A job on the Beer Nuts manufacturing line, or selling State Farm Insurance: For Kevin Lee, career options in Bloomington, Illinois, looked bleak. He hatched an escape plan at 11, when his grade school combo Crystal Fire, with Lee on drums and lead vocals, began tearing up the school dance scene. By 1970, after teaching himself to play guitar, Lee emerged from behind the drum kit as the bassist for Roller, a small town cover band that was picked up by powerful Champaign-based Blytham Agency and sent to the seep south to work with the roadhouse circuit. After six years of working six nights a week, Roller imploded and Lee returned home...almost.
Detouring around the twin burgs of Bloomington and Normal, Lee rode the Adlai Steven Expressway 135 miles northeast to Chicago. For the next two years, Lee founded and scrapped new performance outfits, but never hit upon a winning combination until he put his own name upfront, and Heartbeat-guitarist Danny Shafer and drummer Steve Teiken- behind him.