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Solomons Island Band Is Web Contest Finalist
HydraFX Vying for Recording Contract

By Michael Tunison
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 5, 2006

HydraFX, a Solomons Island reggae-rock band, is one of five final acts in Star Tomorrow, a national Internet talent competition held by NBC.com.

The competition, which concludes tomorrow night, began 14 weeks ago with 100 performers. One song from each act is featured each week, and the list of competitors is winnowed by viewers' votes. The winner of Star Tomorrow receives a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. The competition is produced by David Foster, a 14-time Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter.

HydraFX plays what its drummer, Joe Barrick, 23, describes as "happy, get-down, let's-party music." The group was influenced by the bands Sublime and 311.

The band got its start in 1995 when Joe's younger brother, Greg, was bedridden for nine months with a variety of ailments. The doctor recommended activity to regain strength in his arms, so Greg began playing guitar, and Joe played drums along with him. Vocalist and saxophone player Kevin Quinn, bassist Sean Reese and guitarist Matty Flaherty have joined the band in recent years. Besides the Washington area, the group has performed in North Carolina.

The name HydraFX is a reference to the marine culture of Solomons Island and the production effects the band employs. HydraFX also incorporates funk, metal and jazz in its music, according to the group's Web site.

The band submitted an audition video in February of a performance filmed at Neptune's Beach Club in St. Mary's County. It received a call-back in June and was invited for an interview and audition in New York, followed by a trip to Burbank, Calif., to record tracks for the competition at NBC Studios.

"This is what we've been waiting to do. This is our dream," Joe Barrick said. "If we win this, I don't know, it'll be the best day of my life."

The band recorded four songs for the competition, two originals ("Never" and "Falls Apart") and two covers (the Temptations' "My Girl" and Sublime's "Santeria").

Voting concludes at 9 p.m. Monday. Viewers can register and vote at http://www.startomorrow.com .

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