Routes Music, Orlando: McDonald's boy band fever, medical marijuana activism and Cheetah Records

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Later, Phil ran into the manager of Los Mega Boys, Maurice Starr, otherwise known as the man who brought us New Kids on the Block and New Edition. We're hoping to have a more in-depth interview with him on our return trip, but for now, here's a video from YouTube:

After McDonald's, the Routes Music crew landed in downtown Orlando to interview various music fans, an artist who works with Disney's Imagineers, and a medical marijuana activist who books festivals in Central Florida. Right now, Kevin Moore is working on a 10-day multi-city concert event to raise money (and awareness) for a medical marijuana ballot initiative in Florida. Dubbed "PUFMM Palooza," Moore hopes to get the required 700,000 signatures needed to put this issue on 2010 ballot. (Sign the petition here.)

[image-1]We also met with Tom Reich (pictured left), the founder of Cheetah Records and best known for discovering DJ Magic Mike. He produced 66 gold and platinum records over the years.

"They used to call me the Pepsi Guy," he told us. "The reason for it is I can take any rock and roll and pop group that's not very commercial sounding and make it sound commercial."

After much success in the late '80s and early '90s, record company wars forced Cheetah Records to fold in the mid-90s.

"There isn't any independent record label anymore," he said. "That's why there isn't any innovation in music anymore."

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Routes Music is a documentary film acting as a roving music census, taking in the true musical passions (and disgusts) of the American people. We’re traveling all across the country, stopping along the way to interview local bands, take footage of live performances and chat with anyone and everyone. Learn more about the documentary here; check out all previous entries here.

Five things you should never forget on a cross-country music documentary tour:

1.  Granola bars

2. Phone charger

3. TV theme song CDs

4. Stun gun sold by a shifty young man on the street

5. A wild and open mind

The last was crucial as our Routes Music crew (Phil, Alex and Terrence — known collectively as P.A.T.) rolled into Orlando on the first day of the tour.

Weary and hungry from a two-hour drive down I-4, we pulled our 2009 Toyota Sienna (known as the "Big Gray Box) into "the world's largest entertainment McDonald's." We grabbed some burgers and were making out way out when Terrence heard an announcer in the far room. Turning the corner, he spotted a stage featuring five Latino teens, ages ranging from 11 to 18. Terrence called us over. "You guys have to see this." At that moment, the band broke into synchronized dancing over a drum track. Microphones appeared. The performance began. The Los Mega Boyz, a Latino boy band in the vein of the Backstreet Boys and N-Sync, crooned their way around Ronald McDonald murals and teenagers munching on cheeseburgers. They sang saucy numbers about girls and ballads about Selena.

We'd stumbled upon the most bizarre McDonald's ever. (Video after the jump.)

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