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MTB's Gray on original band members: 'I miss those guys'

The ageless Southern rock band at Family Fest tonight

By Julie McCombs, Photographer
Published on Saturday, May 4, 2013

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Doug Gray, center, and the Marshall Tucker Band will perform at 8 o'clock tonight at the Family Fest at the main stage at City Park. Gray and the band are pictured performing on a Rock Legends Cruise.

Marshall Tucker Band

Doug Gray, center, and the Marshall Tucker Band will perform at 8 o'clock tonight at the Family Fest at the main stage at City Park. Gray and the band are pictured performing on a Rock Legends Cruise.

 

Doug Gray will talk as long as one wants to listen. The lead singer and original Marshall Tucker Band front man brings the renown Southern rock band to Greer at 8 o’clock tonight as the main act for the Greer Family Fest.

Gray, reluctantly fell into the lead role when Tommy Caldwell died from injuries suffered in a Jeep crash in April 1980. Over 30 years and 5,000 shows later, Gray still enjoys talking to the audience, introducing songs and interacting with fans before and after performances.

GreerToday.com photographer Julie McCombs and Gray talked this week about tonight’s performance and Gray re-introducing the Marshall Tucker Band and its new generation of fans that continue to support the major and ageless Southern rock band of the 1970s.

Julie: What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance?

Doug: At each concert I want to help everyone to forget their worries for a couple of hours and shown them a good time. I want to interact with the audience. We have the ability to make time for everyone. The bus will be ready to pull out and I am still signing T-shirts and shaking hands.

Julie: Who are some of the people who have influenced you?

Doug: My musical influences range from Dionne Warwick, James Brown to the Allman Brothers. My nephew, Clay Cooke, is a Zac Brown Band member. He tells me they play MTB songs during their concert. We enjoy playing with the band and respect them for their positive music and atmosphere.

Julie: You sound like an ambassador for the music industry. Your band also performs during cruises. I have a friend who takes his college age son with him on Rock Legends Cruise.

Doug: I have two daughters, ages 35 and 21, and I know how hard it is to find things to share with them. I believe positive, feel good music and a fun atmosphere, like a cruise, is a good way to bridge the gap between the generations.

Julie: So much as changed since you first began performing. The MTB has become involved in supporting troops and their families and helped the communities effected by Hurricane Sandy.

Doug: I was in Vietnam in ’68. We have a responsibility to help people in need. We performed in Florence recently to assist in the purchase for a soldier’s family. We’ve performed in Iraq. We enjoy supporting the military and their families. We helped load a large truck of supplies to Hurricane Sandy victims.

Julie: The band has changed since the original group. Founder Toy Caldwell (died February, 1993), his brother, Tommy, (died April 1980) and George McCorkle (died June 2007) were excellent musicians and performers with strong community ties to the upstate. Do you think about them when you are performing?

Doug: I miss those guys, especially when I watch our band continue to honor them by playing their song as hard and the best they can. I will dedicate songs to those guys and I appreciate the dedication the fans have had to them.

To read more about the band, its members and purchase music visit the Marshall Tucker Band's website.

 

 

 

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