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‘Bicycle’ Trying To Pedal Its Way To Rock Stardom

Sun., July 23, 1995

It’s the dream of every kid with a guitar: Write some songs. Start a band. Hit the road.

That quest for rock stardom could turn into roadkill if a trio of two-wheelers who call themselves “Bicycle” isn’t careful.

“Oh, man, we had a really close call last week,” says Bicycle’s lead singer, songwriter and visionary, Kurt Hans Noel Liebert.

“One of those big trucks hauling a manufactured home. Those things take up half the highway.”

Liebert is the son of two Whitworth College professors, Doris and Don. He grew up in Spokane and bought his first guitar at a garage sale when he was 12.

Now 29 and living in Manhattan, Liebert may be going where no rock ‘n’ roller has ever gone before - a cross-country concert tour via pedal power.

He came up with this travel concept last winter while forming a new group. Naming the group “Bicycle” seemed obvious.

Band members left New York on June 19 and have made it to Minneapolis. They plan to eventually reach Seattle after gasping into Spokane for an Aug. 15 gig. Guitarist Brian Chenault’s mother, Kathy, is leading the way, graciously hauling the band’s instruments in a pop-up camper.

Of course, the “Bicycle” itinerary is subject to the many pitfalls and potholes that come with life in the saddle.

Liebert can’t say which challenge is more hideous: heat, humidity or hemorrhoids. “When I’m on stage, I lose sight of everything,” he says. “Afterwards, it’s ‘Ow, those dang hemorrhoids.”’

Hmm. Could this be why Buddy Holly took that last plane?

“Bicycle” is an ambitious mix of rock, folk and even rap. The sound is polished and clean. Liebert’s lyrics reflect his sharp sense of humor.

For a sample, you can put this column up to your ear and I’ll hum one of the better tunes off the “Bicycle” CD.

If that didn’t work you can always buy it for $8.95 at Boo Radley’s.

Cheapskates can dial (212) 598-0627. Punch the extension 1609 to hear a snippet of the band’s, “Ooh Love.”

“Bicycle” somehow grinds out 70 to 100 miles daily and still performs three or four times a week.

Some concerts, however, have been pretty weird.

In Chicago, the musicians almost collapsed from the record heat wave grilling the Midwest. The band spent the worst day guzzling pop in a fast-food joint because refills were free.

Scheduled to play in Cleveland, they discovered the club had gone belly up. Undaunted, the Bicycle boys pedaled to the site of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and performed for free in the parking lot.

“We don’t come 100 miles to play and don’t play,” says Liebert.

In Detroit, the band was booked into a bowing alley. “They hated us,” Liebert adds. “People wanted to bowl.”

Adding insult, the promoter reneged on the 50 bucks he promised. “Show me your contract and I’ll give you the fifty,” he kept saying.

Such setbacks may be for the best. Liebert is videotaping his odyssey. A California film company has expressed interest in producing a documentary along the lines of “Hoop Dreams.”

I can see it now: “Spoke Dreams.” Already this adventure has been noted in the New York Times and dozens of other newspapers.

Will “Bicycle” pump its way to the top? Will it become a hood ornament on an on-coming semi?

Or will this be just another rock band that ends up gone with the Schwinn?

Liebert doesn’t care.

“We’re not going to make any money on this tour, we’re going to go broke,” he says. “The whole rock ‘n’ roll thing - you sell the CDs and T-shirts, but you never recoup your investment.

“You do it because you love to play.”

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review

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