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Open Air Stereo

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Emo's answer to the Monkees, Laguna Beach's Open Air Stereo owe their major-label contract to their exposure on the MTV pseudo-reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. The third season of this series, which aired in the fall of 2006, focused largely on this band and their signing to Epic Records, serving as early promotion for their debut album. Pretty-boy lead singer Chase Johnson, lead guitarist Kelan Hurley, and bassist Braeden Hurley formed the precursor to Open Air Stereo in 2001, adding drummer Nick Gross in 2002. Offering the usual hard rock laundry list of influences, from the Doors to Rage Against the Machine, the quartet gigged around Orange County for several years and released their self-titled demo in 2005. Johnson and Kelan Hurley were cast in the semi-scripted soap opera Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in 2005; conveniently, Epic Records just happened to sign their band at around the same time, providing the show's producers with a nice little story arc and themselves with some built-in early promotional muscle. Open Air Stereo's major-label debut, produced by '80s/'90s big name Bob Rock (Aerosmith, etc.), is due in the summer of 2007. ~ Stewart Mason