By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Senior Correspondent
Venue: OCC Roadhouse and Museum, Clearwater, Florida–August 26th, 2022
Bands/Websites or Facebook/Social Links:
Okay, first thing you need to know about this awesome music venue is that OCC stands for Orange County Choppers, which means, yes, it’s a biker-oriented place. And if your politics lean anywhere to the left side of things, you might feel a bit uncomfortable there. On the other hand, if you have a Trump flag on your truck and are a big fan of guns, you’ll fit right in. Normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to politics of venues and/or bands, but I feel obligated to do so when both are pretty blatant about it. Walking in the front of OCC, you need to pass through the merchandise store, which includes various items shaped like rifle cartridges and T-shirts extolling the virtues of being armed. This theme was carried forth with the bands, first with the lead singer of Ocala-based Torn, before going onstage wearing a T-shirt that said, “F**K BIDEN, TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT!,” and the drummer from Voodoo Moonshine literally waving a huge flag before their set began!
But, on to the music! Torn is Eddie Sweeney – Lead Vocals, Pete Davitto – Guitar, Scott Bennett – Bass, and Troy Parrish – Drums. Torn is made up of professional musicians that have been all over the country playing the music that they love. TORN is a hard-hitting, hard rock cover band that also plays a few originals. Think Alice in Chains, Creed, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Aerosmith, etc. If you have an OCC Roadhouse in Florida near you, they will probably be playing there at some point, they seem to have bookings at different OCCs all over the state, along with other known biker venues.
Between bands, I must relate something I witnessed: A gentleman of around fifty, with what you might call a typical Florida biker look – jeans, denim vest/shirt with cut-off sleeves and patches, faux-hawk hairstyle – came up to the merchandise tent for Voodoo Moonshine. He started talking T-shirts, how he absolutely had to have one – and then he asked the ladies if they had any free samples! No, not what you were thinking, he wasn’t insulting them, he thought Voodoo Moonshine was moonshine! Not sure what he’d been drinking up to that point, but I don’t think moonshine would be advisable!
The actual Voodoo Moonshine is a “bluesy groove rock band,” currently from Florida/Georgia but was formed in Memphis, TN in 2003 by lead guitarist, Jeff Losawyer. The debut album, Decade of Decay, was released in March 2005, and was well received throughout Europe. Shows in England, Ireland, and Scotland followed. Due to the album’s success, they were voted “Number One Band” seven times in England, and six times in Japan. In mid 2005, Voodoo Moonshine quickly became one of the top three requested bands in Dublin, Ireland. 2006 saw the band’s popularity continue to rise, and they became a staple on rock radio around the world; Voodoo Moonshine could be heard in Portugal, Greece, Canada, and at home in America.
Many times during the year the band’s songs charted ahead of some of rock’s heavy hitters like Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Guns N Roses, and the Scorpions. Decade of Decay continued to do extremely well deep into 2007, more than two full years after its release. As the year wound down, the band took some much-needed and well-deserved time off. This led to guitarist Jeff Losawyer’s work on a solo album. Jeff continued to write music during this time, and never gave up his passion to play. Fast forward, and suddenly 12 years had passed. He heard Pedro Espada singing in a YouTube video and really liked what he heard. He took a chance and reached out to Pedro to see if he would be interested in singing some of his songs. Eventually, Jeff was invited to Daytona Beach Bike Week 2018 to jam with Pedro and his bandmates of Rockit Fly. Needless to say, things went well with Pedro, then former Nova Rex member Eddie Cruise, and Hector Acevedo were recruited to bring back Voodoo Moonshine.
Now with Pedro Espada on vocals, Jeff Losawyer on guitar, Hector Acevedo on bass, and drummer Eddie Cruise, Voodoo Moonshine completed their full-length sophomore CD Bottom of the Barrel, which was released on February 4, 2022. There is a lot of talk about what the future has in store for Voodoo Moonshine. Stay tuned…next up is their appearance October 23rd, 2022, at The 8th Annual Josie Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, where they have reached the status of Finalist! You can listen to their music on their website or on Spotify. Oh, and did I mention that ISSA (International Singers and Songwriters Association) gave them two Gold Awards for Band of the Year and Band Single of the Year for “Bring It Down”? Yeah, they did that!
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