Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Motel Drive

With a name like Motel Drive, there's got to be something seedy about this band.

But with members rooted in well-known local bands like Suppressors, MoFo Party Band and Cacti Widders, it's got to be pretty talented, too.

The band is releasing its debut CD this weekend with a pair of shows -- one in Fresno and one in Visalia -- that will showcase its old rock 'n' roll meets country meets Americana sound.

Motel Drive plays at 9 p.m. today at The Cellar Door, 101 W Main St., Visalia. Cover is $5.

Then on Saturday, the band is at Audie's Olympic, 1426 N. Van Ness Ave., in Fresno. Motel Drive opens for the Kountry Kittens burlesque group and Modesto band Moonshine at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.

We talked to frontman JD Goodwin to learn more about Motel Drive.

First things first: I have to ask about the name. The name came from a song I wrote, years back, about the seedy side of life on Fresno's Motel Drive.

What's the band's back story? We all come from or are still in different bands. I was in Cacti Widders from Visalia; Jake Finney, the greatest bass player in the world, was in MoFo Party Band; Mike Monteiro plays guitars and sings backup vocals in Crossing Caldwell out of Visalia; and Chris Estep, our drummer, plays in The Suppressors from Fresno. We were all friends before, and now we're making music together, too. It gets no better.

Describe your sound for us. The sound is American roots rock 'n' roll, touching on country, rockabilly, a bit of jazz, and maybe a second-rate Tarantino soundtrack. A hell of a good time.

What do we need to know about the CD?

The CD is called "$5 Tricks," was done in two days, and will change your life. Yeah, we even had to put a warning on the back cover, you know, to cover our collective butts.

What's your favorite song on the CD? Why? "Drifter Blues." It reminds me of a musician embracing life and the open road. What we'd all do today if we could.

Besides the show, where can people get the CD? Check out Rasputin's, Spinner's, maybe Yoshi Now! in Fresno. And of course you can download it from iTunes and other major digital download sites or order from CDBaby, and the like.

What are you most looking forward to about this weekend's shows? Playing great music for our friends, families and fans--and changing their lives with our CD.

For music and more: Go to

Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,