Exit 2 has "Friends in Low Places"

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Like any other town, Denver has its share of cover bands, and those bands often tend to get overlooked, because, well, they're playing somebody else's music. Thus, our latest feature, Cover Band of the Week (or, perhaps more accurately, every few weeks, because let's be honest: There's a finite number of bands). This week: Exit 2.

See also: Colorado Cover Band of the Week archives

Country cover bands are all about putting on your shit-kickers, dancing, whiskey drinking and getting rowdy. The band Exit 2 (Terry Runyan, Larry Barker, Charlie Provenza, Chad Parsons, Christine Collins and Morgan Taylor) was born three years ago, and their primary goal is to get your drunk butt on the dance floor. With a mix of classics and new country, this band covers all the bases. We recently spoke with Runyan about his favorite country songs and why only Colorado is the best place to play country music.

Westword: Let's chat about...I'm sorry, I'm on your website, and I'm looking at Larry's picture, and he's hardcore. What is he doing? He looks like he's going to beat the shit out of you at a truck stop.

Terry Runyan: [laughing] Well, he used to be a truck driver so...

Shut-up!

I swear to God.

Well, tell Larry he's keeping it real with the truck stop look.

[laughing]

I hope he's not gonna beat me up.

Oh no. He's a big teddy bear. He's the nicest guy ever.

Awesome. So tell me about how you guys started, how you came together? Are you all Colorado boys?

Yeah, for the most part. Actually, I was in a band previous to this one, and after a couple of years, you know, band stuff turned into drama, and we broke up. I know that there are a lot of bands that go through that as well.

Yeah, every band I've ever talked to always has a story, and either they share it in full dirty details, or they leave it at, "It wasn't good." So you guys broke up?

[laughing] Yeah. So after we broke up, I took about six or seven months away from music, just because I needed to get away from it for a little bit after the drama.

After the break-up, you "cut your hair."

[laughing] Yes. So about seven months later, I decided that I've got the itch again, and that's when I went out and started Exit 2. I brought in Charlie and Chad, originally. We did have a drummer previous to Larry; Larry's actually a fairly new addition -- he's just come in in the last couple of months. But now I think we're pretty set as far as the band goes. I mean, Larry is a perfect fit, and Charlie and Chad have been there from the beginning, so it's three years later, and here we are.

Why Exit 2?

There are actually two reasons; I will give you the interview reason first...

You give me the real reason!

Actually there is an exit off of the Ohio turnpike back near where I grew up; I actually grew up in Michigan -- out in the middle of nowhere, home on the range country, and the closest highway was the Ohio turnpike, and to get to Michigan, where I lived, you get off on exit 2. That's where it originally came from.

Okay...

The other side-note from it was, when I broke up with the other band, when I started Exit 2, I brought over the drummer from my previous band.

Oh...that's a way better story.

So...exit 2 from the previous band?

I like that you explain it to me in "slow style" as if I might get confused.

[laughing]

"Get it? Exit 2? Get it???" So funny.

[laughing]

So you started this cool band, and it's completely covers, right?

No, we actually do... I mean it's mostly covers at this point, but we do have some of our original music scattered in there. As time goes on and we're not playing so much, and we have some time, the plan is to do...because I've got plenty of other originals out there that we just need to work on, that we're going to gradually add more originals to the setlist. The goal is to eventually have more originals than covers, but at this point it's primarily covers.

Okay. Cool. So with cover bands, I'm finding that it's a pretty crazy, competitive market here in Denver; so how did you guys choose your genre? Is it more country or would you say it's kind a rockabilly?

I call it country rock or new country because people that listen to new country know that most of it is country with a rock feel -- classic rock fused with country. And I've always liked country music, and I do like new country. I kind of like to get rowdy, have fun, have a good time, and that's usually the music I listen to when I do that. So what better way to get everyone else to get rowdy and have a good time then to be playing new rockin' country?

Exactly. Get 'em going! Get 'em dancing! There, as you know, are tons of country bars in Denver. So where do you normally play, and how many shows do you guys perform a year?

First off, we play Toby Keith's Bar and Grill, Buckin' Harley's, Carry-On Saloon down in Colorado Springs, ummm...

Do you like Toby Keith's? It's filled with moms. I've been in there before, and it's huge. Do you like that space?

[laughing] Right. When we played there, it was a little better, but, yeah, I do like the venue. I mean, we have fun no matter where we play and we try to make sure that everyone else is having fun too, so the nice thing was, when we were there, there was a younger crowd, and we brought of our own crowd as well. We had a good time with it.

Is there one place in Colorado that when you play it you think to yourself, "This is the venue."

Oh, you're gonna get me into trouble.

That's my job. Don't be scared. You're not saying one place is better then another; you're just saying, "This place is awesome," and sometimes it's about the crowd, not even the venue, right?

Yeah, you know, we play a lot of larger bars, but I like the smaller bars because we kind of get to let our hair down more. I don't know if there's one over the other that I would pick, but if I had to pick I would probably say Carry-On Saloon down in the Springs just because we've played that one since the beginning. We started playing there when I was in my original band, and we've played there ever since. So it' always a good time going down there. It's a good country crowd and they like to have a good time.

Who is your favorite artist of all time, and then what is your favorite song to perform?

That's a tough one; there are so many great artists that I enjoy. Obviously George Strait comes to mind -- he's one of the great country singers of all time. Not really for the new stuff that we're doing, but we do some old stuff, as well. We have a few George Strait songs, as well, so that's always nice. As far as new stuff, I really like Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean...those guys are all about getting drunk and having a good time, getting rowdy.

What's your favorite song, and then what's the one song that makes people go absolutely crazy -- panties on the stage crazy.

One of my favorite songs to do is "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)."

I don't know that one. Who's it by?

Oh man...

I'm gonna have to Google it.

I'm gonna have to Google it! I know the name! It's on the tip of my tongue and I can't remember it.

Googling it...Luke Bryan. Oh! He's that guy. He's the Target guy. He's the one that does that song that all the girls swarm over. How does it go? "Come on over..." he's singing about how she can break up his party anytime or something unrealistic like that?

Yeah! Yeah! It's "You Can Crash My Party Anytime."

Yes! That is such a chick song. Hey, it's not real, ladies. That's not real!

Yeah, I guarantee if his girlfriend called him up and said "heeeyyyy," he would say, "Hey! I'm busy!"

And hang up. He's not gonna let your ass in; he's not leaving that door unlocked. He's probably cheating.

[laughing]

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