By MATT MUNOZ, Californian columnist
The members of Bakersfield reggae rock quintet Amity Flow are a detail-oriented lot.
And for a reggae band that's saying a lot, mon.
Finishing up preparations before they set out on their first tour, it appears they have a handle on everything required to make it happen: transportation, gigs, lodging, gear, music, snacks, energy drinks, underwear and socks.
And let's not forget the money. Yes, money. Touring for any band at any level doesn't come cheap.
To help with the precious funds necessary for their first irie excursion, the guys have organized a tour fundraising show at On the Rocks on Friday.
"Saving money for the tour has been tough. We've been saving money from shows for about two months now," said Amity Flow vocalist Drew Thomas Peterson, 24. We hope that the tour will help us expose our sound, music and message to people throughout the country."
Great attitude, but let's not joke around. The road can destroy even the tightest band of brothers. To help with that area, guitarist James Barron, 25, has offered his veteran services as official motor home shrink.
"I have toured for music in the past, and although there are many challenges on the road, I think I can coach the rest of these dudes through it; 4,500 miles in two weeks is a rough stretch, but our passion for this music and message will definitely carry us through."
You read correctly. That's quite an ambitious trek, and with gas prices higher than Bob Marley, the group is looking at some seriously green flying out of their pockets for fuel alone.
"We will have the motor home to sleep in while we're driving. Most show cities along the way include hotel rooms but some cities we have host families who will be opening their homes for us for the night," Peterson said.
Aware of the expense and potential for disaster, the band rented a fully stocked RV from a national vehicle rental company, Cruise America, which guarantees replacement wheels in case of a breakdown.
"Fortunately the motor home has a shower that we can use if we get to smelling funky," said keyboardist Kevin Lundy, 27.
"Our drummer Andrew (Whitmore) sounds like Sasquatch when he snores," laughed bassist Patrick Griffith, 24. "We'll probably make him sleep in the storage areas underneath or in the bathtub."
Peterson, always the optimist, envisions a true bonding experience.
"I believe the traveling together and being cramped in a vehicle will bring us closer and help us develop even more chemistry.
Amity Flow was offered a slot on the self-financed trek -- dubbed the "Everybody Love Everybody Tour" -- through a representative at Arizona-based entertainment company RPM Live and will be joined by fellow reggae acts Fortunate Youth, Inna Vision and The White Glove Service. The tour's first show is in Fresno on April 17. The trek continues up through Oregon, Washington, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Arizona before ending in Las Vegas on April 28.
The venues range from dives to intimate concert halls. But in case they end up in a "Bob's Country Bunker" gig predicament like the Blues Brothers did in the film of the same name, Griffith says they've got that covered.
"James is heavily influenced by Brad Paisley. I think he would be ultra inspired and we would tear that bar down."
On the topic of groupies, Peterson said faithfulness is a big part of the Amity Flow creed.
"Patrick and James are the only ones with girlfriends, but they are pretty chill girls and have supported them about the tour. Patrick doesn't have any game anyways, so his girl doesn't need to be worried."
The band will sell copies of their latest independent eight-song demo on Friday to help with tour costs. If they make it back in one piece, they plan to enter the studio to begin working on their first full-length CD.
"Anything donated will really help: food, beer, munchies, toiletries," said Whitmore. "Money too."
The band left our interview with a collective heart-tugging message.
"All of our families are stoked and have been super supportive of us and our dreams. That is something that we are truly blessed with. We are so thankful to our families and friends. We really couldn't do it without them. Much love."
Friday's showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Also appearing are Vanity Avenue and Top Shelph. On the Rocks is located at 1517 18th St. For more information, call 327-7625 or visit facebook.com/amityflow.
Millionaires at Jerry's Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave., Friday, 7 p.m., $12, all ages, 633-1000. Orange County party girls and local faves Millionaires make their pre- Rockin' Roots return once again with a new CD, "Tonight," destined for mothers' do-not-play lists everywhere. Still dishing out fun Auto-Tune anthems in the vein of their nemesis, Ke$ha, the act has publicly rebuked the star for stealing their image. To combat other copycats, Millionaire sisters' Melissa Marie and Allison Green have upped their sexpot stage shtick with more than just the average innuendo, much to the delight of teenage boys everywhere. Millionaires made their first Bakersfield appearance back in 2008, and whether you love them or hate them, they always throw a killer party. Also appearing are Ashland High, Beneath the Sun, Lancifer.
Mike Bhone Retirement Jam at On the Rocks, 7401 White Lane, 4 p.m., Sunday, free, 327-7625.
If you attended Arvin, West, Wasco or Nueva high schools, veteran music instructor and musician Mike Bhone would like to see as many of his old students as possible as he hangs up his baton for good. Lots of great live music, reminiscing and great memories from one of our area's most beloved music mentors. Former music students of Bhone's are encouraged to bring their instrument for the extended jam session. Ear plugs not included.