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October 23, 2013

Making that Chrome Mollie shine

Local rockers have ‘Sumthin You Need’

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Making that Chrome Mollie shine
Chrome Mollie, from left, Eddie Golatka, Tim Smith, Danny Justice and David Stroud invite rock fans to two upcoming shows: Oct. 25 at the Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield Township and Nov. 9 at Jamboozies in Sterling Heights.

At first, Eddie Golatka turned down bassist David Stroud’s invitation to play drums for his band Chrome Mollie.

“I begged him for about a year,” Fenton resident Stroud said. “Eddie is a hard-hitting drummer. He was the style of drummer I needed.”

But Golatka, a 1986 Warren Woods Tower High School graduate, had been out of the local music scene for 10 years, his drum set sitting untouched.

Stroud persisted, and Golatka — who grew up on KISS records — finally checked out a Chrome Mollie show. The band’s fist-in-the-air hard rock sound sparked a fire in Golatka, and the drummer was soon back in action.

“It was basically the songs that drew me in,” Golatka said. “I said, ‘I got to do it.’”

Since 2010, Chrome Mollie has released several singles at www.tapdetroit.com; has opened for national acts Y&T, Stryper, Kip Winger and the Bullet Boys; and has been in the studio with plans to release a new CD in early 2014.

And it’s show time this fall. Chrome Mollie — rounded out by guitarist Danny Justice and singer and former Sterling Heights resident Tim Smith — will open for rocker and one-time Mötley Crüe singer John Corabi Oct. 25 at the Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield Township. Two weeks later, the concert-like band will rip it up Nov. 9 at Jamboozies in Sterling Heights. Wear your denim and leather.

Influenced by Aerosmith, Ratt and Blackberry Smoke, Chrome Mollie carries on the tradition of straight-forward, heavy rock ‘n’ roll powered by “feel the noize” guitars, solid drums, thumping bass lines and broken eardrums. New York New York in Chesterfield Township and the Machine Shop in Flint are among their regular haunts.

“We’re just a good-time party band,” Justice, of Holly, said. “Our ultimate goal was to have fun. If people like us, bonus. That’s the most fullfillment … when people enjoy what we’re doing.”

“We play what we know. Our style is going back to our roots,” said Smith, a 1987 Henry Ford II High School graduate who cites Mick Jagger and Bret Michaels as his favorite frontmen. “It’s nice to hear people say we enjoy your music and, when you look out into the crowd, people singing the lyrics to your song.”

“Sumthin You Need,” “Dreams,” “Free Me” and “Shake It” are what fans bang their heads to when the band comes alive on stage. “Straight for the Heart” is Smith’s favorite Chrome Mollie tune. Stroud writes the band’s material, with each member adding his own spin.

“They take what I give them to another level,” the bass player said. “The songs don’t mean anything unless you got guys that are taking them to heart and playing them with passion.”

The four players have known each other for years. They sold their souls to rock ‘n’ roll throughout the 1980s and 1990s while in different bands on the Motor City circuit. Razzem was one band where Golatka kept the backbeat.

WWTHS alumni can “backtrack” to 1986 for Golatka’s first-ever gig playing skins for the band Backtrack. With their own take on Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” Backtrack rocked the high school gym that spring during the high school’s Battle of the Bands. Footage of the performance is on YouTube. Although another band was deemed the winner, it put Golatka on a musical path.

The former Warren resident was about 10 when he got his first album, “KISS ALIVE II.” He wore it out on a record player in which you “had to put the quarter on the needle so it couldn’t skip.” Next came his own set of drums for Christmas — a sparkling orange Gretsch model purchased at Kmart. Rock drummers Peter Criss, Tommy Aldridge and Tommy Lee influenced Golatka.

“In the ’80s, I was obsessed with the drummer of Enuff Z’Nuff, Vicki Fox,” said Golatka, who now resides in Westland. “His arms were flailing all over the place. He looked like an octopus.”

Local music fans might remember Smith from the band Labaj. He admitted he played music to meet girls. But now, it’s about the camaraderie between his current band members.

“It’s the best band of brothers I’ve ever been in,” Justice agreed, adding the musicans all have families and careers. “Nobody is above the others.”

As Chrome Mollie builds a fanbase on the Detroit and Flint scenes, they’re also attracting fans from across the globe via the Internet. Hawaii, Itlay, Sweden and Japan are among the many places where people are listening to Chrome Mollie’s music; the most mature fan is 74 years old.

“I got a message from a guy in Finland the other day, and somebody invited us to Austria,” Justice said. “We had a guy from Germany who came to the Token Lounge in Westland to see us. I’ve never been so blessed.”

The Diesel Concert Lounge is located at 33151 23 Mile Road. For tickets for the Oct. 25 show, visit www.etix.com. Jamboozies, with Chrome Mollie headlining Nov. 9, is located at 42066 Van Dyke.

More information on Chrome Mollie can be found at www.chromemollie.com and on the band’s Facebook page.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.