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Rootbound ready to rock Biker Bash on Friday

SEE ALSO: Gazz checked in with Richard Young of the Kentucky Headhunters, who headline the Capitol City Biker Bash on Saturday.

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WANT TO GO?

Rootbound with Juicy

Part of the Capitol City Biker Bash

WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday

COST: free INFO: 304-344-5075 or www.capitolcitybikerbash.com

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Josh Knechtly said the first time his band, Rootbound, played a biker festival, he was a little nervous.

"I felt a little bit intimidated by it. I was excited to be there, but nervous. And then everybody just treated us like gold."

The Ohio-based rock band plays a lot of biker rallies and festivals. On Friday night, the group headlines the Capitol City Biker Bash with local rockers Juicy opening.

"The biker rallies are a good time," he said. "Fun and relaxing."

Rootbound plays a raucous blend of classic rock-inspired outlaw rock 'n' roll, which is just the kind of stuff that's sort of the bread-and-butter of the Harley Davidson-loving crowd. It wasn't exactly the kind of music Rootbound started out playing, though.

"We formed 11 years ago in Adams County, Ohio," Knechtly said. "We were all in different bands, cover bands. We all just wanted to be part of a really good band that could give it a go career-wise."

Over a weekend camping trip, the four of them came up with a plan, but it took almost a year before they were really ready to perform as a band.

"We really took it back to the garage," Knechtly said. "We practiced out of an old school."

And the music was different.

"It was heavier," he said. "We were a lot darker, lyrically."

But Rootbound recorded and toured. Over the course of several EP's, the band evolved musically.

"We sounded more Southern rock," Knechtly said.

The sound opened doors. 

The band met John Fred Young, drummer for Black Stone Cherry and son of the Kentucky Headhunters' Richard Young. (The Headhunters headline the bash on Saturday night.)

"Our friends mentioned us to some people, and we got invited to play these biker festivals," he said.

That was three years ago.

"It's been great. The biker community has really been decent. They're like family, you know?"

Knechtly said the band is still evolving. Its music, he said, is still hard rocking, but it's less gloomy.

"We're more about the party," he said. "We sing about having a great time and being in that moment -- and our sound is just more comfortable."

However, evolving sometimes means going back to something or someone that worked before. Recently, the group welcomed back original lead singer Joel Hanson.

"Joel left the band about five years ago," he said. "We had another singer for a while named Joey, but he wasn't really into what we were doing and was having some voice problems. He left and Joel came back, so now we have the original four back together."

Throughout the summer, Knechtly said Rootbound would be playing lots of biker events. The band will also headline its own festival, Rootfest, July 20 in Adams County, Ohio.

"It's an all-day festival," he said. "We have nine bands, and we hold the thing at Who's Barn. That's what they call it. That's the name of the venue."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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