The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 18, 2014

Joplin band Me Like Bees wins national competition

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — A Joplin band powered through problems and emerged victorious in a national band competition.

Me Like Bees won the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands 2013 competition -- the band was one of 25,000 who entered the competition and one of four finalists chosen to perform for judges during a concert at House of Blues in Hollywood. Ernie Ball announced the win on its Twitter account early Saturday morning.

Everything that could have gone wrong in the six-song, 25-minute set for a national battle of the bands did, said singer Luke Sheafer.

The band was slated to play first, a position considered disadvantageous in music competitions. Guitarist Pete Burton's strap became undone, then one of his pedals messed up. Drummer Tim Cote couldn't hear the band well throughout. And the low E-string on Sheafer's guitar broke with one song remaining in the set.

But the problems didn't translate to a bad performance, Sheafer said.

"Near the end, I got theatric with the string, so I just ripped it right out," Sheafer said. "We tore a mic off the stand and kicked it over, and were making a messy scene. I think the judges saw we had stuff go wrong, but we played pretty well."

As part of the win, Sheafer, Cote, Burton and bassist Nick Bynum win the production of a three-song EP produced by John Feldmann, who is the lead singer of Goldfinger and has produced and written songs for a long list of clients such as Papa Roach, Ashlee Simpson, Hillary Duff, Escape the Fate and Panic at the Disco.

The band also won a package that includes a $15,000 shopping spree at Guitar Center, apparel from Vans and an upcoming feature in Alternative Press magazine.

All of the finalists, including the bands Face the King, PVRIS and Wind in Sails, earned one-week slots on the 2014 Warped Tour.

Playing for one day during 2013's Warped Tour helped lead to the win, Sheafer said. After being one of about 25,000 entrants, the band was chosen as one of about 166 bands to play a slot in Kansas City for the competition.

The band found out it was one of four finalists in December, culminating in the trip to Hollywood for the competition. Sheafer said the band got to meet a large number of people in the music industry.

"The other bands and other people were awesome," Sheafer said. "Everyone was really humble, and felt genuinely honored to be there."

And the win came as a surprise to band members, who didn't feel like they played their best set. When the winner was announced, band members were scattered around the House of Blues and had to make their way to the stage for presentation.

Band members were filled with gratitude after the announcement, Sheafer said.

"After they announced it, I went up to the green room, called my wife and cried like a baby," Sheafer said.

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