It’s a familiar story, local rock band packs up and moves to the city to make it big. The reality is that things rarely work out that way. Dreams shatter, plans change, expectations fall. Often though, musicians land somewhere between great success and crushing defeat. Some bands do not immediately strike gold, but achieve enough to keep the hope alive. That is where psychedelic rock band, the Trakes, find themselves today.
Do not be fooled; the Trakes will never show up in the Billboard top 10 or get airtime on popular radio, even if everything works out as planned. They simply do not create the type of music that is marketable to the masses. Success for a band like the Trakes means earning enough money with their music so that they do not need another job to pay the rent. It means touring the country relentlessly as an opening act, striving to make enough of a splash so that they eventually become the headliner.
The story of the Trakes begins in the late 1990s. Three high school friends from suburban Lancaster taught themselves how to play their instruments and decided to form a band. Several years later they had a small, but devoted, local fan base and were regulars at area venues. It was clear, though, that if they wanted a future together as a band, they needed change. The change arrived when they turned what should have been a major setback into a promising opportunity.
The Trakes’ drummer, whose ferocious playing and unpredictable actions played an integral role in the band’s attraction, announced that he was leaving the group. It was clear to him that the other two members, who call themselves Maxwell Grayshields and Jonee Obvious, were much more serious about the future of the band than he was. Grayshields and Obvious decided to head to New York and search for a new drummer, making a great leap of faith.
The risk soon paid dividends. Through connections at the recording studio where Grayshields worked, they found a new drummer who they call Cid Overdrive. An unlikely addition to the band, he was an entirely different type of musician. He began training as a jazz drummer at an early age and played drums in his school band. His first lesson was from legendary jazz drummer Michael Carvin at the age of ten.
“I remember sitting there, having no idea what I was doing and him yelling at me for it. I could just tell he was thinking, ‘this little white kid has got no groove whatsoever.’ It was pretty rough, but I guess it made me better,” says Cid.
Soon the Trakes were playing some of New York’s most widely known rock clubs and had signed a deal with a record label to produce three albums, the first of which was released in August. The band is more successful now than ever and they seem to be headed in the right direction, so it was a surprise they were relocating yet again. Today, the three rent a house in Lancaster, steps from where Obvious and Grayshields first played ten years ago.
“It’s pretty logical really,” says Obvious. “The record just came out, so we need to tour to support it. It wouldn’t make much sense for each of us to pay $1000 every month to live in a crappy apartment when we may only be there two months of the year. In Lancaster we pay a third of that, and we’re twice as happy.”
The Trakes already began playing local venues like, the Chameleon Club, again, but now they play last instead of first.