Friday, 24 May 2024

Local band competes for recording contract, $1 million prize

Lake County and Sacramento fans poured in to support Faded At Four Sunday night during the Bodog Battle of the Bands at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Pictured is lead singer Jon Foutch. Audience votes determine if they move on to the finals. The top prize is $1 million and a recording contract. Photo by Suzette Cook-Mankins.


LAKE COUNTY – For an intrepid band of Lake County musicians, stardom could be just around the corner.

For the last seven months, Faded At Four has been among thousands of bands across the United States, Canada and Europe battling to win a $1 million recording contract.

Band members include guitarists Brian Kenner of Lakeport and Chris Murphy of Kelseyville, bass guitarist Martin Scheel of Lower Lake, drummer Chris “Pencil” Sanders of Clearlake, and lead singer and Upper Lake native Jon Foutch.

Foutch said the band got into the Bodog Battle of the Bands last June, a competition that he said started with 4,500 bands.

Faded At Four submitted a profile, a picture and a single to join the competition, much of which has taken place through Internet voting, he explained.

In the San Francisco region, where Faded At Four is competing, Internet voting quickly took the band to a No. 1 ranking.

“We were absolutely floored,” said Foutch.

The band, which has an “aggressive” rock/metal sound, soon finished third nationwide in the online voting, said Foutch.

The competition then moved into live performances. During the third round of the competition, held Sunday at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall for the western region, Faded At Four placed second overall, said Foutch.

The performance was witnessed by three busloads of fans who made the trip to San Francisco, said Foutch.

“The energy level was through the roof,” he said.

It's been a year of hard work and success for Faded At Four, whose original members joined forces five years ago, said Foutch. The band in its current form has been together for two years.

Foutch, who attended American River College and Sonoma State, met Scheel while in college.

Eventually, they decided that they wanted to form a band.

“I'd figured out at some point after I'd gotten out of school that I could sing,” said Foutch, who was born and raised in Lake County and works as the facility administrator of the local dialysis clinic.

Besides singing he played drums for the band in the beginning. “It wasn't pretty,” he laughed.

Then the band met up at a party with Sanders, who joined as their drummer.

Last summer, opportunities began coming together for Faded At Four, which had been playing at Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, said Foutch.

After regular appearances at the resort – playing in its clubs, showroom and amphitheater – Faded At Four was asked to open for Kid Rock during X.S. Weekend, an important accomplishment for the band, Foutch said.

Faded At Four is one of 48 U.S. bands now poised for the next round in the Bodog Battle of the Bands competition, which Foutch said will be televised on the Fuse Network.

On March 12, the band is set to compete with other 11 West Coast bands at The Avalon Club in Hollywood, said Foutch. From that performance, one winning band will emerge.

The West Coast winner will then advance to a final round of 10 bands – one from each of the four U.S. regions – based in San Francisco, Oklahoma, Denver and New York – plus five bands chosen from Europe and Canada.

There also will be one wild card spot. The 44 U.S. bands that are left after the top four are chosen will compete for that spot through online voting, said Foutch.

The competition – which he said has been likened to “Survivor” for bands – will then move into a reality television format.

“It's getting unbelievably competitive,” he said, adding that there are many great bands in the competition.

Faded At Four's members practice individually all the time, and get together twice a week to practice together, Foutch said.

Besides the hard work and talent, the band credits its network of fans and supporters for helping it advance this far.

“The fans have been so important to us,” said Foutch.

They're hoping to organize a trip for fans to Hollywood for March's phase of the competition, he said.

The farther along they advance, the more real it all gets, said Foutch. “This can really, really happen.”

Winning, he added, isn't necessary to benefit from the competition. The visibility it generates brings with it other chances. “It affords us a really, really good opportunity.”

Most of the band members have wives and children, and Foutch – a dad himself – said the decision to compete and take a shot at fame wasn't made lightly.

Ultimately, he said, they want to offer better lives for their families.

Foutch said friends of the band are joking about someday being able to say they “knew them when.” But for Foutch, Lake County will always be home.

“There's no place that I'd rather live than I live right now,” said Foutch, who lives in a home built by his ancestors.

If fame comes his way, Foutch said, “You take anybody and everyone you love with you.”

To learn more about Faded At Four, how to support the group in the Bodog Battle of the Bands or to hear the band's music, visit You can also visit the band's MySpace page at

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bass guitarist Martin Scheel during the Sunday performance in San Francisco. Photo by Suzette Cook-Mankins.




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