Shiprock band has shot at national tour

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, March 14, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Members of Lights On For Safety, from left to right, are Mikey Woods (drummer), Therle Smith (lead guitarist), Cordy Johnson (lead singer), and Tom Johnson (bass player). The band had a practice session Sunday night in Shiprock.

SECOND FROM TOP:Members of Lights On For Safety, from left to right, are keyboardist Kevin Nelson, bass player Tom Johnson, lead singer Cordy Johnson, drummer Mikey Woods, and lead guitarist Therle Smith. The band was having some fun while posing for the camera after a practice session Sunday night in Shiprock.

S hiprock-based band Lights On For Safety is competing for a chance to play at one of the summer's largest music festivals in the nation, the Vans Warped Tour.

"The reason why we are in Battle of the Bands is to get noticed in different areas," said Front man Cordy Johnson. "We just want to expand our music as musicians."

Lights On For Safety entered into the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands at the end of February for a shot at the 2013 Vans Warped Tour in Las Cruces, N.M. Right now the band is in the running with over 40 bands from various states, including Arizona and Texas.

Vans Warped Tour is an indie rock festival that has been touring every summer since 1995. This year it features a line up of over 100 bands.

Johnson said they chose to compete for a slot in the Vans Warped Tour because a lot of their favorite musicians have been a part of that tour, and they want to be able to experience what those bands have firsthand: "Make it our memory."

In order for Lights On For Safety to enter into the battle of the bands they needed to complete a short informational profile and then upload at least one MP3 to the competition's website.

Through that profile they will start to develop their buzz rating. A buzz rating is a proprietary system developed by Ernie Ball, and it gives a real time snap shot of each band's overall exposure level. It also calculates fan votes as an overall percentage of each band's rating, states the website.

"We have to get voted into the top 100," said Bassist Thomas Johnson. "It's a really competitive competition and we have to get as many votes as we can."

Lights On For Safety's current buzz rating stands at 76 percent, and this leaves them at the No. 6 position among the top-rated bands for the Las Cruces, N.M. venue.

Cordy Johnson said it's a great feeling being among the top-rated bands this early in the race because they know that it's their fans that are helping them stay in the competition.

"It's awesome just knowing that a small town band could have a chance just because of our family and friends have our backs, and pushing us to our dreams to make music," said Johnson. "We thank our fans for getting us this far."

According to the Ernie Ball website, judging for the competition is performed by people well respected in the field of music, including John Feldmann, front man for the band Goldfinger; Mike Shea, chief executive officer and founder of Alternative Press Magazine; Kevin Lyman, producer and creator of Vans Warped Tour; and Lou Plaia, co-founder of ReverbNation.

Judges will select the winners based on their musicianship, originality, ability to draw a crowd, songwriting and vocal ability. Three weeks prior to the Van Warped Tour in Las Cruces, N.M. on June 26, judges will review the music of the top 100 buzz-rated bands for that venue.

"Each band, one through 100, will have an equal chance of being selected to play Warped Tour," according to the website. "Four of those artists will be selected to play live at that particular venue."

"Even if we don't win the Vans Warped Tour Battle of the Bands we're gaining new family and friends by just doing it," said Johnson.

Added drummer Michael Woods, "Even if we don't make it at least we gave all we got and people know we're out there."

Their profile exposes them to people from across the world.

Visit Lights On For Safety's Facebook page for more information about the band, and visit to cast a vote. Voting will continue until the end of May.


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