Stellar Road
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Stellar Road

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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"Better Than Yesterday Review"

“Around Hear”
Illinois Entertainer
Chicago, IL
March 2005
By Carter Moss

While one of today's biggest musical challenges seems to be making your emo-pop-rock band stand out above all the other emo-pop-rock bands, Stellar Road make a very, um, stellar effort to do so. Their debut, Better Than Yesterday, has a surprisingly polished and professionally produced sound rarely attained on the typical local band's budget. Lead vocalist Jack Daly's sincere melodies connect emotionally on a near John Mayer-like level. Hopefully this road will continue on for a long time.
- Illinois Entertainer

"Gig Review"

“Gig Review”
May 16, 2005
By Steve Blaze

Catch em while you can. Stellar Road is on a road most musicians dream of. I can not tell you how impressed I was with these guys.

Thanks goes out to Tom Lounges of Midwest Beat Magazine and Backstreet Bar & Grill for putting up a, excuse the pun, stellar lineup. Ok, so maybe I'm behind a little bit with some of bands, I'll admit that.

These guys are what I would call gifted in sound, timing and tone. Two acoustics bring something into a band beyond words. I was impressed to hear the Scarlet Begonias into Fire in the Mountain jam. ahhhh Those were the days. ANYWAY. You want Dave Mathews? You got it. They probably get this a lot but you can see the Dave influence.

But wait, there's more! They have their own music that is as equally good as their cover material IF NOT BETTER!!! Folks, sometimes in life you come across something that you can't talk enough about. This is it. It wasn't just at a gig last night it was a PERFORMANCE. Harmonies, acoustic/electric solos, and everything in between.

BUY their CD, GO out and see these guys. You WILL be thoroughly impressed. I would like to come out to get a video set sometime if they'd let me. Really enjoyed it guys. Thanks.
- North West Indiana Live

"Stellar Road Makes A Stellar Impression"

“Stellar Road makes a stellar impression”
The Times Newspaper
Chicago, IL
February 26, 2005
By Tom Lounges

Stellar Road is a region band on the rise. They were recently wooed to Los Angeles to meet with music business powers-that-be impressed with the songs presented on their 11-song debut disc, "Better Than Yesterday," which made this writer's Top 5 list of 2004 region releases.

Winners of the Chicago edition of "Rolling Rock's Battle of the Bands," Stellar Road have jammed prestigious Chicago venues, including Double Door, Metro and Bottom Lounge, with fans eager to hear acousti-rock originals that have drawn comparisons to everyone from Dave Matthews Band to Counting Crows.

"We think we have a good band and good songs, so it's great to see people responding," said South Holland's Jeff Gargas, the group's drummer and acting business manager.

"We're getting some radio play around the country, mostly on college level stations. We sell a fair amount on the Internet (, but in truth, most CDs are sold at live gigs," noted acoustic guitarist-lead singer Jack Daly, of Orland Park. "People hear the songs at the show and wind up taking a CD home with them."

Jack writes the songs, sometimes collaborating with younger brother and Stellar Road guitarist, Mike Daly.

"Better Than Yesterday" is the follow-up to an all-acoustic demo recorded by the Daly brothers two years ago in Bloomington at MSP Studios with transplanted Canadian producer Ken Chiu (Barenaked Ladies, Peter Gabriel, etc.).

Impressed with his work on that early demo, the Daly's brought their fleshed-out incarnation of Stellar Road -- now including electric guitarist Justin Griffin, drummer Gargas and new bassist Ben Kelly -- back to Chiu and his Bloomington studio.

Stellar Road deliver an energetic live show that is much more high octane than one might expect from just having heard their jangley alt-rock CD.

"We don't just stand there, stare at our shoes and play the album," Gargas said.

"We pump things up and change things around. We get a little crazy and have fun with the songs and the audience. We do our best to entertain. Don't let the fact that we have acoustic guitars in the band make you think that we don't rock!

"We usually do about six or seven songs from the album and then play some new ones we've written," Daly added.

"We like to play the new stuff live for a while before recording it, because that way the song matures and we also get to see how people respond to it."

While their growing legion of fans expects and demands a lot of original songs to be played, Stellar Road still slips in a handful of great cover songs at most shows. One which has become a staple of the band's live set is Grateful Dead's "Fire On The Mountain."

A lot of songs have been written for the next Stellar Road album, but there is no set timetable for it. Both Daly and Gargas feel Stellar Road's sound has grown considerably since they recorded "Better Than Yesterday."

"Some songs on the CD are a few years old and were written just out of high school," Daly noted. "These new songs are coming from a whole different place."

"We plan to take our time with this (next) album," Gargas concluded. "We'll let the music sort of dictate things this time." - The Times Newspaper

"“Top Local CD’s of 2004”"

“Top Local CD’s of 2004”
The Times Newspaper
Chicago, IL
December 17, 2004
By Tom Lounges

My job entails a lot of listening all year long as an endless stream of local, regional and national CDs pour in, begging for attention. Over the course of my next two columns, I will share with you my "Personal Top 10" of regional music.

These are Chicagoland artist CDs which I deem the cream of the crop. The criteria to make this list, was that each CD had to have been released since November 2003 and be full-length with eight or more songs...

...5. Stellar Road -- "Better Than Yesterday" (Lucky Penny)

Well written alt-rock loaded with melody and rife with acoustic guitar, tight rhythms and a lead singer (Jack Daly) whose voice falls somewhere between Dave Matthews and Darius Rucker of Hootie & The Blowfish.

Another South Side group, Stellar Road, came out of nowhere in 2003. In a year's time they have released this impressive 11-song set, while creating a name for themselves live with packed shows at venues like the Metro, Joe's Bar and Double Door. Though soft-edged, acoustic driven and melodic, these songs still rock.

While there is honestly not a bad tune here, highlights are: "Breath," "Rain," "Fade Away" and the title track. Pardon the pun, but the production here is ... stellar!...
- The Times Newspaper

"“Better Than Yesterday” Review"

“Better Than Yesterday” Review
Midwest Beat Magazine
Chicago, IL
July 2004
By Tom Lounges

The term "acoustic music" need not always mean fodder for coffeehouses. Point in case is Stellar Road, a 3-year-old South Chicago quartet that boasts three acoustic guitarists and a drummer/percussionist. Granted, some keyboards and some electric guitar punch up the "rock factor" on some numbers, but the organic acoustic feel is never lost in the mix here.

To that end, there is a sense of irony in how the CD opens with a static-laden spin through a radio dial until the sonic clutter finally stops once the tuner finds the title track and the music begins to filter through.

The 11 self-penned songs presented on "Better Than Yesterday" are powerful slices of vocal harmonics, intricate arrangements and instrumental prowess, which certainly warrant radio play over most of the cookie-cutter garbage being pumped out in the guise of good music.

Stellar Road's college-rock sound is akin to that of The Dave Matthews Band with some Train and REM influences tossed into the mix. Emotive vocals ride well over the rhythmic music bed, resulting in a remarkable collection of music that can best be described by the band's very name -- stellar! This is really, really good stuff!
- Midwest Beat Magazine

"Cover Story: “Stellar Road: On Road to Success”"

“Stellar Road: On Road to Success”
Midwest Beat Magazine: COVER STORY
Chicago, IL
November 2004
By Tom Lounges
Photos by Lyle A. Waisman

Lots of prestigious gigs; a college tour; winning the Chicago edition of the “Rolling Rock Battle Of The Bands”; and releasing a brilliant debut album have combined to bring deserved attention to the South Side acoustic-driven rock band, Stellar Road.

“We’re getting some radio play around the country with this new album, mostly on college level stations,” said drummer Jeff Gargas of the group’s sophomore release, Better Than Yesterday, which has already sold more than 1,300 copies in just six months.

The songs getting the attention from the various disc jockeys and program directors are –– “Fade Away,” “Breath” and “Rain.” All three cuts have been aired locally on the Night Rock program, which airs Sunday nights (6-9pm) on X-ROCK/103.9

“We sell a fair amount on the internet (, but most of our CDs are sold at our live gigs,” said Jack Daly of Orland Park. “People hear the songs and wind up taking a CD home with them.”

Two minute snippets of each song on Better Than Yesterday can be heard on the band’s website, along with a short, five minute “behind the scenes in the studio” video clip.

The band generally plays bigger rooms like Bottom Lounge, The Metro, and The Double Door, but have no ego issues when it comes time to step down and play smaller clubs and bars.

“We have done fairly well in Chicago, but we are not very well known out here in the Indiana area,” said South Holland’s Gargas, on why the band is happy to book shows at area venues like Shannon’s Landing on the Indiana/Illinois border and Romano’s Pizza in Schererville (appearing there on Dec. 4).

With winter kicking in, Gargas, who doubles as the band’s resident business manager, is hopeful of setting up a series of Midwest college shows for the group. He wants to capitalize upon the growing radio spins and the media buzz building around Stellar Road.

“We think we have a good band and good songs, so it’s great to see other people responding to what we do,” he said, happy to learn that their music impressed this writer/publisher enough to bump up this feature to a full color cover piece.

“We already have ISU and Purdue Lafayette nailed down and I have a guy work on a date for us down at Notre Dame that should be finalized any day now,” added Gargas.

The “road” to what might soon be stardom, began when Jack and his little brother Mike Daly, found that the musical DNA in their genes had finally kicked into gear.

Their mother had been a singer while studying abroad in Europe, guesting with various choirs and going so far as to make a command performance at Vatican City, singing for the Pope

During his last year of high school, Jack picked up the guitar for the first time and began to noodle around with it earnestly. He was soon after joined by his younger brother Mike.

“We were sort of late bloomers I guess,” said the now 23-year-old Daly. “But once we started, we never put those guitars down. We’d play seven or eight hours a day until our fingers bled sometimes.”

“They are still like that,” chimed in Gargas. “These guys forget to eat sometimes when they have their guitars in hand and if they are writing.”

It was not until 2000, that the brothers first stepped up to the microphone. “We started writing a couple of songs and they sounded pretty good to us, so we started showing up at coffeehouses with our acoustics and that turned into some regular gigging as a duo,” recalled Jack.

“It turned into a trio shortly after that, when some buddies from school turned me onto Justin Griffin [of Oak Forest, Illinois], who is our lead guitar player now,” he continued.

College frat parties soon followed after the lads relocated to pursue higher educations at ISU in Bloomington, Illinois. Response was strong to their music and bookings became plentiful around the campus, so in 2001 the three amigos decided to immortalize their handful of songs by recording a seven-song CD.

That early demo – now dubbed as The Acoustic Sessions – was recorded in Bloomington at MSP Studios with producer Ken Chiu, a transplanted Canadian who had previously engineered sessions for the Barenaked Ladies, Peter Gabriel and worked on the “Dirty Dancing” film soundtrack.

After fattening their sound by adding a rhythm section to their established three guitar and vocals, Stellar Road began to find their place musically.

Though in took two attempts in each position to find the right players to make the chemistry right, all on board feel that this quintet is the perfect union of creative souls. “We all work great together,” said Gargas, who joined just over a year ago.

Feeling good about the fuller and more driven sound, the decision was made to re-record the handful of songs featured on sparsely recorded Acoustic Sessions demo CD, and flesh them out with a cache of newly written songs. [Author’s Note: The Acoustic Sessions CD will be available only until the Christmas holidays, after which the band plans to discontinue sales].

“We re-wrote some of the older songs that we thought we could make better and then we went back to Bloomington to record this album with Ken [Chiu], because we really liked working with him the first time around,” said Daly. “He’s not only a great studio engineer, he really knows our sound and he a lot of really great ideas past us.”

The result was Better Than Yesterday, a self-released 11-song set [via the band’s own Lucky Penny imprint] that has drawn some comparisons to everyone from the Dave Matthews Band to Counting Crows.

The CD is well-packaged with a book of lyrics and very tasty and surrealistic cover graphics, courtesy of world famous artist Greg Rubottom ( It is currently being shopped to various major labels via New York’s Foley Entertainment, headed up by Gene Foley, a former A&R executive with Sony Music.

As soon as the album was wrapped up, the band learned that their original bassist, Jason Peterson, desired to leave the band and move on in a different direction.

“He was happy being in a band that played out once or twice a month,” explained Gargas. “He wanted to finish school and pursue his chosen career. It was just a commitment issue really, he did not want to be in a band that was going to be playing a lot, traveling a lot and pushing like we are.”

Gargas and Daly both respect Peterson for sticking it out with the band until they could find the kind of bass player they wanted and needed to move ahead and progress. “Jason was totally cool and stuck it out with us until we knew we had the right guy,” said Gargas.

The “right guy” proved to be Alsip resident, Ben Kelly, a guitarist who moved over to bass out of necessity and who now says he is happier than ever. “I hear guitar players whine how they don’t like playing bass, but I think it is all how you approach the instrument,” said Kelly. “How can you not respect someone like Geddy Lee of Rush? He’s an amazing bass player.”

Like Lee, Kelly plays his bass like a guitar, which gives him a unique sound and style.

Though busy pushing Better Than Yesterday, the Daly brothers have not relented in their writing.

“Having Ben and Jeff with us has made the writing all the more productive,” said Daly. “I used to bring a completely finished song to the band and we’d work it out from there. These days half way through a song, I bring it to practice and we’ll finish it up with all five guys adding input.”

With a wealth of new material at their disposal, the band are currently road-testing much of it at live gigs, trying to sort the wheat from the chafe.

“We play all the songs from the album and then stick in six or seven new ones,” said Daly. “We like to play a song live for a while, because that way it matures and we get to see how people respond to it. It’s better to know if people like the song before you record it and put it on a CD.”

Gargas announced that Stellar Road has plans to start pre-production on a third album after the first of the year.

“We just talked about the next album at practice last night,” said the drummer. “We’re on a limited budget of course, doing this on our own, so we’ll go in and record it over a period of time. Go in on weekends and record maybe two tracks at a time. We don’t want to put out two CDs in one year, so we plan to take our time with this one. Get an early start on it, make changes as needed and let the music sort of dictate things.”

The soonest fans can expect to see a third CD from the band would be Christmas of next year (2005), according to Gargas.

The band is hoping to spotlight a very special guest on the next release as well. “We’ve gotten to be very good friends over the last with Crystal Talifero (a Gary, Indiana native who is a multi-instrumentalist that has recorded and toured with the likes of John Mellencamp, Bob Segar and Billy Joel),” said Gargas.

“My dad works for NIPSCO and Crystal’s mom works for NIPSCO too. Ten or twelve years ago, she got [my dad] backstage passes to the Billy Joel concert at the United Center and he took me,” explained Gargas.

“Crystal took me around and introduced me to Liberty DeVito and the rest of the band and was really cool to me. I just called her one day out of the blue after I got into this band,” he continued. “She’s a very sweet and very cool person. She has taught us a lot of stuff about the music industry. We love her!”

Talifero –– who currently resides and produces music in Nashville, Tennessee –– publically showed her support of the band by joining Stellar Road on stage when they played at Chicago’s Hard Rock Cafe. “I know that she would love to guest on our next album and we certainly would love to have her, but in the end it will all wind up a matter of scheduling,” said Gargas, noting that Talifero is as busy as she is talented.

For now, the group just wants to keep expanding their geographic performance base and building their following. People coming to see Stellar Road for the first time will find at the end of their journey –– high energy and a lot of fun.

“We don’t just stand up there, stare at our shoes and play the album. I never liked going to see bands who just played the songs the way they sound on the album, because what is the point of going to see them live? It’s cheaper to just stay home with your stereo,” said Gargas.

“We pump things up. We change things around,” he continued. “We get a little crazy and we have fun with the songs. We do our best to entertain our audience. Don’t let the fact that we have acoustic guitars in the band make you think we don’t rock. We love to rock.”

“We sometimes tend to jam out a bit,” concluded Daly, though he eschews the term “jam band” in relation to Stellar Road. “We sometimes toss in the occasional cover song like say, Grateful Dead’s ‘Fire On The Mountain’. We like to do that song and just run with it. We just like to have a good time and we like to make sure that everyone else is having a good time too!”
- Midwest Beat Magazine

"Stelllar Road Works on Paving the Way to Success"

Heather Warthen
Orland Park Prairie Newspaper
Aug 3, 2006
Taking the stage in front of 300 people is an easy task for Stellar Road. Their show on July 21, however, was just a little bit different for the band, which features Jack and Michael Daly of Orland Park.
Stellar Road, after playing for a crowd of about 4,000 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago July 16 and beating out four other bands, was awarded the opportunity to open for rock band Bon Jovi, as part of their Have a Nice Day World Tour. The contest, Have a Nice Gig, was held in partnership with Saturn.
“We heard about the contest through our fans. We have such a large local fan base that’s really dedicated to getting us in contests and shows. They won’t be happy unless we win,” said Jack Daly who is the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist for the band.
The fans that evening showed their support at Aragon Ballroom, voicing their choice for Stellar Road to beat out Broken Vegas, Crawpuppies, Seth Bradley and Sherry Adams.
“There was so much great talent. We were surprised to get in the top 10 and the top 5. Our fans were very adamant at the Aragon. They were clearly the best fans there—they were the loudest,” said Daly of the fans, who are known as the Stellar Roadies or the Stellar Road Crew.
The contest was held in nine cities across the U.S., with each individual winner competing for an opportunity to open for Bon Jovi once more at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on July 29. The final band would be handpicked by Jon Bon Jovi himself.
And while the Daly enjoys playing at Joe’s on Weed Street, playing Soldier Field was another completely different experience.
“It was pretty overwhelming. We are used to a crowd of 200-300 people. The stadium holds 50,000 and had about 20,000 people there when we played. We had a great crowd response,” said Daly.
The band, who is Michael Daly (lead guitar and backup vocals), Justin Griffin (lead guitar and backup vocals), Jeff Gargas (drums) and Adrian Pacheco (bass), stayed at the Omni the night before and began loading into soldier field at 2 p.m. that Friday. Sound check began at 3:30 p.m.
“Soldier Field is pretty cool when no one is there. It’s just a big open stadium,” said Daly.
The band then relaxed, ate dinner and created their set list. Originally scheduled to go on just before 6 p.m., the band did not take the stage until 6:15 p.m.
Stellar Road did get a chance to meet both Canadian rockers Nickelback, as well as the headliners themselves—Bon Jovi.
“They [Bon Jovi] were running late and in kind of hurry, so we didn’t get to chat too much. They were really nice. It was an honor just to be there with them and open up a show for them,” said Daly.

About Stellar Road
Described by Daly as “acoustic roots rock,” the band began when Daly and his brother Michael, both Carl Sandburg graduates, began writing songs together.
“I knew Justin from when I was in high school—he went to a different school—but we would see each other on the weekends and I knew he was a great player. We started doing a three-man acoustic show and did a college tour,” explained Daly.
Later, in 2002, Jeff Gargas discovered the band through a demo he had received from Stellar Road’s former bass player. He then joined the band and most recently, the band added new bassist Adrian Pacheco.
Daly, a self-taught guitarist, has been playing for seven years.
“I was just listening to acoustic music and enjoyed two guitars together—the raw sound of acoustic. I started listening and couldn’t help but play,” he said.
Daly attributes his influences to mostly jam music like the Grateful Dead, but also listens to old Motown and artists like Al Green. His first CD was R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” and his first concert was Green Day at the UIC Pavilion in the ‘90’s.
He likens Stellar Road’s music to bands like Incubus, Dave Matthews Band and Umphrey’s McGee.
“I think just our guitar work makes us unique. You don’t see many bands with three guitarists. It’s a lot of hard work to have three in a band and we go through a very disciplined writing process to intertwine the guitar work,” explained Daly.
Stellar Road, who is currently not signed with a major label, released an EP in 2003, “The Acoustic Sessions” and an LP in 2004, “Better Than Yesterday,” through their own label, Lucky Penny.
The band also has a won a bevy of awards including “Band of the Year”, “Best Original Sound” and “Best Male Vocals” by the readers of Midwest Beat Magazine.
They are currently in the studio at MSP in Bloomington, Ill. working on their new disc, which fans can expect to see in early 2007.
“’Try to Be’ and ‘Bag of Pearls’ are two new ones I like playing. The new ones are always more fun to play,” said Daly.
For now, Stellar Road is looking to charge down their paved path of success.
“We are looking forward to hopefully being on a solid tour and expanding our fan base outside of Chicago,” said Daly. - Orland Park Prairie

"LIVE SHOW REVIEW- Local band proves stellar opening act for Bon Jovi"

Eloise Marie Valadez
Daily Southtown
Jul 23, 2006
Stellar Road won the Last Band Standing contest, sponsored by Bon Jovi and Saturn, as part of the "Have a Nice Day" tour. Through the contest, local bands in select cities were chosen to open for the famous rockers.

While audience members were still filing into the arena during Stellar Road's set, those who were already seated gave the band their undivided attention.

People standing in the pit next to the stage swayed and even cheered during the group's segment.

The band proved to capture the crowd's attention with its engaging guitar work, powerful drumming and catchy songs.

While the band has no major recording contract, it has released albums "The Acoustic Sessions" and "Better Than Yesterday" on its own label, Lucky Penny.

Lead vocalist/guitarist Jack Daly, of Orland Park, thanked everyone for the opportunity to play.

"This is amazing," he shouted to the crowd.

The band even drew some of their hometown fans to the venue just for their segment.

Stellar Road fans Melissa Labriola, of Orland Park; Tom Macke, of Oak Forest; and Rick Mariscal, of Oak Forest, bought last-minute tickets to the show, making a special trip to the city to see their favorite local band.

"I know them from high school. Around our area, everybody knows them," Labriola said.

"They're a good band, and we see them a lot. We didn't come to see Bon Jovi. We came for them," she added. - Daily Southtown

"Speaking with Stellar Road's Jack Daly"

Miriam Di Nunzio
Chicago Sun-Times
Jul 21, 2006
Talk about the chance of a lifetime. That's pretty much the feeling coursing through the veins of the Chicago-based Stellar Road, the band that will open for Bon Jovi tonight at Soldier Field.

As winners of the "Have a Nice Gig" contest, a three-weeklong battle of the bands sponsored by the Mix 101.9FM and Saturn, the roots-based foursome beat out four other finalists via online voting and text messaging at the Aragon on Sunday.

Stellar Road features Jack Daly (acoustic guitar/vocals), Michael Daly (guitar), Justin Griffin (guitar), Adrian Pacheko (bass) and Jeff Gargas (drums)

Jack Daly talked to the Sun-Times about the band's big break.

Q. Tell us about the contest process and how you got to the the winner's circle.

A. We auditioned with probably 800 other bands a few weeks back and the judges narrowed it down to 10 bands. Then they started the voting process online and got it down to five, which included us. Last Sunday, the five finalists played at the Aragon and people there got to text-message vote, as well as applaud for their favorite.

Q. You must have spent a fortune on text messaging backstage!

A. [Laughing] We have a pretty big mailing list, actually. We work hard at our shows to get people on the list.

Q. Where do you guys usually play?

A. When we're in town we play a lot at Joe's on Weed Street, and Navy Pier [they'll be there on Aug. 4]. We play a lot of universities. We play Iowa, Northern Illinois University, and [University of Illinois] in Champaign.

Q. What kind of music are you leaning toward these days?

A. We wanna do this roots rock thing and take it on tour before we sign any contracts. We really want to build up a solid fan base with acoustic-based rock.

Q. So are you guys fans of Bon Jovi?

A. [Laughing] Of course. We definitely did this contest for our benefit, of course, but we are totally into their music, too. It's just this great opportunity for us.
- Chicago Sun-Times

"Local Band Livin' on an Answered Prayer"

Vickie Snow
Daily Southtown Newspaper
Jul 20, 2006
[Read Online]
It's not every day an unsigned rock band from the south suburbs gets to open for an act that's sold more than 100 million albums.
But for Stellar Road, Friday will be one fine day.

The acoustic roots-rock quintet will perform for 50,000 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago after winning a contest to open for Bon Jovi.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet," said Stellar Road frontman Jack Daly, of Orland Park. "I think it'll hit us when we walk on stage for the sound check."

As part of Bon Jovi's Have a Nice Day World Tour, the '80s rockers partnered with Saturn to stage the Last Band Standing contest in select cities.

Bands submit a recording and photograph. After the top 10 bands are announced, online voting decides the top five local bands.

At a battle of the bands, the winner is selected by judges and fans.

On Sunday at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Stellar Road played five songs for about 4,000 people — its biggest crowd yet.

They beat the Crawpuppies, Seth Bradley, Sherry Adams and Broken Vegas.

"There were lots of hugs," Daly said. "We were pretty pumped."

Stellar Road will perform from 5:40 to 6:10 p.m. Friday before Nickelback and Bon Jovi take the stage in one of the summer's hottest tickets.

"I hope there are a ton of people there liking what we do," Daly said. "It's a great opportunity for us, and we're hoping it's going to grow our name locally and nationally.

"This is why we practice hours a day," he said, "and take all aspects of our craft seriously."

Stellar Road is Daly (lead vocals and acoustic guitar); his brother Michael Daly (lead guitar and backup vocals); Justin Griffin (lead guitar and backup vocals); Jeff Gargas (drums); and Adrian Pacheco (bass).

Jack and Michael Daly graduated in 1999 and 2002, respectively, from Sandburg High School.

Gargas, of South Holland, is a graduate of Thornwood High School, while Griffin, of Tinley Park, is a graduate of Marist High School.

Pacheco is the lone North Sider.

Stellar Road, whose members book their own shows and don't have roadies to carry gear, doesn't have a major label or recording contract.

The band has an EP (2003's "The Acoustic Sessions") and LP (2004's "Better Than Yesterday") on its own label, Lucky Penny.

A third studio album is due out soon.

Named Band of the Year in 2004 by Midwest Beat magazine, Stellar Road has played the Pearl Room in Mokena, Sam Maguire's in Orland Park and 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park.

Recent gigs include Chicago's House of Blues, Navy Pier and Cubby Bear in addition to sold-out shows around the Midwest.

The Bon Jovi gig will be the pinnacle of their career. And Daly says they have their fans to thank.

The bandmates didn't know about Bon Jovi's contest until their fans — who number 15,000 for the mailing list — told them about it in June, encouraged them to join and then voted away.

"Our fans are second to none," Daly said, "and really put us over the top." - Daily Southtown Newspaper


"Acoustic Sessions" 2003
"Better Than Yesterday" 2004
"stellar ROAD" 2009

Tracks getting regular spins on several stations
"Better Than Yesterday"
"Fade Away"
"Try To Be"
"Simple Spirit"
"Lost & Found"