In a matter of minutes, a Pittsburgh rock ‘n’ roll band went from jamming in a driveway to meeting the leader of the free world.
The four members of Comfort Tech will remember those few moments for the rest of their lives.
“It was completely unexpected,” guitarist and vocalist Eric DiFiore said.
It started with a simple idea Wednesday afternoon to set up and play outside while the motorcade carrying President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made its way to the Community College of Allegheny County’s West Hills Center, where the two would be speaking.
The band just wanted to garner media attention, but according to DiFiore, they never imagined the president would take notice.
It’s not clear if it was the band’s song, “Lumberjack,” or the patriotic “Welcome Mr. President!” sign hanging above the porch that caught the Secret Service’s eye as their motorcade passed through town.
Moments later, a Secret Service agent, followed by plenty of Secret Service vans and state police cars, approached the band in the driveway.
The president wanted to meet them.
“I was very nervous,” DiFiore said. “But I was excited because I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Secret Service took the members of the band from the driveway to a back hallway in CCAC, where they were given rules about what to do when they met the president.
From around the corner, the band could hear the commander-in-chief’s voice.
“Before we could see him we heard him say ‘Where’s Comfort Tech? Where they at?’ and then we saw him approaching us,” DiFiore said. “We all shook his hand. He asked about our band and what kind of music we played, and we told him rock ‘n’ roll. And he asked us if we liked the blues, and we said ‘yes, we like to play the blues too.’”
But that wasn’t all. The president wanted a physical copy of Comfort Tech’s music to take back to the White House.
“We told him we were in the process of finishing our album and that all we have to do is put the vocals down. I told him that at the end of the month, it will be completed,” DiFiore said. “And he said, 'Make sure you send it my way, I want to hear your stuff.'”
At the end of his speech, Obama gave a shout-out to the members of Comfort Tech, who were in the audience.
It was at that moment when four rockers, who started off playing together in a garage, had a new fan: the president of the United States.