Tim Neilsen traded in his saxophone for a bass years ago, and now after 25 years with Drivin’ N Cryin’ he said they are just trying to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive. “We suddenly feel like we have an obligation to remind people that this kind of music is still around,” Neilsen said. “To have people come up to you at the end of the night, ... and say, ‘Man, I’m so glad you guys came to town because you are real rock ‘n’ roll and you blew my face off’ is really cool.”
Neilsen took much of his inspiration from other rockers like John Entwistle from The Who and Dee Dee Ramone from The Ramones, among others.
“... I loved Tommy Stinson from The Replacements ... and style like Tommy James from The Generation X was another great one,” he said.
Neilsen is an original member of Drivin’ N Cryin,’ which had its first show at the Blue Rat Gallery on West Peachtree in 1985 in Atlanta. Today, the band is made up of lead singer Kevn Kinney, drummer Dave Johnson and guitarist Mac Carter.
On Sunday, Drivin’ N Cryin,’ along with several other bands, will open for Deirks Bentley in the Miles & Music for Kids benefit at Lake Lanier Islands.
To kick off the day, there will be a benefit motorcycle ride leaving from Killer Creek Harley-Davidson in Roswell and ending with the concert at Lake Lanier Islands. Other bands will be Josh Thompson, Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Chris Janson, T.J. Edmond & The Beggars’ Guild and Shotgun Lover
“When you are doing a benefit show and there’s a whole lot of different artists on the bill, we’re all kind of in the same boat, we’re all kind of in a music community,” said Neilson, who graduated from Roswell High School. “We’re all like being in one giant band. People let their guard down in shows like this. It’s like we’re all trying to do good for the community and in this case Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.”
Drivin’ N Cryin’ has a 45-minute set before Deirks Bentley hits the stage to play new songs and crowd favorites.
“We only have about 45 minutes to play so we’re gonna do a few new songs, we’re gonna do a few hits — ‘Straight to Hell,’ ‘Honeysuckle Blue,’ ‘Fly Me Courageous,’” Neilson said. “By the time we mix it up with a little bit of new and old, I think the 45 minutes will be up. We generally don’t make set lists. If we were doing a typical show we try to play one song from each album.
“And if somebody wants to stand in the front row and scream out requests, sometimes we try to play something we haven’t played in 10 years and butcher the hell out of it, but we have it figured out by the end.”