BY KATHY GIBBONS, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAVERSE CITY — You and your brother are in a rock and roll band, getting ready for a European tour.
You have another brother, Charlie, who is an out-of-work welder. He's also a character, someone you describe as "Larry the Cable Guy meets Ozzy Osbourne." Your mother tells you that you have an obligation to give Charlie a job. So you hire him as your road manager for the tour, even though he's never done it.
Sound like a reality show made in heaven?
The Emmy Award-winning Bihlman Brothers think so — as does a "major network" they can't name yet.
Lead singer and guitarist Jabo Bihlman, currently living near Las Vegas but a longtime resident of the Frankfort and Traverse City areas, said the band will be in the Traverse City are the week of Nov. 27 while filming the pilot of what's tentatively being called "Blood Brothers." Filming will include a live show they're doing at Union Street Station Dec. 1.
"Anybody who's going to be at the show is going to be on national TV," he said.
The band consists of Jabo and brother Scott on drums, guitar and vocals. When they're in Michigan, Chuck Short plays bass, with Ric Evans on percussion. On the road, the Bihlmans hire a touring band-- as they will for their 28-show tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark April 10-June 1.
The reality show idea arose out of a collaboration The Bihlman Brothers had with Alby Lombardo, who had just directed a music video and worked on other projects for them. Lombardo said he's been involved in several reality shows, including serving as an associate producer on "Tommy Lee Goes to College."
"They had contacted me — they had gone back to Traverse City to visit this last summer and "¦ they came back and said, 'Listen, we have a reality show for you,'" Lombardo said. "I turned around and I approached some friends of mine with the show and they loved it and wanted to move forward with it.
"So we're filming the pilot episode in Michigan, and then we're going to do the tour, which will be the first season of the show."
Lombardo predicted "a lot of funny stuff" when all three Bihlman Brothers are in the Traverse City area later this month.
"It's just a lot of stuff involving Charlie and the boys," he said. "We're going to be shooting a lot of things around town and up at Crystal Mountain (where they'll stay during filming)."
Bihlman said Charlie is going to be central to the story line.
"He's just this big lovable guy that is extremely boisterous and just says the craziest things," he said.
As the road manager, Charlie will likely be driving the band bus and handling preproduction — things he's never done before.
"He's going to be learning in the frying pan how this whole thing works," Bihlman said. "With his personality and that combination of us and him, it ought to be something. The chaos will ensue."
Bihlman admitted the idea of cameras being around 24/7 is a little intimidating. But he and his brothers are up for it.
"I'm totally excited," Bihlman said. "I have a little bit of trepidation because we're exposing ourselves to the world, which is a very daunting thing.
"But it's going to be a real look at our lives and what we do on the road and the life of a working band who is out there doing it."