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"Hybrid brings rock back to Hickory"

On Saturday, July 5, 2003, at Sgt. Pepper's in Hickory, my proverbial "rock 'n roll lifeline" was given a jolt. With every band these days playing top 40 covers or '80's tunes (which is fine by the way), I've been looking for a good band that would remind me why I like to go out...well, I found it that night. The band is called Hybrid.

Hybrid is new to the local scene, but they owned it that night. Comprised of John Culberson on lead vocals/guitar, Jon Byrd on lead guitar, Tony Hawkins on bass, and Okey Parsons on drums, this band has raised the bar of band standards for this area. Best of all, not only do they play all your favorite rock music (yeah, the stuff you hear on 93.3 or 106.5), but they also play original music with a modern hard-edged sound and melodic guitars and vocals.

On this night, the crowd was packed as word of mouth had spread through three counties that this phenomenon would take place at Sgt. Pepper's. The band took the stage and from their opening song of "Looking for Love" by King's X, they commanded the audience's attention as is not often seen in these parts anymore. None of this milling around, talking to friends stuff....I'm talking rushing to the front of the stage to check out the band. The band played such hits by current bands as Cog, Audioslave, Fuel, Three Doors Down, The Foo Fighters and Creed. They also played the ones you never hear from a local band; favorites such as Stone Temple Pilots, Big Wreck, Bush and King's X. But the real treat was their original music, which was highlighted in each set to prove these guys could flex their hard rock muscle with the big boys. I'm telling you rock fans, take it from a veteran rock chick....these guys are a force to be reckoned with. Arena class rock and roll at a local bar price. Check them out this Saturday, August 10, at Sgt. Pepper's on Hwy. 127 in Hickory. - Operation: Dinner Out Magazine - Local Band Spotlight

"Various Comments"

Frosty Throneburg, Owner of Windy City Sundries in Hickory, North Carolina, comments that, “I can’t believe these guys aren’t signed yet…John Culberson is the best vocalist I’ve ever heard in a local band.”

From website for Hickory Underground, a rock club in Hickory, North Carolina, “This band is phenomenal. Come check em' out! You'll have a great time and get to listen to one of the rising stars in the area.”

Also from Hickory Underground: "Come out and listen to one of the best bands in the Southeast! Anyone who was at the last show will tell you, this is a band who is going to make it big. So come see them while you still can!"

From Strangevibes.com: “I must stay I’m impressed.”

- Many Sources

"Foothills Vibe"

By Brianne E. Boykin
The News Herald

The sounds of rock and roll emanated from Legends Wings and Things last Friday as it was filled with the edgy guitar riffs and punchy rhythms of Hybrid.

A regional band, Hybrid was formed in 2000 by guitarist, Jon Byrd, and bassist, Tony Hawkins. After being signed as part of a southern rock band with Mercury Records in the 1990s, Byrd and Hawkins were ready for a complex new rock sound. Drummer Okey Parsons next joined the band, which was topped off in 2003 by lead singer John Culberson.

In late 2004, the band released their self-titled, debut album consisting of eight original songs. Though the band claims to be shades of Nickelback, Sevendust and Tool, the group demonstrates great diversity while still staying in the genre of hard rock. The album ranges from the rhythmic "Broken Pieces," to the sorrowful rock ballad "Over Now," to the gritty sound of "Torn."

Since the release of the album, Hybrid has moved into the limelight quickly. The band has become a favorite of several Hickory and Morganton bars. "I can't believe these guys aren't signed yet," said Frosty Throneburg, owner of Windy City Sundries in Hickory. "John Culberson is the best vocalist I've ever heard in a local band." After playing at Legend's three times, Brian Waters, bar manager has already booked the group for future performances. "They're a good energetic band, the music is always upbeat and flows real well," Waters said. "Their set breaks are minimal and Sheree Burns of Spire Records is a pleasure to work with." The band signed with the indie label this year and has since been actively making plans for the future.

On an upcoming Sunday, two Hybrid songs will be entered into regular rotation on 106.5 The End's 90 Minutes with Divikar. The band has also registered for the Zippo Hot Tour. The competition will take place online and on stage and the winners will be decided through online voting. The winner will receive a $55,000 equipment package from ESP Guitars, Peavey, Tama Drums, Pro-Mark Drum Sticks, PureVolume and DiscFarm; a trip to Hollywood to perform a showcase for A&R Executives at Capitol Records; and will perform as the opening band for the Zippo Hot Tour beginning in November 2005.

Listen to Hybrid's "Won't Be Long" on our Web site at www.morganton.com. Click on the bands and musicians link.

Hybrid will be performing:
* Mar 26 at 10 p.m.
Iron Thunder Saloon, Hickory, NC
* Mar 27 at 10 p.m.
Hickory Tavern, Hickory, NC
* Apr 15 at 10:00 p.m.
Legends, Morganton, NC

For bookings, CDs or more information about Hybrid, visit their Web site at www.thehybridband.com.

BRIANNE E. BOYKIN can be reached by calling (828) 437-2161, Ext. 36 and by e-mail at bboykin@morganton.com. Please read news updates throughout the day at www.morganton.com.

Brianne E. Boykin
Staff Writer
The News Herald
(828) 437-2161 ext. 36
bboykin@morganton.com - Morganton News Herald

"TAXI Submission Feedback"

"It's hard to be critical of something this good. You guys obviously know what you're doing. These songs are extremely well-written, the recordings sound completely professional, the performances are tight and exciting, the vocal delivery is expressive and executed with obvious passion. The whole package is really solid....incredibly solid performances, excellent songwriting, and a cohesive overall visual aesthetic." (Submission was forwarded.)

“The aspect of this project that I felt stuck out most positively was the lead vocals….There was always good contrast, which is necessary in this style of music. Some good raw potential here I think for the future.”


Debut Release - Hybrid, Released November 2004
Currently in studio recording second release

*106.5 (Charlotte, NC), Divikar's Local Show, in rotation beginning 2/25/05
*99.3 WLRC in rotation beginning 01/20/05
*96.1 WBBI (Raleigh, NC), For Locals Only Show, in rotation beginning 4/24/05
*Indie Artists Radio - in rotation as of 4/22/05
*#2 most listened to song on *www.altsounds. com's Hard Rock charts for the year.
*Recently accepted through Sonicbids for IPOD distribution through Podcasting.
*Recently accepted through Sonicbids for The Record Pool for distribution nationwide to subscribers.
*Recently forwarded by TAXI for live TV show showcasing emerging talent.
*Accepted by The Indie Limelight Radio Show for play, promotion and interview.



Hybrid offers a new and vital direction in today’s rock world. With shades of Chevelle, Sevendust, Tool, Breaking Benjamin and Led Zeppelin, this band is truly a “hybrid”. Their style draws you into an atmosphere of lush, melodic progressions, a tight and punching rhythm section, subtly layered guitar nuances over crunching, hooky riffs, and powerful but reserved vocals.

Hybrid began in 2000, from a foundation of friendship shared by guitarist, Jonathan Byrd, and bassist, Tony Hawkins. Having toured extensively with the band Copperhead, a rock act that had signed with Mercury Records during the 1990’s, Jonathan and Tony longed to take a darker, more complex turn. Drummer Okey Parsons had joined the forming unit, and Hybrid was born. After three years of looking for an exceptional singer, John Culberson became the vocal “finishing touch” to this act in 2003.

Their first show as a completed act was a major success after much buzz in the western half of North Carolina. It was a sell-out, and that enthusiasm hasn’t stopped yet. With increasing airplay locally on the college circuit, and more recently, being placed in rotation on 106.5 with Divikar’s Local Show, Hybrid has quickly become an area favorite. With their critically-acclaimed, self-titled debut release in late 2004, Hybrid is quickly racking up sales at venues, local record stores, and in many internet markets. They are consistently drawing large crowds to experience exceptional performances and enjoy great original material.