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Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005 04:58 am

Spreading a Backyard Tire Fire

Trio’s hard run at fame and fortune goes through Springfield Friday

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Backyard Tire Fire
When Ed Anderson disbanded his successful Chicago roots-rock outfit Brother Jed in 2000 after five years of hard work, he knew what he was doing and where he was going. He joined up with his best pal, drummer Tim Kramp, and together they became Backyard Tire Fire, beginning a march toward success and recognition.
After getting their start in Asheville, N.C., the duo played the Atlanta area and recorded a live CD that helped build a following. The pair finally came home to Bloomington, Ill., and signed up Anderson’s brother Matt to play bass. Since then, the trio’s success has grown steadily on a healthy diet of touring and recording.
What has been the secret to their constant forward movement in the music business? Perseverance, planning, and performance. Backyard Tire Fire plays hard, looks ahead, and delivers the goods. Anderson, the band’s songwriter, takes his work seriously. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the boys can rock your socks off. Check out the band’s Web site, where the guestbook is filled with fans’ comments: “Can’t wait to see you back in town, keep rockin’,” “The Tire Fire freakin’ rock,” “Tire Fire rocks,” and “You rock!”, among others. Comparisons to Jay Farrar and Uncle Tupelo abound, and those guys could nail you with a scorching ballad, then hammer you with a punk-tinged anthem. Backyard Tire Fire has also been lumped into the Drive By Truckers/Widespread Panic genre, what you might call tasteful Southern rock. Whatever category they’re put into, the trio is making a hard run at fame and fortune. With a three-year career plan in motion, a CD with good distribution behind it just released, and work on another album already begun, plus tours of America and Europe on the “done” and “to-do” lists, Backyard Tire Fire is poised to make a splash. Whether the band sinks or swims remains to be seen.

Backyard Tire Fire plays Jazz Central Station (700 E. Adams St., 217-789-1530), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Nov. 25.

Remember a popular local rock band called Mugshot from a few years back? Well, the band’s members are back, performing with new projects. Former lead guitarist Mike Taft organized Boys Club as his new musical endeavor. Josh Catalano — singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Mugshot — hooked up with some leftover bandmates and some fresh blood to form the Damwell Betters. Both groups will debut their latest creations at the Underground City Tavern (700 E. Adams St., 217-789-1530), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Nov. 25. Will Mugshot take the stage as well for a quick reunion? You tell me. Twenty years ago, Springfield resident German Arbelaez moved to Los Angeles to make it in the music business as a nonmusician. Now Arbelaez, a rock-video producer and CD-art director, is coming home to share stories of his adventures in show biz during a presentation at Walko Music (1120 S. Second St., 217-528-6494), 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. The graphic artist recently landed a deal to create guitar straps for Onori Accessories. His handiwork, called the “ET Artist Collection,” will be on display 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the store. One of the most pleasant events of the holiday season is the Downtown Holiday Walk. It’s thrilling to see ordinary citizens milling around downtown after 5 p.m., frequenting businesses and enjoying themselves. Various local musicians, sponsored by downtown merchants, are scattered inside and outside (weather permitting) the shops, just a-wailing away for your listening pleasure. This year, the walk is scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Longtime local music followers surely recognize the name Live Wire, and they may very well know the various incarnations the band has appeared in during its tenure as a central-Illinois hard-rock cover band. The latest lineup brings back original lead singer and bass player Michael “Mouse” Bearup. The remaining band members — Chris Hanson (drums), Ernie Tooley (keyboards), and Denny Lucas (guitar) — have jokingly called this bunch Live Wire 6. See them at Carol & Roger’s Place, Route 48 in Morrisonville, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26.
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