NEW PALESTINE — Talk about a great high school graduation gift.
On Friday, New Palestine High School senior John Tuttle graduated. On Monday, his band, John & Luke headed to New York City, where they’ve earned a spot in the finals of the VH1 Make a Band Famous contest.
The John & Luke band consists of cousins John and Luke Tuttle and their friend Shane Parker. They earned a top 24 spot to travel to New York after nationwide online voting among 60 bands that had been selected from more than 3,000 original entrants in the contest.
“For one thing, it’s been exciting because we’ve never done anything like this before,” John said. “It’s been so cool to experience this kind of buzz…”
His cousin Luke said the band is blown away by the opportunity.
“I never expected us to get this far,” Luke said. “It’s really amazing.”
Not only did the band earn a spot in the national band contest, they also were one of the top vote-getters throughout the online contest. It means not only did they get plenty of local support, but that they also received some national interest as well.
“To make it on the leader board, that was super surprising for me,” John said. “But, it’s encouraging to know people really like our music.”
Now that the band has made it to the top 24 bands, the goal is to come back after today’s contest as the winners. If so, they’ll have earned a record contract from Republic Records and will be part of a VH1 show.
“My expectations would be for us to win it all,” Luke said. “We’re not going to come in second or third.”
However, as far as the band is concerned, they’re already winners regardless of how things turn out this week in Gotham.
“As far as I’m concerned, the exposure that the band is going to get is going to be phenomenal,” Luke said.
“We’ve gained so much more than we ever could have if we had not entered this contest,” John said. “I’m always hopeful for that No. 1, but I’m looking forward to meeting some cool people and making some good connections.”
The band was slated to do sound checks Tuesday and then take part in the 24-hour one-day band competition today.
“Each hour, a band will be eliminated, so that is where we will be gunning for that top spot,” John said. “We’re ready and we’re confident that we can kill it when we get to New York.”
John’s father, John Tuttle Sr., will be driving the band to New York. He was the one who convinced his son that the band ought to enter the contest.
“This trip may be the last for me to be taking John to play guitar,” John Tuttle Sr., said. “We have done this many times together over the years going to lessons, recitals or to play at church.”
However, noting that his son is getting older and will be heading off to college this fall, he knows his chauffeuring days are just about over.
“I don’t think he will need me to drive much more,” John Sr., said. “Who knows, though; maybe he will need a tour bus driver someday!”
While the nation got to select the top 24 bands to compete against each other, judges plus online voting during the 24-hour live stream today will determine which band wins it. To watch the performance and vote visit http://makeabandfamous.vh1.com.