Driver Friendly

Riding the road to success with Driver Friendly Houston native band signs with Hopeless Records. Hailing from The Woodlands, Driver Friendly has made the Houston music scene their stomping grounds since 2002. The band members became friends through marching band at The Woodlands High School, and what started as a few guys in a garage playing ska music, eventually became one of the more successful bands to come out of Houston, landing them a recent signing with Hopeless Records in Austin. Driver Friendly has been featured in Alternative Press’ “100 bands you need to know”, tweeted about by Tom Hanks to nearly 4 million people and is preparing to tour this summer with Van’s Warped Tour. So we sat down with this quirky group of seven to find out what exactly it is that they love about music, performing and their fans.
COEUS: Why did you pick your band name? How did the band form? Why did you decide to play the genre/genres you do? Driver Friendly: We picked our band name from street signs you find all across Texas highways. We all met in high school marching band and decided we wanted to play music together. We’re still working on deciding the genre we play, but we always knew we wanted to play rock and roll. COEUS: When did the band start? DF: We played our first show April 20, 2002. COEUS: Where is your hometown? Do you receive a lot of support from your grassroots fans? DF: We have an interesting thing where we are originally from Houston, but we only were a band there for 2 years. We’ve lived in Austin since 2004, so it really is where we live and where we call home. But both of our Houston and Austin fans are so dedicated and passionate, without them we would have given up on this band a while ago. COEUS: Describe for me when the band became more than friends hanging out and became a real band? DF: Probably the move from Houston to Austin was when it became a real thing. We realized how many other bands play live in Austin every single day, and if we wanted to actually do this and be somewhat successful, we had to step it up. And I’d say we’re always trying to become a real band, always striving to better songwriters, performers and musicians. COEUS: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? DF: We gather inspiration from nearly all things in life– relationships, books, movies, paintings, songs, food, dogs, sno-cones. Somehow it all makes its way into the music. COEUS: What are some of y’alls favorite Houston venues to play? DF: We typically play Fitzgerald’s because there really aren’t that many all ages venues left. COEUS: Who are your musical influences? DF: With seven members our influences are quite eclectic, we listen to everything from Beethoven, to The Beatles, to Beyonce.
COEUS: I know the name change went to Driver F because of copyright reasons, but can you explain how y’all went back to being Driver Friendly? DF: Towards the end of our aforementioned hiatus, we started to come together to figure out if we got things back together, what would be the new guidelines of how it would different than before. One thing we missed was the days when we were just Driver Friendly, before we knew what copyrights were and all that business. Going back to that name was like rediscovering the passion for why we started in the first place. It was a shift in attitude and mindset and has helped this newest stage of being a band feel right. COEUS: After everything has died down and after years of playing in a venue that no longer exists, what inspires y’all to keep making music? DF: We’re inspired to make music because it’s inside us. When we’re not doing it, something inside of us is not alive, and we want to keep that feeling burning. COEUS: So how does it feel to be a professionally signed band? DF: Feels good, doesn’t change a lot of things, but changes some things that help us out in big ways. Hopeless has been a perfect fit and we’re so grateful they believe in us. COEUS: Since it wasn’t that long ago Driver Friendly was a startup band, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs some tips? DF: Our advice is figure out what makes you unique, what reason should people have to go see you live, as opposed to the multitude of other live acts out there. Figure that out and find the best way possible to channel that into your live show. And also drink lots of water.