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Art and The Resistance brings 'Fonk' to new musical competition 'No Cover'

Entering any competition can be intimidating, but when it comes to a music contest with a recording contract on the line, you better really bring it.

And Art and The Resistance didn't hold back for Hit Parader's "No Cover" show, which debuted its first two episodes today on YouTube.

The band with Bakersfield roots performed one of its newest singles, "The Fonk," which includes lyrics like "They say you'll never make it in a rock and roll band/ Don't care what you think of me/ We keep on rolling rollin'."

"We call ourselves poly rock and this song fits that theme really well," said keyboardist John Calanchini. "It's funky, a little jazzy. Goes into a jazz session and ends with in-your-face metal."

The band — which includes core members vocalist Art Machuca, bassist Gilbert Machuca and drummer Jeremy Bridgman as well as guitarist Ivan Chopik — faced a panel of judges with some musical chops of their own: Alice Cooper, Bishop Briggs (currently playing Coachella), Gavin Rossdale (Bush), Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders).

Calanchini said they didn't have much time to get nervous facing the judges since it was a quick turnaround to set up and perform, with no time even for a soundcheck.

"It was a very incredible feeling standing, performing in front of people who have been there and done that and taken it to an unimaginable level," he said.

"We won the very first elimination process (getting on the show). We made it, that's already an accomplishment, performing for gods of the rock industry."

Although the show began airing this month, with new shows weekly, filming took place last spring at the Troubadour and Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood with 25 unsigned bands and artists competing with their original songs.

The band applied for the contest in October 2020 and found out by late January 2021 that it had been chosen.

"We were ecstatic. I kind of lost my (expletive)," Calanchini said.

For the competition, artists faced the judges, each of whom selected one act to move on. The rest then went before the Mercy Council, whose title was ironic, Calanchini said.

"They would watch your performance, look you up online and dissect you as an artist."

"It was very critical, very honest," he said of the comments from the council, which was made up of other musicians and music executives. "I didn’t necessarily agree with everything that was said."

The competition's winning band will be awarded a six-figure recording contract with Sumerian Records as well as representation from United Talent Agency and Shelter Music Group and performance slots at a Danny Wimmer Presents music festival. Other prizes include a $10,000 shopping spree from Guitar Center and brand-new gear from Gibson USA, Mesa Engineering, Ernie Ball, Liquid Death and Discmakers. 

Since filming the show, Calanchini said Art and The Resistance's sound has continued to evolve: "Each of us has found our role in crafting the songs. ... This is a group effort and we've just gotten better at that."

And along with hoping the show leads to more fans, Calanchini said the band wants to encourage other musicians to step up and make that big leap.

"Ultimately we want to encourage people to be themselves musically. If they take a shot, no matter where the shot lands, something good came from it."

And the timing is right for the next season of "No Cover," which will start taking applications in May. Art and The Resistance wants local performers to go for it.

Calanchini said, "Let's keep putting this city's music scene out into the world!"

Visit nocovershow.com for more on the show.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.