By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

Kris Clone got caught trying to sneak into a
Garth Brooks show in East Lansing, Mich.,
when he was 16.

He’d hopped on the side of a tour bus that was
backing underneath the arena. The bus drivers
saw him, stopped, and he was escorted out.

At the same arena a few years earlier, Clone
and his dad saw Johnny Cash play, and also the
Highwaymen.

Those experiences left a mark on Clone, who
is now the lead singer of the Bozeman-based
country band 10 Foot Tall and 80 Proof. Clone
and Josh Heins started the band in 2006, and
they’ve since recorded two albums and toured
nationally.

“We can play in Wilsall, Mont., to a ranch rodeo
crowd, or take that same exact set and play
downtown San Francisco,” Clone said. “[People]
see us differently even though we play the
exact same songs.

Their foot-stomping ‘roots rock country’ music
also has jazz, southern rock, blues and bluegrass
influences. The band—which consists of
a stand up and electric bass, guitar, keyboard and
drums—hired a new lead guitar when Heins left
a couple of months ago. 10/80 now plays more
than half original material, but still throw occasional
Johnny Cash covers into sets.

The band now stays local and plays regular gigs
at The Eagles in Bozeman, Stacey’s Old Faithful
Bar in Gallatin Gateway, Chico Hot Springs, and
also drives to Missoula, Great Falls and Billings.

“Small town Montana is a lot of fun to play in
because people are really appreciative to get live
music in their little bar in their little town,”
Clone said.

When 10 Foot Tall and 80 Proof played at the
Longhorn Saloon on Halloween, the rest of
the Hebgen Lake community was essentially
boarded up. A shuttle ran from downtown
West Yellowstone, and people rallied to Hebgen
to party down.

The band plans to release their third album
by year’s end. With the new lead guitarist, the
mood is a little more electric than their previous
work.

“I’d say we’re country,” Clone said. “People in
San Francisco said we were ‘hicksters.’”