JAY — Don LeSuer’s eyes were closed as he sang in a raw, raspy voice the lyrics to “Can’t You See” as his drumsticks glanced quickly over the drums.
His fellow Crash Road band members, Matt Gilbert and Jay Becker, accompanied him on guitars, before they all joined the chorus with Chris Moreau to perform The Marshall Tucker Band song.
The men grew up in Jay and have been friends for decades. They’ve been performing together for years. When they are playing music, they can let their minds wander from their routine of work and parenting to be just friends and musicians for a few hours.
“It’s the one time of the week we can be us,” Moreau of Turner said of the band’s rehearsals.
Gilbert, 37, of Jay, is the principal of Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Moreau, 37, is the assistant principal/athletic director at Lisbon High School in Lisbon. LeSuer, 43, of Jay, is a bus driver/custodian at Regional School Unit 36 in Livermore and Livermore Falls. And Becker, 37, of Jay, is a painter by trade but currently unemployed.
“It blows me away that they get along so well,” LeSuer’s wife, Deana, said. “When they first started, they couldn’t get through a whole song. I’d ask them why they stopped and they’d say, ‘because they couldn’t remember the rest.’”
Since then, their musical talent has developed and their play list has grown. They usually rehearse once a week in the basement of LeSuer’s house. Gilbert, Moreau and Becker all play electric guitars.
Don LeSuer, who has played drums since he was 7, said he was initially shy about performing on stage but his fellow band members have helped him overcome that and created a comfort zone for him.
“I didn’t ever think I was going to get out of the basement,” he said.
Crash Road plays classic rock with a twist, a little country and rap. The band is working on original songs, Becker said.
They started playing at benefits, rather than bars, Becker said. They have since branched out to playing private parties and establishments.
They are looking to expand their paying gigs, but they plan to still play benefits each year, Becker said.
“We definitely enjoy playing benefits and doing our part to help people out in this area and the different organizations we’re connected to,” Gilbert said.
“We’ve helped raise — a good conservative estimate is $36,000 — to help out,” Moreau said.
They enjoy it when people are out dancing and having fun during their performances, LeSuer said. “It really feeds back to why we really enjoy doing it.”
They especially like to perform in the schools. It’s a different dimension and it gives kids a chance to see they need to have a well-balanced life, Gilbert said.
Moreau, Gilbert and LeSuer previously worked in RSU 36, where they started to jam together.
The men keep it a family affair with their spouses — for Becker a girlfriend — and their children being involved as much as possible.
“I want my kids to see me so they see that there is more to life,” Gilbert said. “This is part of our life. This isn’t going to define who we are. It helps complete the picture.
“And it’s just a little bit cool that our kids think we are rock stars,” Moreau said.