Dave Richmond of North Baltimore and Tim Lemmon of Tiffin work in construction, Donnie Anderson of Perrysburg manages a convenience store, and Tray Bortel of Bowling Green runs a personal support agency for the mentally challenged. When they are away from their jobs, they get together to make music as the band, Voodoo Nation. Last weekend, they performed during Bike Week in Sandusky.
"We are a tribute to the music of Godsmack. They've had a lot of top 10 radio hits over the last 15 years," Lemmon said. "We're working on some other songs right now, but we mostly focus on the Godsmack tribute. It's not so much a cover-band aspect of playing, so it puts us in a different category."
As far as forming the band, Lemmon described the process as "a little bit of luck." They have all been in one or more other bands and were acquainted with one another. Anderson had been away from the area for about 15 years and then came back. Bortel has played with several bands in the BG area.
"We've known each other for years," Richmond said, "probably 10 years."
Richmond said he, Bortel and Anderson got started in music by playing in their school bands. Saxophone was Richmond's instrument in grade 8. Lemmon said he had a rock band that played at bars while its members were still in high school. They had to get parental permission to enter some places. All four have continued with the music because it helps them let off steam, and they like being together.
"I think we played every garage in town," Richmond said. "It's basically our golf."
It's going to be loud
Loud Fest for 2012 is Saturday at the parking lot of Tiffin Eagles on Riverside Drive. Poker run registration begins at 10 a.m. with all bikes out by noon and back by 5:30 p.m. Stops include Sports Hut, Bellevue; The Cave, White's Landing; Margaritaville, Sandusky; Dock's Beach House, Port Clinton; and Stone Street Tavern, Fremont. Cost is $10 for riders and $5 for passengers or non-riders coming for the music. Proceeds benefit First Call for Help. To learn more, contact Sue at (419) 618-2466 or Shannon at (419) 957-3218.
So why did they choose the music of Godsmack, rather than some other band?
"When we got together, we were trying to figure out what tribute we wanted to do. Basically, their singer falls in my range. He was the closest guy on record I could emulate," Richmond said. "They have a song called 'Voodoo' and we added 'Nation' ... so it's more of a camaraderie."
He and Anderson, founders of the band, also did a search and learned a show such as theirs was not being done in the area. They spent about eight months rehearsing before starting to perform about a year ago. Their one-year anniversary is in August, so they consider themselves a "young band."
"Our demographic is based around the 25-40-ish crowd and the motorcycle rider types. The music of Godsmack is hard rock. It's not metal ... and it fits in with a really large group of listeners," Lemmon said.
Voodoo Nation's set list includes hits "Bad Religion," "I Stand Alone," "Whatever" and "Awake," as well as cult hits like "The Enemy," "Moonbaby," "Greed," "Whiskey Hangover" and, of course, "Voodoo."
The band has appeared at The Nest in Fostoria, The Viaduct in Tiffin, Live Wire in Mentor and the Zodiac in Toledo. Recently, they performed for Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky. Lemmon said they avoid playing too often in a given area so they don't "beat the show to death."
"We do quite a few charity biker, poker run-type deals," Lemmon said. "Some people come to all of our shows because they really enjoy our music, our core base of fans."
Their next project is Loud Fest, set for Saturday, now in its sixth year in Tiffin. In its first year, Loud Fest promoted ABATE, a motorcycle safety group. Then the event was devoted to the Make a Wish Foundation. That agency fell by the wayside because the money was not always used to help a Seneca County child. The organizers chose First Call for Help as this year's recipient because the funds will stay in the community.
"They do a lot of different things with the funds that they receive," Lemmon said.
In the past, the fundraiser took place at the Tiffin Moose in August, but the organizers decided have it earlier in the summer and move it to the Tiffin Eagles. Appearing with Voodoo Nation are Tiffin bands Brazin' Bull and MARS. Lemmon said he is excited about the 2012 show.
"It's going to be all outdoors. They're going to set up their big Heritage Festival tent. We've got a nice, enclosed stage. Mark Spencer is going to run the sound," he said. "We've got the bikes, the music, the food, the band. Everything's out there in eyeshot and earshot."