Constantine Maroulis was first introduced to "American Idol" buffs in this season's opener, during a six-minute segment in which the New Yorker with long locks and powerful pipes broke it to his hard-rockin' band, Pray for the Soul of Betty, that he'd be competing for the show's title.
Drummer Hamboussi — yes, just Hamboussi — didn't appear to take the news too well, throwing his drumsticks down in anger and storming away from the band's practice space.
But appearances can be deceiving. Hamboussi said he realized at the time that Maroulis' decision to make the pop-star switch could be one of the best things to ever happen to Pray for the Soul of Betty. And he was right.
The band's self-titled record — recorded in 2003 and 2004, long before Maroulis auditioned for Simon, Paula and Randy — will hit retail shelves on May 10, thanks to a deal the band inked this week with Koch Records. So then what was up with that hissy fit, Hamboussi?
"It was basically editing on the show's part," he explained. "Basically, right after a gig, the band usually does a little trashing of the stage. Like, I trashed my drums and there was no reason for me not to do that at the end of us playing. We played the song, I trashed my drums and I left the stage. They took that piece and put it at the end of my interview and made it sound and look like I was upset and left the room. But in reality, I knew exactly what was going on, what the show would do for the band. I mean, I gave them what they wanted. It's television."
Hamboussi described the 2-year-old band's DYI disc as sounding like a cross between Audioslave and Incubus. The disc's 10 tracks feature "Idol" wannabe Maroulis on vocals, as well as the guitar work of Joao Joya and the bass-slappin' of Taylor, C.R. Though Hamboussi said the album is definitely heavy, it "has hits on it too — there's a ballad." More importantly, the record will provide fans of Maroulis with what they hope they'll be getting a lot more of after the series' May 24 and 25 finales: Constantine's voice, on demand.
Hamboussi said he's not worried about the future of Pray for the Soul of Betty — even if Maroulis wins the competition and becomes America's next big pop sensation.
"I'm sure he'll make time for the band," he said. "Usually, when you get to a position like [the one he's in now], you have a little push and pull. So even if they have him tied up for several months, I'm sure we'll play and record on his downtime. If they don't make him happy, he can say, 'I'm done with you guys — f--- you.' As long as he wants to be in our band, he can do whatever he wants."
When it comes to how Hamboussi thinks Maroulis will do on "American Idol," he's pretty confident his friend "has the skills to do it," but "if it's true what they say about 'American Idol,' that America really votes, then it's really up to the country."
However, when asked if he's voted for his band's frontman himself, Hamboussi replied, "No."