If you’ve been in an East Texas bar, club, or any other weekend gathering place over the last nine years, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen TEAZUR performing, performing their fresh approach to classic rock.
After nine years as a band, TEAZUR is a well-established, steadily-gigging road machine. In 2015, they’ll be playing fifty of the fifty-two weekends of the year somewhere. That’s a pretty hectic schedule for four guys with full-time jobs, but they say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We had one weekend off this year, and I think we have one more at the end of the year,” drummer and founder Mike Reiner said. “It’s awesome. Me and Tobie (Turner, lead vocalist) have talked about it, how we think it would be nice to have a weekend off sometimes. And then when we get one, we wind up wishing we were playing somewhere. It’s kind of a family affair for us, because our girlfriends and families are there with us. We just love being together, and we have a lot of fun while we play and set up. We just love to be around people.”
With thousand of people seeing their shows, the band has had a lot of opportunity to meet and greet the crowds over the last nine years. They consider their audience not fans, but rather friends.
“We’re not above anybody,” Turner said. “People respect humility, and we’re all very approachable, anybody could come up and talk to us. Anybody can plug into an amp and play for a couple of hours, pick up a check and be gone. That’s not us, we’re not above anybody. It’s very gratifying, you meet people all the time that pat you on the back because you can play a tune and remind them of their childhood. I always tell them, it’s the people who make it fun. The ones who come out and pay the cover to hear us, they make it worth it.”
In addition to being a steady draw on weekends, the band is also critically acclaimed. TEAZUR is a finalist for ETX Music’s “Rock Band of the Year,” and guitarist Rio Wallace is up for “Best Male Guitarist.”
By design, TEAZUR takes great pride in not being your ordinary bar band. Guitarist Wallace and bassist Clint McMullen both have degrees in music, and between them, Reiner and Turner have been practicing musicians for more than seventy years. You won’t hear “Mustang Sally” at one of their shows, or any of the other garage band staples that listeners have been tired of for decades.
“To be able to do what we do, we have to know who we’re playing for and what they want,” Turner said. “We’ve always taken it on ourselves that we don’t play the ‘standard’ songs that you hear from every other gigging band. We try and give the people something that they’re not going to see around the block, something they’re not going to see anywhere else.”
“We didn’t want to play music that you could hear any night of the week in any bar,” Reiner said. “We went back to the bands we grew up listening to, Kansas, Styx, Rush, Journey, bands like that. We want our fans to say, ‘Oh my God, these are the songs we grew up with. I’m reliving my musical fantasy!’”
With that many gigs, the band takes every opportunity to change up their set list and keep things fresh.
“We’ll learn new songs pretty much every week, and change up the set,” Reiner said. “Everybody was asking for ‘Uptown Funk,’ for example, so we added it,” he laughs. “We’ll throw in a disco medley, add some Rush, Bryan Adams, Rick Springfield, Guns and Roses…we’ll just try new stuff all the time.”
“Everybody in this band is polished, and we try and play stuff like it was written and have fun. Our biggest thing is vocal ability. Everybody in the band sings, so we do three and four part harmonies. I truly think that’s what sets us apart. There’s not a lot of bands doing the things we do.”
A typical TEAZUR show starts with the band performing the national anthem around nine, followed by music straight through until closing time with one short break in the middle, and Turner thanking the crowd for choosing the band for their weekend entertainment.
“I hope they feel like they’ve spent their money well,” Turner said. “We grew up KISS fans and that was their motto, a good show for the money. That’s why we have a light show and music that everybody can get into.”
“I want people to say, ‘Wow, that was awesome,’ Reiner said. “That’s the key to people coming back to see us, everybody has fun. When we get comments on our Facebook page, they tell us they had fun, and that really makes it even better for us. We want everybody to get their money’s worth when they come see the band.”
With the band members all road-tested veterans in their forties, they say that experience gives them a new perspective on still being working musicians, and playing almost every weekend.
“I just love playing music,” Reiner said. “I love the camaraderie with the guys. I’ve played in bands since high school, but this is the first time I’ve played this much. You can’t get a better high than going out in front of people and playing.”
“It’s a dream,” Turner said. “Everybody dreams growing up, whether you’re in a band or playing football or whatever, that’s the goal. To make the pros. When I got back into this, I told myself if it ever starts to feel like a job, I’m out.
“We could play at our leisure in our garage or living room, but when you’re playing to a crowd of smiling faces every Saturday night, and people come up and say they enjoyed you…that’s not just a blessing, it’s a responsibility.”
You can get more of TEAZUR at www.teazur.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TEAZUR.
For upcoming shows, go here.
— Reid Kerr first book, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape,” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
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