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Sheila E’s 10 Reasons to Watch ‘The Next Great American Band’

Fans can’t get enough of American Idol, but surprisingly those same viewers haven’t come out in force to support Fox’s new show The Next Great American Band. Now, judge Sheila E wants more people to watch the show. A solo artist herself as well as a collaborator with legendary musicians like Prince and a producer of new bands, E really wants America to discover the talent she’s witnessing on the job. Here’s her 10 reasons to tune in for The Next Great American Band Friday nights on FOX.

Reason #1: They need voters!
“There were people even on the streets that didn’t know we had a show. I think that whoever it may be, the powers may be, didn’t do enough advertisement in certain areas. We have lost the girls, Rocket, and we’ve lost Franklin Bridge. It’s difficult because right now I think not enough minorities were watching the show. At this point if you have no minorities watching the show to vote to keep minorities or women on the show, they won’t be there. But besides that, the great thing about it still is that we still have some really good bands there that are very good musicians.”

Reason #2: It’s the only new show left after the Writer’s Strike.
“It’s unfortunate that the strike has happened but I think it’s a great thing that the strike needs to happen because this is kind of like what I have to deal with as a songwriter with the record companies and in the business. We have to fight for the same thing. We just don’t have that kind of unity or union to go against an entire forefront like the writers are doing now. I’m glad that they’re striking because they deserve what they’re asking for. Then on the flip side of that, absolutely I think it has helped our show because people were starting to tune in. It’s unfortunate it has to be by that consequence because I think it’s a great show regardless of the strike.”

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Reason #3: It’s life and death for these artists!
“For me, this is my life. This is not a game. These people that are in this competition, this is their life. This is their livelihood. I know everyone has maybe a second career, something they were going to do or whatever but the thing is, this changes people’s lives. I know in growing up, when I first saw Karen Carpenter play on television with her show and she was playing drums and singing, that changed my life. I said to my dad then, and I was nine, I said, ‘Oh my God, look daddy. I can do that. I want to play like that. I want to do it.’ Absolutely, that was encouraging to me. I’m saying that this show could do the same thing.”

Reason #4: The bands are getting better.
“I think Dot Dot Dot has changed and has come together to try to prove that they can make some changes and come together more as a group than just having Adam [Blair] front the band. I think that they’ve made some changes that have helped them. Also even Denver and the Mile High Band Orchestra. I loved the Clark Brothers and they’ve always been great to me. It’s been challenging I’m sure for them to do what they’ve had to do with just three people with no drums and no bass, really just doing this acoustically.”

Reason #5: You’re already missing good stuff.
“I was really sorry to see Franklin Bridge go. I would have thought that they would have been in the top three because, musically, they could play any direction they wanted to. I think they had that kind of musicianship. If I threw any kind of genre of music at them, they could do that. I just think we just didn’t have the votes to keep them there, but not really the votes as much as we didn’t have the audience. They just didn’t know about the show and that’s too bad and unfortunate. I think that they’re going to do well if they continue to create. I love their original songs and I think they’re going to get signed anyway.”

Reason #6: The best bands are still on.
“When I first saw Light of Doom, and I’m going to start from the beginning at the audition, when Light of Doom came out, they blew me away. I just didn’t expect them to sound that big with these young kids. They blew me away. Denver and the Mile High, when they came out, we had a four o’clock in the morning call. We got to the site and it was 6:30 or something. These guys came out at seven o’clock in the morning and just blew us away. The Clark Brothers did the same thing. It’s the bands that are in the top six right now.”

Reason #7: Kids need to learn about music
“Right now it’s very difficult. The young kids, if they don’t hear a backbeat, if they don’t hear it where it sounds a little more street/urban/hip hop/R&B, they’re not exposed to anything other than that, it’s difficult. I understand it but it’s not a good thing. That’s why I think it’s important to keep this show on the air. I think that if people just watched it, [they would] open up their mind about the different types of music. It is difficult to pitch. How could you pitch Clark Brothers against Light of Doom? They’re two separate entities. It’s different music, different upbringing but at the same time, you’ve got to say that the Clark Brothers are very talented and you have to say that Light of Doom is doing very well. I mean, the drummer just turned 12. He’s playing great.”

Reason #8: Watch it so you can tell your friends, and have them tell their friends.
“I really believe that if we can just really get people to tune in and watch the show, I think that they’ll like it. I’ve read some of the reviews and things like that, everyone is really excited about the show. It’s just not enough people know about it. I’ve been watching the channel Fox for days. If I have a minute, I’ll watch it all day or on the weekends if I can and I’ll tape different shows just to see if I see the ads on the show. Even just on Fox, I don’t see ’em so it seems like if I didn’t tell anybody or word of mouth or everyone else telling someone to watch the show, I don’t think they would know it’s on.”

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Reason #9: Give Sheila E some new buddies to hang with.
“I can’t talk to any of the bands personally or anything like that. We only see them when we get on stage. I would love to work with a couple of the bands, absolutely, but there is no communication with them off the stage at all. I’m looking forward to the winner. It’s very difficult for me not to go and hang out with everyone because that’s what I do, to go and talk to them and find out more about them. Just share what I’ve learned in my career to really help them. It’s difficult not to do that because I’m not allowed to do that. I can only speak to them on stage when you see us actually speaking to them and that’s it.”

Reason #10: Did she mention they need viewers?
“I think it’s a great show and I think that people need to see it and that’s what I was saying earlier. I really feel that there have been not even close to enough advertising about the show to let people know that it even exists at all. It’s frustrating knowing that people don’t know about the show because I think it’s a great show and it’s a great avenue and it’s very inspiring.”

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