Being the house band at MTV's Beach House is no, er, day at the beach.
Just ask David Walker of the Annapolis band, Bovox Clown. Even though it's barely 8 p.m., Walker is beat.
Bovox Clown spent nearly nine hours taping Beach House segments in the Hamptons on Long Island; and having to play songs, soak up sun and frolic with good-looking beach kids has taken its toll.
"I don't know if you can imagine being fatigued from being out in the sun," he says, laughing. "But after eight hours of standing there with your guitar, you're just ready to go to sleep."
Still, Walker can't complain. After all, he and his bandmates have landed the kind of gig most bands dream about. Beating out 2,500 other aspiring video stars to win the MTV Beach House Band Search didn't just earn Bovox Clown $10,000 and a new set of instruments; it also offered the kind of exposure most bands would kill for.
"This is probably the No. 1 contest for a band that's not signed," he says. "We're going to be on national TV in front of 60 million people for five to seven days."
Not just "national TV" -- MTV, music mecca for the under-30 set. And even though Bovox Clown's performances will be limited to between-song segments, that will still put the band's music cheek-by-jowl with some of the heaviest acts in the business.
Considering that most of the exposure the quintet -- which also includes Stephen Wright, Shawn McKelvie, Jeff Chamberlain, Jason Rucks -- has had until now was limited to the Baltimore/Washington area, this is a very big break indeed. Yet, Walker seems almost blase when explaining how his band got that break.
"I remember seeing the ads for the contest, and asked if we had entered," he says. "Everyone said, 'Yeah, Scott [Stevanus], our manager, took care of that.' And that's really all there is to it."
Well, not quite all. "Cereal Song," the selection Stevanus sent in, had a pretty impressive track record even before it wowed the folks at MTV. It had recently been picked to lead off this year's sampler CD from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA), and the video clip -- which was made in conjunction with Colorcast Productions, just won a Telly Award.
"Each band was only allowed to send in one video, and we figured 'Cereal Song' was the most marketable, MTV-style song that we had," says Walker. "So we sent it in, and it won."
So, how has life at the Beach House turned out for the band? Pretty well, actually.
"We were really nervous about it when we got here, but these people are so cool. They're just the most laid-back people in the world, it's incredible. Everyone was just walking around here in T-shirts and shorts, and acting like my best friends at home do, you know?
"As a matter of fact, we've all just become really good friends with them in just three or four days. We're hanging out with them, eating dinner with them, going bowling with them."
"We actually went bowling with Bill Bellamy," he says. "It was cool. I got whipped."
In addition to Bellamy, the group has also taped segments with Kennedy, Idalis and John Sencio. But Walker seems most impressed by the daily crew of extras that visit the Beach House.
"They actually have two people whose job it is to find extras -- good-looking, young, robust people to get on the show as extras, " he says. "Mostly they're kids from around the area, like in an hour or two's drive, and they all have them meet there in the morning, and tell them what they're going to be doing.
"They go hang out on the beach and play volleyball or whatever until they're needed, and once they're needed, they're all brought up. It's pretty much, 'Three, two, one, act like you're having a good time!' These people are very casual about it and all that, but there's a lot going on, and everyone has got to think. Even though everyone's having a real good time while they're doing it, you can tell that everyone's got a purpose."
As for Bovox Clown, the band's purpose -- apart from having a good time -- is to leave a good impression, especially with record company talent scouts.
"We're hoping, of course, that this is going to bring national exposure and a big record company contract," says Walker.
"We're letting every record company in the world know, 'Hey, look what we won!' Shake it in their face in hopes that they'll become interested in us.
"But we're also very realistic," he adds.
"So we decided that if worse comes to worst, we'll be able to go home with $10,000 and all new instruments, and we'll be able to say that we won this."
Bovox Clown's MTV Beach House segments can be seen at various times through Wednesday, Sept. 7, including the shows "MTV Blocks," from 9 to 10 a.m.; "Good Videos," from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays; "MTV's Most Wanted," from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
ROCK THE CLOWN
To hear Bovox Clown's "Cereal Song," call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6162 after you hear the greeting.