Band of the Week: Shady Drive

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Meet the Band: Rob "Shady" Hayes (guitar/vocals), Mike Starcher (drums/vocals), Kevin Fancher (bass/vocals)

in the beginning: Singer-guitarist Rob "Shady" Hayes started Shady Drive in 2004 with his brother-in-law and dad and then recruited Mike Starcher to join the band about nine years ago. The group started to get some regular gigs at Bullfrogs Sports Cafe in North Ridgeville, and the line-up changed so that the band became a power trio. Fancher joined the group about two years ago.

on the new album: The band has recorded several demos but it's never released what Hayes calls a "full-blown studio effort." For its new album, Darker Shade of Blue, it went to a studio for the first time. "It was the first time we wanted to pay someone to do it," says Hayes. "It was different for me because I'm usually the sound tech and engineer and producer. It was nice because I didn't have to worry about the technical stuff. I just had to worry about playing. We co-produced and spit out ideas." Hayes wrote all the original songs on the album but says his bandmates "put their two cents in." He says it was fun. "It's a little taxing because we have day jobs. We have a full schedule of gigs and play two to three nights a week. It was a lot to handle, but it was worth it."

blues with a modern flair: Though the band started out playing covers, Hayes always had an arsenal of original material. "On the westside of Cleveland, if you don't play covers, you don't make money," he says. "I wanted to do blues/rock, crossover material. I'm big into Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Kenny Wayne Shepherd because it's along that line. It has blues roots but still has a modern flair to it."

why you should Hear them: "They say I'm just a rogue with nothing left to prove," Hayes sneers on the new album's title track, a showcase for Hayes' ability to wail on the guitar. "It's one of the newer songs," Hayes says. "I wrote some of the songs when I was in high school in 1994, but there are a handful of newer ones that I wrote in the last two or three years."

Where You Can Hear them:

Where You Can See them: Shady Drive (with special guests Chris Hanna on keys and the North Coast Horns) performs with the Brighter Side Band at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 6, at Brothers Lounge.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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