The scene is the Sun Coast Casino
in Vegas, 11 PM on a Tuesday night ... I've been kidnapped
by rock stars and taken to a jam-packed farewell performance
of the 80s hair-metal cover band of all 80s hair-metal
cover bands, Metal Shop (www.metalshoprules.com).
I spent the earlier part of the evening talking shit
at a local sushi joint with Jeff "the mayor of
Vegas" from YourLocalScene.com,
Austin from Clockwise,
and Shaun and Justin from Drawing
Boxes (you know them as Race to Red, a longtime
wazee favorite!)... Shaun, the band's frontman, tells
us that tonight - yes this night of all nights - is
the LAST night to catch Metal Shop in Vegas. So, Chris
and I hop in Jeff's new 150 and off we go.
On the ride over to the Sun Coast we slide the new
Drawing Boxes disc into the CD player ... the king
cab is filled with a sound so fresh, so powerful and
so intelligent ... I've played Race to Red on wazee
since the fall of 2002 -- I knew Shaun had some talent,
but this latest CD proves it!
We're parked in the Sun Coast lot ... we let Bleeding
Colors wind down before heading off to our certain-to-be
historic heavy metal destiny.
We wind our way through the cheesiest of casinos and
meet back up with Shaun, Justin and Austin ... they're
demanding shots -- of single malt! On the way we ran
into Jager Rob (staff writer for LocalMusicScenes
and suspected CIA agent). He's carrying around a bottle
of gatorade, and he scares me. Jeff tells me he scares
We descend into the lounge...
"Hey, can I get a Kettle One and Tonic over here!!",
I shout over the din of the local Vegas crowd of closet
glam-rock freaks (and some not so in-the-closet ...
yikes! check out that mullet!). Cocktail service in
Vegas showrooms - especially in sucky joints like
the Sun Coast - is notoriously bad, and this is no
exception. Good thing Jeff hooked us up with a couple
rounds at the casino bar.
Lights, fog machines, leaf blowers (for the big hair-solo)
.... It's METAL SHHHHHHHHOPPPPPP!!!
We bang our heads to some awesome covers of Judas
Priest, Def Leppard, Poison and a bunch of other nondescript
icons of the hair-metal age ... I seem to be the only
person in our group who actually knows ALL the words
to the songs ... and these guys call themselves rock
Our table is joined by some members of The
Higher (formerly called September Star) and Magna-Fi.
Drawing Boxes' drummer, Johnny and guitarist, Christian,
drop in for the ride ... its all my buddy Chris and
I can muster not to pester Johnny about the airplane
scene in "Almost
Famous" - my favorite movie!
Johnny played the band's drummer in the movie, a fact
that Chris and I think is really cool. The local guys
don't make a big deal of it, but I know they think
its cool too. They're just too cool to let on that
they think its cool!
Rock on Johnny!
All night Jeff introduces me to everyone...
..... "you know radio wazee man",
..... "yeah man",
..... "this is the guy, this is Howard",
..... "awww, cool!!"
All the bands I m eet have nothing but words of appreciation
for helping spread the word about indie music, and
promoting their tunes. Hearing first hand how tough
it is to break into a major label deal these days
causes me to really understand the role wazee is playing
in helping these guys achieve their dream.
That makes me happy ... Throughout the night Shaun
tells me how genuinely cool it is to have been ontacted
by so many fans from wazee. Jeff interjects, he tells
me about this "grexican"
guy who's bought a bunch of albums and keeps up with
the bands, and how cool that is.
The guys I met in Vegas were among the most dedicated,
professional and talented musicians I've ever had
the privledge to hang out with. And Drawing Boxes
is among the very best of the bunch!
These guys are busting their asses to live the dream.
Gone are the days of record execs that actually "discover"
new talent. Like all indie bands these days, Drawing
Boxes are funding their own development, hoping the
labels will jump in someday after they've proven themselves
in the trenches of the local clubs.
In spite of the financial pressures, and complete
bogusness of do-it-yourself promotion, Drawing Boxes
has kicked out a self-titled CD that blows the doors
off any major label rock act I've heard in a LONG
while (and I hear them all!).
Shaun's lyrical and vocal talent is really just amazing
and is ALL OVER this album. The band's musical artistry
is the perfect accompaniment. Johnny's drums are stellar
and provide just the right kick along with Dan's bass
to give the album a powerful vibe. Justin and Christian
lay down some truly baddass guitar work ... awesome
backdrops and solos create sweet melody and in your
face leads timed just perfectly to the feel of each
verse of each song!
Keep an eye (ear) out for these guys in the wazee
playlist ... and, when they come to your town be sure
to drop in and support 'em! You won't be disappointed!
Check out the band's website at www.drawingboxes.net
Howard @ radio.wazee