"I figured I’d either study rocks or rock. Bucknell let me do both."

Alex Necochea ’98 is pushing buttons. After landing a song in the popular video game, Guitar Hero II, his band attracted hordes of devoted fans.

Luckily, the band, Bang Camaro, has its own horde of 15 lead singers to share the fame. They’re known for belting out arena-rock style anthems with "huge vocal choruses and face-melting solos."

It’s all in good fun for Necochea, who started the project in Boston with his friend Bryn Bennett, a video game programmer. After sharing some laughs about the Ozzy riffs they both enjoyed as kids, the two adopted the "bigger is better" ethos of that genre and made everything, well, bigger and better — achieving a big sound with a big "choir" of friends. When Guitar Hero II got hot, their fan base got much bigger, too.

Now, Necochea and Bang Camaro have toured coast-to-coast, have been covered by MTV, and appear in a new video game, Rock Band. All without inking a major record label deal.

"The music industry doesn’t have to be regulated by the major labels anymore," he says. "There are a lot of newer channels to market music. For us, it started with online social networking tools like MySpace."

Technology is also a key to the band’s innovative touring strategy: They audition people in distant cities for their choir using YouTube, so only the core group needs to travel. And they’ll be traveling extensively for their upcoming tour in late winter.

Among his biggest fans have been his own brother, Cris Necochea ’95, and his mom, Carmen Acuna, an associate professor of mathematics at Bucknell. Math was relegated to a minor for Necochea, however. Environmental geology was his major.

"I figured I’d either study rocks or rock. Bucknell let me do both," he says. 

Posted Winter 2008