After more than a decade playing in Kansas City bands, Jon Freeman finally hit a wall.
"I just had too many nights playing for five or 10 people," says the inked-up singer and bassist, whose former bands include Go Kart, Larry, the Zippo Moment and Seconds From Disaster.
So Freeman did what any fed-up, self-respecting rocker would do: He quit music and started riding motorcycles.
"It was one thing I could do on my own that nobody could screw up for me," he says.
But it didn't take long before new opportunities came knocking. Singer and guitarist Wayne Hutcherson had just quit Crazy Talk to join Abracadabras, leaving his bandmates, sibling rockers Paul (guitar) and Ryan Marchman (drums), up shit creek without a frontman.
Paul asked Freeman if he wanted to get back in the ring. Freeman said, "Hell, no." So Paul asked again.
"I knew he was the guy," Paul says. "I just wasn't willing to give up on him."
Since then, it's been all gravy. Dubbing themselves the Shaker Hoods, the trio quickly worked up a set of muscular, back-to-basics rock and roll. They started hitting local clubs in October and have been on a tear ever since.
"We like powerful music, and we have a pretty serious approach to it," Ryan says. "At the end of the day, you play what you feel and what you know."
For Ryan, that canon includes staples such as Deep Purple and AC/DC. Paul's guitar idols include Aerosmith and pre-1985 Bay Area thrashers such as Exodus, Megadeth and Metallica. Freeman digs on the prototypical punk of the Ramones, the Misfits and the Sex Pistols.
"I like the stuff before it became a pissing match of who could play the fastest," Freeman says.
One thing that's absent from the trio's tastes is any sense of elitism.
"Guns N' Roses has probably changed all of our lives," Freeman says. "I learned how to play bass from Duff McKagan."
The Hoods have been holed up in Ryan's home studio with their eyes on an August 2 CD release at the Riot Room.
"It's big, grandiose rock," Paul says. "We're just trying to get that same live energy on the record — a little bit slicked up, maybe."
And if all goes according to plan, Freeman can hop on his chopper and ride off into the sunset ... to play a badass gig in front of a bunch of people.