It was announced Thursday on television that local rock band Midnight Clear has won the CBS Early Show Battle of the Bands by a wide margin.
Brant French, bass player and keyboardist for the band, watched the televised announcement from the Ellabell home of girlfriend Judith James’ parents, Isaac and Judith Mock.
He said everyone that gathered at the residence exploded in emotion when the announcement was made.
"My heart was pounding out of my chest while we waited and the phone started ringing off the hook after we were declared the winners," French said.
"I had no idea we would win with that percentage. I’m so grateful to everyone who voted for us," he said.
The finals of the competition began this past Monday when the CBS Early Show showed clips of Midnight Clear and the two other bands that made it to the finals.
It then became up to the public as the online polls were opened for a three-day span. Midnight Clear garnered 47 percent of all the votes.
The band will now be flown to the CBS studios in New York and will perform live on the Early Show this coming Monday morning.
They are currently in Helen, Ga., rehearsing for the appearance.
French said CBS is trying to line up some future promotional events for the band as well, such as potential appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.
"They’re opening the door for us to be scouted by record labels," French said.
He also noted that Sony Records has contacted the band and drummer Rory Knapton in turn invited them to the CBS live event – an invitation that was accepted.
"One of the coolest things about all this is everyone who has called to congratulate us – which is a combination of people who have been with us from the start and fans who recently started listening to us," French said. "The emotions in their voice are like they won the contest themselves. And really they have – we couldn’t have done this without our fans."
French said this is not only a personal victory, but also one for rock and roll, which seems to be a dying genre amongst today’s popular music.
"We don’t know how far this will take us, but we hope to bring back good old rock and roll with a modern twist," French said. "True rock and roll is from the heart. It’s not doing something you do because it’s popular at the time. Our music comes from what we feel and what we’ve been through. We’re just hoping the world will welcome what we have to offer because it looks like they’re going to get the chance to hear us."