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Band rolls in for howling good time

June 06, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Marshall Tucker Band has been playing what's been called Southern Rock since original members got together in 1972.

"The buying public never really cared whether we were country or rock and roll," says founding member Doug Gray in a press release. MTB always has "played everything from country to blues and all things in-between" and still plays the classic songs, including "Heard It In a Love Song," "Fire on the Mountain," "Desert Skies" and "Can't You See."

Marshall Tucker Band is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The moniker was borrowed from a piano tuner whose name was found on a key ring in rented rehearsal space in their starting place of Spartanburg, S.C.,

MTB has earned seven gold and three platinum albums, and during the 1990s, had four Billboard country-chart hits and one on Billboard's gospel chart.

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Although players have changed through the years, the name, sound and heavy touring schedule - at least 150 dates a year - have remained.

The current lineup includes Gray, Stuart Swanlund on slide guitar and vocals, drummer Barry "BB" Borden, guitarist Chris Hicks and Tony Heatherly on bass. Gray sometimes shares the lead vocal spot with his 24-year-old nephew, Clay Cook, who "plays everything," - keyboards, saxophone and flute, says Paula Gould of Ron Rainey Management Inc.

Cook, who studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, co-wrote three songs on fellow Berklee student John Mayer's charting album, "No Such Thing," Gould adds.

The Triple B Arena program also includes Southern Rock Allstars, featuring Jackson Spires, Dave Hlubeck, Jay Johnson and Charles Hart. Former lead singer of Molly Hatchet, Jimmy Farrar, will perform, as will Bad Monkey.

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