Riding High — The Lows Perform Saturday at Inaugural Motor City Muscle Festival


The Lows will play Motor City Muscle on Saturday.
The Lows will be riding high this weekend with a coveted slot at the inaugural Motor City Muscle festival.

The Detroit-based hard rock band will join more than 120 artists, including Ace Frehley, The Dead Kennedys, Belinda Carlisle and Sponge, during the free festival, which includes seven stages of music and a muscle car showcase today through Sunday in downtown Detroit.

The Lows will take the stage in Detroit’s Hart Plaza at 3:15 p.m. Saturday for their hour-long, 15-song set. Fans can expect original Lows’ tunes and covers from Detroit music legends, including Alice Cooper and The Stooges, as well as ‘90s grunge classics.

For Angelo Coppola and his Lows bandmates, the festival is an incredible chance to help revive the rock music scene in the Motor City.

“Basically, I think there’s not enough of the straight-up rock sound going on anymore,” said Coppola, frontman for The Lows. “There are some great bands like Greta Van Fleet and some others from Detroit doing it. I think the world needs more of it, and I think tons of people personally want something to change with mainstream music. We’re just trying to hopefully be part of it carrying the torch and bringing it back around.”

The Lows EP
Coppola learned his band would join the all-star rock music festival lineup after he submitted “Road Trippin’,” a track from The Lows’ 2017 self-titled debut EP for a 12-song Motor City Muscle compilation album.

“The criteria for that was the song had to be about cars, and it had to mention Detroit in the song,” he said. “I went back into the studio where I recorded the EP, and I just changed one line of the first verse with producer Chuck (Alkazian) to include a reference to Detroit in there, then I submitted it, and they picked it for the album.”

Once the track was selected, Coppola knew The Lows were guaranteed a spot on the Motor City Muscle festival lineup. Fittingly, the festival serves as the next logical step for growing the band’s live audience in metro Detroit. Earlier this year, The Lows played packed shows at two premier Detroit venues – Saint Andrews Hall and the Hard Rock Café.

“Basically, we just got asked to play Motor City Muscle, and then we were asked to play Arts, Beats & Eats,” he said. “The name is spreading, people are hearing about us and it’s leading to some cool opportunities.”

Coppola formed The Lows last year while attending the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) as a music business student. He had written and recorded the band’s first track, “Purple,” an ode to Prince, for the DIME Sessions (Vol. 3) compilation album.

With the success of “Purple,” Coppola created an official project and called it The Lows, a wordplay on his first name. To make The Lows official, he teamed up with Alkazian to produce the band’s self-titled debut EP and invited several guest musicians to record with him at Canton’s Pearl Sound Studios.

“I decided to make a list of who I thought were the best musicians in Detroit that I could possibility get involved with this project,” Coppola said. “The first person I asked was a bass player named Johnny Abel, he goes by the nickname Wolf. He’s a very experienced and well-traveled bass player from Detroit.”

Angelo Coppola, center, and The Lows
Along with Wolf, Coppola recruited three other band members, including former Candlebox guitarist Mike Leslie, guitarist Brandon McNall and drummer Duane Hewins. However, Coppola recently replaced Leslie with guitarist Nick Behnan after Leslie injured his leg in a skateboarding accident.

“We’re getting Nick on board,” Coppola said. “We’ve been practicing with him for a few weeks to get ready for this festival. I think he’s going to be a great fit.”

Coppola developed an ear for rock music while growing up in Macomb, thanks to his father, who’s also a musician. He started playing drums at age three and won a contest at age seven while playing KISS songs on the former “America’s Most Talented Kid” TV show.

By high school, Coppola had developed an obsession with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins, taught himself guitar and learned how to write songs. He also played drums in a band called Shockwave and studied music business for a year at Ferris State University before transferring to DIME.

“DIME is totally integrated in the scene in Detroit with tons of great musicians and artists,” said Coppola, who graduated co-valedictorian from DIME in May. “It’s like a big family. Everyone from DIME I went with or know there is going to be a connection forever.”

With a debut EP, an impressive roster of local shows and a refreshed Lows’ lineup, Coppola is ready for pivotal performances at Motor City Muscle and Arts, Beats & Eats on Aug. 31. He’s also teaming up with McNall and two Avalon Black members for a special acoustic show at the Corner Bar & Grill in Fenton on Aug. 25.

In September, Coppola will turn his attention back to writing and recording songs for The Lows’ first full-length album at Pearl Sound Studios with his bandmates and Alkazian.

“I’ve got a ton of songs I’m working on, and I have a lot of them fully demoed out with vocals and everything in my home studio,” Coppola said. “I’ll probably go in there with 20-plus songs and narrow it down to about 10. I’m trying to get the album by spring 2019.”

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