Great news for Five Foot Mullet! Last week one of our favorite Johnson City bands officially announced its first national tour. It’s the ‘big break” that all bands hope for and this one is no April Fool’s joke.

Evidently years of hard work for the Mullet paid off a few weeks ago as they opened for Story of The Year in Johnson City. Then, bam! — just like that — the band inked a deal for a 100-city tour with Tomorrow’s Ashes and A Healing Season. We couldn’t be more excited for this local act as they have a rare chance to attract national attention to their full front rock power show. In the meantime, put July 5 on your calendar as Five Foot Mullet ducks into the Sophisticated Otter for a mid-tour homecoming.

Last weekend, the three cities opened their doors again to thousands of visiting NASCAR fans in town for the Food City 500. As crowds settled into our community each night, the area restaurants and nightspots were working overtime. Traffic was heavier than usual and one of the bright spots for live entertainment was Stone Drive in Kingsport.

CattleAxe is the new name for the band formerly known as Tragically White. They were playing at Coconuts on West Stone Drive and the dance floor was busy as a demolition derby as this talented power-trio continues to build a bigger fan base every time they play. Al Sammons, Greg Yates and Tom Bettini like to lay their music down with lots of burnt rubber, so don’t miss the ride next time around.

As we passed Rush Street, we could see there was a band playing inside the restaurant as we have come to expect every week end. Boomerang was supposed to be on stage, but the word on the street is that the band is “reforming.” Nevertheless, Mike and his brother Gerry have been loyal supporters of live music in Kingsport for 20 years and they rarely go without entertainment.

A short distance from Rush Street and you’ll find a venue that is presenting live music with some regularity. Kingsport Sports Club is located off Stone Drive behind the Ramada Inn on American Way. This was our first visit to this venue, despite the fact it’s within walking distance of our offices. This sports club showed up on our radar last week because they continue to host live music and Witherspoon was opening for a band we’ve heard a lot about lately — 10,000 Flames.

First things first. 10,000 Flames is a great name for a band, but what attracted me most was the banter on our Internet forum at These fans (represented as nicknames) are either family or hired guns because they add fuel to the fire to help promote this four-piece band from Johnson City with plenty of tale tales. The band is usually a part of this dialogue and we invite you to get to know them at The Buzz.

The band was on break when we walked through the door at The Kingsport Sports Club. That was just enough time to settle in to the new surroundings — a big room with a decent bar, a checkerboard dance floor and several references to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rusty Wallace.

David “Rolo” Rowland was at the bar telling me stories about the Rusty Steel. Rusty is the front man for 10,000 Flames and used to play in N20 with Rolo in the late ’90s. Rolo had plenty of good things to say about his former mate, so when Rusty finished his shot of tequila and grabbed the mic before the second set, I was all ears.

Steel has got the voice, the look and the finesse to front any touring band and do so with absolute conviction that he’ll exhaust himself of every emotion during a performance. His range, attitude, passion and sweat are hard not to watch!

One of the things I appreciate most about the bands we hear is the chemistry the players share. Besides having a charismatic front man, 10,000 Flames is an entertaining metal band that is well rehearsed and together they are brewing a volcano of music that may lead way to a great summer of fun to satisfy their growing fan base.

The band’s performance is a furnace of memorable heavy metal classics that span a couple of generations. Guitarist Mike Hughes joined Rusty as they per formed a convincing set list of cover songs from Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Godsmack and Three Doors Down.

Drummer Christian Levi fans the flames of this band’s set list along with Randy Frazier on bass. Randy reminds me of Van Halen’s bassist Michael Anthony. His camo getup and compelling background vocals give the band an added rowdy presence that makes the experience all the more entertaining.

It’s obvious that 10,000 Flames has an active core that burns with roots in all kinds of great heavy metal influences. They melt this with intriguing original songs, so if your jeans are flame retardant and can handle the extreme heat of modern metal, spend some time with 10,000 Flames as they continue to scorch the Tri-Cities.

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    This week’s buzz topics…

  • Yukon morphs into Joe Clark’s Remedy…
  • Cahootenanny’s looking for new bands…

    This week’s best bets for live local music…

  • Friday – What? at Kingsport Sports Club…
  • Saturday — Scull Soup and more at Heather’s Hideaway in Johnson City.


    David Cate is director of new media for the GoTriCities Network. E-mail him at