New York Times

It was very loud, very strange and very real. The unexpected mix of sounds and personalities was a result of the sixth annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery, a charity event that brings together 25 disparate professional musicians for 15 high-intensity hours of meeting, songwriting, rehearsing and eventually performing: It’s a madcap marathon of musical creativity. 


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If you've ever been on the waiting side of a gym class draft, you know how nerve-wracking it can get. Time slows, you look at all the skinny bookish kids and hope to God you're not grouped with them. Last Saturday at the Brooklyn Rock Lottery, the tables were turned. Picture this: you're a musician, it's 10am, and you're huddled around the lobby of the Knitting Factory looking at five drummers who are pulling names out of a cowboy hat. In past years, that hat held names of musicians from Built to Spill, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, and Yuck. Now your name is in that hat, and you're looking around at everyone else who has a name in there, too. Norman Westberg of Swans, Martin Bisi, whose produced Sonic Youth and Herbie Hancock, the ridiculously stylish, sweet-sounding Arthur Ashin of Autre Ne Veut. And you just hope to God you're paired with the skinny bookish kids, because everyone knows they make the best musicians.



While the music community here in Brooklyn might seem small, many artists have likely never seen each other live, or perhaps even met. But so, what would happen if you brought together a hodge-podge of local acts, scrambled them up, and spit out a mega-band? This is where the Brooklyn Rock Lottery comes in. The one night-only charity gig pulls together 25 musicians from different bands (or no band at all) and puts them together to create five groups. The drummers of the bunch are deemed team captain, select their teammates at random, and then are given 12 hours to practice and to compose three to four original songs (they have a one cover song limit) and then perform in front of a live audience that night. Sounds genius, right? You can thank Tierney Stout, the event’s curator, for pulling it all together.



This year's Brooklyn Rock Lottery benefit show happens on Saturday, December 12. Once again, 25 professional musicians will meet, draw names, and form bands. Within 12 hours, they have to write songs and perform them that night at the Knitting Factory.

This year's particpants include members of Swans, the Hold Steady, Guided By Voice, the Rapture, Autre Ne Veut, They Might Be Giants, Tokyo Police Club, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and more. There are raffle prizes, too. 



The Brooklyn iteration of the Rock Lottery is returning for the sixth time this year, with everything is going down next month on 12/12 at the Knitting Factory. In case you need a refresher on how the roulette-style project works, or you never knew in the first place, here’s the premise all nice and laid out...



The process of forming a band, writing some songs and actually landing a gig can take months, if not years. But for participants in the fifth-annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery, it’s something that they have to do in no more than 12 hours.

On Saturday night, 25 musicians from some of the city’s most beloved indie-rock bands — including Au Revoir Simone, Parquet Courts and Crocodiles — will get together to form five new bands. Five drummers will draw names from a hat to select their new bandmates. They’ll then have just a day to write four songs and choose a cover, all of which they’ll perform at Williamsburg venue Baby’s All Right that evening.



On Saturday, 25 musicians will gather at Baby's All Right for the annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery. For those unfamiliar, the musicians assemble in the morning, are split semi-randomly into five bands, and have 12 hours to come up with at least three songs, only one of which can be a cover. That evening the newly formed groups treat the audience to singular, one-off performances to raise money for the Harmony Program, which helps bring school music programs to communities in need. As of today, 23 of the 25 musicians have been announced, so we've taken the liberty of breaking down the roster, and engaging in some wild speculation about what may happen


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The premise of the Brooklyn Rock Lottery could be a tagline for a mid-aughts MTV reality show: 25 strangers, grouped into bands at random, have 12 hours to put together a set to play in front of an audience. The Lottery’s organizer, Tierney Stout, inspired by a similar event in Denton, Texas, started putting on the show in 2009. All the musicians are volunteers (proceeds from the event this year went to Harmony Program, a nonprofit dedicated, in part, to introducing music programs to low-income students) and most of them are strangers to each other. This year marked the fifth annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery, and its first time to sell-out entirely. So in order to figure out how the whole thing works–would there be squabbles or long introspective conversations about cymbals? How do you start putting together a set of songs with strangers, anyway–I decided to follow around one group all day, from the lottery at 10 a.m. to the show twelve hours later.



I’ve been to a few of the past Rock Lotteries and this was by far the most stacked line-up of participating musicians which also yielded some good music that worked beyond the novelty of seeing these supergroups. (It was also a lot of fun.) The luck of the draw also gave us some strange/awesome bands: LOVVLIFE featured four bassists (from Parquet Courts, Mutilation Rites, St. Lucia and more) which made for a lot of “could I get more bass in the monitor” jokes as well as a cover of Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom.”



I first learned about the music scene roulette known as the Rock Lottery when some industrious creative types in Columbus started throwing their own annual holiday spinoff, the Rock Potluck, about a decade ago. But Rock Lottery, which returns to Brooklyn for the fifth time this December with a star-studded lineup, actually had its roots in Denton, Texas. Since then it’s spread to Seattle too, per Facebook. As long as you’ve got a diverse, thriving local music scene, the concept works no matter how big the city or how famous the participants. 



The fifth annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery benefit show takes place this Saturday, December 6. Here's how it works: 25 professional musicians will meet, draw names, and form bands. Then, in 12 hours, they have to write songs to perform that night at Baby's All Right.

Participants include Travis Morrison (the Dismemberment Plan), Rick Froberg (Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes), Brandon Curtis (Interpol), Sean Yeaton (Parquet Courts), Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and many others. Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington will MC. 



What do the musical groups Late Night with Seth Meyers’ 8G Band, St. Lucia and Mutilation Rites have in common? Band members from all three musical groups will perform during Brooklyn Rock Lottery 5 on Dec. 6, 2014, it was announced recently.



New York will have its fourth annual Rock Lottery this Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The annual event will bring 25 musicians together from bands such as Oneida, A Place to Bury Strangers, Cave In, Here We Go Magic and more (full-list below), placing them into five different bands via a lottery. The groups then tasked with writing three to five original songs -- and, perhaps most difficult, a band name -- within 12 hours. The groups then perform the day's work that night.


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Saturday, 10 p.m. An extremely new band takes the stage to a thunderous roar from the packed house. The band: Jazz Karate. Their instruments: harp, banjo, and accordion. With a silent nod from accordionist Franz Nicolay, formerly of The Hold Steady, Jazz Karate tears into an explosive folk-rock tribute to the 80's TV staple "Who's the Boss", it's chorus turning "Tony Danza" into an irresistible chatted mantra.



The 2013 edition of the annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery took place on Saturday (12/7) at Knitting Factory where members of various local bands — including Walter Schreifels, “Delicate” Steve Marion, and Maria Minerva — were thrown together randomly to form new groups, and then write and perfors new songs all in the course of 12 hours. Proceeds went to the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a non-profit music and mentoring program that empowers girls and women through music education.


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ANIMAL stopped by Brooklyn’s third Rock Lottery last weekend, an event that brings together 25 musicians from all over the city, who pick names out of a hat to form five impromptu supergroups. With just one day to write and rehearse a set of material, all of the bands performed to a capacity crowd at the Brooklyn Knitting Factory Saturday night, with all proceeds going to the Rockaway Renegades, a hurricane relief direct action group.


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What would it sound like if members of soul masters The Dap-Kings, dance-poppers Passion Pit, anime garage rockers Peelander-Z, buzz band Caveman and DIY folk duo Buke & Gass all formed a band together? We're not sure either, but we're all going to get about five chances for hear it for ourselves soon enough, as the second annual Brooklyn Rock Lottery will take place at the Knitting Factory on Nov. 19.



What happens when you bring together 25 New York-based musicians for one day of improvised songwriting and then get them to perform the day’s output live onstage later that evening? Well, you may get to see a train wreck, but hopefully you’ll get sets of inspired creative musical experimentation. Either way it’s worth gambling on the inaugural New York installment of the Rock Lottery at the Knitting Factory on December 18.