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Initially billed as Suicide Driver, Perez saw a revolving door of musicians pass through the band (with Lawrence Jr., who now plays solo shows around the Valley, leaving to go back to driving a truck) until settling on its current lineup of Perez on guitar and vocals, bassist Pritchard, drummer Ryan Rice, and Telecaster master David Eras on guitar. Eventually changing their name to the more country-friendly Junction 10, the band has firmly ensconced itself as a leader in the flowering local country scene, which Perez calls country music's "best kept secret."
"It's one of the purest forms of music I've heard in a long time," Perez says of Arizona country's stripped-down, back-to-basics Bakersfield-esque, hard-country approach. "I am drawn to a lot of the bands here in the Valley, not just as musicians, but they are really great people and I consider all of them as friends. It's a very close-knit community. The guy you saw onstage on Saturday is the guy you talked to on the phone on Friday, and that's the coolest thing."
Citing favorites such as iconic Valley twang kings Flathead, Hashknife Outfit, Jimmy Pines, Barefoot and Pregnant, Charlie Shooter Band, Pat Roberts and The Heymakers, and Jim Bachmann and The Day Drinkers, Perez is also quick to give credit to DJ Dana and her weekly Valley Fever Sundays at Yucca Tap Room for giving the Arizona country movement an epicenter.
"She's turned Valley Fever into the place where we all congregate, and on any given night, you'd better believe there's at least 20 percent musicians in the crowd," Perez says. "So you'd better bring your 'A' game and you'd better be playing good that night."
Junction 10 will release their debut disc, Walkin' Sideways, in November. Perez says he couldn't care less whether Junction 10 ever lands a video on CMT, appears at the CMAs, or graces the cover of Country Weekly. Describing Nashville as a plastic atmosphere ("I mean, compared to what these guys are doing now," Perez says, "Garth Brooks is a friggin' saint. It's like, 'He wasn't so bad!'") Perez is more than content with Junction 10's lofty standing in the local movement.
"I've got a day job. I'm doing pretty good. I've got a roof over my head and gas in the tank," Perez says. "But this music thing I do, I do it because I love it. I do it because I want to contribute something that I think is pure out there. If I can sell a few records — if a few people know who I am — great. If that means I have that many more friends in the world, that's great. I love doing what we do."
I booked the bands at the Sage and Sand back then, and this band was my personal favorite....This man and his band are trully REAL country...I wish them all the luck in the world. But with their talent i dont think they need much luck..!!!
Junction 10, the real deal.... I love each and everyone of 'em! GREAT band and GREAT guys! My best wishes for your continued success ....and friendship, Jere