In his office at Scottsdale’s VCommerce Corp., Scott Hines is all business. But when the 44-year-old takes his lunch break, his electric guitar replaces his marketing reports — and this is no office elevator music.
It’s crunch time for Hines’ rock band, HR Violations, as it gets ready for its biggest gig yet. As a semi-finalist in the 7th annual FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands, it is set to perform in the regional competition Saturday at the Key Club in Los Angeles.
If the band comes in first or second place, it will compete in the finals in October at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
The competition is a celebration of musicians with day jobs, Hines said. “People like me who love music, but have day jobs to pay the bills,” he said. It is for the musicians who perhaps wanted to avoid the “starving artist” label.
To qualify for the competition, a band must be company-sponsored and at least 50 percent of its members must work for a single company.
HR Violations formed in fall 2006, and is sponsored by the Scottsdale online commerce company VCommerce Corp. Two of its members, Hines and bass player J. Bentley, 38, work for VCommerce. Drummer Bryan Hawkesworth, 37, owns a Scottsdale drum store and teaching facility, The Drummer’s Den, at 7115 E. Mercer Lane in Scottsdale.
HR Violations covers classic rock songs by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa, as well as more contemporary releases by Gavin DeGraw and Sublime.
“We play the kind of guitar hard-rock music that the people who are my age all wished they could play back in high school,” Hines said.
The small VCommerce Corp. maintains a musicfriendly work culture that trickles from the top down, Hines said, starting with the company’s founder, chairman and president Dan Kennedy.
“If you go in his office, he’s got a collection of about 15 rare guitars that are actually pieces of art on the walls,” Hines said. “It’s a professional office when it comes time to do business, but most people listen to music on headphones.”
This type of environment allows employees to be more creative, said Scott Robertson, director of marketing and communication for NAMM, the International Music Products Association.
“A lot of emerging studies in science suggest that music helps build teamwork and relieve stress in the workplace,” Robertson said.
Music has proven health and wellness benefits, which are important in today’s high-stress corporate climate, he said.
HR Violations practices at a local studio a few times a week during the lunch hour. The band recorded a three-song demo and submitted it to the FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands, co-sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and NAMM.
Chosen as one of the 18 semi-finalists, HR Violations will perform in Los Angeles at the regional competition. Other regional competitions will be held in New York and Nashville, Tenn.
Hines said he hopes this competition will bring the band enough recognition to be able to book shows at regional music festivals, such as the McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Scottsdale and the Tempe Music Festival.
He said the band members’ professional attitudes have contributed to their achievements in their first year together.
“Whether it’s my business or my music, I want it to be something that exceeds expectations,” Hines said. “I think that’s what’s made our band successful, and I think that’s what’s made our business successful.”