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Pay the Girl!

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Cincinnati's PAY THE GIRL got their name while hanging out at a local diner near their college digs in Athens, Ohio. It was the classic case of poverty stricken mates trying to pay tuition and still have enough money leftover to party. The running gag was every time the waitress would show up with the bill, the guys would look around at one another and say "Go ahead! Pay the girl!"

The band is led by singer/songwriter Jason Phelps. Phelps got his start playing original music in the Cincinnati acoustic coffeehouse circuit, where he played as a solo artist for years. Eventually, Phelps hooked up with rock guitarist Mark Cooper as the music began to grow beyond him. Together with Cooper, they write the core of Pay The Girl's output. But their signature sound is only completed with the help of Drew Phillips on bass, Dave Harris on guitar and Greg Braun on drums.

PTG's philosophy, says Phelps, is simple: "We're gonna write great songs and keep playing our asses off until the world realizes how good we really are!"

It sure didn't take long for a superstar to take notice of Pay The Girl. Colombian pop goddess Shakira -- yes, Shakira -- came upon the band while shopping for a solid rock act to open her first worldwide tour. The band was still months away from releasing their debut album and had just started to gather some radio airplay but all of a sudden they we're playing to packed arenas setting up one of the world's premier performers. "We're stoked that we get the call for this tour," said Phelps. "Shakira definitely has a rock edge, and we're a rock band with some of the same appeal. It's really cool that she wanted to do something adventurous in having us open for her."

With the help of guru rock producer Rick Parashar, Pay The Girl's self-titled debut cuts through a bleak musical landscape like sunshine in Antarctica. The lead-off track "Freeze" introduces the band as a rock-pop sensation with a hook that remains frozen solid in your head for days. The band follows suit with the hauntingly addictive "Junkie", a lament that chronicles emotions at the breaking point while "Beverly" literally jumps off your speakers and takes you back to the kind of innocence only evident in your first love. In an highly interesting and slightly odd note, the band co-wrote some of these songs with Hedwig-mastermind Steven Trask.

So... great melodies? Memorable lyrics? What have we got here?

Pay The Girl. A flat-out great band that fans will be anticipating for 2003. The band rocks with a sound that conjures up the emotions of rock history - but exudes a spirit all their own.

Is it summer? Winter? Who knows, who cares? Pay The Girl's on the radio, and we're all having a good time.

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