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More Than Me gets chance of a lifetime

Ryan Jacob Doyle, the lead singer of Western New York band More Than Me, knows what a band needs to make it big: a look, a song and a story. Doyle hopes his band just got its story.

Two months ago, the band won an international competition through Hard Rock Cafe, getting the opportunity to travel to England to open for Paul McCartney. Last week, Doyle and his bandmates (drummer Todd Doyle, bass player Justin Rizzo and lead guitarist Joey Nicastro) returned to Hard Rock in Niagara Falls to share their experience.

"This opportunity has definitely proven to be the story," Ryan Doyle. "Hopefully this will open doors for us."

At Hard Rock, they showed a video of their time spent in London, along with pictures of their opening performance for McCartney at the Hard Rock Calling 2010 at London's Hyde Park.

More Than Me put on a 45-minute acoustic set after the viewing of the video. The band members also participated in a Q&A following their performance. Tim O'Shei of Live! Starring -- You!, led the interview session.

The Hard Rock Battle of the Bands included over 150 acts that competed across North America. Music industry professionals narrowed it down to the top 10 bands and left it to the public to vote online for their favorite. That is how More Than Me won the opportunity of a lifetime. They won the chance to share the same stage with not only McCartney, but other artists such as Pearl Jam and Stevie Wonder.

Ryan Doyle considers the show to be a "big baby step," hoping it will act like a "springboard" for the band's future.

"When we say we were on the same stage as Paul McCartney," Ryan Doyle said, "people will start to listen."

So what was the most memorable part of their trip? "Performing in front of 45,000 people and seeing people cheer and get excited over us was surreal," said Nicastro.

Among the 45,000 fans, many famous people also attended the concert, including Bill Wyman, the former bass player of the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, and members of Led Zeppelin and the Jonas Brothers.

Not only was the concert exciting for them, but the chance to go to London also was a great opportunity.

"Free trip to London!" exclaimed Nicastro when asked his first thoughts on winning the grand prize.

"What I will remember most about the trip is going to Abbey Road," said Rizzo. "Abbey Road is my Mecca."

What comes next for the band? The band hopes to put out a collaboration album soon. The band members, who have been playing together more than nine years, since they were students at Williamsville North and Kenmore East high schools, say they are lucky to have such loyal fans in Western New York. More Than Me is also hoping to tour in Japan, and in January the band is playing a show at a Hard Rock Leadership Conference in the Dominican Republic. Maria Patnella is a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy.

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