Badass Band #4

Photo Credit- Dani Mac

Badass band #4 is Motel Drive. The simplest words describe these guys best, they ROCK. Motel Drive is made up of three members- JD Goodwin, Chris ‘Rhinestone’ Estep and Jake Finney. They all hail from the Devil’s bellybutton, AKA Fresno, CA. The name of their band is a salute to a certain street in Fresno that is well-known for various types suspicious activity. However, these guys are the opposite of suspicious, they are talented, fun and can get ANY crowd going, and I do mean ANY. If you had to put a label on the type of music they play it would be a mash up of Punk inspired Rockabilly/Bluesy Country. Their second self-titled release dropped in early 2011 and has given fans much more of what they wanted from these guys, killer tunes. The track list is as follows: Trailer Park Queen, Baby I’m Through with You, Asshole of the Year,  When the Lights Go Down, The Lucky One, Pictures, Long Tall Woman, Tell Me Why, Bedroom Eyes, Borrowed Time, Ain’t Got Nothin’, Drifter Blues (Live), Plastic Dashboard Jesus (Live). The CD is a fantastic mix of fast and slow-paced songs that are insightful, heart-felt, funny, and are highly relatable.

Motel Drive first caught my attention at a Battle of the Bands at CSU Fresno in April of 2010. I believe there were something like 6-8 acts and all of them were stereotypical and bland, that is until Motel Drive came on. If my mind serves me correctly they were the second to the last band that night and they blew the competition out of the water. After they played, it was crystal clear what band was going to win. The crowd, up until these guys played, was polite but not many were really into any of the bands, myself included. However, once MD came out and JD fired the crowd up, Jake busted out his upright bass and Chris got behind the drum kit all of that changed instantly. I think just about everyone in the room became fans of them that night.

Since then I have seen Motel Drive many times, pretty much any chance I get to make a show I am there. I have never once been dissapointed. These guys are just impressive at working a crowd. They can easily read what pace of song the crowd is yearning for, offer jokes in between songs, and wow a crowd with their raw musical power. JD’s vocals are smooth and deep, Jake plays an upright bass faster and clearer than anyone I have ever seen and Chris pounds out the rhythm on the drum set so expertly you can’t help but move along to it. They also hold another key to winning over fans, they actually ARE having fun playing on stage. Too often bands can play well but they just stand there and make it look more like a chore than fun. These guys are defintely not like that! They are probably one of Fresno’s most well-known bands, packing a favorite venue, Audie’s Olympic, every time they play there. They also played at SXSW this past March and were very well recieved. Here’s to hoping for more exposure to these guys, they deserve it! Take a listen, I know you will dig what you hear.

Website:  Twitter: @MotelDrive Facebook:


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