It’s safe to say Poor Richards has a special place in my academic history at East Tennessee State University.

Pac Man had just come out along with several other popular video games and beer was cheap by the pitcher in my first years of college. Together with my roommates at Cooper Hall (now demolished) we officially worked ourselves toward academic probation at this local pub and I’m certain it still happens today.

I’d be willing to wager anyone who’s ever attended classes at ETSU has made several trips to Poor Richards. Nothing much has changed either except for an expanded bar next door and a great new stage that hosts live music every Friday night.

We loaded up the camera equipment and made our way Friday night to see 10,000 Flames at “Poor Dicks” and had a good time hanging out with one of the hardest working rock bands in the region. With six years under their belt, they were just as much a part of the legacy as this college pub, especially for long time fans of the local music scene.


10,000 Flames is a great name for a rock-and-roll band and their members are veterans of great local bands like Sober Otis, One Thirty Edge, Asylum Suite, Blue Novacaine and many other bands from the Tri-Cities.

Bassist Brad Tester was busy with a Sharpee next to the pinball machines when I arrived around 9.30. We had made plans to do an interview with the band early on and he was finishing up a set list. He mentioned it’s usually only a road map for the band and seemed his usual, enthusiastic self. Brad is a thrilling performer on stage too and it had been several years since we talked. The last time we shared the stage together was with John Cowan and that’s a great memory we still talk about today.

Jared, Carson and Matthew rolled in with the video equipment a little later and I had to order some cheesy nachos. Poor Richard’s makes the best nachos around and other than my favorite sandwich (“Canadian Mounty”) I ordered a frosty New Castle to soak away an afternoon of self-loathing slumber.

It was good to back out in the night and Terry McCoy was just on the other side of the bar. Terry is one of the area’s most accomplished rock guitarists and teaches many of the best up and coming players from several locations around the region.

There were plenty of local fans at Poor Richards tonight and we were thankful the guys let us barge in before their set. We we were hopeful to grab some footage from one of the area’s most seasoned rock and roll cover bands. They’ve played just about everywhere and Brad, Terry and Joe Pike along with lead vocalist Rusty Honeycutt have come full-circle traveling the rock and roll highway and still love to perform and it shows.

Rusty has the perfect rock-and-roll profile. Dressed in black leather, chrome skulls, belt buckles, tattoos and long blond hair – he’s in great shape and still looks the part. His voice carries well too as he’s one of the most versatile and rehearsed front-men in the region.

We had bright lights on the stage and interviewed each of the members of 10,000 Flames right before their set. Jared was holding the mike while Matthew was snaking around the stage with a second camera and Carson was shooting pictures with his new Nikon. I had my camera too and we got plenty of good footage – Check out my collection here.

The band had planned for several friends to join them in the house tonight and when we finished the interview, they immediately turned up their amps, slung their guitars around their necks and played a volatile set of two songs from before the live video cameras.

The first original song was ‘Fuck with You’ and ushered a cheer and a mob of middle-fingered gestures from the crowd as Honecutt and Tester set the mood for a raucous night of rock and roll laced with the chants from the stage with ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ at a level that left little room for whispers.

10,000 Flames is one of the most rehearsed bands in the Tri-Cities. Tester was describing how often they get together practicing almost every night.

McCoy teaches guitar to many local students by day and has been playing music with Rusty and Brad for several years. Their commitment to each other is self-evident too as their sharpened set includes a set of songs from Papa Roach to Billy Idol, Cheap Trick and Guns and Roses. You won’t find too many ballads on this set list either. After they worked through ‘I Want You To Want Me’ the band roared through a precise set of full throttle favorites laced with incomparable energy and style.

Rusty is a great entertainer too. For a lead singer he’s very humble and invited Buck Stallard from another local band ‘Non-Prophet‘ to share the stage as they both cranked out a screaming melody to a Motley Crue classic.

10,000 Flames has a rabid fan-base too – and they support them every time they play. Together, they are a tribe of loyal followers and they made the video and photo shoot that much more enjoyable.

When the band finished their first set, we had plenty of time to share a beer with the guys and especially enjoyed talking with Rusty and Terry.

Honeycutt is a warm Southern boy with plenty of down-home charm. He likes to put his skinny long arm around you too and tell plenty of stories about the days on the road and how he loves to play music. He’s a genuine soul with his own style and still has the potential to turn heads on or off the stage.

As we laughed into the next day my chair was a little shaky and I thought one of the legs was broke and all of a sudden the damn thing broke and if it wasn’t for my aloof cat-like response, I missed hitting the floor in front of my buds. That would have been another memorable moment, but I’m thankful that nothing but the chair suffered any injury.

If you like your classic rock and roll live and loud then 10,000 Flames is a guaranteed good time. They have a polished and energetic stage show that’s sure to satisfy. Honeycutt and Tester are great showmen and McCoy’s guitar expertise continues to shine while Pike’s control over the back beat and background vocals rounds out this talented group of hard-working musicians.

Poor Richards is a great place too. It’s home to Maxine’s Sweet Tea, great sandwiches and some of the richest goodies you’ll find this side of Willie Wonka’s. It’s an iconic place for fun after hours too and we’re glad they continue to support live music so next time you’re in Johnson City looking for a place to satisfy your hunger pangs and live music – make sure Poor Richard’s is on your list.