By Jennifer Russo

There are hundreds upon hundreds of local bands in New England. Some of these bands have talent that should earn them a place on your local radio station’s top 20. Some of these bands are even better than the national touring bands selling millions of tickets to their shows and which you can hear played every day…and yet, you’ve never heard of them. Enter NEGB1 to right that wrong.

NEGB1, also known as New England Garage Bands, hopes to change the world of local music. Since 2007, it has been taking on the difficult task of getting these bands’ names out there, attempting to bridge the gap between the hard working, struggling musician and the hard as nails music industry, offering an opportunity for local music to shine. Bands can create a profile for free (yes, FREE) that they can use to promote themselves and, if they choose to, can become a premium member which entitles them to even more. Jeff Royds, NEGB1’s founder, tells me that he doesn’t want to run the local music scene, but rather unite it. He does this by offering a social networking site that is specifically for local music in New England.

“The music scene is changing and we need to adapt and think of new ways to help promote our music,” says Jeff (who is also a musician). “NEGB1 gives real musicians an opportunity to get their music heard by anyone who wants to listen. They can download their songs, list their local shows and send invitations, post videos and photos, network with other bands, promoters and club owners, get discounts at the Music Go Round in Natick, and even have their music submitted to SiriusXM satellite radio, NEGB1’s music store, and iTunes just for signing up with us.”

Unlike many promoters on the scene today, Jeff also goes out of his way for bands whose members are under 21, helping them find all ages show opportunities and gigs at venues which will allow them to play. He offers a Battle of the Bands tailored for that age group and knows when he’s in the presence of unusually good talent; he recently held a fundraiser to raise funds for one of his underage bands to go to New York to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” believing in the guys so much that he even drove them into the city himself.

Ideally, Jeff hopes that NEGB1 will be the #1 site people go to to find local music. In addition to the band profiles and networking, there is also the online radio station which streams NEGB1 sponsored shows, video interviews of bands, an online video game developed just for NEGB1, and ~ most importantly ~ the bands’ music ~ 24/7.

Says Jeff about the unique idea of creating the video game, “I always wanted to create a video game that featured local music. Video games are a huge part of pop culture and have introduced a lot of music to a younger generation. I knew it was a great marketing tool when my then 8 year old daughter heard ‘TNT’ and said she knew the song from a game she was playing. We worked with Becker College’s game development department and made this idea a reality. Garage Band can be played for free on our website.”

With all that NEGB1 offers, Jeff is hoping to take home the Worcester Music Award this year for “Music Station Most Supportive of Local Acts. “They [the bands] just need the chance to be heard,” says Jeff. “I want to invite all the local bands, clubs and promoters out there to join me on and make some noise for the local music scene. And as always, ‘Play live, Play loud!’”

Check out NEGB1’s site, online radio station, video game and more at

Photo by Jenn Russo,