The Jeff Jopling Band on stage at Two Doors Down
The guys in the Jeff Jopling Band have decided: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Jeff Jopling has adapted that philosophy of late. Like many people who turn on the boob tube and see reality TV on every channel around the clock, he’s quick to lose interest. From the low-brow mud-and-redneck fests of “Honey Boo Boo” to the talent highlights of less insipid shows like “The Voice,” there’s only so much you can take, right?
Well, Jopling told me this week, he’s about to have to change his mind. Or, as he puts it, “I guess I’ll have to either change my opinion of reality TV or change my opinion of myself and begin a period of self loathing.”
He’s kidding, of course, and whether you like reality TV or not, he and the boys — Jopling, Austin Stepp, Daniel Cromwell and Jerry Sullivan — would like you to assist them in getting their own reality show. (And if you don’t like reality TV, think of it this way: Helping the JBB get a show will be a public service by adding a little class and talent to the airwaves.)
Here’s the story from Jeff:
Several years ago the younger brother of my college roommate from Maryville College moved to LA. He was a theater grad from UT so he moved out to LA to pursue a career in acting. After years of heartbreak and obscurity, he finally landed a job at a company called Crash Hat Entertainment. This company’s main purpose is to come up with concept ideas for new reality TV shows and pitch those ideas to networks. So as he got his foot in the door at the entertainment company, he heard them talking about an idea of a show that they wanted to pitch to the country music networks.
That, of course, caught his attention as he has plenty of experience with country music being from around here. The concept for the show they were mulling over was to follow a country band around — not a band that was really “making it,” but rather one that is up and coming. And moreover the interest to the show is to portray the juxtaposition between performing shows at night and then having their respective day jobs.
So my friend told them about us and about a month or so ago they called me and started asking for our information. I sent them pics and videos of us talking and interviewing one another as well as performances and that was all I heard for about another month. Then out of the blue they call and said that they pitched this idea along with about 30 other concepts to their agent at William Morris who submitted them to the networks. Apparently CMT, GAC, Spike TV and (for some reason) the History Channel have all said that they want this show. So out of the 30 concepts submitted this is the only show that got the interest of any networks.
Now the networks all want to see actual footage, so the company is flying out some camera guys to film our show at Two Doors Down on Friday night and then will be joining us all day on Sunday to film us working on the farm and having a band rehearsal and a bonfire. You know … all pretty standard country stuff. They will be here for three days of filming to do a 3-minute trailer to give to the networks, and at that point the networks will begin a bidding war over who wants the show the most.
Jopling stresses that nothing is set in stone until a deal is signed on the dotted line; it’s possible the networks see the trailer and decide they hate the concept or don’t like the Jeff Jopling Band and pass on developing a series. But the fact the company is flying its crew all the way to Blount County from Los Angeles is a pretty big deal, and the chances of it developing into something big are at least on the table.
“Everyone has been so nice to us about it,” Jopling added. “We really found out about this the week of the 11th when we played at Two Doors Down. Austin was telling Jeff and Lisa (Breazeale) about it, and they asked where we were performing when the camera crew was coming to town. At the time we had a show booked at Boomerangs in Madisonville for that night, and Jeff and Lisa had Dixie Highway booked at Two Doors.
“Well, Jeff and Lisa got together with Dixie Highway, and they decided to let us have that night at Two Doors instead so that we could have a bigger hometown crowd at our local watering hole. I really was blown away that the boys in Dixie Highway were so cool as to let us have one of their nights at Two Doors. And it’s also really cool that Jeff and Lisa are being so supportive.”
As are the rest of us. So show up to Two Doors and give the Jeff Jopling Band some hometown love on Friday night. It’s a free show, and the music will get started around 10 p.m. Read last October’s cover story on the Jeff Jopling Band here.