|Members of the Murfreesboro-based band The Incredible Heat Machine like to say they “literally bring the heat” to the stage.
They admit like the heater, in which the band took its name, they have caught some things on fire from time to time.
“We have set fires on the stage before,” said guitarist John Turner prior to a recent show at Wall Street.
But drummer Ray Dunham says the name is actually a “pretty good representation of our sound.”
The progressive rock band, which has a Widespread Panic jam band sort of vibe, recently arrived back in town after being on and off the road playing venues since early spring.
Other band members include lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Pinell, keyboardist Rob Knugg and bassist Keegan Pavlovic.
Pinell joked that they had to wait until gas prices reached $4 a gallon to hit the road.
And that is what they did, in between working their full-time jobs, these eternal optimists with dreams of making the big time, hit the road in Dunham’s beat up van he drove in high school.
Even though the money they collect from the shows barely fills up the gas tank sometimes, they say they aren’t going to give up.
“We just love playing the music,” Turner said.
Their recent tour of cities around the Southeast was a milestone for the band, which has been together for just over three years.
“This is our first band that is actually doing something — getting more recognition,” Turner said. “It is still on the upswing.”
Largely due to their first self-produced album in 2006 and their large presence on the Internet, The Incredible Heat Machine was able to book gigs outside of their hometown.
“Venues were ready to book us,” Turner said.
He said the number of hits on the band’s MySpace page got bar owners’ attention. The band has had more than 46,800 visitors to its Web site.
Dunham said actually the farther north and east they travel, the better reception to their music.
Playing for an unfamiliar crowd also causes the band to refine their sound and keep their energy level high.
They loved playing dive bars throughout Kentucky, Asheville, N.C. and Johnson City.
These venues, they say, aren’t used to their brand of music.
“The scene in other towns isn’t as dense with other bands,” Turner said.
They say being a band in Murfreesboro is like being in a “big band camp.”
“You have to do something unique,” Turner said. “There are about eight bands playing (in Murfreesboro) every night.”
But he said a lot of people they have met on the road have actually heard of the Murfreesboro music scene.
The Incredible Heat Machine has been working on their second self-produced album (most members have a recording industry degree from MTSU) for about a year.
“It is still progressing,” Turner said.
They say the album titled “Too Tall To Hide” is “leaps and bounds” over their first effort.
Dunham said the name of the album is a “good representation” of where the band is now.
They hope to have the album ready for release by late fall. Most of the tracks on the album have been performed for audiences.
“All of the songs that people know will be on the album,” Dunham said.
Tracks include “Close Encounters,” “Eden” and “Monster.”
Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at email@example.com.
Listen to The Incredible Heat Machine at www.myspace.com/theincredibleheatmachine.
See the band live when they perform Thursday, Aug. 28 at 527 Main Street