By Valliant Corley

Pilot staff writer

GOLD BEACH - Travis Rush grew up in Gold Beach, spending his first 18 years here.

andquot;I remember wanting so bad to get out of there,andquot; he said Thursday from his home in Portland.

andquot;But then, you miss it,andquot; Rush, 35, said. andquot;Coming home, I enjoy visiting.andquot;

Rush will return home to his old high school on Tuesday, accompanied by a seven-piece band and a stage crew as he promotes his new CD, Come andamp; Get It.

When Rush left Gold Beach, he traveled with the group Up With People, visiting 17 countries in about two and one-half years.

andquot;It was an amazing experience,andquot; Rush said.

andquot;I moved to LA and chased a record label down there a while,andquot; he said. andquot;In two years, I was fed up. I wasn't having a good time.

andquot;One day, I decided I wasn't going to wait for someone to tell me I wasn't good enough. I decided to come back home and start a business.andquot;

So he headed to Portland and went into Web development and hosting on the Internet.

andquot;I tried to get more of a foundation and more experience in life,andquot; he said. andquot;As you live long enough, you're able to write more music. You've been through some stuff.andquot;

He said when you grow up in a small town, there are no concerts of any kind. Now he said he's been watching schools cut choir and band.

andquot;When I was in school, that and sports were the only thing kids had. Now, they're taking some of that away,andquot; Rush said.

So, he decided he wanted to bring a concert to small towns, a quality concert.

andquot;My road crew is from Rose Garden in Portland, a huge coliseum,andquot; he said. andquot;I want to bring a show that size to these towns as well as generate money for schools.andquot;

He's taking his show to 36 cities, and giving schools an opportunity to participate in proceeds.

andquot;A school can make about $3,000 on the concert,andquot; he said. andquot;I hope we can raise at least $50,000 for schools.

andquot;On top of that, we're bringing 10 kids from town at each school and paying them to help the road crew and merchandising crew to set up the stage and lighting and so on. They'll get a taste of working with professionals who do this every day.andquot;

The show features 24 moving lights and lots of smoke, he said. And the sound system is hanging in the air, lights and speakers, 20 feet above the crowd.

andquot;It's going to be a lot of fun,andquot; he said. andquot;I've got a seven-piece band that has toured with Phil Collins, Tina Turner and Hank Williams Jr.andquot;

Rush said he still has family in Gold Beach and Bandon and, when he was growing up, they enjoyed recreation in Curry County.

andquot;My favorite was going up the river and having water skiing, camping and rafting,andquot; he said.

andquot;It's been a while, a few years. We used to, every time I came home, get a boat and go up the river,andquot; he said. andquot;My mom used to work for Jerry's Jet Boats.andquot;

andquot;I miss the people,andquot; he said. Everybody's so friendly.andquot;

Rush liked being involved in school.

andquot;I wrestled for nine years, through Riley Creek and high school, and football and baseball and choir classes,andquot; he said.

andquot;And getting into trouble, getting harassed by local police wondering what kids are doing down on the beach tonight,andquot; he said.

Rush said he started singing when he, his dad, brother and sister, would sing in the car on the way to school.

andquot;Harmony and such,andquot; he said.

andquot;Then I got into playing piano and I loved that. When I got in high school, my choir teacher - Keith Fleshman, better known as Flash - was a major influence on my singing. He really taught me a lot.

andquot;I hate to see those teachers let go right now,andquot; he said.

andquot;My dad used to play country music - Glen Campbell, John Denver, Kenny Rogers. I said I hate country. I've always liked adult contemporary - Elton John, Billy Joel. Then a lot of country got on the edge of being pop music.

andquot;As the style came into new country, I really liked that,andquot; he said.

andquot;I consider my style a combination of Keith Urban and Billy Joel,andquot; Rush said.

Rush had a tune-up for the tour on Thursday night, a showcase concert.

The first full concert of the tour was last Friday at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.