American Smash
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American Smash

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The best kept secret in music


"American Smash to perform tonight"

Saturday, July 02, 2005

American Smash to perform tonight

NEWS correspondent

Question: What do you get when you cross a jukebox with two male guitarists, a male drummer and a female vocalist?

Answer: American Smash, a Shelbyville-based rock band.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the quartet will perform during Chamber Jam — a fund-raiser for the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce — at Indiana Downs, 4200 N. Michigan Road. The group will be followed by a fireworks display at 9 p.m. and a performance by Zanna-doo, a popular Indianapolis band, at 10 p.m.

Founded in 2001, American Smash has appeared at various venues in Central Indiana — including Shelbyville, St. Paul, Indianapolis, Greenwood, Plainfield, Fishers, Brownsburg and Centerbrook.

Three 34-year-old Shelbyville natives — Drew Erickson, bass guitarist; James “Rooster” Markley, drummer; and Joey Gaudin, guitarist — supply the music. Greenwood native Alison “Precious Leigh Haywood” Fernandez, 27, sings.

“We play good-time music,” Erickson said. “It’s upbeat, party rock.”

Like a jukebox, American Smash offers an eclectic selection of tunes. Their repertoire includes Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love,” the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” and Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll.”

“We give people an excuse to dance,” Erickson said.

Like most performers, members of American Smash prefer receptive audiences; happy audiences make the band happy.

“I like to see people dancing,” Fernandez said. “It’s more fun when the people are into the music.”

Originally, American Smash featured a male lead singer, but Fernandez gives the band an edge: She can sing songs — by artists like Blondie, Madonna, Pat Benatar and Sheryl Crow — that most male vocalists wouldn’t touch. That versatility gives the group more leeway when selecting new songs to cover.

Known primarily as a cover band, the musicians also perform their own compositions.

“We’ll mainly be performing cover songs at Indiana Downs,” Gaudin said, “but we’ll be sneaking in a few originals, too.”

Entertaining audiences has sparked many thrills for the local group, but two stand out: opening for Indianapolis favorite Jim Ryser and performing on the route of this year’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis. Although most people buzzed by the group on their way to the finish line, some stopped and listened to a song or two.

Gaudin, Erickson and Markley have performed together for more than a decade, in various band incarnations. Fernandez sang in her high school show choir, but this is her first rock band. She got the job of lead singer by performing karaoke for the band after the original lead singer left.

- The Shelbyville News

"American Smash Lights Up The Studio"


Republican Staff Writer

From 6 to 7 p.m. each Wednesday, The Full-Circle Radio Hour airs on WKWH 94.3-FM. Jes and Vicky Richmond host local and regional singers and songwriters in an impromptu session of talk combined with live in-the-studio music.

Last week’s guest was the rock band American Smash. The band got their name from a play on the British Invasion of the ’70s from the term “smash hit.” The group is fronted by singer Precious Leigh Haywood, with Joey “G” Gaudin on guitar, Drew Erikson on bass guitar and backup vocals, and James “Rooster” Markley on drums.

They released Smashed , a five-song EP, in 2003 and plan on revisiting the studio in the near future to record a full-length CD the next time around. The driving force behind the band is rooted not only in their musical ability but also in their ability to work toward a common goal of willingness to change.

Initially, the group was fronted by a male singer, but the group really took off a year ago with the addition of Haywood leading the way on lead vocals.

The self-proclaimed “party rock” band began their in-studio performance with the song “After All This.” Though the band is relatively young with their current lineup, the song turns and twist over the inevitable “change.” Powerful lyrics were matched by a pounding, driving metal attack even in its acoustic format. It is not hard to understand why the band has attained success on the college-age set.

The CD version of “Don’t Give It Away” was up next for the listening audience, followed by an acoustic version of “Can’t Go Back,” a tune which laments a well-known fact that you can’t go back and get a do-over in life.

Lyrics by Joey “G” were well-written – “All too familiar / All too often / It happened once again / And it still feels the same.”

The infectious fun which the band has with each other, combined with their passion for music, was evident early on in the studio visit.

Next up was “Rain Still Falls,” one of the softer-edged ballads by the band. They followed with a song which has gone through many transformations – “How Do I Live?” Beginning in a somewhat country-music format, it has evolved through grunge and pop phases. The song takes on an egotistical attitude edge.

Harmonica player Rocky Zhard of the legendary band The Animals joined the band for an in-the-studio recording of the song “Smashed Again.” His playing gives validity to the talents of the group.

When in the area, if your taste in music rests in a driving-force band, American Smash is a must-see group. For live appearances and CD information, visit the band’s Web site at
- Rushville Republican


Smashed EP, 2003
Perris Records, "The Glam That Stole Christmas" Compilation song: "Nuttin For Christmas"
Smashed Productions, "Totally Smashed 80s" Compilation song:"I Hate Myself For Lovin You"


Feeling a bit camera shy


American Smash is what today's Rock N Roll is missing. American Smash plays straight forward, fun, catchy rock n roll with influences ranging from Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Blondie to Kiss and Cheap Trick to The Donnas and Avril Lavigne. The band's main ambition is to play original tunes for whoever will listen, but they do enjoy rocking the cover tunes just as much. American Smash has a rocking repertoire of cover tunes from the 60s through today. They released their debut EP, “Smashed”, in late 2003 and also have songs available on the Perris Records Christmas CD, “The Glam That Stole Christmas” and Smashed Productions “Totally Smashed 80s” tribute CD. Also, Perris Records is currently distributing the “Smashed” EP via their website.

Formed in 2001, American Smash is a hard-working, 4-piece rock band with over 40 years of combined live experience. The backbone of American Smash is the outstanding drumming of James "The Rooster" Markley. His charismatic and bombastic playing keeps people on their feet all nite. On bass guitar is Drew Erickson who pumps out the bottom end as well as plenty of one-liners. On guitar is Joey G. who smashes out rocking rhythms and melodic leads. And on lead vocals is Precious Leigh Haywood. Precious belts out melodies and hooks and rocks the crowd with her outrageous style.

American Smash has played corporate parties, charity events, and in a variety of venues around the Indianapolis area. They have rocked out at The Mindshaft and The Patio in Broad Ripple, Birdy’s and Loughmiller’s in Indianapolis and Fat Daddy’s and Kendall’s in Shelbyville. They’ve also rocked at venues in Plainfield, Greenwood, Centerbrook, Brownsburg, St Paul, and Fishers. They have also opened for Indianapolis local favorites, Jim Ryser, Zanna-Doo, and Dane Clark.

American Smash is an awesome "good time" rock and roll band looking to rock crowds wherever they go. If you're looking for a fun, catchy rock band that keeps people on their feet all nite then look no further.
Come join the party and get SMASHED!!