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'Unleaded' fueling local music scene

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By Brent Schanding

They’re called Unleaded –– but for something that’s supposed to be void of tetraethyl lead or gaseous compounds, the five-member heavy-metal band seems to have concocted a premium formula. This year alone they’ve booked several gigs across the region, won a high-profile music competition and put out a five-track disc of original songs.

“I would have never guessed we’d be at the spot we are right now,” said Ethan Turner, who plays drums for the band.

It’s definitely far-fetched since the band didn’t even have a name –– let alone exist –– around this time last year.

Around May 2008, the then semi-organized group was passing a gas station when one member said, “What about Unleaded?” The name stuck and fueled the band, which describes its sound as “heavy-metal-rock.” (Think one-part Metallica, one-part Milton.)

The band plays mostly for private parties and smaller crowds across the region. Unleaded is tentatively scheduled to open for an AC/DC cover band in Carrollton and at this summer’s Trimble County Fair.

Since debuting last May at a high school talent show, Unleaded has attracted nearly 150 fans on the social networking site, Myspace.com. Songs posted on the site received more than 1,000 hits in less than four days.

“The fan base in Trimble County is killer right now,” said Cody Kidwell, who plays lead guitar for the group.

The guys practice in barns –– or anywhere they can find space. Often they rehearse in the basement of the drummer’s grandma –– one of the group’s biggest supporters.

“She’s at every show,” said Adam Liter, bass player for the band.

A video link on YouTube.com features a live performance of the group at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville from earlier this year. There, they defeated nearly 10 other groups from around the region to win the coveted Battle of the Bands competition –– an annual contest where screaming fans crown the kings (or queens) of rock.

About 400 filled the music hall for the event –– more than 90 were groupies from Trimble County who came to hear Unleaded play a half-hour’s worth of original music.

“We had a lot of support from people,” lead singer Drew Alexander said.

Liter said once the band’s adrenaline started pumping, all the stage jitters just faded away. And what’s left was pure metal rock.

The contest catapulted Unleaded into a Louisville recording studio earlier this month, where they recorded a five-track demo during a 23.5 hour period that spanned over two days. The disc features among other tracks, “Break the Chain,” whose lyrics talk about breaking free from a small town:

Break the chain

Make the change

Escape this life through fans and fame

“It’d be good to get out,” said Trevor Goode, who plays rhythm guitar for the band. “ But I love Trimble County.”

If the band ever makes it big, Goode said he’d build a big house, right in the middle of the county.

What’s next for Unleaded?

“I could see us going pretty far,” said Liter, who’s ambitions include opening for headlining metal-rockers like Metallica or AC/DC.

“But we really just want to play more shows for more people,” Kidwell said.

You can order Unleaded’s demo CD at the Trimble Banner, or purchase by calling 502-221-1979. The cost is $5.