By SYLVIA BENAVIDEZ
July 8, 2021
The Cheetahs are an eclectic rock group with members guitarist and singer Drew Hill and drummer Blake Hill initially from Albion, and their cousin, the bass player, Kirk Scarbrough, summered in Duck Lake. The Detroit band was originally formed in 2002 as Last Man Standing, where they spent years learning how to play their instruments, record, and work the music scene. They practiced their craft playing birthday parties, coffee shops, VFWs, etc., and eventually broke up six years later. In 2010 the group reconvened and enjoyed playing punk, rockabilly, and ‘60s garage in and around the Detroit area and have toured the Midwest. In the last few years, they have broadened their sound to include power pop, glam rock, and hard rock. Some bands they have performed with on the road include Subsonics, The Hammerheads, and the Cult Heroes.
These days they play much of their original music. And they did so while in Albion celebrating the fourth of July in Victory Park on Saturday. The Hills are grandchildren of Dr. Jack Hill, who with his wife, Dr. Patricia Hill, were eye doctors in Albion and served the community for many years. Their uncle, Rick Hill, who lives in Florida, came north to arrange for them to have a Victory Park Band Shell concert.
The three men have been playing together since they were 11 years old. Their parents live in Albion and their father, Mike, shared some of their story before the concert. With years the sound has morphed and grown. “It was like they were born ahead of their time, they liked ’60s rock, they discovered.” These days he said, “They have several albums out, and CDs and they have been waiting for COVID to get over to get back to live concerts.”
A twist on an old saying, the musical apple didn’t fall from the talented family tree. “I taught them everything I knew, which didn’t last very long,” their father said. At Harrington Elementary school, he played guitar in his band. “We were called ‘The Flies.’ I still keep in touch with those guys. Albion’s answer to the Beatles we said.”
“My younger brother, Rik, has been in music all of his life and is from Tampa. He wanted to get this gig together. He still has some old buddies in Albion, and his band is a get-together band for this concert. He put this together for them,” Hill explained.
Their uncle played after them under the name of Tropos; a band assembled just for this event.
As a father, Hill wanted the best for all the boys. “Music is a tough business. I always advised them to get an education and get a real job, and then you can enjoy this on the side. Blake is an architect, Drew works audio for WKAR in East Lansing and just won an Emmy, his second one as an audio engineer.” Hill said they love Victory Park Band Shell venue. “They usually don’t play outside, and they have never played at the shell before. When they heard they were playing here, that’s what attracted them,” he said. Drew writes all the songs and sings for the group and, in the beginning, said this was the first concert they played since being on hiatus because of the pandemic.
As a father, Hill wanted the best for all the boys. “Music is a tough business. I always advised them to get an education and get a real job, and then you can enjoy this on the side. Blake is an architect, Drew works audio for WKAR in East Lansing and just won an Emmy, his second one as an audio engineer.” Hill said they love Victory Park Band Shell venue.
A few technical difficulties delayed the concert by over 20 minutes, but once the music started flowing, any impatience in the audience winnowed away. “My nephew and his two children came down from Lansing to visit with me for a while and to enjoy the concert in the park and maybe some fireworks. So far, it (music) sounds pretty good,” Albion resident Dredra Coleman said. Her nephew, Anthony Coleman from Lansing, like so many others in attendance, was grateful to get out of the house and said, “I do enjoy the music.”
“I do enjoy the music.”
The Cheetahs recorded “Blow Your Cover” remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as a tribute to a few of their favorite groups. All proceeds are donated to Save Our Stages.ww.saveourstages.com
Photos by Sylvia Benavidez except as noted. Photos and story copyright, The Recorder.
This story is reprinted with permission from The Recorder.
© 2021 The Recorder Newspaper. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of The Recorder.
Dreamers hit the Bohm stage vying to become breakout Albion business owners through dream.build.rise
By Ann Dwyer Contributing Writer July 29, 2021 A group of business owners and entrepreneurs are now more prepared than ever to become a lasting
By SYLVIA BENAVIDEZ Contributing Writer July 22, 2021 Monday, July 26 at 5:30 p.m. the future or current business owners will participate in Pitch
Program starts up in Albion this summer By SYLVIA BENAVIDEZ Contributing Writer May 27, 2021 Be ready to create, explore entrepreneurship, and work hard; all