With A Taste of Minnesota coming to Waconia July 3-6, two local musicians will have the chance to rock in front of their home crowd. Jesse Martel and Alan Austin, both of Waconia, are the lead guitarists of Electric Eye, a Judas Priest tribute band that will be performing on the Taste Stage at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 4.
“It’s going to be interesting. We get to play in our own backyard,” Martel said. “A lot of folks have no idea that Al and I are in this band. They’ll probably get a kick out of (seeing us perform).”
The group got its start in 2004 and also features Jeff Bangs of Apple Valley on bass, Fred Campos of Eagan on drums, and singer Chris Vnak of Hudson, Wisconsin. Electric Eye has performed at various festivals and clubs throughout the Midwest and played with bands such as Tesla, Dokken, Ratt, LA Guns, Steelheart, Cinderella, Lita Ford, Slaughter, Loverboy, Survivor, and more.
According to the band’s website, its goal is to honor the masters of heavy metal by producing a show that accurately brings the larger-than-life Judas Priest arena experience to the local stages of the Twin Cities and beyond.
“We do a complete stage show with outfits, props (and the whole nine yards),” said Martel, who was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up on 80s heavy metal music. “Judas Priest was one of my biggest influences, musically. I’ve been to plenty of Judas Priest concerts but I haven’t met them yet.”
Martel described the group as a fun hobby for “a few old rocker guys.”
“We rehearse about once a week and do one or two shows a month. We’re all in our 40s and 50s and have careers and families. It’s just a hobby and it’s not about the money … we do it for the love of the music.”
The group is looking forward to performing at A Taste of Minnesota in Waconia this week. With festival admission being free before 3 p.m., Martel noted there is no cost to watch Electric Eye perform since they take the stage at 2 p.m. and he encouraged people to come out to see them and enjoy the festival.
“It’s pretty historic that this is the first time Taste of Minnesota is being held somewhere other than St. Paul,” he noted. “I hope people come out and support the Taste in Waconia.”
To learn more about Electric Eye, visit the group at www.electriceyerocks.com or on Facebook.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]