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Dazed: An Old Timey Rock-n-Roll Type of Band

By Amanda Main

Dazed is an East Texas band consisting of three young guys playing their hearts out and performing classic-rock icons’ deeper tracks. The three 20-year-olds include Lance Hampton as lead guitarist and vocalist, Drew Theiring as drummer and vocalist, and Caleb Cannon as bass player and vocalist.

EGuide Magazine recently spoke with Drew about their band.

EGuide: How did you guys get together and form a band?

Drew: “Well, Lance and I — the guitar player — had known each other since we were just tots. We played baseball together. Dennis Nail (our former manager) really helped us get going. He does our booking for us. He was our baseball coach and he’s Lance’s grandfather. Both Lance and I grew up listening to rock ‘n’ roll and being rock ‘n’ rollers. Lance and I are both originally from Whitehouse and Caleb’s from Mineola. Lance and I got together to jam one day. We’d both been burned out on baseball by then and Caleb shows up to this music store in Mineola that Lance was at. Lance heard him playing bass and he said “Holy mess, come jam with us.” So he did and that was the summer of 2010. From then we just kicked off. We played our first gig on October 9th, 2010, at the Gypsy Market Festival in Mineola, on the main street there right in front of the Select Theater. From there, we played some bars and a lot of festivals. We also play weddings — haven’t played any funerals yet,” (he jokes).

EGuide: What’s your favorite venue to play?

Drew: “Oh, that’s a tough one. I guess it would be the AlleyFest in Longview. We opened for Starship. They were really, really great. Starship used to be Jefferson Starship and before that was Jefferson Airplane. They had tons of hits. We got to meet Mickey, the lead singer; he was really cool. He shook our hands after the set and said that he really enjoyed our music. That was kind of a high point.”

EGuide: Do you guys mostly play covers, or do you also write and play original music?

Drew: “We have written an all-original album and a few singles, but we mostly just play covers. That’s what people want to hear us do. They like our originals, but they sound so much like classics that anytime we’re playing them, people assume that it’s just a classic they haven’t heard, so we’re mostly a cover group.”

EGuide: How can people buy your album?

Drew: “They can come to the gig, or they can also message us on Facebook ( and request an album.”

EGuide: What would you say sets your band apart from other bands?

Drew: “Uh, talent. We’ve all sweated profusely for probably four hours a day, for several years, just learning how to play our instruments. When we’re sitting there playing, we feel every note we play, we put our ‘all’ into what we’re playing. You don’t get that a lot with bands. Some just sit there, not really paying attention, but when all three of us are on stage together, we really are just one. It’s not three different guys; it’s one group of guys playing.”

EGuide: What can people expect at your shows?

Drew: “You can expect to listen to some loud rock ‘n’ roll. If you had lived in the 70s or 80s, or even the 60s, audience can kind of relive that when they come to see us. They’ll get that feeling again. That’s how the three of us have had that feeling with the music. I guess because we weren’t born until the 90s, we don’t physically have a clue, but emotionally we feel like we have a sense of what it was to experience that era of music. As far as what you can expect at the gig, you can expect to have the experience of feeling and hearing that type of music again.”

EGuide: What artists does your band cover?

Drew: “We cover Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, AC/DC, some Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix — we cover a good bit of Jimi Hendrix — and The Doors, a lot of The Doors. Some nights it mostly consists of Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Ted Nugent.”

EGuide: A lot of the stuff that’s big on classic-rock radio?

Drew: “Eh, no, we try to stick to the more obscure songs that they’ve written, like stuff that people don’t really hear every day on the radio.”

EGuide: What shows do you guys have coming up?

Drew: “We’ve kind of have cut down on giggin’. We’re just kind of slowing that down. We’re not bringing it to a halt; we’re just doing one gig a month because we were doing it so frequently that a lot of our time was spent getting equipment together (we use our own PA) and booking all the gigs. We’re at an age now where we’re working jobs and going to college, so you can imagine how divided our time was getting.”

EGuide: Right. Where do you guys all live?

Drew: “Lance and I live in Tyler, and Caleb lives in Hoard, which is outside of Mineola.”

EGuide: What has being a musician or being in a band taught you about life?

Drew: “There’s always ups and downs. There’s a climax, and there’s a de-climax. There’s always a mountaintop and the bottom of a valley. It’s fun sometimes — well, it’s always fun. When you’re on stage, that’s a baseline of ‘Yes.’ That’s always fun. But as far as getting to the gigs and the places we play — we’ve been to a point where we were basically touring East Texas every weekend. It’s a lot to handle, because sometimes we were doing three gigs in one day. It’s taught us about hard work, it really has. Also, we’re not a band that does drugs or drinks; we strictly get high off the music. I’ll put it that way. So it’s kind of kept us straight and also, it’s taught us hard work. It has shown us a lot about the ups and downsides of constantly playing gigs.”

EGuide: What advice can you give to other aspiring musicians?

Drew: “Don’t ever stop in the middle of a song. Keep playing; just play on. Play on, play on, play on, just play, play, play your whole life. Don’t ever cut it out. I’m only 20 years old and have been playing since I was 8 years old. I’ve been playing professionally since I was about 12 or 13 – that’s seven years and that’s not even that long, yet it feels like forever. I could never see myself quitting playing, ever. That’s the advice I’d give, just play on. Play on, drummer; play on, singer; play on, bass player; play on, guitar player; cello, harmonica, tambourine — danged oboe player, play on. Trombone player, play on.”

EGuide: Well, is there anything else you’d like to say about your band?

Drew: “People are noticing that we’re slowing down (with booking shows). We’ve got a big fan base, and they’ve noticed that we’re slowing down a lot, and I’d kind of like to encourage people to not think that we’re going away; we’re just slightly slowing down, and we’ll never quit playing. None of us will ever quit playing music, because that’s something that we love to do. All the people out there that listen to us and support us, we love them, and we love them for just being there.”

Check out their Facebook page for announcements for any upcoming shows for this Tyler favorite.


October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert


October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert

MercyMe will be in concert at The Oil Palace is October and is guaranteed to sell-out!

Since their debut in 2001, Grammy®-nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove Award winners, MercyMe has sold more than 8.5 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered 27 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ (No. 4 AC/Top 25 on Top 40/Hot AC), ‘Here With Me’ (No. 4 AC), ‘Homesick’ (Top 10 AC), and ‘So Long Self.’

Their radio success has continued with recent singles ‘Flawless’ (No. 1 for 15 weeks) and ‘Greater’ (No. 1 for 16 weeks)​, landing them the Top Christian Airplay Artist spot on Billboard’s 2015 Year End charts.

MercyMe made history in 2014 as ‘I Can Only Imagine’ surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s ‘Word Of God Speak’ the No. 1 Song of The Decade and the group the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing them as one of the industry’s most notable talents.

They have sold out venues throughout the US and Canada, including Radio City Music Hall, and have appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox New Channel’s Fox & Friends, CNN, ABC News, and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today and more.

Their most recent project “MercyMe, It’s Christmas!” debuted atop the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and became an instant classic. Their eighth studio release, “Welcome To The New,” garnered Billboard Music Award nominations in all three Christian categories and two Grammy® nods; the album is available in stores now.

Tickets start at $19 and are available at The Oil Palace is located at 10408 State Highway 64 East, Tyler, (903)566-2122.

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Blacktop Mojo: Burning Up The Roads To Success


By Johnny Griffith

About a year and a half ago I sat down to interview Blacktop Mojo, a Jacksonville based hard rock band riding a wave of momentum after several successful years together and an upcoming album release. The end of that interview finished with this:

“Blacktop Mojo can still be heard around East Texas on a regular basis, but I would definitely suggest checking out their website for more information and a sample of their music if you haven’t heard them. If it’s in your wheelhouse, get out and support a great local band that won’t be local for much longer at the rate their Mojo is working.”

As it turns out, I was a little more prescient that I anticipated as Blacktop Mojo’s stock has only risen in the ensuing months. With a successful album release, ever increasingly distant tour stops, and mounting accolades from industry critics and magazines, local BTM shows are becoming harder to come by.

In case you might not have heard of Blacktop Mojo, their sound can be described as “modern rock that got dragged through a puddle of southern rock and then dipped in a little bit of grunge”. The band was originally formed in 2012 and the current lineup includes Matt James on vocals, Nathan Gillis on drums, Chuck Wepfer on rhythm guitar, Ryan Keifer on lead guitar, and Matt Curtis on bass.  

With a huge sound and chest shaking vocals, Blacktop Mojo brings a high energy rock show that leaves fans wanting more everywhere they go. While in the midst of rehearsals last month for their most recent tour that kicked off in San Antonio on April 20th, we caught up with them to see what had been going on for the past year and a half and what was on the radar for the rest of the year.

Johnny: So it’s been about a year and a half since our last interview with you guys and the last time we talked there was an album in the works. When did “Burn The Ships” release and how was the process different from the first time around when you recorded “I am”?

BTM: “Burn The Ships” released in March of 2017. The biggest difference between this record and our first record, “I Am”, was the amount of time we took for pre-production. On “I Am”, we spent about two weeks getting ready and arranging the songs before we went in to record it, where on “Burn The Ships”, we spent about eight months demoing and playing around with different ideas.

Johnny: How has the reception been to the album so far and do you guys have your own personal favorite song from it?

BTM: The reception to the album has been incredible this far. We’ve had countless positive reviews and feedback from publications all over the world. Also, our first single off of the album entitled “Where The Wind Blows” reached number 27 on the Billboard Active Rock chart last summer.

Johnny: You guys got to open for Bon Jovi last year in a sold-out stadium. Tell us about that about how you guys got that honor and a little about the experience?

BTM: We actually won that honor in a contest the band was putting on. We submitted some of our original music and were picked by Live Nation and the band’s management to open up the show. The experience was beyond amazing and the crowd was very receptive to us. We cannot thank the Bon Jovi camp enough for the opportunity and for treating us so incredibly.

Johnny: Obviously that put you in front of a lot of potential new fans but what would you say the biggest takeaway from that event was?

BTM: Our biggest takeaway from that night was that whether you’re playing in front of 20 or 20,000 people, you should treat it the same way. Make everyone feel like you’re playing in a stadium even if it’s an empty room.

Johnny: Blacktop Mojo has been trending steadily upward the past couple of years with several accolades from industry publications, over 40 thousand likes on Facebook, a new album, and you guys seem to play everywhere and anywhere. What kind of effect has the increased exposure and success had on the daily routine and what kind of new challenges have came along?

BTM: Our daily routine hasn’t changed much when we’re home. We still write and rehearse on a regular basis and go about business as usual. The increased exposure has made touring opportunities more readily available for us and has increased the number of people we can reach with our music, which is super exciting for us.

Johnny: You have a pretty extensive tour coming up that you’ll already be on the road for when this goes to print. Is this the biggest tour BTM has embarked on and what goes into planning a 2-month long road trip that covers, as best I could count, 32 states, both sides of the country, Canada, and 43 shows?

BTM: This is our most extensive tour to date. A lot of planning, routing, and generally putting the puzzle pieces together has gone on over the past few months by us and our team to make this happen. We couldn’t be more excited to get back out on the road and see our friends across the country.

Johnny: I’d say it would be time for a break after that sort of trip, but you guys are right back at it, playing Rock Fest 2018 up in Wisconsin with some huge names, do you guys ever have to step back, take a breath, and say to yourself “this is our reality”?

BTM: We are very blessed to be able to wake up and do what we love every single day. They say “you never work a day in your life if you do what you love”, so I don’t think we’ve ever really thought about taking a break.

Johnny: Were you able to see yourself at this point back when you played your first show at the Neches Fall Festival or the first “official” show as BTM at the Shelton Gin back in 2012?

BTM: It would have been hard to imagine getting to do what we do now back then. We’ve always just been happy to be able to play music for people.

Johnny: With what’s on your plate for the first half of this year, I almost hate to ask, but what’s on the radar for the second half of 2018 that you can share with us?

BTM: We have plans to keep touring throughout the rest of the year and are currently writing music for our third record.

Johnny: What has been the best memory from the ride so far?

BTM: It’s hard to pick just one from all of it. One of my favorites so far was riding back into town off of our first tour last Summer/Fall. We’d been out on the road for over 60 days straight with 7 of us basically living out of our van. We were tired, beat up, and hungry, but everyone was smiling and joking with each other. It really felt like we had accomplished something.

For more information on Blacktop Mojo and when they’ll be back at a location near you, check them out on the web:


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