Buddies Dan Elliott and Maj O’Grady were working in a sporting goods store a while back, selling running shoes and pining for the open road.
Yesterday that road led them to steamy Morristown, the first stop on their Bandcycle cross-country bike tour.
They plan to interview musicians across America for a series of web videos.
After pedaling 50 scorching miles from New York City, the duo helped videographer pal Michael Kortlander–tagging along in an air-conditioned van with designated driver Mike Mallette–record a mini-concert by Morristown singer-songwriter Steevan Mars at Gallery Egan.
They’re not sure what talent they will discover on the rest of their quest. But everyone seemed pleased with Steevan’s energetic renditions of two new songs, Into Your Arms and I Don’t Want to Feel This Way. They are available on iTunes and on Steevan’s website.
A standout performer at last year’s MorristownGreen.com Music Fest and Morristown’s Got Talent! (twice), Steevan (a.k.a. Stephen Mauriello) will play a longer set at the official reopening of the Stanhope House on Sept. 11.
Alexis Egan graciously opened her gallery for the video shoot. An exhibition by Morristown painter Timothy David Lang, Specifics, has its opening reception tonight at 7.
Photos by Jake Byk and Kevin Coughlin
‘PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS’
The Bandcycle foursome got sprung thanks to sponsors whose identities they guard more zealously than their camera gear.
Yesterday’s adventure followed a sleepless night in a broiling, cramped Brooklyn apartment that Dan and Maj are subletting out while they traverse the nation.
Agreeing on a game plan took them about six months.
“It all originated with me and Maj wanting to bike across the country,” said Dan, 23, an Ohio native trained in audio production. His specialty has become hidden camera shows like “Hidden Agenda” for the Game Show Network. He quit a job at CBS to do the bike journey, which will follow a southerly route to San Diego, Calif., over the next eight weeks.
The idea of marrying music and cycling got a big boost from Mike Mallette, 22, who studied the business side of the music industry in Nashville at Belmont University, where he met Dan.
Michael Kortlander, 23, needed a little more convincing. The Ohio University graduate has enjoyed some success on the film fest circuit with short comedies. He also has directed 30 public library commercials, for a series called “Geek the Library” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And his ads for Ohio University should air this fall on ESPN, he said.
Maj, 25, reeled in a friend of a friend to underwrite the rolling venture.
“I pulled out all the stops,” he said.
Another Ohio University grad, Wesley Cronk, will edit the webisodes from his Colorado home. Michael Kortlander will upload gigabytes of video data to Wesley from the road each day.
Although Morristown has a growing music scene, the town was chosen as Bandcycle’s first destination primarily for reasons of geography. It’s a day’s ride from the city, explained Maj, a native of Greenwich, Ct., who studied business at the University of Connecticut and the University of Mary Washington.
Despite sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue from the withering heat, Team Bandcycle got through its maiden video shoot — a short set by Steevan Mars and an interview — with just enough reserve energy to make it to the condo of their overnight host, Morristown lawyer and triathlete Karl Fenske.
We’re guessing Karl’s visitors slept pretty well.
MORRISTOWN IS A MAGNET FOR CYCLISTS…