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At North Hills, we’re counting down the days until The Midtown Beach Music Series gets underway, and we hope you are too. This favorite music series is one of the most popular in the area and provides a hometown audience for some of the biggest names n the genre who also happen to be from Raleigh. One of those is The Band of Oz. David Hicks joined the Raleigh-based group in 1976 as their drummer, and both he and the band are still going strong. We had the opportunity to ask David about playing in front of a hometown crowd and why events like these are among the band’s favorite to play.
Everyone seems to have their own definition of Beach Music. How would you describe it?
David Hicks: Beach music to me is the music that was played on the juke boxes at the beaches and boardwalks up and down the east coast going back to the early ‘50s and ‘60s. The Drifters, The Tams, The Clovers, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Embers and The Catalinas. Now, the genre is being carried on by the groups you have playing today.
What’s the best way to describe the Band of Oz in terms of the music you play and the overall performance style of the group?
DH: The Band of Oz is considered a high-energy group performing not only beach music, but a broad variety of material including many of the favorites from the ‘70s, ‘80s and today. The fact that we have a mix of older original members and new younger members, gives us broad appeal.
Does the band perform primarily in the southeast?
DH: We perform primarily in the southeast but go anywhere and have played in many other cities and states including Vegas, as well as Canada and other countries.
At what types of events and venues do you usually play?
DH: We are very popular with “Alive after Five” type events and the wedding market. We do most of the major beach music festivals on the east coast and also play some corporate events.
Do you ever get tired of traveling so much?
DH: I have been on the road for 40 years, and the hard travel does tell on me a little more now than it did years ago, but it is still worth it.
The band will be playing at North Hills as part of the Midtown Beach Music Series on May 12. What does it mean to be able to play in front of a ‘home crowd” at an event such as this?
DH: The guys in the band look forward to the North Hills event since it is home, and we see so many people that we do not get to see otherwise. It is always a huge and very responsive crowd.
For the band as a whole, what is your favorite setting to perform in?
DH: The favorite setting to play in is the North Hills type event. There’s simply so much energy in the crowd that it fuels our performance.