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July 1, 2014

Teen musician to embark on tour with Ted Nugent

By Nick Mordowanec
C & G Staff Writer

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Drummer Jason Hartless points at a camera during a show in Las Vegas. Hartless is about to go on a countrywide tour with famed Detroit rocker Ted Nugent.
Hartless drums along while playing with the band Pistol Day Parade.
 

FRASER — Jason Hartless is just like any other teenager, if every other teenager went on tour with some of the biggest musical acts in the last few decades.

The 19-year old Fraser High School graduate is beginning a near two-month tour on July 4 with the band Pistol Day Parade. Hartless has been in the band for two years of its five-year existence.

Hartless is a percussionist, mainly banging away on his drum set. He has played the drums for most of his life, becoming a music aficionado in the wake of his father’s former career as a musician.

He does a lot of freelance work with various artists, conducting different recording sessions and going on tour if the gigs present favorable experiences.

Hartless’ father wasn’t sure music was the right career path for his son, but once the music played, it was a done deal.

“It was kind of funny because (my dad) always wanted me to be a hockey player, and I found music before I could even walk,” Hartless said. “I would crawl up on the drum set and start playing.”

The upcoming tour does feature one big headliner: the “Motor City Madman” Ted Nugent.

Hartless called it an honor to go on the road with a Detroit legend like Nugent. It’s also a full-circle experience because Hartless studied with one of Nugent’s past drummers, Tommy Clufetos, who is now touring with famed metal group Black Sabbath.

But playing with big stars is nothing new for the young musician.

In 2009, Hartless played on the Crüe Fest Tour, which is a touring festival created and starring one of the biggest acts in music history, Mötley Crüe.

“It was amazing,” he said. “The thing that’s funny is that people always ask me about how crazy the tour was, and it was probably the mellowest tour I’ve ever been on.”

A date on the tour he especially looks forward to is playing at the House of Blues in Orlando. He has had a mental image of playing there for years.

Hartless’ biggest inspiration is not even a drummer; it’s guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who. But from being into jazz to just about every kind of music, the goal is to match the other performers’ intensity and then strive to be that good.

Hartless knows he leads a different kind of lifestyle, one that can spit people out any minute if certain pieces don’t fall into place. From touring and following music over the course of his life, he said it’s a lot easier to keep your head together when you aren’t screwing things up with outside influences.

“I just (want to) continue touring,” Hartless said. “I’ve been doing it for probably 10 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I played with some of the best, studied with some of the best, toured with some of the best. … It’s a great career I’m very fortunate to have and count my stars every day.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nick Mordowanec at nmordowanec@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.