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The Loaners Rock Nashville

Editor’s Note: All of Angry Ed’s words are Angry Ed’s. So, if any of this stuff makes you mad, please post your comments to Angry Ed. But, if they make you happy (and we think The Loaners will make you happy), by all means post any comments of admiration and support (for The Loaners, probably not Angry Ed) you like. The rest of us here at The DIFF are wincing just a bit as we read this post.

By Angry Ed

I’m not a big fan of cover bands; they serve their purpose at bars and weddings, but then so do jukeboxes and DJ’s, which are cheaper, and less likely to screw it up. As a songwriter, I prefer original music. As a narcissist, I’m very quick to judge, harshly critique and in some cases, laugh out loud at what I think is poorly performed original music, so enduring cover songs of the same quality would normally be torture. In fact, prior to July 14, 2007, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to describe listening to live cover music in a parking lot on a 90 degree day as my Chinese hell, but I have been transformed!

The Loaners at Gibson Summer Jam

Quicken Loans’ "The Loaners," who incidentally are quite a bit more than a cover band, having a repertoire of their own original songs, performed again this year at the Gibson Summer Jam, in Nashville where they for lack of a better term, TOTALLY KICKED ASS!!! They were The DIFF between bands that rehearse, perfect, perform and impress, and well… those that suck. Actually, that may be a bit harsh. The competition didn’t "suck," but their performances hovered right around average and were obviously amateur in comparison to the Loaners’ impressive display.

For this particular venue, the Loaners had to perform only covers, as that was a requirement of the contest rules, but with Brian Macias’s stellar vocals, Bryan Stapp’s (Best Guitarist 2006) perfect solos, Eric Rowlands’ smooth bass-lines and Brian Jefferys’ precision percussion, the guys showed the competition how a tight and talented band is supposed to sound.

The line-up was as follows:

  • Strat5 / Healthways, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Steampunk / GE Industrial, Louisville, Ky.
  • D7 / Darwin Professional Underwriters, Farmington, Conn.
  • The Loaners / Quicken Loans, Livonia, Mich.
  • The Subliminals / Grey Worldwide, New York, N.Y.

A few more important points to mention:

1. The Loaners were one of the only bands at the Jam whose members were all official employees of the company they claimed to represent. (Some of the other bands hired professional musicians and STILL couldn’t hold a candle to our boys.)

2. Quicken Loans’ fans were the loudest, proudest and most supportive, but the attendees from other companies were clearly impressed. At the foot of the stage during The Loaners’ performance, I turned around a few times to see non-Quicken Loans audience members dancing and singing along.

3. Most importantly, The Loaners were one of the only bands that didn’t cover Mustang Sally. God I hate that stupid song. In fact they performed the set-list below of modern, hit tunes that really went over well.

Son of Detroit – Kid Rock
Momma Said – Lenny Kravitz
Santaria – Sublime
Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy) – Big ‘n Rich

The Loaners are just another exceptional product of the Quicken Loans culture. With the same high-quality standards we rise to in conducting our daily business, The Loaners put on an awesome show and impressed a few thousand people with ease. The announcement that they’d won came as no surprise, and I expect it will be echoed at the FORTUNE: Battle of the Corporate Bands, finals in Cleveland this October. See ya there.

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  1. I was planning to post something sarcastic, but Ed is acting a little whinny today, so I will just say that the last two posts from Ed have been spot-on. I am getting concerned that I am starting to agree with him. Who knows, perhaps soon I will also gain his infatuation for dogs…

    Posted by: Best Post Ever | July 19, 2007
  2. Where’s the anger, Ed?? Wow. It sounds like you’ve found some inner love… great post on how this “Battle” operates.
    Of course, I’d love to see an internal battle between The Loaners and Rate Lock/Teabag.

    Posted by: Christy | July 19, 2007
  3. Congrats to the Loaners! I wasn’t able to make the trip down to Nashville this year (I went last year and had a blast) but I will definitely join the Loaners when they win the finals at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Posted by: Clayton | July 19, 2007
  4. Congrats to The Loaners, but I miss the controversial Angry Ed.

    Posted by: DR | July 19, 2007
  5. Nice seeing the Loaners having fun while being the best.

    Posted by: Edson | July 19, 2007
  6. Christy…you just had to mention Rate Lock/Teabag didn’t you?
    I was really bummed to find out the Nashville trip was on my weekend out of town. But I look forward to supporting and rocking out with them this fall.

    Posted by: Jen R | July 20, 2007
  7. Why? What’s with Rate Lock? They’re a fabulous band, alas, not all the members are employed directly by Quicken Loans. But I have to go on record as saying that Doug Martin (mortgage operations team) is a very impressive and versatile musician.

    Posted by: Christy | July 20, 2007
  8. I learned about the Corporate Band battle last year and was intrigued by the concept so I went the the Nashville regional and the finals in Cleveland and now I’m hooked. I went to this year’s LA and Nashville regionals and I’m flying to Austin tomorrow. I’ve seen the Loaners three times now and can say with the utmost honesty and sincerity that they are a solid bar band. Nothing less, but certainly nothing more. Their original songs aren’t the least bit compelling, or even particularly interesting. That isn’t to say they’re bad, but after two songs, I get it. If they are to have any shot at the finals this year they need to add some complexity to their music (assuming they have the musicianship), some harmonies or a keyboardist or something to give them some layers, otherwise The 4-Inch Studs, who absolutely laid waste to the Key Club in LA a couple of weeks ago, will walk away with the title. For that matter, High Definition and The Dave Rawlinson Band were really good too. I’m not bashing the Loaners, they have a “thing” that seems to be appealing to their fans. I’d go see them in a bar, but I’d leave after the first set. Work hard and be prepared. Best of luck guys.

    Posted by: Mitch | July 27, 2007
  9. Interesting post Mitch. However, I have to be completely honest. I have a hard time respecting the opinion of someone who proudly admits to traveling across the country to hear corporate bands play. I’m just sayin’…

    Posted by: Holy Frequent Flyer Miles | July 30, 2007
  10. I’m 59, retired, I play bass in a band with my son-in-law and two teenage grandsons. I see two or three concerts a month, and since I live near Nashville I can see just about any kind of live music any night of the week, which I do. I enjoy live music, be it covers or originals. I’m a music fan, it’s what I do for fun in my “old” age. Having spent so much of my life in the corporate world I have a great appreciation for the concept of the corporate band. I wish I had promoted the concept in my companies when I was younger. I contribute to the Rock Hall charities and have made contacts that allow me to attend these events. It’s simply something I enjoy.

    Posted by: Mitch | July 30, 2007
  11. Methinks “Holy Frequent Flyer Miles” needs to understand passion.

    Posted by: Wunderkind | July 30, 2007
  12. Youth is wasted on the young ;-) BTW, Soul Focus and Unrestricted Entity won in Austin. Soul Focus has added a male singer and a new drummer. They’ve improved but I still think the Studs are the band to beat. Back to LA for a moment, I was surprised by the relatively poor showing by the SAS band. They blew everyone off the stage in Nashville last year and won second in the finals, despite a sub par performance. They clearly have the deepest pool of talent with last year’s best drummer, best guitarist, arguably best bassist, and they all sing. Personally, I thought the bass player was the best singer of the competition, going from AC/DC to Marvin Gaye and singing all those harmonies. But, they were off at the Key Club, I think their female singer was sick. I doubt they’ll get a wild card. Good luck. See you in Cleveland.

    Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2007
  13. I forgot to mention that I’ve encountered a great blues band from Detroit called Motor City Josh. They play in Hunstville, AL every once in a while. I assume they gig closer to home. They have an authentic blues vibe and are entirely too much fun. If you haven’t yet, you need to check them out.

    Posted by: Mitch | July 30, 2007
  14. Hey Mitch,
    Thanks for the good word. We had a great time Rockin the Key! We met all the band members and they are all very good people. The fact that we went with all original material may have hurt our chances of making the cut to Cleveland but we went with what we thought was best. We had the best time and like the “GOVERNATOR SAYS “WE’LL BE BACK!”
    Thanks again for the review!
    Dave McMahan
    Percussion/vocals for the Dave Rawlinson Band

    Posted by: Dave McMahan | August 2, 2007
  15. I just stumbled across this site. The Loaners are cool. They have a swagger that may be a tad bit annoying, but artists need a little of that to keep going in the tough times so I don’t hold it against them. They’re above average to be sure and worthy of whatever success they achieve. I envy your retirement plan, Mitch. Considering the number of bands you’ve seen, yours is probably the most respectable opinion. So sincerely, thanks for the kind words. I’m the bass player in the SAS band. We were indeed off at the Key Club and did not deserve to go back to Cleveland and defend our defacto “Best Corporate Band in America” title. You’ve probably heard by now that the Studs had a business conflict and had to bow out of the finals. Shame, they’ve improved so much since last year. I thought for sure the Dave Rawlinson Band would get in when the Studs bailed. They were by far the most fun, particularly that lead anvil player (whassup D Mac!), but the Sony band was good too. Competition in general was tougher in LA this year than in Nashville last year. Anyway, from what I’ve heard it’s anybody’s to win, and the Loaners will certainly be in the hunt. I agree they need something else, complexity, layers, whatever. But they gig regularly so they’re tight, and they have the most experience in this competition. Maybe this is their year. Good luck dudes…Michael

    Posted by: Michael | August 21, 2007

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