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Interview:
Big Time Rush member steering back towards Heffron Drive
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital Media First, @GraffonMu

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Back in 2009, Kendall Schmidt had to put his band Heffron Drive on hold when he joined the Nickelodeon group Big Time Rush.

But now that the TV series has run its course, Schmidt and musical partner Dustin Belt -- who was also BTR's touring guitarist -- have happily shifted back into Heffron Drive, with its first-ever national tour and big plans for the coming year.

"I want to do these shows and get people to talk about it, and I'd like to get to a place where Heffron Drive is seen and appreciated amongst my peers, people who do the same thing I do," explains Schmidt, 23, ?? "Part of that is also playing new music and making sure that new music is really good.

"I could technically go out and do this tour and just play the original Heffron Drive songs and maybe do three, four covers. But I wanted to put new songs in and get people excited."

Schmidt says he and Bell are doing about three new songs during the shows and are working on several others, with hopes of a Heffron Drive release in 2014. Schmidt is hoping Columbia Records, which released BTR's three albums, will be interested, but he's prepared to look to another label and maybe even put it out independently if necessary.

Meanwhile, he says that BTR is not necessarily over, though the end of the Nickelodeon show has changed the dynamics of the group. The four band members will attend groupmate Carlos Pena Jr.'s upcoming wedding and are looking at touring overseas in the new year.

"We've scoured the States four summers in a row now," Schmidt says, "so we might be doing some foreign countries this time. We know we have quite a few fans in other parts of the world, too." And, he adds, the end of the TV show might help the group's continuing musical aspirations in the long run.

"That's something that's always been a frustration," he says. "I feel like we always had a problem getting a fair shot at radio just because of having the children's television show as an engine. It's hard to get into Top 40 stations playing Rihanna and Drake to play Big Time Rush in the same rotation, just like I'm sure it as difficult to get Miley Cyrus on the radio and Selena Gomez on the radio before.

"Now that we don't have an episodic TV show any more, we're hoping it opens up some opportunities -- but in order to have those opportunities it requires us to make new music."

Heffron Drive and Ariana & the Rose perform Sunday, Dec. 8, in the Pike Room at the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show with a $100 VIP level. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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