Harvard Band Wins MTV Award

CORRECTION APPENDED

Harvard may produce a few more presidents than rockstars, but Alex B. Lipton ’11 is looking to change that.

Yesterday, Lipton and his band, Show Me Action, were voted as one of five nominees for the mtvU Woodie Award for Best Music on Campus.

Playing a little “Hotel California” on his acoustic guitar during an interview with The Crimson, Lipton was modest about the band’s recent national success.

“This is one of our band’s most exciting moments,” he said, adding, “What an incredible opportunity.”

The award, given annually by mtvU, MTV’s online college network, is presented to what the Web site calls the “college artist most likely to break through this year.” Show Me Action was selected by mtvU as one of 25 finalists two weeks ago, according to the band.

Danny Rocco, rhythm guitarist and backup vocals and a freshman at Lehigh University, said that when they first applied for the contest, they had no hope of winning.

“But after making the top 25, it was crazy to see the huge support from fans and first listeners alike,” he said. “Now it all depends on getting our name out there, and I definitely think we can do it.”

Lipton and Rocco, along with college-age bandmates Jack Tangney, Jack Donoghue, and Pete McGaughey who do not currently go to school, are thrilled at the prospects of being considered for the award. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW]

“There are hundreds of times in a band’s career when you think you might have a big break. But that big break is never going to just fall into our laps, we have to go out and take advantage of it,” Lipton said. “This could be it.”

The members of Show Me Action have been together since 2005 and are all classically-trained musicians. Based in Long Island, the band has attracted praise from local critics as producing interesting and creative rock music.

According to Jason Rzepka, head of communications at MTVu, the Woodie Awards has helped launch the careers of the Killers, Fall Out Boy, Death Cab for Cutie, and Plain White Ts.

“Show Me Action has ended up as a nominee because of the huge outpouring of support by college students,” Rzepka said.

Students can vote for The Best Music on Campus award until Nov. 2.

Natalie C. Jacoby ’10, a board member of the Harvard College Alliance of Rock and Roll, said she was particularly impressed by Show Me Action’s rise to fame.

“I have never known a Harvard band to gain such incredible success—it is a truly great achievement,” she said.

The band, however, has not had an easy ride. Lipton emphasized the difficulty of continually keeping the band active, stating that “you can never get your name out by sitting around at home—it is essential to organize one’s own tours and take advantage of every possible opportunity.”

Lipton said that the pressures of balancing college with the band had slowed down the group’s development and progress somewhat. But Show Me Action has taken advantage of the college environment and has played at several on-campus concert venues. The group has an upcoming performance planned at the Queen’s Head Pub.

Tyler G. Hall ’11, Lipton’s roommate, commented that he was impressed by the balance between Lipton’s commitment to school and the band.

“Most bands that compromise their careers for their education also compromise their sound and talent,” he said. “But this band is wise enough to go after both.”

CORRECTION

The October 26, 2007 article "Harvard Band Wins MTV Award" incorrectly stated that Jack Donaghue and Pete McGaughey are not currently enrolled in school. In fact, they attend Quinnipiac University and the University of Rochester, respectively.