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Introducing A Real Band, The American Secrets

The American Secrets at SXSW 2011

“Most people don’t know that we’re a real band.” Generally a troubling statement coming from a group of musicians playing SXSW for the first time. For most bands, television success comes after musical success. Whether it’s a spot on a commercial or an appearance on Late Night, bands almost always put the music first. Self-described as a “professional contest band” by bassist Bryon Rossi, The American Secrets were created as a side project to a number of other groups including lead singer Daniel Zott’s band Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, and have become a bit of a runaway success story.

Started just over one year ago, the Detroit-based rock band initially formed in order to participate in a contest for Fox Sports. After winning the contest, they continued playing shows and finally began writing more original music. In the television advertising world, music has always been a key feature. After the initial success of Free Credit Score using a faux-band in their ads, the company went out in search of a real band to replace their mythical, original act. Being a contest band, this seemed like a perfect opportunity. The American Secrets signed up and won.

While most bands at SXSW stem from a small collection of cities such as New York, Los Angeles or Nashville, The American Secrets are proudly from Detroit, Michigan. “We wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you now if it wasn’t for Detroit. When it came to the Free Credit Score band search Detroit really rallied behind us and wanted us to win” added guitarist Mike Mulliniks.

With the corporate backing that comes from a company like Free Credit Score, comes amazing opportunities. Over the past year they have played with pop superstars Ke$ha and B.o.B., and alternative rock stars Mayday Parade. The sound of the band is relatively straight forward. Self-described as “’60s rock from the future” by Zott, the bands songs are riddled with straight forward rock beats and catchy hooks.

It’s interesting to think about a band that formed out of a few local contests, becoming pop stars. An interesting thing to consider is that because they entered a contest just weeks after forming the band, there hasn’t been time to truly grow as a group yet. With only a handful of songs written, they plan to take a lot of time in the post SXSW months to write and actually meld as The American Secrets.

Coming from the new aged world of music, in which bands go around record labels and work directly with a brand, The American Secrets aren’t planning too far ahead. Although they plan to write, there doesn’t seem to be a tremendous rush to put out a full length album. Instead, they just want to have an album’s worth of songs to do what they want with. A very forward thinking band, they are certainly well aware of who they are and what the potential of their rapid success could mean.

All of these avenues and a very forward way of viewing the music industry, have helped to forward The American Secrets as they quickly become America’s most successful “commercial” band.

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8 Legacy Comments

  • Comment by Heather J. posted April 22, 2011 at 00:13


    The one … the only … the original face of FreeCredit – ERIC VIOLETTE – embarks on his first tour of the United States with his groundbreaking band, “God Against God”, July 7, 2011.

    “God Against God is definitely worth exploring for any music collector at the very least for the shocking amount of intricacy and emotional honesty in their compositions. Make sure to get ready to hear more of these guys in the future because I have a feeling a sound so original yet familiar is going to be around for a while.”

    — Tiana Miller, My Version of Records International Zeene

    Let’s give “credit” where credit is due.

  • Comment by david posted April 29, 2012 at 15:22

    you guys suck

  • Comment by Terry posted May 03, 2012 at 20:04

    I love them!!!!!!!

  • Comment by nepreneaux posted June 20, 2012 at 05:56

    Finally Free Credit comes to their senses and dumps these guys. What took them so long to realize these guys suck?

  • Comment by StirlingLass posted July 03, 2012 at 13:59

    Due to the constraints placed upon performing artists by the corporate machine, I have no idea whether “Victorious Secrets” a.k.a. “American Secrets” are a good band or not. I can say the American Secrets band as a whole and the band members just were not as appealing in the commercials or as compelling as Eric Violette and company. I do think the direction and scripts for the Secrets commercials are partially to blame, as there were fewer closeups and few storylines that made us as an audience believe we were connecting to these band-mates on a personal level.

  • Comment by Sick of American secrets posted August 05, 2012 at 04:49

    These guys suck, and until they were fired it was a pretty close race between The Secrets or the heinous Geiko gecko for which commercial I would mute faster. The gecko with his awful accent is at least a construct of modern marketing, the American Secrets have no excuse.

  • Comment by real1964Stratocaster posted October 21, 2012 at 00:37

    How these bozos ever won a contest to replace the far more telegenic Eric Violette is beyond me. These losers would never have gotten a gig at SxSW without the clout of their corporate masters, and I’ll bet that MY band will play SxSW before the Victoria’s Secret Ripoff Band ever will again. It didn’t take long for the public (and the sponsor) to realize that: 1) these jerks are hopelessly untalented, unattractive, and incapable of selling water to Saharan nomads, as demonstrated in their last ad with Mr. Horn-Rims Zott buried up to his neck in sand trying to be cool and yelling “Surf’s up!” while millions of TVs go mute or change channels; 2) they are just as fake as Violette’s band was accused of being, especially their “airport rap” number where the instrumentalists are (poorly) pretending to play along despite the “song” only consisting of a sequenced drum track and the “singer” mumbling the rap lyrics; and 3) Eric, despite his poor guitar faking in some of the early ads, the American- English dubbing, and the blatant Auto-Tuned vocal in the current ad (which I’m sure is intentionally obvious), is far, far more appealing to the buying public than the former “Victorious Secrets” (oh, come on!) could ever wish they were. The fact that the “Secrets” website contains a large section addressed to what they call “the haters” gives you some idea of how seriously they take themselves, for no apparent reason other than to soothe their poor little egos. Ridiculous, considering that they were formed to enter an ESPN contest rather than to make real music, and stayed around long enough to enter the credit report contest. Take your free guitars and amps and go back to playing ESPN contests and whatever clubs in Hamtramck, Saline, Ypsilanti, Royal Oak, Ann Arbor – naaaah, nobody in Ann Arbor wants to see you clowns, plus Iggy Pop might take a few minutes out of his golf game to beat you to a pulp – Dexter, Otter Lake, Ubly, and anywhere else that would still let you perform without a relative owning the place. Or you could hire some mob guys like the Vanilla Fudge did to get on Hendrix’s 1968 US tour….naaaaah, no self-respecting mob guy would touch you clowns with a 20 foot pole. I hear the water in Lake St. Clair is really nice in January. Invite Ke-dollar sign-ha to join you! Surf’s up!

  • Comment by William Howard posted July 25, 2013 at 15:14

    I’m not defending these guys so much as bashing trolls like stratboy. Sounds like a personal rant to me. Could it be your an ex-member dumped? Or the lead singers ex-sex toy? Anyone that trolls to just throw trash is a sad waste of bandwidth and need to get out of their mother’s basement. I can’t say I’m a band fan, yet I did like the commercial with the girl using dad’s credit card to purchase pizza for her whole dorm floor. And these guys did manage to get on tv and a bit of recognition. There are a lot of bands and music I dislike far more. You people who spend hours online trolling sites doing your hit and run crap are intellectually challenged mental midgets that seriously need to review your own lives before bashing others.