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Hargo wins a Was - Gimme the Gig winner's TV set airs Dec. 1

Local world rocker wins TV contest, earns recording session with Don Was

“We just won a huge battle of the bands called Gimme the Gig,” says soulful world-rocker Hargo, whose self-named band scored a music video and recording session with celeb producer Don Was as part of a TV pilot taping.

Sponsored by the Ford car company, Gimme the Gig initially taped entrants performing (Hargo’s set was in Del Mar) and solicited online votes to narrow down a dozen contestants, who then competed in front of Was. “We were allowed to play two songs, ‘Forget Everything’ and ‘Regeneration X.’” After being asked to repeat the latter tune (from their full-length Out of Mankind), “Don Was came up to us and said ‘Man, that was beautiful, the beginning almost has a Krishna Das kind of gospel chant, and then it really rocks!’”

As the competition narrowed down to the last twelve bands and the stakes got higher, the journey was captured on film and made into three, one hour episodes. KTLA has been airing the final battles this month, beginning November 17. The episodes are being broadcast three consecutive Saturdays on KTLA at 8pm.

The KTLA broadcasts will culminate in the final episode on December 1, showing Hargo's dramatic win, including behind the scenes footage of recording with Don Was, who was recently named President of Blue Note Records and has produced records for the Rolling Stones, John Mayer, the Black Crowes, and many others, as well as fronting his own band Was Not Was.

After the twelve bands competed, “We all lined up in front of a Ford Focus, which had been outfitted with a recording console by Mad Mike from Pimp my Ride, and Don announced ‘I’d like Hargo to stick around for the next day to record and shoot the video.’ He really announced it that casually. It took a second to sink in. We were thinking, wait, he wants us to come back tomorrow? So that means we just won?”

Their song “Regeneration X” and the accompanying video were taped on the same day last month, with the audio portion recorded by Was from the Focus dashboard. “The console that was built in to the car was really cool, and they outfitted it with a couple of Distressor compressors and some mic preamps, all analog, to give it that real vibe. I have to say I was kind of skeptical at first, but it actually worked very well. We tracked the song live with the rhythm section, overdubbed some guitars and vocals, and now it’s being mixed [by Grammy-winning engineer Krish Sharma].”

Hargo estimates “To shoot a video like the one we did for Gimme the Gig would have cost $100,000.00, and we own a hundred percent of both audio and video. Ford is working with iTunes and some other outlets to really push the track we recorded, and we get all the royalties.”

“They’re acting almost like a label back in the day, but without stealing your publishing.”

None

Hargo got his first taste of fame at the age of 16, when his tune “Giving” was selected as official theme song for the 1999 South Africa Peace Conference. “I wrote that when I was eight years old, in choir,” he says. “While performing in Oregon [years later], I got to do that song. A woman approached me and said they were looking for a theme song to kick off that event.”

A 2000 performance opening for Seal earned him a ringing endorsement from the headliner (“This young man’s music moved me deeply”). Hargo says “That was around 2000, in New Mexico, at the Peace Festival. I played him a few of my songs on a 12-string. He flipped it over, Hendrix style, and played a song from his new album. He asked me what I thought about another song he played, and I told him it had interesting chords. When he played the bridge, I told him I thought it was too chordy, and it took away from the strength of the melody.”

Seal isn't Hargo's only famous fan. “Shortly after I had decided to really make a move in the music scene in San Diego, Kate Pierson of the B-52s told me to stick with my nickname Hargo, as opposed to some stage name or something. She said ‘It’s one word, unique, and easy to remember...it just sounds cool.’”

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“We just won a huge battle of the bands called Gimme the Gig,” says soulful world-rocker Hargo, whose self-named band scored a music video and recording session with celeb producer Don Was as part of a TV pilot taping.

Sponsored by the Ford car company, Gimme the Gig initially taped entrants performing (Hargo’s set was in Del Mar) and solicited online votes to narrow down a dozen contestants, who then competed in front of Was. “We were allowed to play two songs, ‘Forget Everything’ and ‘Regeneration X.’” After being asked to repeat the latter tune (from their full-length Out of Mankind), “Don Was came up to us and said ‘Man, that was beautiful, the beginning almost has a Krishna Das kind of gospel chant, and then it really rocks!’”

As the competition narrowed down to the last twelve bands and the stakes got higher, the journey was captured on film and made into three, one hour episodes. KTLA has been airing the final battles this month, beginning November 17. The episodes are being broadcast three consecutive Saturdays on KTLA at 8pm.

The KTLA broadcasts will culminate in the final episode on December 1, showing Hargo's dramatic win, including behind the scenes footage of recording with Don Was, who was recently named President of Blue Note Records and has produced records for the Rolling Stones, John Mayer, the Black Crowes, and many others, as well as fronting his own band Was Not Was.

After the twelve bands competed, “We all lined up in front of a Ford Focus, which had been outfitted with a recording console by Mad Mike from Pimp my Ride, and Don announced ‘I’d like Hargo to stick around for the next day to record and shoot the video.’ He really announced it that casually. It took a second to sink in. We were thinking, wait, he wants us to come back tomorrow? So that means we just won?”

Their song “Regeneration X” and the accompanying video were taped on the same day last month, with the audio portion recorded by Was from the Focus dashboard. “The console that was built in to the car was really cool, and they outfitted it with a couple of Distressor compressors and some mic preamps, all analog, to give it that real vibe. I have to say I was kind of skeptical at first, but it actually worked very well. We tracked the song live with the rhythm section, overdubbed some guitars and vocals, and now it’s being mixed [by Grammy-winning engineer Krish Sharma].”

Hargo estimates “To shoot a video like the one we did for Gimme the Gig would have cost $100,000.00, and we own a hundred percent of both audio and video. Ford is working with iTunes and some other outlets to really push the track we recorded, and we get all the royalties.”

“They’re acting almost like a label back in the day, but without stealing your publishing.”

None

Hargo got his first taste of fame at the age of 16, when his tune “Giving” was selected as official theme song for the 1999 South Africa Peace Conference. “I wrote that when I was eight years old, in choir,” he says. “While performing in Oregon [years later], I got to do that song. A woman approached me and said they were looking for a theme song to kick off that event.”

A 2000 performance opening for Seal earned him a ringing endorsement from the headliner (“This young man’s music moved me deeply”). Hargo says “That was around 2000, in New Mexico, at the Peace Festival. I played him a few of my songs on a 12-string. He flipped it over, Hendrix style, and played a song from his new album. He asked me what I thought about another song he played, and I told him it had interesting chords. When he played the bridge, I told him I thought it was too chordy, and it took away from the strength of the melody.”

Seal isn't Hargo's only famous fan. “Shortly after I had decided to really make a move in the music scene in San Diego, Kate Pierson of the B-52s told me to stick with my nickname Hargo, as opposed to some stage name or something. She said ‘It’s one word, unique, and easy to remember...it just sounds cool.’”

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