THE SMALL PRINT (Here's a new Bodog requirement) - "You must not have a criminal record or pending criminal charges that may interfere with your ability to travel freely around the world or otherwise restrict bands ability to work in the entertainment industry." (Pretty good coming from a guy that can't enter the US without being arrested!) .
This is the owner of Bodog.com. He's about the exact opposite of Big Time Entertainment's CEOs. He's Calvin Ayre and his photo is plastered all over his websites. He's got so many photos of himself that you sort of forget what the hell his website is all about. You are lulled into a haze of glossy Calvin Ayre photos. What?...pay-to-play?...huh?...that Calvin is soooo "dreamy". There are photos of Calvin Ayre posing with celebs, photos of him with skanky "Girls Gone Wild-style" chicks, in exotic settings, on the beach, at Bodog conventions. He even provides high-rez photos so you can have them for your scrapbook. This site is a total lovefest to himself.
BUT HERE'S THE REAL STATS: Calvin Ayre is a Canadian who owns and operates Bodog Entertainment Group. This is the biggest on-line gaming enterprise in the world. On-line gambling is illegal in the US. That’s why Calvin Ayre lives in a $3.5 million compound in Costa Rica. He runs all his money through the National Bank of Scotland in London. None of his transactions take place within an American financial institution so the Feds can’t touch him. He doesn’t pay a dime in personal taxes, even though most of his 16 million customers live in the US. Last year Bodog.com turned over about $7.3 billion (yes, that’s BILLION) in wagers and gaming. Calvin Ayre also runs Bodog Poker, Bodog Fantasy, Bodog Girls, Bodog Sports, and Bodog Nation. (This info was obtained from Forbes Magazine.)
Apparently gambling profits aren't enough, so Bodog is hosting a national Battle of The Bands where 10 bands per night (yikes!) sign up to "battle" each other by selling the most tickets. (Also some playing is involved but with 10 bands on a bill, that doesn't seem to be the main focus.) The percentage of winning anything is about as high as winning the lottery. Actually the lottery would better serve your band. And don't think that Calvin will be seeing your band in the last rounds. He can't enter the U.S.
NEW! WATCH THE BODOG BOTB REALITY SHOW WOW!
THE UPDATE BOX (October 09) HUGE UPDATE: Bodog is stalled
I always thought it was strange that Bodog owner and self-proclaimed International Playboy, Calvin Ayre, could get away with all that off-shore gaming without the US Feds giving him some attention. Well, I think my hunch might have been right. In August, The US Internal Revenue Service froze some of his bank accounts and collected 24 million in money owed to the government. They say the investigation is on-going. The Forbes article about this situation starts off with “The US government recently seized $24 million from bank accounts linked to Bodog, the giant, illegal-under-US-law Internet gaming operation founded by Canadian tycoon Calvin Ayre. Federal filings make very clear that a serious criminal investigation of the Bodog enterprise is ongoing.”
What's happening to the Bodog Battle of the Bands? The main Bodog Music website seems untended and this is all that's left of them discussing it, with links that don't work. You can’t bring up any new shows. It will only list old BOTBs and the most recent ones seem to be from the very early part of 2008. Spokesmodel Bif Naked also seems to be mysterious missing form all the Bodog myspace Top Friends when previously she was at the top of the list. Bodog ended up handing over the record contract winner to the Canadian label Bunk Rock. Hopefully Calvin Ayre, that is...International Playboy Calvin Ayre, suddenly has bigger fish to fry than running pay-to-play battles and posing with giant million dollar checks. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. This is a link to the Forbes article:
FEDS HOUND BODOG 07.30.08, 6:35 PM ET
OUR FIRST POST ABOUT BODOG BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Below is the first time we took a look at this scam): UPDATE: THEY'VE SLIGHTLY CHANGED THE MILITARY SCHTICK. I guess "Rock Boot Camp" didn't work out so well so they've changed a few of the titles, but it's still got the military feel to it. You don't "enlist" like you used to, but you still "Earn Your Stripes". Plus now there are TEN steps instead of 6. It's all more confusing than ever and seems to promote more ticket selling rounds. Ten-hut!
The Pay-to-Play scam also works on a national level. Check out this national Battle of the Bands "Contest" (pay-to-play scam). So it works like this. You and all your friends in bands join the giant battle and eventually you win ONE MILLION DOLLARS (spoken like Dr. Evil - and of course, it's not really a million, it's a million dollar CONTRACT). Well, youre not going to win. Youre going to lose, but not before you spend a whole bunch of time and trouble selling expensive tickets to your family and friends. So here's my beef with this one. First, check out their website, then I'll start the ranting:
SIX REASONS TO AVOID BODOG
REASON #1 / MILITARY SCHTICK: What is it with the Rambo/Apocalypse Now/Military motif? Does this artwork really spell "rock"? You don't sign up, you ENLIST. "BAND WARFARE": Damn people, do we really need to fight about everything!? And if you really are forced to go to "Rock Boot Camp" shouldnt it be with a certified drill instructor like Ted Nugent, rather than the numbnuts who dreamed this up? Actually if this kind of thing really appeals to you, maybe you should drop the music and just ENLIST in the real army instead.
REASON #2 / PYRAMID SCHEME: Its a proven fact that pyramid schemes dont work for anybody other than the guy at the very top (and its never going to be YOU). They need tons of bands on the bottom rung to support the bands moving up. In a perfect Bodog World they really would like every band in the United States to sign up for this thing. Then this "contest" would really work great! Do you really think you are going to win the big prize against odds like this? Hell, youd have a better chance at winning that million on a TV game show. If you think you have a chance at this contest there are some guys in Vegas who would love to meet you.
REASON #3 / PAY-TO-PLAY: And of course, HERE WE GO. Bodogs Step 6, "Show-Up/Show-Down" is where you will be manipulated into the Pay-to-Play scam. Sell tickets to family and friends. Be the Bodog Corporations bitch. "Get in a band, and shovel it for the Man." How "punk" can you get? But heres the most important statement:
It used to read: "When you make it to boot camp the power of your following comes into play. Your friends, family, and fans will join you by buying tickets to the event you could be playing. There are 10 other bands per show in BOOT CAMP, youve got to do a little more than out play them, youve got to out promote them."
emphasize the ticket thing even more! Listen up and sell those tickets.
The winner will be the BEST SALESMEN, not the best band. If this still appeals to you, I think AMWAY has a similar plan you might want to take a crack at.
REASON #4 / TIME WASTING: We hope every band has 20 years together, but lets face it, the normal life of a band might only last a few years. Dont waste all your good intentions trying to "win" contests (unless its 60s style one-show, non-ticket selling kind where the losers have to shave their heads). This scam wastes the precious time your band has. Writing great songs, practicing, recording, playing real shows, meeting other bands, having fun...thats the role of a band.
REASON #5 / STARDOM: No contest leads to stardom (unless your name is Kelly Clarkson or Clay Aiken). Think of your favorite bands, the ones that influenced you, the ones that you listened to when nothing else mattered, the ones that made YOU want to be in a band. How many of them got famous by winning big national contests? NONE. Winning contests is not the answer, especially when youve got to sell a bunch of tickets to do it.
REASON #6 / CALVIN AYRE: Here is a photo of the creator/owner/head honcho of Bodog. I thought youd like to actually see "The Man" youll be shoveling it for! Does this really look like the guy you want to trust with your bands future? Do you really want to be associated with this guy? Why this guy just screams "anarchy"! Calvin Ayre is a corporate business tycoon who also owns/operates Bodog Sports (on-line betting), Bodog Poker, Bodog Girls, Bodog Nation...Be afraid, be very afraid...
Remember that old Twilight Zone episode where the aliens come down to earth to help humans? They bring a book called "To Serve Man": and the humans are convinced that the aliens are really trying to do something good for them. Of course, as the hero boards the spaceship for a visit to the alien planet, his assistant runs to tell him too late what she's discovered after decoding the book.
"To Serve Man...It's a cookbook!"
Something like that has happened to the Bodog Battle of the Bands contest that we have recently discovered...
"The Bodog Battle of the Bands...
So all these bands (over 7,000 of them!) have worked their butts off to sell tickets to their family and friends. They've battled on to each round. They've played on 10 band bills. They've promoted themselves through all the Bodog militaristic steps. They turned over hundreds of dollars to Bodog. Why? So they'll finally be able to "outplay" the last few bands and win a "million dollar" contract with Bodog Music (at least that's how the old website read).
NOT SO FAST BOTBers! Things have changed. The official Bodog contract has mysteriously changed. Bodog has confirmed what The Battle To End All Battles has turned into, and this is from their official press release:
"Since January 23, the 16 who remain have taken the competition on the road, starting with a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The final elimination tour and shooting of the Bodog Battle reality show is now under way. The bands will face a variety of ordeals and battles to decide which one is the best unsigned band in America and who wins the coveted million-dollar contract. All this is happening on the eve of the 9-part Bodog Battle reality series being unleashed on Fuse TV featuring coverage of the final stages of competition for our year one bands."
That's right suckers. All that ticket selling and winning rounds of crappy gigs has enabled 16 bands to compete in the Bodog version of that VH1 dud reality rock show "Bands on the Run". Remember that stinkeroo? The 2001 show where Harlow, Soulcracker, the Josh Dodes Band and Flickerstick were pitted against each other to see who could sell the most T-shirts on the road or put on a show that day with no money? Apparently only Flickerstick is still playing today (see Boston Herald article below). Bands on the Run was so "popular" VH1 only shot one season. Hell, that gawd-awful Victoria Gotti show got more than one season!
Did all those 7,000 competing bands realize that at the end they would be put put through a series of "defeats, vicotries and personal triumphs" for another boring reality show that everybody can make fun of? In addition, the new contract has a couple of clauses you might find interesting, especially this one:
"The Sponsor's decision (which may or may not coincide with the decision of Judges and/or the voting public, as recorded by the voting service provider) in the elimination of any of the bands and in the awarding of any prizes to the bands, including the Grand Prize is final and binding."
In other words, it doesn't matter how well you play, how you get through those trials and tribulations on the road, how many people like you, or even what the judges say. They've already picked a winner and it's obviously not you, and now it's in writing. The final sentence on the contract isn't very reassuring either:
RULES, ELIGIBILITY AND DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! So besides the "Bands on the Run" schtick, Bodog needed a panel of expert judges to do what...award points? Well, it's obvious they want to combine the fun of a reality show with the popularity of American Idol. They've found their slutty Paula Adul in who they are calling the Canadian Superstar (and man, that's stretching it - it should be just "Canadian"), Bif Naked. Yeah, her career was huge! But who can they get to play the part of the rock version of Simon Cowell? He's gotta be British, he's gotta be snotty, he's gotta formerly have a little street cred, he's gotta be controversial...who could fill that bill? Why, it's none other than everybody's favorite Anarchy in the UK guy himself, JOHNNY ROTTEN. If his credibility was in jeapordy before this, it ought to be totally shot by the time Bodog gets through with him. From Punk Rocker Numero Uno to a 3rd rate Simon Cowell on a 4th rate reality show. He once claimed to kill rock and roll. If he didn't then, this should do the trick.
"Bodog Music's $1 Million Battle is pleased to announce that the legendary Sex Pistol John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) has signed on to be a judge for the show that is currently shooting across the United States and will run on a top cable network later in the year."
AND THE WINNER IS...
Get on the Bodog Battle of the Bands MYSPACE SITE and have Bif Naked tell you all about it. DAMN, THE BIF NAKED VIDEO IS GONE. SORRY, IT WAS REALLY GREAT! Yes, it's that evil opposite of Gwen Stefani, Bif Naked, who had some sort of hit a few years ago on MTV. Nobody's heard from her since...until now. So what if her career is in the toilet? She's going to tell you how it all breaks down in the most hilarious video since SCTV was on the air. Is that a speech problem she's having or is she drunk? Notice how she really does claim you'll get a million dollars and not just a Bodog Contract? And of course, just like the website, the focus is really on hunky Calvin Ayre and all his wealth and skanky chicks. Battle of the Bands or Girls Gone Wild? It's hard to tell, especially at the end of the video where it's a flash of butts, Calvin on his yacht and expensive shops in Beverly Hills where he appears to be buying watches. By the way, Bif claims she's a Bodog Recording Artist. The obvious question is: Why doesn't Calvin Ayre just spend that million to help her out? Seems like she's the one that really needs it.
1. No band member can have a criminal record or pending criminal charges that may interfere with their ability to travel freely around the world or otherwise restrict bands ability to work in the entertainment industry.
2. Band members may not wear any clothing items bearing third party trade-marks or logos or any other image bearing the name or likeness of a person (whether celebrity or not, whether living or dead) to any of the auditions.
3. By entering, the band (and each individual member of the band (and his/her parent/legal guardian if that band member is a minor) grants permission for the use of the Entry Materials and Band Materials, and name of the band (and the name of each individual member of the band), in all media and manner of exploitation including broadcast, advertising, promotion, and publicity of the Competition, throughout the world and in perpetuity, or as otherwise as stated in these Official Rules (as solely determined by Sponsor).
4. CONDITIONS FOR ALL PRIZES: Expenses not stated are the sole responsibility of the winners. Prizes cannot be substituted, assigned or redeemed for cash, but Sponsor reserves the right to substitute any prize (or portion of a prize) with one of equal value should that prize (or portion) become unavailable for any reason. If any winner cannot or does not accept a prize as stated, that prize will be forfeited in its entirety and time permitting awarded to an alternate winner. All income and other taxes on prizes are solely the responsibility of the winners.
5. Sponsor reserves the right to change the structure of the Competition as it sees fit including, without limitation, adding or deleting auditions/heats/competitions to the Competition and/or requesting additional performances from the bands and/or changing the anticipated auditioning or recording schedule.
6. It is a condition of entry and participation in the Competition that bands make themselves available to participate in the Competition, agree to and sign all applicable Release Forms and abide by terms and conditions of such Release Forms and the rules, regulations, terms and conditions as devised from time to time by the Sponsor including but not by way of limitation the Competition or Program rules. As part of bands’ contribution to the Competition and/or Program, the Sponsor may request bands to participate in additional activities relating to the Program including without limitation live or recorded performances (and international locations to be determined by Sponsor), skills challenges, tasks, elimination rounds, web-casts, pod-casts, blogs, video diaries, chat rooms, SMS chats, as well as various interviews, appearances, promotional, publicity, sponsorship and merchandising activities in any and all media.
7. Bands may be required to keep any and all information regarding the Competition completely confidential and may be prohibited from conducting any interviews or providing any comment or information to the public and the media without the consent of the Sponsor, including without limitation, information regarding the outcome of the Regional Auditions and any subsequent heats, the performances of any band including their own performance and any and all comments of the Judges or Sponsor, at the sole discretion of the Sponsor.
The Sponsor’s decision (which may or may not coincide with the decision of Judges and/or the voting public, as recorded by the voting service provider) in the elimination of any of the bands and in the awarding of any prizes to the bands, including the Grand Prize is final and binding.
8. The Sponsor has the right at any time to require proof of identity and/or eligibility. Failure to provide such proof within a reasonable time could result in disqualification from the Competition. All personal details and information requested by and supplied to the Sponsor by each band must be truthful, accurate and in no way misleading. The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any band from the Competition, the Program or auditioning process in its sole discretion, should the band at any stage supply untruthful, inaccurate or misleading personal details and/or information or should the Band be ineligible for the Competition pursuant to the Competition or Program rules.
The Sponsor reserves the right to amend the Competition or Program rules or terminate the Competition at any time without any liability to any band or band member. The Sponsor further reserves the right to replace at its discretion any band or band member who for any reason fails or is disqualified from or unable to participate in any aspect of the Program and/or Competition, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, with another replacement band, notwithstanding that such replacement band may have been previously eliminated from the Competition.
SPONSOR: Bodog Entertainment Group S.A., Officentro Ejecutivo La Sabana, Torre 5 Piso 7, Sabana Sur, San Jose, Costa Rica
MOST IMPORTANT: RULES, ELIGIBILITY AND DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE