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The Marshall Tucker Band has been playing at the highest level of the music scene since its formation in 1972 and 50 years after its formation, Doug Gray – a founding member of the original Southern rock band – is “feeling good” as the band continues to play sold-out shows.
“I worked really hard for this 50th year, going to United Talent Artists (UTA) and I thought [it] It was going to be tough being an older band,” Gray, 74, told Fox News Digital. “Usually you kind of get knocked out, and you play a few dates here and there and stuff like that. In our last chat, we talked about the Marshall Tucker Band’s ability to write songs and the crowds that love the songs and the memories we’ve made those first eight years that keep people of all ages coming back because they bring their children, and they bring their grandchildren.”
“It’s amazing because all of those songs were kind of for people,” Gray added of the band’s infusion of blues, country and jazz. “They were thoughtful. And Toy (Caldwell) and Tommy (Caldwell) and myself, we were writing songs that meant something to people. We have songs on two Netflix movies right now, and then we have about three coming to Amazon and their stuff because they still love our songs.”
Original members of the Marshall Tucker Band included Gray, the Toy Brothers and Tommy Caldwell, George McCorkle, Paul T. Riddle and Jerry Eubanks. Tommy died in 1980 following a car accident in the band’s hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Toy in 1993 from respiratory failure. McCorkle died in 2007, and Riddle and Eubanks both left the band in the 80s and 90s, respectively.
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With Gray as the last surviving member as part of the original band, the band are currently embarking on their anniversary tour, which Gray says has band booking dates through 2023.
For Gray, he said he would play for as long as life allowed, especially after overcoming a bout with the coronavirus. His lease on life is shrouded in appreciation for what he is still able to do each day.
Gray explained a time when many were unsure what genre to place the band in. While it can be difficult for a band to find their sound and their voice when they have the ability to play different types of music, Gray said he’s still amazed to receive so much praise from the big guys. country music caps back then, but even more so now given how quickly the industry has changed over the past 50 years.
“I’m a puppet and a lot of people think that’s an insult, but it’s not. I’m a puppet of what the public wants to hear.”
“I meet people I’ve known for years, some of them are country artists – people sometimes look at us like we’re country, and they didn’t know where to put us at first because we might go and play with Spyro Gyra and Thelonius Monk, and then we’d be with Dionne Warwick, and then I’d say, ‘That’s kind of cool because that’s how I grew up singing, that was how she sang – from the bottom of the heart,'” Gray explained.
“Watching these young guys looking at me, I was going out to dinner with four or five of the top buyers in the country and I wonder what they really see in us? What do they want?” Gray continued his bewilderment that the Marshall Tucker Band is still as coveted a ticket as it was when the band traveled alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd and BB King.
“They sit down and they ask my advice on how to do other things because of my experience,” Gray added. “I knew when eight tracks went out of fashion – I know when change comes. And thank goodness the changes came because the music not only became more transparent, but it became real. More people could release stuff and things could happen as they have for us now.”
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In the past 17 years, the Marshall Tucker Band has never played the same set twice, and Gray hangs his hat on the fact that he and the players in his band have a vast catalog of 333 songs to choose from.
“We’ve sung a ton of records and when we get on stage and all the lights go out, I have to admit I’m completely blindsided by the audience because that’s the audience telling me what to do,” said Grey. “I’m a puppet and a lot of people think that’s an insult, but it’s not. I’m a puppet of what the public wants to hear.”
Gray joked about a time when a venue employee approached her to say she was working on the show only to explain that her grandfather introduced her to the Marshall Tucker Band when she was on the show. maternal. “We’re starting to get a lot of requests right now to be on the road,” he said.
“It’s a whole other world, that’s what it is. And it gave me the inspiration to want to learn a new song ‘Without You’ and/or ‘I’ll Be Loving You’, which is a song that Toy wrote, which I thought was great,” Gray said, adding that, in his opinion, Toy is one of the most prolific writers he’s ever worked with and Gray has often drawn inspiration from. of him to create his own records for the band.
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“There’s a song I wrote on the back of a Burger King fast food bag and I didn’t write it, my girlfriend did then, and she became my wife” , explained Gray of “I Should Have Never Started Lovin’ You”, noting that they didn’t have a lot of money at the time.
He went on to note that the 1977 record was written while the couple sat in an “old and battered” pickup truck that Gray bought from a gentleman who drove it through a peach orchard.
“I told him something popped into my head, and it’s not about you, but I want you to write it down,” Gray explained. “So we couldn’t find anything to write about because we were in that van. And then she found a pencil or a pen, and I said, ‘There’s something in your eyes that reminds me of all the loves that I left behind. The looks on your face as they tell me I never should have started loving you. And she wrote that down and she said, ‘You’re talking about me, n ‘is this not ?!’ I said no! Is it true when they say I was mean and cruel? All the loves I’ve had, I’ve called them fools now that the tide has turned, and I’m alone too. I should have never started loving you.'”
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Gray went on to explain that the moral behind his story is that “I don’t know if my job is going to end tomorrow”, and reflected on the fact that the song he was thinking about while sitting in a van “is now being played in Belgium at the moment in family films in the great outdoors.”
“I know that’s weird in itself because it was like 1975-76,” Gray said in amazement. “But, you know, the real thing here about me feeling the way I do and that you appreciate me feeling like that and happy for me makes me happy for you because I’m able to talk to you and to tell you about it,” Gray said thoughtfully. “It means we can grow a bit, not just on the music, not on the band – I’m making a real difference.”
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The Marshall Tucker Band’s next stop on its 50th anniversary tour is set for June 4 in Laughlin, Nevada – and fans can purchase tickets through 2023 with February 13 seeing the band play the Rock Legends Cruise X at aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.