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"We have been playing original music for a year and a half," says Cemetery Swingers drummer Dylan Wade. "We work our asses off. And write our own music. [At Carlsbad's annual Battle of the Bands] a cover band shouldn't be judged with the other bands."

Wade's original psychobilly band was one of ten groups to play the January 28 competition held at Stagecoach Park gym. Over 200 people attended. The event is organized by the city of Carlsbad's recreation department. Performance rules dictated that all band members be teens and that they could not sing lewd or offensive lyrics. The band that won, the Last Revival, played classic-rock covers (as did last year's winner, the Fijis).

Rec department employee Marc Beasley would not disclose who judged the contest, but he did say that "originality and vocal ability" accounted for one-fourth of the criteria. One of the judges, Dan Millican of reggae band Stone Senses, says he liked Last Revival because "...they had a 14-year-old kid who did an unbelievable job copying Jimmy Page on 'Black Dog.' "

Beasley says he hopes to create two competitions next year: one for cover bands and one for original bands.

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