Exit 13 rocks the mall

Local rock band Exit 13 performs at Sierra Vista Mall as part of the Rock the Mall concert series on July 13, 2017. (Photo by Valerie Shelton)

Sierra Vista’s Rock the Mall summer concert series is coming to an end after a final hurrah on July 27, but the second-to-the-last act got the audience pumped and ready for the exit ramp.

Exit 13, a local classic rock band, entertained mall goers with its renditions of hits made famous by the likes of AC/DC, Van Halen and Foreigner, just to name a few.

The night was especially meaningful as the foursome—lead singer Danny White, guitarist Jimi Cook, drummer Vaughn Castle and bassist Chuck Lohr—paid special tribute to the late Steve Bryan, a major supporter and fan of local musicians who sat front row and center in his wheelchair at each Rock the Mall event.

“He came to all the shows and he would save spots for the girls,” Cook said, adding that a place right in front, covered with a Seattle Seahawks fleece blanket, was being saved in Bryan’s honor, as he was a fan of football as well as music. “This is the first time he’s not here so it’s sad, but we want to celebrate him.”

“Steve loved AC/DC, so that’s why we’re playing a lot of AC/DC tonight,” White added.

While several attended the July 13 Rock the Mall to remember Bryan, most were there just to enjoy the music.

Exit 13 has been rocking for three years and performs an average of four times a month, often at Hog Haven events at Yosemite Falls Café, ApCal winery in Madera, at Visalia’s Fox Theater, and at various venues in Fresno’s Tower District. Cook, who teaches guitar lessons at Gottschalk Music Center in Old Town Clovis, said the mid-July show was the first time Exit 13 had performed at Rock the Mall. A Clovis resident, Cook said he’s always happy to play in his hometown, though two of his bandmates—Castle and Lohr—have to travel from Visalia.

Though its members are split between two Valley metropolitan areas, Cook said the band works because all the guys get along and have a good time jamming.

“We have a blast and you can tell,” Cook said. “People like us because we’re not uptight. We don’t get mad at each other; we just have a real good time. I’d say our style is more of a fun band. We do covers of AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Cult, Collective Soul, Foreigner—pretty much anybody who was anybody back in the day. We do have original songs but we haven’t brought them into the mix yet because we all have day jobs and it’s hard for us to get together sometimes. We will be doing them in the future. We don’t take it too seriously and I think that has made us more popular.”

White, the showman of the group, agreed that it’s all about just having a good time and playing great music.

“My favorite part is these guys,” White said. “These are my brothers and we’re hanging out making good music. If we weren’t getting along, I wouldn’t want to do it. We do this for a little bit of money and it would be nice if we made a lot of money, but the main thing that keeps us going is our love for doing it and having fun, bringing the live music to the people and keeping the songs that we like alive.”

The final Rock the Mall event of the season on July 27 will welcome Faithfully, featuring Jeff Salado, to the stage.