Thursday, September 20, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 21


Pilot Radio takes off on self-titled debut

Local Edge

By Shiley Carter

In 1996, three high school friends coincidentally found themselves receiving music instruments, from guitars to drums, as Christmas gifts.

Photo courtesy of Solar Flare Productions

From high school buddies to local rock gods, Pilot Radio uses lush instrumentation on its self-titled debut. Its influences range from Tom Petty
and the Heartbreakers to Better than Ezra.

Ricky Young (vocals, guitar), Austen Hooks (drums) and Drew Walters (bass) began playing around as a three-piece. Later, Charlie Way (guitar)
and Keith Shepard (lead guitar) rounded out the band now known as Pilot Radio.

With varied influences, including rock groups Better than Ezra and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, these five guys began creating original
music that seemed not to stop flowing.

The release of the band's first self-titled independent album came in 2001, just before Shepard, the fifth member, joined.

After it gained management (through Solar Flare Productions), Pilot Radio's name began creating a buzz everywhere it went.

As it played for crowds as large as 5,000 people, it seemed apparent that its fan base was at an all-time high.

Its sound is somewhat soothing. Lead vocalist Young is fresh and distinct in all he sings.

He echoes a sound reminiscent of that of the Counting Crows' lead singer, Adam Duritz, but with a little more clarity.

The band's music itself encompasses a great deal of mood-leading; it has the power, through its dexterity and range of tempos, to pull the listener
in and out of a range of beautiful emotion and feeling.

"Faces" is upbeat, with layered musical sounds accentuating the overall feel of the song.

"This Time" is lyrically easy to relate to. Its topic is ending relationships, about which Young sings, "I'm the one who's hurting, this time, you're the
one who's learning, this time."

"Lighthouse" is intricately harmonious. The lyrics are metaphorically detailed.

The song opens, "Like a castle on a hillside by the bay/ Flooded by a dissipating hurricane/ And the water exits with the dirt from the floor/ And
leaves some sand in its place/ Is it a fair trade?"

With other instruments adding a very textured sound throughout the album, Pilot Radio has succeeded at producing a beautiful piece of artistry.

As the band continues playing in Houston and surrounding areas, keep your eyes open and try to catch one of its shows.

Send comments to

To contact the Shobiz Section Editor, click the e-mail link at the end of this article.

To contact other members of 
The Daily Cougar Online staff, 


Advertise in The Daily Cougar

Student Publications
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-4071

©2005, Student Publications. All rights reserved.
Permissions/Web Use Policy

Last upThursday, September 20, 2001:
Visit The Daily Cougar