Previewing Xconomy’s Battle of the Tech Bands (Seattle Vs. Boston) with Dave Dederer from Melodeo and The Presidents of the USA

OK, I need to weigh in on this whole Battle of the Tech Bands thing. In case you didn’t know, it’s this Thursday night at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. It has a major new twist this year: Seattle versus Boston. The battle is on.

And I’m torn. I’m from Boston, after all, but I’ve lived and worked in Seattle for the past couple years. I follow the music scene and the tech scene closely in both cities. It’s sort of like the Super Bowl, where Archie Manning has to choose between his son’s team, the Indianapolis Colts, and the New Orleans Saints, where he spent most of his NFL career in the 1970s. (Except I hate the Mannings—I’m a Pats fan. In fact, forget I ever brought this up.)

To help me sort it all out, I pinged Dave Dederer from Seattle startup Melodeo, makers of the nuTsie cloud-based music service, for his thoughts on the bicoastal band rivalry. Dederer is a founding member of the Seattle-based rock band, The Presidents of the United States of America. You probably know them from their early hits: “Lump,” “Peaches,” and “Kitty.” Dederer (pronounced DAY-derer) is the master of the three-string “guitbass” as well as the traditional guitar. Surely he’d have some bulletin-board material to throw Boston’s way?

“I don’t know if I have any trash-talk, other than to note that Boston and Seattle are both rough-and-tumble (formerly, anyway) cities with lots of hills and water all around and a seemingly endless supply of high-quality, distinctive rock and roll music,” Dederer says via e-mail. “The Modern Lovers, Aerosmith, Boston, The Pixies and many more from Boston…The Wailers, The Sonics, The Kingsmen, Heart, Queensryche, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Presidents of the USA, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and many more from Seattle and environs…well, if you put it that way, we pretty much blow Boston away!”

So there you go. Dederer adds that the Middle East club was the “home base” for his Presidents bandmate Chris Ballew during his years in Boston. “Funny—in a way, [Presidents of the USA] bridges the gap. Chris Ballew spent a long time in Boston and played a lot of music with the late Mark Sandman, one of the key figures there,” he says. Indeed, Sandman was a fixture of the Boston and national music scene in the 1990s, with his seminal bands Treat Her Right and Morphine. I’m lucky to have seen him play live twice.

With all due love and respect to Boston, I am backing the Seattle bands in this one—unless I’m called into duty as a judge, that is, in which case I’ll be, um, totally impartial. Lions Ambition (representing Boeing) and Juda’s Wake (Microsoft) played monstrous sets at our Battle last summer in Seattle. If nothing else, you will remember them—I guarantee it. Plus I have a thing for underdogs, and the boys from the Northwest will be facing a rowdy crowd on the road, in subfreezing temperatures, without most of their fans.

We’ve still got a few tickets left for the event, which is a fundraiser benefiting Science Club for Girls and Year Up Boston; tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. (Check out Erin’s January 28 story for the details on the amazing door prizes we’ve got lined up for the audience, including Rock Band video game bundles, Lord of the Rings Online boxed sets, Xbox 360 games and accessories, H&R Block gift certificates, and iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners).

McAlister Drive (formerly representing Linedata Services), The Dirty Truckers (representing American Well and formerly Sophos), and Deadbeat Darling (representing Pictela and formerly Akamai) will be formidable opponents for the Seattle bands, especially since they’ll be playing on their home turf. But this one will be won or lost on stage, not in the crowd.

Just like in business, it will all come down to execution. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world. See you Thursday.

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