Ok, Where does it start….? Let's pick a year. How about….. 1984!|
It was a good book, and a very good year as well, because that's the year
that four rejects from the 70's band Cirkus decided that there actually
was LIFE after sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll. Well… there was life after
the sex and drugs anyway. That LIFE was, and is, called Streetkar
and the Rock & Roll never stopped.
Streetkar was formed by Lane Sewell, Don Melton, Ron Naramore,
and David Hulsey. Although among themselves they had the voices to
get by, they knew they needed someone to handle the weight of the main
lead vocals, so they invited Tim Dodgen to join them. Tim was a good
blues vocalist and hell of a good harp player. These guys started jamming,
but the jobs just weren't coming their way, so David made the suggestion
that they should start playing 'oldies'. At that time, there was really
only one band on the local scene playing that style of music, so Streetkar
started working up a lot of 50's and 60's music, with a little 70's thrown in
for good measure. It didn't take long before the word got out and Streetkar
started playing a few more gigs here and there. It was a good time for all,
but in 1986, Tim decided to leave the band.
For a couple of years, they kept it just a foursome. They picked up gigs
here and there playing for customized van club reunions, Elk Clubs
and the like. In 1988 Barry Graham joined the band as lead vocalist and
Streekar seemed to have found what it needed. With Barry's great voice
in the lead spot,the band really took off. The band started picking up
some of the more exclusive country club gigs as well as corporate parties,
and they became a staple at some local clubs like Smoky Joe's and The Ox.
Today, only Lane and David remain from that fateful and fortunate time.
Don Melton (bass) and Ron Naramore (gutar and keyboards) left the band in
1994, presenting us with most of what Streetkar is today. In that same year
Gary Neighbors took over the bass and John Morris came in to fill the
keyboard void, while playing a little guitar on the side.
As a side note, John and Gary have a bit of a pre-history with this line up as
well. Back in 1976 there was a little band called Tower. John and Gary were
the respective keyboard guy and bass player for that band as well. Not only
that, but David was the drummer and Barry was the lead singer. Over the
course of a couple of years people changed. The afore mentioned Don Melton
became the bass player for Tower, and he brought Lane into the band. Now, you
can see what is developing here... Tower morphed into what became Cirkus....
which is where this story began.
Ok... Now, on with that story...!
One night in 1997, Streetkar was performing at The Superior Grill, when
in walked none other than Michael Mershon Hill. Now, first you have to
realize that Mike actually has a long history with the current Streetkar
lineup. This is the guy who worked sound, and generally got things done,
back in the day for Cirkus. So, I guess you could say he's another reject
from the 70's like the rest of these guys. Anyway, prior to Mike showing up
that night, Gary had been doing a pretty good job of taking care of the sound
mix. But it's a pretty difficult thing to do when you're playing bass and singing
backup vocals, to walk out to the mixing console, determine that things don't
sound right, and fix it.... not to mention that the lead guitarist is threatening
to cut you paycheck because he can't hear himself. Well, that all ended on this
night, because this is the night that Mike rejoined the Rock 'n Roll ranks.
Barry continued to carry the lead vocals for a few years, but in 2000 Barry
moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and for a while he kept working with the band.
Eventually, he had to leave and at this point Streetkar knew that good singers
that could get you by were a dime-a-dozen, but Barry had set a pretty high
standard. So, enter Skip Genery.
With big shoes to fill, Skip Genery stepped into them and almost broke his neck.
Most of the band knew Skip from high school (he was a couple of years younger
than most of us), but they all had known his vocal work at some point. Skip
had been out of the music business for a few years, and believe me, at first it
showed pretty good. We almost had a rebellion between the ones that wanted to
keep him and those that wanted to kick him out the back of the van pulling the
trailer. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Skip became an absolutely
awesome addition to the band. As one of the best pure Rock 'n' Roll singers in
the area, Skip certainly helped carry Streetkar forward to what it has become today.
During Skip's break in period, Streetkar knew they needed some help, and since
they knew that Mike, (yes, the sound guy) had some singing expreience, they asked
him to fill in on some lead vocals, and he went WAY beyond the call of duty. To
this day Mike's voice is and intregral part of the Streetkar sound. Both as a lead
vocalist on some songs and as a backgound vocalist on almost everything else.
He is also the guy who is ususally talking between the songs and sets simply
because we can't shut him up... but that's OK... because nobody else in the
band likes to talk anyway!
Skip was great, but after a couple of years, It was clear that Skip was pretty
much bigger than Streetkar, so he got married and left to start his own Rock 'n Roll
band back in 2002. Streetkar knew that Skip was good, and they were pretty sure
that Skip could handle being the main attraction, so they went about their own
business of finding another lead vocalist. Enter James Clark. It is a rare
moment when the man who can sing the phonebook comes to work with a little
Rock 'n Roll band in Birmingham, Alabama. Especially when that singer lives in
Birmingham, Alabama as well.
James showed up for his first gig at Inverness Country Club and absolutely
knocked everyone off their feet. Since then, it has been one accolade
after another. Streetkar always knew they had the instrumental parts down.
But, for the first time they had a singer who could sing anything, absolutely,
anyway you wanted it. And this is how Streetkar remains today.
How could Lane and David ever have known what they were starting with that
little band back in 1984. Like I said earlier, 1984, it WAS a good book
and a VERY good year. To all of those who have followed Streetkar over the
past 24 years, Thank you, and we hope to see you soon!
While Streetkar will occasionally book itself through this web site,
they are also represented by Southeastern Attractions and Perfect Events.