Cleveland Rocks...no really, it DOES rock!

Driving into Cleveland was quite a surprise. With big brand new high-rises and a new stadium being constructed, the city had a very clean and modern looking downtown.  Our plan was to visit the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then hit up a show in a suburb right outside of Cleveland.  On our drive in, I asked Ashton…why Cleveland?  Why was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame erected here?  And he shrugged his shoulders unsure as well…so we definitely needed some questions answered.  

Farran with her heroes at the entrance to the Rock Hall of Fame.

Farran with her heroes at the entrance to the Rock Hall of Fame.

Ashton is so grunge...

As we walked up to the Hall of Fame we saw a band setting up on an outdoor stage, apparently it was the last of a summer-long festival….pretty awesome.  We go in and immediately learn that Cleveland made it's claim to fame as a rock scene because of a local AM radio station in the 50's that broke in many new rock bands, which created quite a scene in Cleveland.  Later, the Agora club opened which brought in a loads of Rock shows, including artists from the UK exposing American's to a whole new sound.

Ashton and the hard rock memorabilia section.

The Hall of Fame was pretty amazing, but we were pretty disappointed about the fact Led Zeppelin and Van Halen were  poorly represented.  We thought they would have their own sections carved out like many other famous bands, but instead there were just different remnants scattered throughout the exhibits.  (Although the full 1982 mega drum kit from Alex Van Halen was amazing!) On the other hand, they had a pretty elaborate tribute to the great Jimi Hendrix which had 2 walls full of his ornate costumes, the couch from the old Hendrix house he use to sit on a kid and practice guitar on while listening to the radio, to drawings (really good ones) he made as a kid.  There was even a series of collegiate football stars he sketched, and Ashton was pretty stoked to see Cal represented in one of them.

Go Bears! Jimi Hendrix style.

Amazing over the top costumes of Jimi Hendrix.

Alex Van Halen's Mega Kit!

Alex Van Halen's Mega Kit!

After being good Cleveland tourists and buying some souvenirs at the gift shop on the way out we had to stop cause the band on stage had 4 guitarists/singers and sounded pretty damn good.  We decided to stay and shoot the show in hopes they would be up for an interview, and to our pleasant surprise they were.  Don't be deceived by the name, Diarrhea Planet…cause I was when I first saw the bill.  They were legit and really cool dudes from Nashville that were currently winding up on their US tour.  Look out for the interview as they talk a lot about life on the road as a musician.  We tried to make it to the original show we had planned to see, but were a bit too late…can't win them all.

Diarrhea Planet's 4 Guitar Attack

We ended the night with some of the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches at Melt Bar & Grilled.  Fried green tomato BLT and a Caribbean War Pig sandwich…just take look at the pics!

MMMMM....Sandwiches



Detroit Rock City! Then a relaxing stop in Saginaw for family fun

Our trip to Detroit was broken up with a lovely detour to Hillsdale Michigan to visit Derek Spiteri of Hessler and his super kick ass dad, John, who owns Checker Records. We had an excellent interview with a 35 year vet of the recording industry. He found a way to sell records in the face of the internet age in a small market town (one secret is to open up a kick ass coffee shop in conjunction).

John & Derek Spiteri of Checker Records

Coffee-on the house!

With a fresh copy of Airborne's first record and some cool Checker records swag, we headed to Detroit Rock City, to meet up with the ass kicking White Shag. In addition to being a badass super high energy rock band, they are also amazing hosts. Not only did they find us a venue to play at, they also got local stoner rock legends Lava Moth to give us a 15 minute show, all last minute...THEN they let us stay at their rock n' roll pad and gave us tequila! When we woke up the next day, we got to grab a couple EPs and awesome White Shag Swag (super unique DIY style). Laura and Jorge, you guys rule, and Detroit is still a rock city.

Inteview with White Shag

Post-show hanging out with Lava Moth in front of limo

Post-show limo shot with White Shag

2 hours after saying good bye to White Shag, we were saying hello to Farran's family in Saginaw for our first real vacation day. We were greeted with Budweiser, fresh grilled hamburgers and pool side cocktails from Aunt Sue and Uncle Kelly. Not having to film, drive or accomplish anything of note was a nice change of pace from our schedule. We drank and stayed up late enough that Farran was able to totally destroy Ashton and her cousin Jim in MarioKart... something that might not happen again for a while. Ashton got to sleep in while Farran picked up her parents from the airport in The Orange Limo(TM). The rest of the day was a relaxing one filled with good food and fun times with the family.

Big-Ass Burger

With the family in Saginaw

Chicago packs so many great things in 1 place!

Chicago is just a short 5 hours from St. Louis, so it wasn't long before we were reunited with our dear buddies from Hessler. Frankie showed us a super rock n' roll time Chicago style, hitting up the Boiler Room for the awesome PB&J (pizza, beer, Jameson!?!)

Hanging with Frankie Snakes from Hessler = SO MANY CURLZZZZ!

before heading to the awesome LiveWire Lounge to catch the legendary Fang. The guys were nice enough to grant us possibly the best interview of the trip before heading back on the road. Dave, the owner/manager, also chatted us up and we got some cool insights into the Chicago scene and the promoter/venue side of the rock'n'roll equation. Then we hit the late night joint The Exit, making classy decisions on the way, including punching the arcade boxing bag and rocking the photobooth.

With Frankie and Dave at LiveWire

With Frankie and Dave at LiveWire

Photo booth!

After a late night whiskey reunion with Erik, we awoke the next day to find the weather not cooperative. The rain and lightning kept us from exploring the city too much, but we enjoyed some slow time with Netflix and ordered some killer deep-dish from Gino's (they use corn meal in the crust...).

Gino's Deep Dish

Once the rain subsided, we tried to hit up the Double Door and catch the Midwest Ska Fest...only to learn we didn't get on the list and probably didn't have permission to film. Instead, we hit up the Logan Square festival with the mighty Igz from Hessler and Brian from The Last Vegas. We arrived to catch the Ween rocking the hell out.

In front of Ween's stage

Afterwards, we hit the town and rocked out with local rock stars all night long. After enjoying roasted pig and amazing views of downtown Chicago, we got our greatest sleep ever in the band room of Hessler and The Last Vegas. This amazing facility has a shower, bathroom and AC in the practice space! We set up the air mattress and slept like rocks with zero sunlight (windows let sound bleed). The next morning was a fun misadventure of looking for keys. Fortunately, Igz is the man, and we solved the mystery (keys were in girlfriends car) and stayed on schedule.

Chicago skyline from the rooftop party!

Farran sleeping tight in the Hessler/the Last Vegas practice space



St. Louis....and we finally get a break!

The trip to St. Louis from KC was a welcome change from the "wake up at 7am, drive 8 hours" routine our first 4 dates required. We arrived in St. Louis early, and got to spend some time with our lovely host Jenna who showed us around the town and got our requisite "toasted ravioli" St. Louis treat.

Drinking some St. Louis Beer

Toasted Ravioli...mmmmmm

The filming schedule was our least difficult of all, leaving lots of time to goof off in between sets. The Educated Imbeciles (St. Louis Punk) and Hot Crossed Buns (modern punk) opened up for our first touring band of the journey Ese (Texas rock n' roll).

Ese

Ese was not only awesome live, but had a wealth of information about touring and doing rock n' roll the hard way. Our hosts generously rocked with us waaaaay too late, but we happily slept in for the first time on our journey.

Kansas City is not only good for BBQ!

For those who haven't hit the road through the Mountain West, the leg between Kansas City and Denver is pretty much the worst. It's essentially all of the boring farmland of Colorado, plus alllllll of Kansas (which is all boring farmland). It's a long boring road, so be prepared if you haven't made the trip before. Once we finally made it to KC (technically Overland Park) things got better fast.

Interview with Jim Kilroy of The Roxy

Interview with Jim Kilroy of The Roxy

The Roxy might be the greatest strip mall bar ever. Good sound, solid stage, good bar and possibly the best bar food we've had on the trip thus far. Jim, the owner, is a really cool dude, especially when you get to know him. 

Aluna

Aluna

KC stalwarts, For the Broken couldn't make it due to a last minute singer change over the weekend. So we were expecting Aluna (heavy moody prog rock),

Uncountable Kings

Uncountable Kings

Star Crows

Star Crows

Uncountable Kings (garage rock), Star Crows (GnR + AC/DC) and 

Grand Villanova

Grand Villanova

Grand Villanova (hard rock blues) to make up for their absence with kick ass rock...and boy did they deliver! 

Arya

Arya

But what we didn't expect was a last minute performance from Arya to close out the night. Our KC experience ended with our first hotel and a rocking lunch with the Arya guys at Oklahoma Joe's.

Post-BBQ

Post-BBQ

Denver Rocks and in a variety of ways!

Our scenic view.... For 8 hours

Our scenic view.... For 8 hours

Nap time

Nap time

The trip from SLC to Denver was one of the more boring legs of road trip we've been on. Unfortunately, that was also the time when The Orange Limo(TM) decided to give us a little bit of a test. Fortunately, even though we completely destroyed the tire, we were able to safely get off the road into the median before any major damage was done to the car. 30 minutes later, Ashton had us safely back on the road with our lovely full sized spare. 

We literally blew a tire, good thing Ashton is handy and Farran didn't freak out when driving.

We literally blew a tire, good thing Ashton is handy and Farran didn't freak out when driving.

When we finally rolled into Denver, we greeted by the jovial Kale at Herman's Hideaway. Special thanks to Chris Thomas and the bar for opening their doors on a dead Tuesday to host us. Considering Herman's is THE go to joint in Denver for all hard rock bands visiting Colorado. 

Aloris 

Aloris 

image.jpg

Aloris (modern hard rock), The Dirty Lightning (classic blues rock), Redhawk Station (classic rock), All Saints Revolution (Motorhead Style Modern Rock) and Rating the Hate (think Motley Crue meets Fall Out Boy) made it one of my favorite Tuesday nights I can remember. 

All Saints Revolution

All Saints Revolution

After party with Rating the Hate

After party with Rating the Hate

Special thanks for Kila and Greg for the kick ass whiskey and Better Homes and Gardens accommodations!

Saying goodbye to Kila & Greg

Saying goodbye to Kila & Greg

Salt Lake City Rocks! A pleasant surprise.

Lucid 8

Lucid 8

High Pressure Flash

High Pressure Flash

Betty Hates Everything

Betty Hates Everything

Salt Lake City truly was a pleasant surprise. We rolled into the 5 Monkey's bar after a nice long 8 hour haul through the Sierra Nevadas to be greeted by Ryan and Craig: the super rad father son owners of the bar. Before we even got our first band set up to rock, Craig informed us he'd give us a $100 minimum for booking awesome bands on a Monday night...No way...WAYYY! SLC rocks way harder than anyone gives it credit for: Lucid 8 (bluesy hard rock), High Pressure Flash (prog rock), The Beginning at Last (not shitty hiphop metal) and Betty Hates Everything (hard alternative rock) really brought their A game for the camera to rock the hell out of that Monday Night crowd. The ever raging Steve Kos joined us at the bar for 3.2 Beer and kick ass rock, then hosted us at his room mate Jeff's amazing mansion in the hills. Man, that was a tough place to leave.

The Beginning at Last

The Beginning at Last

Ashton & Farran haven't killed each other & Reno Rocks!

Holy Guacamole!

Our first week of Music Driven has been a wild journey of driving, junk food, friends, beer, family and more driving. The Orange Limo(TM) has held up like a champ. We lost 1 tire to the road, but otherwise, she's been holding up like a champ. 2837 miles from San Jose California to Saginaw Michigan for our first real "rest day".

image.jpg

Our FB and Twitter feeds have given a nice glimpse into what we've been up to, but we figured some more prose would be appreciated.

image.jpg

Despite our best efforts, Farran and Ashton did NOT kill each other, although we got close. The first few days through the Mountain West were pretty grueling. We didn't know exactly what we were doing, we were staying out till 2am then getting up to leave at 7am and we had to survive off bar food and Costco dry goods. However, the rock n' roll we found was amazing. Bands thinking of skipping Mountain West on their tours should really reconsider. There is a lot of talent out there that would be happy to complement your tour.

The Flesh Hammers

The Flesh Hammers

Seasons if Insanity

Seasons if Insanity

Interview with Seasons of Insanity

Interview with Seasons of Insanity

Reno blessed us with rocking stylings of Seasons of Insanity, Nuke Vegas, Authmentis and The Fleshhammers. Filming at the Musicians Rehearsal Center (MRC) was a dream. They had perfect lighting and sound already set up for us...all we had to do is hit record. All the bands were awesome and gave us great insights into the Reno scene in addition to the rocking live footage. Special thanks to Chuck and Bill from MRC for giving us the opportunity to film at such a kick ass place and being excellent ambassadors to their city and music scene. After a long day of filming, we were treated to a relaxing Mexican dinner in Sparks with Chuck and Bill then a beautiful night cap of Don Julio with Brad and Suzie.

Our hosts and friends in Reno, Brad and Suzie