However, Patrick Dreier and Tony Paolino had to leave the band because "domestic responsibilities". Later Dreier and Paolino joined again creating the band PT73. The Drive (Acoustic Rock), Chicago, IL / Michigan The Drive is a get-up-and-go Acoustic Rock Trio that strives to push the envelope in ways acoustic music rarely does. Their performances deliver high-energy entertainment to fans of all genres. In the winter of 2000, at a small renovated schoolhouse on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan, acoustic guitarist Bryan Southerton approached brother and drummer Brad Southerton with a handful of song ideas he had been working on. The two began writing music, and approached friend and lyricist Mario Casa de Calvo with the works in progress.
Collectively, the ideas were then molded into songs and developed with no intentions of ever going public. "Back then, it was more about writing music just to do it. There were no plans or ideas for how far it would go," said Bryan. A three song demo tape of the collaboration was recorded on a 4-track in the groups’ garage. Copies were passed around between friends under the name "The Drive," a name that reflected a musician’s determination toward writing music without knowing when to give up, regardless of its acceptance. Soon enough, they were approached to perform at house parties and as an opening act for other more established bands.
After consistent positive feedback from a growing fan base, the decision was made to start taking the small project more seriously. In 2001, Mario moved to Lubbock, Texas in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Psychology at Texas Tech, but that didn’t stop Bryan and Brad’s ambitious vision of what The Drive could accomplish. For an entire year, songs were written between Michigan and Texas by sending tapes back and forth through the mail. With a now limited window of time on their hands for working directly with Mario, The Drive was banking on only one to two weeks a year for reaching recording and performance deadlines. During these small windows of opportunity, the group recorded their first LP entitled "Immediate Seating," and performed numerous small shows in Bryan and Brad’s hometown of Manistee, Michigan. In 2003, the brothers were attending college at Ferris State University to complete their Bachelors degrees in Music Industry Management.
Often, you could find them cutting class to write and rehearse in a cramped storage closet at the campus Music Center. As time went on, the inability to find a suitable bassist after six auditions compiled with Mario’s growing unavailability forced plans for the future of the Drive to slowly diminish. "It was a hard time for us. Bryan and I were both becoming uninspired without Mario around. We were hitting so many dead ends that progress with The Drive basically stopped," noted Brad. Months went by with the Southerton brothers auditioning for local solo artists, in hopes of starting a new project.
After one of the auditions, they started playing some of The Drive’s music for the girl they had just auditioned for. She immediately encouraged the two to start pursuing the music again, saying that “it was too good to give up on.” The enthusiasm from her inspired Brad and Bryan to start again with the mindset of doing whatever it took to continue the project. The coming of 2004 brought a new beginning for The Drive as Bryan and Brad decided to take matters into their own hands. With Mario out of the picture, a large void needed to be filled. With no prior singing experience, Bryan immediately joined the FSU Choir and started taking private vocal lessons.
Brad started writing down every fleeting thought and poetic inspiration that entered his head, collecting hundreds of scribbled-on cocktail napkins, receipts, and composition books with lyrical ideas. Together, they filled the gap as vocalist and lyricist. At the same time, a budding friendship with fellow Music Industry Management student Randy Ray brought the dedicated bassist to The Drive that they had been looking for. The group worked together relentlessly through the winter months, and for the first time ever during the spring of 2004, The Drive was ready to take their music on the road. In just one year’s time, by the spring of 2005, The Drive had performed over sixty shows, held a largely increasing number of loyal fans, and recorded and released a new EP entitled "Wrapped in Blue." On top of being full-time students and maintaining part-time jobs, they also put together a marketing team that met weekly, entitled "Team Drive," which consisted of fellow Music Industry Management students.
In their diminishing free time, they also developed and sold a multitude of merchandise, established a professional quality website, and had plans for the future in the works. What began as a "just-for-fun" music venture had quickly become a household name on Michigan’s independent music scene. Later that year, with the release of their second LP, "Live Music," the band began to receive positive feedback from critics as well fans. In reference to the release, Music Review Magazine said, "The sound is excellent, and ranges from dark, brooding ballads, to driving, upbeat sing-along anthems." Bryan and Brad’s hometown newspaper hailed their success in full-page feature entitled, "Local band takes the fast lane to stardom." In 2006, after all three members were out of college, they relocated to Grand Rapids. There, Brad and Randy rented a large downtown apartment that contained two rooms of open storage space in the back.
That spring, they converted the storage space into a two-room office, and proposed an internship program for students pursuing degrees in Music Industry Management at Ferris State University. The program was approved and three students were recruited to intern during the summer semester for "The Office," a marketing and management group exclusively representing The Drive. For the entire summer, members of The Drive worked mornings at their part-time jobs, and then five to eight hours with interns at The Office. Nights were spent in rehearsal for two to four hours at a time.
By the end of the week, they were on the road, averaging two to three performances a weekend. "2006 was the busiest we’ve ever been. It felt like we were biting off more than we could chew on a daily basis, but in the end all the hard work paid off. Getting a show used to mean us begging a venue if we could open for a certain headlining act. Now, the venues are calling us to headline and letting us pick the bands we want on the bill.
Recently, we were flown out to Las Vegas for three shows as a headliner downtown at the Freemont Street Experience. "Our performance payment has changed too. A few years back, we were happy to make enough money to get our van fixed when it would break down on our way home. Now, we’re making enough cash for more merchandise, recording time, better equipment, and other ventures. "I would say though, by far, our biggest thrill now is our fans. I’ve been asked for autographs from people with ages ranging from eight to fifty-eight.
We even know one fan that has a tattoo of The Drive’s logo. Now that’s a compliment." said Brad. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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