The band Iris Drive was supposed to have its homecoming show at the Rustic Cork Wine Bar in Lake Stevens on Saturday — but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that.
Now that bars and restaurants are shut down through March 31 to slow the spread of COVID-19, the rock-meets-country band will perform a live-streamed benefit show on the Iris Drive Facebook page. Iris Drive is rescheduling all of their shows through April.
Iris Drive, which formed in 2019, is made up of frontman Ryan Neal, guitarist Matt Miniken, and drummer and pianist Andy Orozco.
“This whole social distancing thing is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do,” Neal said. “Everybody is going to be cooped up in their home, so we were like ‘Why don’t we just go digital?’ This way, we’re not limited to one particular bar or restaurant.”
For Saturday’s show, the band will provide a link to donate to FareStart, a charity that provides for those dealing with poverty, homelessness and hunger — and whose services are needed even more during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We figure it’s usually $10 at the door and $20 for drinks for the night, so instead grab a cocktail at home and donate that same $30 to a worthy cause,” Orozco said.
The band’s sound is a mix of rock ‘n’ roll and outlaw country. Sort of Nashville meets Seattle.
All three band members grew up together in Lake Stevens — they’ve been friends since they were 4 and 5 years old. Neal graduated from Snohomish High School, while Miniken and Orozco graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1993.
“We all started playing music together right out of college, which was such a great way to stay connected,” Orozco said.
The friends have played for several bands over the years, including four that they formed themselves. The trio still plays in a band called Descent with some friends from the Everett area.
When they didn’t have a practice studio back in 1995, Orozco’s parents let them set up and rehearse in their Lake Stevens living room. Orozco’s mom, the late Sue Orozco, would pour herself some tequila and take a front seat.
“We did covers and then we started to find our own voice,” Neal said. “Since we’ve known each other for so long, it clicked pretty well. We started writing together and working together to create our own music.”
Iris Drive released its first album in August. “Bridges: The Nashville Sessions” was recorded at Nashville’s House of Blues Studio. House of Blues Studio is where country stars like Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam and George Jones recorded.
Get this: The band was nameless when recording their album. The name was inspired by the street on which the Nashville studio stands.
Some of the tracks on the 11-song album, including “Hard Sell,” “Born Sick” and “If I,” have gotten radio play on KNDD-FM and KISW-FM.
One song stuck with Miniken’s wife for months after hearing the demo. She didn’t know it was a demo at the time. She had been trying to find it on Spotify and Pandora, but had had no luck, so she sang it to Miniken to get his help. It was the title track, “Bridges.”
“It was super catchy,” Candi Miniken said. “It got stuck in my head for days.”
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; email@example.com; @sarabruestle.
If you stream
Iris Drive will perform a benefit show at 7 p.m. Saturday in a live stream on the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/irisdriveband. Suggested donation is $30 to the charity FareStart. A link to donate will be provided during the performance. The band also plans to post a recording of Saturday’s show on YouTube.