At Tuesday's auditions for Moffat County High School's Battle of the Bands, four eager groups were hurling trash-talking insults before they even took the stage.
Senior JoJo La not only spearheaded efforts to organize the MCHS Student Council event, but was also the first to initiate the friendly band rivalries.
"We may not have Chuck Norris, but we have Emily Norris -- ooohh," La said, taunting the opposing bands to cheer for her four-member band, In the Gutter. "Let the battle begin."
In the Gutter, which members say is Moffat County's only all-female band, has spent many hours preparing two original tracks to play for the student body.
The band competition will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
"When I was a sophomore, we won at Steamboat's Battle of the Bands. ... We practice pretty much every day, and now we're so much more improved musically," La said.
"We recorded a bunch of CD's two years ago in our old drummer's basement and made 50 dollars. We're going to use that for gas money to go to Denver to record with a guy from Craig," said senior Katie Zwernik, In the Gutter's lead singer.
The rockers will have stiff competition from reigning Battle of the Bands champions, Crack in the Sidewalk, a group that knows each other well from weekly performances as the worship band at First Christian Church.
Despite losing their lead singer and two guitarists since last year's show, sophomore drummer Travis Wilson said he doesn't feel pressure to win.
"Fun is the main key -- if you're not up there having fun, it's not worth it," Wilson said.
The winner is selected by a panel featuring a guest judge from KRAI; the panel will also determine which band will play a third, encore performance.
Tuesday's auditions served as a rehearsal for Student Council advisor Susie Lord, who listened to songs for appropriate lyrics.
Lyrics weren't a problem for Three Days Under, who after realizing they needed a second audition song, had to come up with a metal anthem on the spot.
"We don't have lyrics for it, I'm just screaming," lead singer junior Andrew Sonntag told Lord.
Some of the musicians, including Sound the Defeat's Jaime Montes, a junior who also played bass for Three Days Under, tried to explain the angst-ridden expression in their performances.
"We bring in a lot of Emo-rock. It's about really depressing stuff, but it's upbeat," Montes said.
Other bands, such as In the Gutter, aspire to have their music inspire.
"We get a lot of support in Craig, but we go against the norm, so everyone's curious to see what we're about," Zwernik said. "Our songs are about hope, high intentions and self-confidence -- we need more girl rockers."
Lord said Battle of the Bands, the Student Council's final event of the year, gives musicians a chance to show their musical chops.
"It's certainly not the kind of music I listen to, but the kids enjoy it and it's really a good experience for them to play in front of their peers," she said.
Dave Shively can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or firstname.lastname@example.org.