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The Upbeat: Muledrive

Of trhe Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: 2005 in White Lake Township

Sound: Blues-rock

Members: Chad Earley — vocals and harmonica (White Lake Township); Bobby Rundell — lead guitar (Commerce Township); Scott Blaylock — rhythm guitar (Waterford Township); JT Ross — bass (White Lake Township); Randy Libby — drums (Goodrich).

Influences: John Popper and Blues Traveler, Jason Ricci, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Big Walter, Little Walter, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Day Jobs: Earley is a stay-at-home father of two. Rundell is a full-time musician. Blaylock teaches robotics engineering at KMT Robotics; Ross is the brewmaster at CJ’s Brewery in Commerce Township. Libby is a freelance drywaller.

What’s In a Name? Muledrive’s moniker has “always been a mystery to us,” according to Earley. “The guys all tell me I came up with it, but I really, honestly, have no recollection of coming up with the name. I think I had a book of all these different band names I’d been brainstorming for awhile. I think (Muledrive) was just in there; I ran it by everybody and they liked it.”

The Missing Piece: Earley says the addition of Rundell, who used to play in the hard rock band Sweet Crystal, has “really helped our sound become what it is now. Bobby is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever heard. He went all over the place with (Sweet Crystal) and he tells me stories about hanging around with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Les Claypool (of Primus). He opened up for Bob Seger back in the day. He’s always surprising me with stories and who he knows.”

They Write the Songs: Earley and Blaylock are responsible for Muledrive’s original songs. “He’ll come up with a lick or whatever, and I might try to write some lyrics or he’ll write some lyrics and we’ll see what’s best. It’s definitely a collaborative effort between myself and Scotty. Bobby’s introduced some songs, too, but we’re not playing any of those yet.”

Hear ’em: Muledrive has not released a CD yet but is “trying to focus on recording a five-song EP,” according to Earley. There’s no timetable for its release, however.

See ’em: Muledrive performs with the Broken Arrow Blues Band, the Jake Bishop Group and Erich Goebel & the Flying Crowbars at the 9th Annual Detroit Music Awards Holiday Blues Showcase at 9 p.m. Saturday at Memphis Smoke, 100 S. Main St., Royal Oak. A $5 donation is accepted at the door, with proceeds going to the Detroit Music Awards Foundation. Call (248) 543-4300 or visit www.detroitmusicawards.com.

Surf ’em: www.myspace.com/muledrive777

Web Site: www.myspace.com/muledrive777

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