"19 Wheels Rolls With X-Games"

by Amy McClees

From Florida to New York and various points in between, 19 Wheels has been rockin' the crowds on the ESPN X-Games Tour. In New Orleans, they tried out the southern accent; in Florida they were dodgin' gators, rain storms, van breakdowns, and smelly laundry -- yet they persevered to deliver their brand of Midwestern alterna-rock to the masses. I have watched this band flourish from a sparsely attended showcase in Cleveland to CD signing night to the "I Want My MTV Back" concert with The Verve Pipe in Grand Rapids. Then back to the clubs only to pop out on the national tour circuit with the X-games and TV via THE JENNY JONES SHOW a couple of months later.

What all this rambling means is that they have consistently grown and their goals have grown with them. The signing of the band to Aware Records to their songs appearing on all sorts of compilations: Yikes!, Aris Big Disc', Wally Pleasant, (Yes Wally Pleasant!) and their own SIX WAYS FROM SUNDAY, of which songs are slated to be used on MTV's THE REAL WORLD -- Boston. Chris Johnston (vocals/guitar for the band) shed the mirth on this one, "It's ironic that the songs are slated in Boston -- that's where our van was stolen. I asked Kevin Hyde, our manager, to grab something for me from the van. He came back into the room a while later and his face was just white. I'd never seen him look like this before. 'The van is GONE, everything is gone,' Kevin said in a startled voice."

"We really found out how generous the music scene can be," intoned Scott Owens, guitar and vocals. "The Aware Records group, friends, various bands around Lansing and Detroit, even people we didn't know pitched in to help at a benefit concert for us at the Small Planet. With the proceeds, we started to buy the equipment we needed, and now we're back on the road touring." Don't think that they're rollin' in dough though. Just ask Greg Williams (drums): "Once you get a record deal that does not mean your rich. We have bills, we have debt -- that's what a record deal can start with, debt -- and then you play, tour and sell your CD so you're out of debt." Tim Marzorati (bass and vocals) is pretty quiet, and at the moment he is flying out the door to play with The Lash (see Caught in the Act) at the B.O.B. in Grand Rapids this evening.

The CD SIX WAYS FROM SUNDAY has a diverse style of content and form of the arrangements. Credit has been given by the band to Tim Patalan, producer of the CD, who gave guidance when needed. While the charged guitar rock of " 13 Seconds to Burn" is the CD's prison song, they change tempo, style and content to that of a spiritual nature on "Settin' Sun." "Colorado" provides a hard driving drum beat with squealin' guitars for lyrics that deal with prejudice. This CD is a good seller, and I keep getting requests from friends to borrow it. Go out and get your own copy at your favorite local music store.

I hear the band is supposed to roll back to Michigan sometime late June/early July. Catch a show if you can. If not, get your own damn copy of the CD.

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