SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 1, 2013

Danvers' singing selectman fronts rock band

DANVERS — Selectman Gardner Trask has become accustomed to standing at a microphone in front of dozens of people, and not only when speaking at Town Meeting.

Last September, Trask auditioned to become the lead singer in a classic rock band called The Shotz Band, which was founded 12 years ago by guitarist Ron Sheppard of Saugus. Trask landed the job, even though he has no formal music training and only began singing karaoke eight years ago.

Trask has a big, husky voice with a wide range, and he’s not afraid to sink it into standards such as Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister.” Fulfilling his rock ‘n’ roll dream has not been easy, however, given that he has to fit in with a well-established act and has had to learn 40 to 50 songs in the band’s repertoire in a short amount of time.

The other original member of the group, bassist Bob “Coach” Walles of Merrimack, N.H., and Sheppard have been jamming together since they were 14. The band also includes lead guitarist and vocalist Paul Lemieux of Salem and drummer Jamie Melville of Peabody.

“It’s tough to jump into a band of people that have been playing together for a long time,” Sheppard said, who describes Trask as “a work in progress ... I think he’s trying to find his niche.”

Still, Trask, a 51-year-old married father of three grown children, said he is having the time of his life fronting a rock band at an age when many rockers have hung it up. About two times a month, he sings at gigs.

He fits that in around his duties as a third-term Danvers selectman and his full-time job as a project manager for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. His wife, Patricia, comes to his shows. His daughters came to a show at Supino’s Restaurant on a recemt Saturday night.

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