by Jeff Niesel
It’s always good to have a doctor on hand, even if it’s just for a battle of the bands competition. That’ll be the case tonight when The Hard Rock Café launches its annual Global Battle of the Bands Competition. The Hard Rock has enlisted Dr. Claudio Milstein, a voice specialist from the Cleveland Clinic's Voice Center, to help judge the event alongside Erika Lauren from the Alan Cox show on WMMS, Megan Zurkey from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and members from last year’s Hard Rock Rising winning band, Hey Monea! Milstein hasn’t judged a battle of the bands competition in the past but he says he’s looking forward to the event.
“I have no doubt it will be a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s a global event and people from every state participate. I’ve been working with professional voice users for many many years. I started in Argentina. I was a theater director. I was teaching voice for acting and singing at the National School of Drama.”
The Clinic actually has a wall of photos of some of the celebrities it has treated over the years. Milstein says the Clinic has seen a number of American Idol contestants as patients, too. So does that mean he’ll take on the air of Idol judge Simon Cowell and lambast any performer not up to snuff?
“I have to wait and see how it goes,” says Milstein, who adds that he’ll also be advocating hearing protection and will have a few free sets of ear plugs on hand for both judges and patrons. “I’m a laid back guy and not mean. I won’t be like Simon Cowell. I’ll try to give them some constructive criticism and will talk more about vocal performance.”
The top band from Cleveland will go on to compete against winners from other cities. The grand prize: a tour in “six renowned cities” arranged by Hard Rock International and a spot on the bill at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London, with additional dates at Hard Rock Cafes in cities such as Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chicago and Honolulu. The winner will also get to make an album and music video through Hard Rock Records and receive new music equipment and gear valued at $10,000.