Veteran musicians ready to rock in new band

Thursday, June 12, 2008

With inspiration from the death of a friend, what was old has become new again for one group of local musicians.

The members of The Thundertones -- vocalist Ryan Matlock, Julie Arnold on bass guitar, drummer Doug Brown and Dave Pruitt and Clay Thomas on guitar -- have been in various bands for the past 20 years. They've popped up in Rude Awakening, Project 621, Turner Up and Squealer. Only Matlock and Thomas have worked together previously.

The band mainly plays classic rock and pop covers, but Thomas said it's not about whether a song is an original -- it's about fun.

"When I was younger it was all about playing originals," Thomas said. "Now it's about playing music that we like, whether I wrote it or not. I just want to have a good time and rock."

Thomas, who organized the band, said he almost quit playing music entirely until Randy Leiner of legendary local band The Melroys passed away.

"I was inspired to start playing music again," Thomas said. "Randy was someone I greatly admired. He didn't get a record deal until he was 50 years old. But it's not about the record deal, it's about still being viable and rocking out regardless of age."

Thomas said The Thundertones are a great tribute to Leiner and what he did for the local music community.

"Randy's death made me realize life is short and we better start rockin' while we can," Thomas said. "That's why I'm grateful for The Thundertones. And we work as a unit, not as individuals. We are nothing without each other."

The Thundertones play Saturday Buckner Brewing Co. in downtown Cape Girardeau. For more about the band's upcoming schedule, go to www.myspace.com/claythomas1961.

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