All that's standing between obscurity and stardom for Marlboro's Alpha Male Gorillas is 12 bands.

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All that's standing between obscurity and stardom for Marlboro's Alpha Male Gorillas is 12 bands.

In its second year, the Bodog Battle of the Bands has scoured the country for the best unsigned indie bands who are battling it out with the hopes of winning a $1 million recording contract with Bodog Music. Eventually 10 bands from around the world, (four U.S., one Canadian, two UK, one Scandinavian, one German and one wild-card band) will battle on a network reality TV show.

The six-piece band, the members of which range in age from 22 to 26, enters its last round of competition on Wednesday at the Fillmore in New York City.

"The competition factor makes it much more exciting. We really want this thing and we're confident in the way we play and we're confident in our promoting capabilities," says bassist/drummer/vocalist Dave Heinzinger. "Compared to shows up here, this is definitely another level."

What started out with approximately 7,000 bands has been narrowed down to 49. Those 49 will compete in either New York City, Chicago, Atlanta or Los Angeles over the course of the following week at regional battles, and one band will be chosen from each city to move on. There are 13 bands competing in NYC, and the Alpha Male Gorillas definitely think they have a chance.

"We watched the show last year, and some of the challenges on there I know we can completely dominate. Also, we have a different sound than everyone else we're competing against, and after winning three rounds of this already, based on fan support and the support of the judges, I think we definitely have a shot," Heinzinger says. "It can explode and be exciting, and I think that's what the judges are looking for."

Winning is based on a number of factors, including musicianship, originality and self-promotion and a combination of fan ballots, music directors' scores and online participation. To up the ante at the regional battles, a TV production crew will be filming for the reality TV series.

The Gorillas have their bases covered, especially the self-promotion end.

"For every show we play outside the Hudson Valley we bring a bus called the Banana Bus, and it used to be appropriate because it used to be a school bus, but we've upgraded to a coach bus. It's almost full, but if more people want to go we'll get a second bus. For us, that's the most important part. Our stiffest competition is a band from the Bronx, and I know those guys are bustin' their asses to promote and, for us to compete with them, we have to bring more people from here to support us on Wednesday night."

The styles of music range significantly from pop/rock and emo/alternative to a hardcore band and another with a straight hip-hop flow. The Gorillas' sound is so diverse it's hard to cram them into a category, and they're using that to their advantage, along with their camaraderie.

"The reason why we're so confident is because we feel we're onto something. I feel that it would be hindering our style if you put it into a genre, but if you needed to, you can called it blues-based hip-hop with a funk-rock vibe," Heinzinger says. "The greatest part about this band is we're playing the music we want with the people we want. You can't ask for more."

If you'd like to get a seat on the bus to support the Alpha Male Gorillas at the Fillmore on Wednesday, contact Vinny Pomarico at 430-9341.

Eric Agunzo keyboard/bass

Anthony Defraia Drums/bass/guitar/vocals

Dave Heinzinger Bass/drums/guitar/vocals

Joe Infelice Bongos/vocals

Kris Schwind Guitar/vocals

Vinny Pomarico Guitar/vocals