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Motor City Rides



Downriver kids The HandGrenades are true children of rock 'n' roll. In fact, Nick Chevillet's dad relaxes by taking leisurely 200 mph runs on a skull-emblazoned drag boat. Brothers Andrew and Tom Pawelski's old man had a band, the Mastertones, that warmed up the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, and yes — Herman's Hermits. And that'd go lengths to explain the band's sound: a frothy mix of Faces abandon (via the Sights) topped with Byrdsian vocal harmonies. 

"Sometimes we start working on the harmonies before we've completed the structure of the song," drummer Joby Kaslowski says. On stage, Nick, Andrew and Tom share lead vocal, guitar and bass duties.

The aptly unkempt combo released its debut album in '09 and a new five-song EP — mixed by hotshot producer Kevin McMahon (The Walkmen, French Kicks) — is set for fall release.

The quartet had once driven to gigs in Nick's 1996 GMC Safari, but that was before a serious upgrade — to a 1997 Mountain Aire Motor Home. Sweet.

Nick's pop, Ron, got the RV for a song from General RV Center in Birch Run. Ron rarely misses HandGrenades shows, so it stands to reason he'd drive the boys in ridiculous style to their gigs. When asked the Mountain Aire's gas mileage, Ron grins, "Probably terrible. I own a roll off Dumpster company — mileage means nothing to me."

Ron is arguably the fifth HandGrenade. So what's it like having the old man along for the rock 'n' roll action?  

"He's one of us," Nick says. "He's a cool dad. He's hard for us to keep up with sometimes."

See the HandGrenades:  6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 21 at the Ann Arbor Art Fair (Church and Willard): Thursday, July 22 at PJ's Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit): Thursday, July 29 at the Whitney Garden Party, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit): Saturday, July 31 at Bookies Bar & Grille (2208 Cass Ave., Detroit). To listen, go to

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