached Retina / Excella Consulting)
Best Bassist Lori Stassin (Cassius King/ Mesirow Financial)
Best Keyboardist Nicolai Schurko (Class Action / Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin)
Best Horn Player Steve Darflinger (OTN Speedwagon / Ciena Corporation)
Judges
Jeff Carlisi Founding member of .38 Special
Ricky Byrd Guitarist for Joan Jett and Roger Daltrey
Liberty Devitto Drummer for Billy Joel
Rob Arthur Keyboards for Peter Frampton
Antoinette Follet Editor of Making Music Magazine
2008, October 4[2]
1st The Consumer Republic Procter & Gamble Geneva, Switzerland
2nd 4 Inch Studs MBH Architects Alameda, CA
3rd D7 Darwin Professional Underwriters Farmington, CT
EneROCK EnerNOC Boston, MA
High Definition NBC Universal Burbank, CA
Looming LARGER GE Healthcare Milwaukee, WI
Second Shift Salt River Project Phoenix, AZ
Strat 5 Healthways Nashville, TN
Best Vocalist Michel Jouveaux (Procter & Gamble / The Consumer Republic)
Best Guitarist Bruce Clement (4 Inch Studs / MBH Architects)
Best Drummer (tie) Mike Aldridge (Procter & Gamble / The Consumer Republic)
Theo Mordley (NBC Universal / High Definition)
Best Bassist Mike Mann (EnerNOC / EneROCK)
Best Keyboardist Roger Rivas (NBC Universal / High Definition)
Judges
Kip Meyer Co-founder of Fortune Battle of Corporate Bands
Felix Cavaliere Vocalist and Keyboardist for The Rascals
Ian Ruddle Deloitte Consulting
2007, October 6[3]
1st Soul Focus American Century Investments Kansas City, MO
2nd (tie) Full Mesh Juniper Networks Herndon, VA
The Subliminals Grey New York, NY
3rd Band Turismo Sony Computer Entertainment Foster City, CA
Trainwreck Calzone Case Company Bridgeport, CT
Unrestricted Entity Deloitte New York, NY
High Definition NBC Universal Burbank, CA
Fan's Choice Award Soul Focus (American Century Investments)
Best Vocalist Amanda Bohn, Ivy Mitchell, Maggie Ryder, Denise Raspberry and Erin Sweeney (Grey)
Best Guitarist Larry Thomas (American Century Investments)
Best Drummer Joe Calzone (Calzone Case Company)
Best Bassist Myke "Shyndigg" Heni (Grey)
Best Keyboardist Joe Dingwerth (American Century Investments)
Best Horn Player Matt Caporaletti and Dave Mullen (Grey)
Judges
Ed Bailey Austin City Limits VP of Brand Development
Kenny Olson guitarist for Kid Rock
Jim Fox drummer for The James Gang
2006, October 7[4]
1st Suit Tie Hi-Fi Cambridge Australia Sydney, Australia
2nd SAS Band SAS Cary, NC
3rd Soul Focus American Century Investments Kansas City, MO
4-Inch Studs MBH Architects Alameda, CA
Full Mesh Juniper Networks Herndon, VA
The Loaners Quicken Loans Livonia, MI
Rage The Machine Again DW Drums Oxnard, CA
Second Shift Salt River Project Phoenix, AZ
Unrestricted Entity Deloitte New York, NY
Fan's Choice Award Soul Focus (American Century Investments)
Best Vocalist Mark Potter (Cambridge Australia)
Best Guitarist Dana Rafiee (SAS/Destiny)
Best Drummer Al Mannarino (SAS)
Best Bassist David Leoncavallo (DW Drums)
Best Keyboardist Joe Dingwerth (American Century Investments)
Best Horn Player Adam Adelkopf (Deloitte)
Judges
Jeff Carlisi 38 Special guitarist and founder of Camp Jam Co.
Liberty DeVitto drummer for Billy Joel and other Hall of Fame artists
Derek St. Holmes vocalist and guitarist for Ted Nugent
Ricky Byrd guitarist for Joan Jett and Roger Daltrey
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter guitarist with The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan
2005, October 8[1]
1st PANTS! McKinney Durham, NC
2nd The Loaners Quicken Loans Livonia, MI
3rd Spurious Freedom Texas Instruments Tucson, AZ
U2 Seaters Fantastic Furniture Sydney, Australia
Second Shift Band Salt River Project Phoenix, AZ
Direct Connectors Nextel Reston, VA
Renal Rockers Renal Care Group Nashville, TN
The Fifth Lehman Brothers New York, NY
Best Guitar Brian Stapp (Quicken Loans)
Best Drummer Tony Zizzo (Texas Instruments)
Best Keyboards Chris Longton (Renal Care Group)
Best Bass Wes Whitener (McKinney)
Best Horn Gene Meros (Nextel)
Best Vocals Thomas Armendarez (Texas Instruments)
Judges
Jeff Carlisi 38 Special guitarist and founder of Camp Jam Co.
Liberty DeVito drummer for Billy Joel and other Hall of Fame artists
G. E. Smith longtime musical director for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live
Southside Johnny founder and vocalist for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
2004, October 2
1st Negative Feedback eBay San Jose, CA
2nd Center Stage Wells Fargo
3rd Direct Connectors Nextel Reston, VA
The Dinosaurs CXtec Syracuse, NY
The Loomers Partners & Simon New York, NY
Pulp It Up KC Kimberly-Clark Sydney, Australia
OVP British Petroleum (BP)
The CopenDavis Band Davis, CA & Copenhagen, Denmark
Best Guitarist Mark Rongers (OVP)
Best Bass Player Mark Holderness (eBay)
Best Keyboards Jerry Gray (Wells Fargo)
Best Drummer Mike Dorshak (Wells Fargo)
Best Vocals Shane McLaughlin (Nextel)
Judges
Alan Light editor-in-chief of TRACKS magazine
Allan Slutsky producer, author, musician and Grammy winner
Chuck Leavell musician with The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers
John Shiely President and CEO of Briggs & Stratton
Marty Rhone Australian musician
2003, October 8
1st The Residuals Fleet Capital Leasing Providence, RI
2nd chaingarden Discreet Logic, Inc., an AutoDesk company San Rafael, CA
3rd The Briggs Bluesbusters Briggs & Stratton Corp. Wauwatosa, WI
The Davita Blues All-Stars DaVita Inc. Torrance, CA
Blue Truck American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. Minneapolis, MN
Parts Rock And Accessories Roll Harley-Davidson Inc. Milwaukee, WI
Yield to Maturity National City Corporation Cleveland, OH
SonicTones Sonic Industries Oklahoma City, OK
Judges
Seymour Stein Chairman of London-Sire Records and President of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
Marky Ramone drummer for The Ramones
Roger McNamee executive with Integral Capital Partners and member of the Flying Other Brothers
Johnny A. renowned session and solo guitarist
2002, October 5
1st The Raving Daves PeopleSoft Pleasanton, CA
2nd The Marsh Bluesbrokers Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. New York, NY
3rd The Briggs Bluesbusters Briggs & Stratton Corp. Wauwatosa, WI
DC-Nine Deloitte Consulting
Parts Rock And Accessories Roll Harley-Davidson Inc. Milwaukee, WI
The Rolling Bones (AKA The Off Wall Street Jam Band/ New York, NY
Invacare Invacare Elyria, OH
The MCSi Band MCSi Vista, CA
The Soul City Survivors Daum Commercial Real Estate Valencia, CA
Proxy HealthSouth Birmingham, AL
Best Guitarist Ira Stanley (The MCSI Band)
Best Bass Player Vince Orange (Parts Rock And Accessories Roll)
Best Vocalist Jonda Madison (The Marsh Bluesbrokers)
Best Drummer Kirk Sarkisian (The Marsh Bluesbrokers)
Judges
Seymour Stein Chairman of London-Sire Records and President of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
Jimmy Fox former drummer for The James Gang and The Outsiders
Sam Moore member of soul group Sam & Dave
2001, October 6[5]
1st The Difference Air Products & Chemicals Allentown, PA
2nd The Briggs Bluesbusters Briggs & Stratton Corp. Wauwatosa, WI
EnteraRocks Enterasys Andover, MA
The Flying Other Brothers various Silicon Valley firms CA
The James O Band McKinsey & Co.
The Raving Daves PeopleSoft Pleasanton, CA
DC-Nine Deloitte Consulting
Parts Rock And Accessories Roll Harley-Davidson Inc. Milwaukee, WI
The Rolling Bones various Wall Street firms New York, NY
Best Guitarist John Rachkoskie (Enterasys)
Judges
Seymour Stein Chairman of London-Sire Records and President of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
Tom Zito co-founder of GarageBand.com
Lenny Kaye rock critic, producer and guitarist for Patti Smith

Trivia[edit]

  • In the same year (2003) Fleet Capital Leasing's The Residuals won "Best Band" honors, lead vocalist Howard Merritt won a near-record amount on NBC's primetime game show The Weakest Link. [1]
  • Just three weeks before his win for Best Horn in 2007, Grey's Matt Caporaletti was a champion on the TV game show Jeopardy!.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]