Ian Dickson

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Expect Some Queen-size Surprises!

A funny thing happened this week while we were taping the show. It was John [Rzeznik]'s birthday and everybody really made an effort to bring him presents. Everywhere he turned, it was cake and choruses of "Happy Birthday." Little did we know, he absolutely hates his birthday! He was trying to be as polite as he could be but he just wasn't handling it well. Fortunately, the bands had better luck than he did. This week, they're doing songs from Queen, a heavy rock act that morphed into this huge global pop act. I don't want to ruin anything but there are a couple of whopping surprises. One of the bands has a change in their line-up, and another one really embraces theatrics in their performance.We have a small but loyal audience so, regardless of the size, we're dedicated to making this show as good as it can be. I've done some TV shows where I feel a bit embarrassed afterwards but I'm actually proud of this show. If it had been a lot of the same bands, it would have been a bit tedio...read more

Top 6 Perform

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all decided not to take a vacation this week simply because chatting with me is way too important to miss. No, no, no. Instead I’m hoping that Sunday night you’ll pull it off the DVR and comment Monday morning. The first thing I must say is holy cleavage batman! Sheila E. got them out and up to the chin this week. It was even the first thing my wife noticed. Apart from Sheila, this was an odd week for me. For the first time this season, I thought the overall show was pretty boring. As a rock fan, I have loads of respect for The Rolling Stones (I guess I should say “Mick Jagger and Keith Richards” since that’s how the show labeled every song). I understand how talented they are, but overall they never really excited me. But that’s not at all why I thought this was boring because aside from “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” I enjoy all the originals. In fact, I simply thought it was dull because no one chose “...read more

How Did Franklin Bridge Fall Down?

I'm sitting here looking at the Sydney skyline waiting for my flight to America to judge The Next Great American Band [Fridays at 8 pm/ET, on Fox]. I fly back-and-forth every week because I'm also judging Australian Idol at the moment. I was putting on a brave face at first but, luckily, I'm never in America long enough to get jetlagged!Like Idol, this show deals with people's aspirations and dreams. I was really disappointed last week when Franklin Bridge was voted off. I don't know what happened! They blew us away when they first played so I don't know why the public didn't embrace them. It's a little frustrating because, at the moment, it appears that I'm the only person in the world who loves the show. I'm a pretty honest person and, if we were making bad television, I'd be the first to admit it. But the thing that makes it worth it is the fact that I get to judge some incredibly talented bands. Nobody can take that away from me.The biggest advice I've got for these guys is to i...read more

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Top 7 Perform

This is a week that I have a tough time relating to. Born in ’76, I never really got the full impact of '60s music and never heard enough that excited me to make me want to go back and visit it. I know this sounds strange coming from a guy that found enough stuff exciting to own 4,000+ pieces of audio from the '80s, which is arguably the worst decade for music. (At least I know El DeBarge and Taco would be on my side of the debate). So a song like "Some Other Guy" is almost like listening to an original for me. Fortunately though, Leiber and Stoller wrote a lot of great tunes that were covered by a mess of bands, so I’m sure I can say I’ve heard most. Side note: Many of the artists I will type as the performer of the songs really aren’t the original performers and I know that. But the artists I type are the versions that I remember as the hits. In a lot of cases, the original Leiber and Stoller song was performed by a soul group to little fanfare and then turned ... read more

10 Cut to Eight

Down to one hour this week, we lose the original performance from these bands, which of course brings the show closer to home and follows the proven cover-song format. I have to admit, hearing only covers changed my thoughts of some of these acts. And hearing right up front that one of the artist’s first CD purchase was Billy Joel’s River of Dreams also changed my thoughts that I might still actually be young. His first album was River of Dreams? Wow. My second album was Billy’s An Innocent Man purchased in 1983. As a Billy Joel fan I just can’t imagine that the first purchase of his music was his 15th and final pop release. Crazy, but that’s OK. Gotta start somewhere, right?Anyway, on to the bands.Franklin Bridge: “Big Shot”I can’t believe none of the judges commented on how they flubbed half the lyrics. And this clearly was not them being artistic. This was a singer not remembering what was written on the paper. It’s a shame, too, becau... read more

"12 Cut To 10 &Top 10 Perform"

Hey now rockers! It's Elton John and Bernie "Poppin" (whoops, I mean Taupin) week on The Search For the Next Great American Band. Elton is a bit more my speed than Dylan so this week excited me more than last. Whether you like Elton John's songs or not, you have to admit that the guy can write a heck of a pop tune. Obviously Bernie's no slouch either. The combo works so great together. As usual, before we get into the bands, let's talk atmosphere a minute. I love this elimination format. I wasn't quite sure how they were going to pull it off, but having all the bands sit back stage and one by one get plucked out to perform, worked really well. Well, except for the very end where the two eliminations seemed a bit awkward, but at least the bands that went home didn't have to perform again like the contestants do on Idol. I also wanted to bring up John Rzeznik for a bit. For some reason tonight he seemed to take his angry pills before showing up and I have to say, if this is what he's ... read more

"Top 12 Perform"

Wow, how much did this improve from last week? I have to admit that my hopes were not high after that mediocre debut, but now that the bands are inside and I saw the format, I was quite impressed. The set looks quite sharp, Dominic Bowden is actually a pretty decent host and Sheila E. looked mighty different than she did last week. But what impressed me the most was the format. The bands get to play one song with a theme and then one original. The original performances are what’s going to make or break this show. I’m curious to see what viewers will think of originals. It can be tough to listen to songs you don’t know. Personally, I like new music and I like hearing things I haven’t heard before. But I also know the feeling standing at a concert listening to music you aren’t familiar with. I can’t sing along and I really don’t know how to react. People can relate to covers. It’s harder to relate to the originals. The other thing with the origi... read more

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