UNDERDOG RISING

After surviving his record company's collapse, former Little Texas frontman Tim Rushlow bounces back with a newly rockin' band that bears his last name

Tim Rushlow has already seen lightning strike twice. Now, with his new band, Rushlow, he's hoping for a third thunderbolt.

"I've been in a band that had a lot of success," acknowledges Tim, remembering his days as lead singer for '90s hitmakers Little Texas. "Then I got a solo deal and came out swinging with a hit. Now, I'm going back to being in a band again!"

Little Texas had seven Top 5 hits, including the chart-topping "My Love," during the band's eight years together. "We had a great run," nods Tim. "I wouldn't take back one hit, one song, one album, one day on tour."

After Little Texas broke up in 1997, Tim landed a solo deal on Atlantic Records. "I had a lot to prove!" he confesses. "I had to show I could have hits on my own."

His first Atlantic release was the 2001 Top 10 smash "She Misses Him." Then, just as Tim's second single began climbing the charts, bad luck struck.

"Atlantic Records closed," remembers Tim. "It was so bad, it was laughable."

Tim was determined not to get derailed by the disappointing news.

"I said, 'OK, someone just handed you a lemon,' " he laughs. " 'Are you going to suck on a lemon or make lemonade?' "

Tim stirred his proverbial batch of lemonade by gathering the best players he could and hitting the road with a band, which eventually became Rushlow. "We'd go out, get on the bus and play some dates just so we could put some ramen noodles on the table," says Tim. "Then I realized, I think we've really got something here."

The band, Kurt Allison (lead guitar), Billy Welch (keyboards), Rich Redmond (drums), Tully Kennedy (bass) and Doni Harris (rhythm guitar) have already formed a tight bond by touring the country playing clubs. "I think to be a really good band, you have to have put in some road miles," says Tim. "You have to get some of that funk on you."

Rushlow's first album is set for a September release, and already has a hit out of the gates with the debut single, "I Can't Be Your Friend." Tim smiles. "We think we've set the bar really high with this first single," he declares, "and we're not going to lower it a bit!"

Tim's determination is partly inspired by another artist who bounced back after being counted out -- his good friend Toby Keith. "Toby told me, 'Dawg, don't you ever forget that I was on a label and got dumped and told I was over and that my good days had already happened.' "

According to Toby, being an underdog was his secret weapon.

"He's right!" exclaims Tim. "Underdog number two is on the way."

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