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Portrait of Backseat Driver

Backseat Driver

About Backseat Driver

Belle Center, OH

It all started in the fall of 1995 at "Cornstock" Rob Neeley was asked to get up and jam with bassist Gus Wintzer from "Screamer" and drummer David Strange formerly of "August Thunder". Gus liked what he heard, and asked Rob to start a power trio with Dave and himself. Rob was interested but, didn't care to sing 90% of the material brought into the band. Rob called on brother Butch to sing and chunk guitar on some selected songs. The lineup was set.... Rob came up with about 10 to 15 different band name idea's, "Backseat Driver" was selected from that list from everyone. The name comes from a track released by Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen's first album "Steeler". They appeared live for the 1st time at the Rusty Nail in Lima, Ohio in December of 1995, playing in between sets for the "Marshall Gipson Band. The word got out quickly and the band was booked for a year in advance at the "Cityside" in Wapakoneta, Ohio: and other local established clubs. At the end of 1996, Gus and Dave left the band to start "The Relics". Drummer Ross Mincks and Bassist Shawn Ruppert were hired to fill the on stage void, and Ed Coil was hired as production manager. Ross left the band later that summer which started the relvolving door of drummers. Filling those positions were Michael Nelson, Merle "Bub" Henze, and Rob Chandler. The band never cancelled one show. In the spring of 1998 the band welcomed former "Nazca Line" drummer Steve Dietrick and Bassist Bryan Wireman. That summer the band opened up for the late Chris Ledoux at Prarie Fest 1998, and went into preproduction for their 1st CD. The band played 35 weekends that year. In 1999 Dave Knittle and Tony Hardeman from "American Roulette" were hired to manage and produce the band. They opened for "Sweet Pain" the "Kiss Tribute" band at Backstage Pass in Delphos, Ohio; and gained a better crowd reaction than the headliner. The owner of the club noticed the reaction of the crowd and immediately booked the band for a summer festival in Lima, featuring national recording artists "Quiet Riot" and "Nazareth". Chip Conley was hired that summer to play keyboards. In the Spring of 2000, Drummer Jason Horstman joined forces with "Backseat Driver" in time for the recording of the self titled CD. The song "Whiskey World" made it to the top ten most requested songs on Boston College radio. The band toured non stop for 2 years to promote the CD. At the end of 2001 Butch was replaced by brother Gary and longtime friend Danny Wireman, to continue the Backseat Driver tradition of quality entertainment. They recorded another CD; the single "Fear of the Dark" was premiered on X107 in Lima, Ohio that summer. The band headlined Lima, Ohio's St. Gerard Festival to rave reviews.

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Portrait of Backseat Driver
Backseat Driver