South River High School’s Battle of the Bands was coming, and the four young musicians needed a name for their band.
They were stuck until lead guitarist Erich Friedrich’s mom Lynn stepped into the garage while they were practicing. She had a question.
“[I] asked Erich what type of tire did he need for his race bike,” Lynn Friedrich said. “His reply was an MX51. The band members looked at each other and said, ‘That’s it, our name.'”
The name is especially appropriate because two of the band’s members – Erich, 17, and drummer and vocalist Steve Smith, 17, are former members of the Mid Atlantic Motocross Association (M.A.M.A.). The band also includes rhythm guitarist Nate McPherson, 18, and bassist Cory Mohler, 16.
And on Saturday, Sept. 19, MX51 will perform at the 3rd Annual Kevin Crine Memorial Race at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville. The band will play from 7-11 p.m. The racing event honors Kevin Crine, a talented and decorated local motocross racer who died in a car accident in 2006.
“None of the band members knew Kevin Crine, but they did get the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Crine [Kevin’s father] this past July at Budds Creek,” Lynn Friedrich, who also acts as MX51’s manager, said.
“They are honored to be asked to perform for the 3rd Annual Kevin Crine Memorial because they are passionate about their music, and motocross is part of who and what they are.”
MX51 formed in November 2014 before South River High School’s annual Battle of the Bands. They took second place and were the alternate to perform at Anne Arundel County’s Battle of the Bands.
Though they didn’t get the call for that event, Friedrich said they’ve kept busy playing at other venues, including graduation, anniversary, and birthday parties and for the Southern Maryland Dirt Riders at the Pro Nationals at Budds Creek in July. They also performed for at a local teen function called Shady Side Live Open Mike Night this summer.
The band plays classic rock and hard rock, inspired by their favorite bands and musicians: Boston, Guns & Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Buckethead, Robin Trower, and The Eagles.
Music has brought the four musicians together, though each has other interests in which he also excels. Erich participated in motocross for eight years, Friedrich said, racing with M.A.M.A at an amateur level. He had to give it up two years ago after his grandparents fell ill and needed extra care. The family wasn’t able to devote the time motocross needs for races, travel, and training.
His grandparents were extremely supportive of his racing, she said. “He didn’t complain,” Lynn Friedrich said. “He knew they needed care. He was given a guitar, and he began practicing and learning the guitar hours upon hours all on his own.”
“Steve and Erich started playing music together about two years ago, and they formed what is now MX51,” Friedrich said. The band practices as much as it can, often several times a week.
Steve is also a dirt bike rider, Friedrich said, who likes to fix motorcycles and build scripting robots and computers. He raced with M.A.M.A. as well. Cory plays competitive baseball, and Nate wants to learn more about music theory and build his own guitar.
“All of them are talented young men and are very devoted to their music and performing,” Friedrich said.
Cori Shaw Meloney, Writer