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Q: What was it like to open for a big rocker last month?

A: Stephen Pearcy (is) the original singer for Ratt. We played at The Village before with other bands. They've always said they want to put us in front of a major act. We opened up for Slaughter last year. I'm pretty sure (that's) every musician's aspiration — to open up for somebody that they idolize growing up. We're working on getting bigger shows.

Q: How did the band form?

A: We've been together for two and a half years. We started in the fall of 2011. (John) came to me ... and he wanted to start up a band. He was looking for a guitar player. It just so happened that I had the same ideas and was interested in the same thing. I was in previous bands before this. We all did the Top-40 cover music. It was fun traveling but the music wasn't exactly my favorite. It was refreshing to have someone with similar interests. From there, we put out an ad. It kind of just blossomed.

Q: Have you always been into metal?

A: I didn't grow up listening to it. I'm 26. John's a little bit older, so he was listening to that in his younger years. He remembers certain Metallica albums ... coming out. It's the music that I like. When I grew up ... the grunge era and that kind of stuff was happening. When I started playing guitar is when I started listening to (metal). It's very guitar-driven music. I've been playing for about 11 years now.

Q: It seems to be big in this area. Have you found that?

A: When John and I started the band, we sat down with some rules and goals. We wanted to (bring) metal back. We're trying to make heads turn. A lot of bands now (don't have) much showmanship. That kind of got lost, too, as time goes on. We're trying to bring that back as well. When you come to see us, it's not just a bunch of guys standing on stage playing metal — it's a show. (We wanted) to get everyone to realize (that) metal takes talent. It takes dedication.

Q: Since you're from Harrisburg, was it exciting to book the Millennium Music Conference?

A: That will actually be my first time playing. I've been in cover bands all my life. Gun Metal Gray is a transitioning cover band. We'll be out with a five-song EP ... in the next few months. Millennium Music (is) an original showcase for bands to show off their original music and to meet industry people and get advice. We're really going into this guns loaded and guns blazing — no pun intended.

Q: You'll celebrate the EP release in March at the Strand-Capitol, right?

A: It was really cool when we got the call from the President and CEO (Ken Wesler) at the Strand. I think he saw (that) we opened up for Slaughter. He called us and he kind of offered (to have us) have our CD release at the Capitol.

Q: Is this area becoming a second home for you?

A: We're trying to even go farther South. A few years ago, it was hard for us to break out of the state. We're trying to really branch out. The whole original side of music (is) going to open more venues for us. York has been a good place for us. Every time we go back to Fat Daddy's there (are) more people. I think another goal ... is to write a full album (and keep) playing bigger shows (and) developing more of a fan base. (The Internet) makes it so much easier for bands to get their music out to people. But you still have to go out, and you have to play the shows.

Millenium Music Conference & Showcase

The 18th annual event runs Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 20 to 23, at the Best Western Premier, the Central Hotel and Conference Center and 30 showcase venues in and around Harrisburg.

The conference includes panels, workshops and a trade show focused on various aspects of the music industry. Registration is $100. More than 300 local, regional and national bands will take the stage for showcase performances. Some venues charge a small admission fee.

Gun Metal Gray will take the stage midnight Sunday, Feb. 23, at Tubby's Night Club, 6 Inn Road, Duncannon. Admission is free. The event is 21 and older.

For details about the conference and showcase performances, visit www.musicconference.net.

More on Gun Metal Gray

March 8: The band will perform 8 p.m. at Fat Daddy's, 2510 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township.

March 29: Hear the group 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 50 N. George St., York. Silvertung is also on the bill. Tickets are $14. For details and tickets, call 717-846-1111 or visit mystrandcapitol.org.

Band members: David Damone, Nick Wright, Christian Koch and John O'Connor

More band updates:www.reverbnation.com/gunmetalgray.

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