A racecar bearing the logos of the band live and company United Fire and Data sits on display in front of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center on
A racecar bearing the logos of the band live and company United Fire and Data sits on display in front of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

This story began in York with some middle schoolers sticking concert fliers to the windshields of parked cars.

They grew up, became rock stars, traveled to places like California and Africa and met men named Bono, Nelson Mandela and Kurt Cobain. A little older now, their music plays on classic-rock stations rather than top 40.

That's some of the abbreviated story guitarist Chad Taylor told Thursday at a press conference about Live's latest plans.

This time, the band that released "Throwing Copper" has unveiled United Fiber and Data, a fiber optic company with plans to build a 400-mile network between New York City and northern Virginia.

Company executives estimate United Fiber and Data will create 300 jobs in York, Reading, Lancaster and Allentown - each the future site of a data center. Between 70 and 100 of those jobs will be in York.

Among the owners of United Fiber and Data are some of the same men who own Think Loud Development, which made headlines a year ago with plans for a $45 million renovation project at the former Bi-Comp Inc. building, 210 York St.

That's where United Fiber and Data will have its administrative headquarters - a detail kept under wraps until Thursday's press conference at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Owners of both companies include Live musicians Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer and their business partner Bill Hynes.

United Fiber and Data may not have the name recognition of companies like Google and Apple - two companies Hynes mentioned at the press conference announcing the project a year ago.

But, Hynes said this week, UFD will be "just as impactful" in York as Google and Apple were in the towns they call home.

Taylor said United Fiber and Data, which will transmit information through light traveling in fiber, is an extension of Live's message.

"Live's music has always been about connectivity," Taylor explained.

The Live guys were joined Thursday by Michael and Marco Andretti, a father-son duo in an Indy car racing dynasty.

United Fiber and Data is hoping to communicate speed and reliability by sponsoring an Andretti Indy car, Hynes said.

Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey formed Live with former lead singer Ed Kowalczyk in 1985. The four, all York natives, went on to achieve mainstream success with their 1994 album "Throwing Copper," which produced a string of radio hits.

Live has set aside the top two floors of the Bi-Comp building for rehearsal and studio space, several apartment suites, memorabilia storage and a gym.

The group is also behind YRK, a new advertorial magazine that appeared in downtown stores, restaurants and bars for the first time in January.

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.