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Locals 3Against1 emerged as one of eight finalists in Zippo lighter's "Hottest Unsigned Rock Band in America" competition. Zippo's "Hot Tour," which hosted 62 unsigned bands, had 1200 entries, all vying for a showcase with Island Records in New York City, as well as equipment: Randall amps, Washburn guitars, and Tama drums (all tour sponsors). Song samples from the eight bands are posted on www.ZippoHotTour.com, where visitors can vote for their favorites over the four weeks of finals (wrapping up December 31).

As to why Zippo is getting into the rock biz, Mark Paup, director of global marketing, says, "Zippo lighters have been synonymous with the concert scene for decades, and we felt this tour was the perfect match for us to support the local music scene and bands that may otherwise have limited possibilities to reach record labels."

The other finalists come from cities like Austin (Element), Denver (Ben Park Drive), Detroit (Last), Minneapolis (Murge), Raleigh-Durham (Downfall), West Palm Beach (Trendkill), and Pittsburgh (Adam Evil & the Outside Royalty).

Formed in 2001, 3Against1 was named "Best Rock Band" at the 2004 San Diego Music Awards. Last year, the quartet's single, "It's Over," was featured in the THQ video game "MX Unleashed" for both the PlayStation2 and Xbox, and their songs have also been used on MTV's Real World and Road Rules.

At www.garageband.com, 3Against1's song "My Life" (highest ranking 2072 out of 6292 in the alternative category) has drawn mixed criticism from site visitors. The Gooboos from Stockholm, Sweden, writes, "Great vocals! Great refrain too!" SlubGlub in San Francisco counters, "It's best when it's not rocking," while Jettisonred from Eastpointe, Michigan, thinks, "[The] vocals are too Creed for me."

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