Morris County Band Advances in Hard Rock Cafe’s Battle of the Bands Competition

The Hollow performs at the Dark Horse Lounge in Morristown. James Vilade, vocals, Brian Wilson, guitar, Steve Babula, bass and Kevin Bally on the drums are all from Morristown. They are competing for a chance to be the opening act for Bon Jovi at Hyde Park in London. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

Tucked beneath an abandoned manufacturing plant, behind a gym and off Route 46 in Rockaway Borough, four friends fiddle with their instruments in a tiny practice space with mediocre acoustics.

The quartet has paid $50 to rent the room for two hours one Monday night, shortly after getting off work. They check the amps and mikes and run through a set, ignoring a passable rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” that bleeds through the walls from the adjacent — and supposedly soundproof — room. The four just play their original music a bit louder.

This is the The Hollow, a Morris County band trying to follow in the venerable tradition of Jersey groups that begin in local pubs and go on to fill famous arenas.

And they just got one step closer.

Band members James Vilade, Brian Wilson, Stephen Babula and Kevin Barry were informed Tuesday they are one of 40 groups to survive the third round of judging in Hard Rock Cafe’s Battle of the Bands competition. The winning band will open for Bon Jovi in London’s Hyde Park in June.


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