WIU alumni and their rock band compete to tour with Metallica
Two Western Illinois University alumni and their rock band find themselves rising in the music world and are now part of an international competition for bands vying to tour with the band Metallica for five concert dates this summer.
WIU alumni Aly Jados, a 2008 graduate and Jeff Loehrke, a 2009 graduate, both with bachelor's degrees in music, are part of the Chicago-based band Blood People.
The band was recently named one of eight finalists in the "Hit the Road With Us This Summer" contest put on by Metallica to find the opening act for a five-date mini-tour in May and June. The final date on the tour is at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Fans can vote for Blood People to become the opening act here.
Blood People describes itself as having "menacing rock hooks and voluptuous pop looks," and is the only finalist in the competition boasting female band members. Jados said if the band wins the chance to tour with Metallica, they would become the first ever female-fronted band to open for Metallica stateside.
Since graduating from WIU, Jados and Loehrke have been performing and recording professionally in Chicago. Jados said she has also worked as an intern at Washburn Guitars and Touch and Go Records in Chicago.
"Music is my everything," she said. "If I didn't make music, I don't know what I would do. I have been doing this my whole life, and now I have a shot at a priceless platform, opening for my favorite band of all time – Metallica."
In addition to performing with "Blood People," Jados said she has recorded two solo EPs, with one of them funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
"I have produced a few major music videos and I am working on a new music video for Blood People right now," said Jados. "I have been playing in clubs all around the city for a living, always keeping music and art at the forefront."
Since graduating from Western, Loehrke has consistently been performing with successful Chicago bands, playing music ranging from metal to jazz. He interned and worked at the Chicago Recording Company as an assistant engineer and drum tech, and now works at Getty Images.
"Jeff is known primarily as a drummer, but has taken his love for songwriting and melody to the guitar for Blood People," she said.
Jados said she and Loehrke have been playing music together since they were in high school.
"We are now on the verge of making our dreams come true with our band," she said. "We both graduated from WIU just in time for the Great Recession of 2008, so the road has been tough, but what can I say...as bad as it gets sometimes, if you stick with your passions, learn from your mistakes, respect and believe in yourself, there is nothing you can't do."
Voting for the Metallica competition ends April 25.
For more information about Blood People, including where they are performing in Chicago, visit bloodpeople.com.
Watch their music video for the single "Last One Standing," here.