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The boys in this band aren't exactly boys, but they rock out

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The members of a band named for a street in Clintonville won't be trashing hotel rooms anytime soon and they aren't exactly fending off the groupies.

The guys in Brighton Blues Band don't see fame and fortune and rehab in their future. They've all got families and day jobs and only so much time to devote to their music, but they all say they are devoted to music.

The band members hope their audiences are enjoying themselves when they play, according to organizer Heath McMullen.

The guys sure are.

"That's the only reason to do it," said the Brighton Road resident, who is vocalist and guitar player for the band and works for a local engineering firm.

"We do have a policy that family is first, but we do have a commitment," said member Len Damico, 47, of New Albany, vice president of technology at a financial services firm.

"It's a commitment to nurture the passion that each of us shares with playing live and having a good time with music," he added.

"Everybody just wants to be better and also enjoy the music, so it's really kind of a learning experience for all us with our respective instruments," said bass player Bill Whitmeyer.

The 48-year-old Columbus resident said he "sells air-conditioning by day, rock and roll by night."

"We made that the idea from the get-go, that family was always first," drummer John Riggs of Pickerington said. "We just hope to play around a couple of times a month and just have some fun for it, mainly."

Riggs, 46, works in accounting for a local school district.

McMullen, 38, who began playing guitar 16 or 17 years ago, organized what came to be the Brighton Blues Band around two and a half years ago.

"Really Heath McMullen was the one who formed the current lineup," Damico said. "He was just kind of pulling musicians in to form his project."

"It takes a while to get the right mixture of talent and friendship," said Riggs, who responded to an ad for a drummer on Craigslist.

"It's the first time I've gotten into singing, and it was pretty much because nobody else wanted to do it," McMullen admitted.

"It's been very fun," Whitmeyer said.

The playlist Brighton Blues Band performs includes, according to their MySpace page, covers of songs by Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Black Crowes, Bill Withers, War, Traffic, Eric Clapton, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, ZZ Top, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Cream, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and others.

In spite of the name, McMullen said, they aren't strictly a blues band, but they mostly stick with blues-influenced music "which is a pretty wide scope; you see blues influence in a lot of music."

"We're not big on duplicating exactly what other people have done because you can buy a CD for that," the vocalist added.

"I don't think we could replicate a song as it's recorded if we tried," Whitmeyer confessed. "We're just not that kind of band. We all have our own take on things and our own approach."

"We're a cover band," Riggs said. "We do anywhere from classic rock, blues, soul and funk, but a lot of times we put our own mark on it. We've taken songs and changed them up a bit.

"The big thing for us is about playing a variety and keeping it hopefully something you can tap your foot to."

"It doesn't bring in much money but that's what the day jobs are for," McMullen said. "The music is just about doing the music."

And when it all comes together just right at some tavern or other locale for the boys in the band, well, that's something special for the people out in the crowd and for the ones up on the stage or playing away in a corner.

"It's important for us to know that people are having a good time, they're enjoying the music when they come out to see us," Riggs said. "We try to put on as good a show as possible. When you get that audience feedback, that really makes a big difference."

"It's the same feeling as when you smile and someone smiles back," Whitmeyer said. "It's the infectious reaction of doing something and people do it back. If you're smiling and rocking and they start smiling and rocking and the people next to them start smiling and rocking ... and eventually someone gets up and starts dancing.

"It's just like planting something in your garden and watching it grow."

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