You’ve got to love this digital age we live in. I recently sat down (at my computer on Facebook) for an in-depth interview (via Messenger) with Statesboro’s newest band to hit the scene. Just over a month out from their Boro debut, I chatted with Jerry Roberson, Frank Farr, Sean Kent and Kendall Hadden who, together with Jay Stewart, make up “The Dukes.” Between some good-natured ribbing and a few wisecracks, they filled me in on the details of how the band came to be.
BH: Whose idea was it to start the band? How did each of you get involved?
Jerry: When Frank and I played the Patsy Cline show at the Averitt Center, we talked about starting a band because we realized how much we missed playing. It had been a while. Frank contacted Jay Stewart and Sean Kent. Our friend Nathan Smith couldn’t join, but said he knew a great singer from Swainsboro named Kendall Hadden.
BH: Frank, you toured with Snow for a while, right? How long?
Frank: Oh, yeah. We toured for seven years. Of course, Chip (fellow bandmate Chip Martin) sold a tune to Randy Meisner from Eagles, “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone,” for his solo album back in the 80s during the Snow band days. We all played on that one.
BH: Wow. That's impressive. Were y’all based in Nashville?
Frank: Well they were from from all over — Virginia Beach, Virginia; Portland, Maine. When I joined them they were considered a Jacksonville band.
BH: And Jerry, you were in Nashville for a while, correct?
Jerry: I never lived there just spent a lot of time there pitching songs and had small increments of success but nothing big. I had some cuts, but not by major artists other than Moe Bandy on the 80s.
BH: Still, having a name like that pick up your song is kind of huge! Sean, how did you meet these guys?
Sean: I’ve known them all for years. I taught two of Frank’s three kids when I was a school teacher, and I went to church with Jerry years ago, and went to high school with members of Jay’s family. I’ve only known Kendall since this band though...but I love him best. (laughs)
Kendall: Ha, ha! I’m the unknown!
BH: So, it's going to sound like a lot, but all told, you guys have over 50 years of experience in the music business combined, right?
Kendall: Twenty-seven years on the road for me.
Jerry: Get out of the road Kendall, you're going to get run over!
Sean: I’ve played in bands since I was 17, but I don’t have the “professional” background these guys do. I was a worship leader at a couple churches and had an album on iTunes for a while (that Frank produced for me).
BH: Of course, Sean, you were in the most well known and loved band in Statesboro, Squawk Box. And Kendall?
Kendall: I spent four years full-time traveling the world. The last 19 have been regional doing about 100 dates per year.
Sean: See? Kendall is the coolest!
BH: Yup. He wins!
Kendall: Started out in an R&B boy band at 18.
BH: Who did you tour with internationally?
Sean: The Backstreet Boys! Ha, ha. Just kidding.
Kendall: Canaanland Boys out of Jacksonville.
Brandi: That's cool! Where all did y'all go?
Jerry: Probably every nursing home in the world. Just kidding, Kendall.
Kendall: All over U.S., Canada, Africa, Europe and Scotland. We sang on cruise ships.
BH: Jay’s not on Facebook, so he’s not here to chat with us, but I know he’s been doing this for at least 30 years, too, right?
Sean: Yes. When he was younger, Jay was with a band called Avalanche that toured. He also made a jazz album a few years back called “Enjoy the Ride” that actually charted on iTunes.
BH: And he’s got some Allman Brothers connections, doesn't he?
Sean: Yeah, he and Gregg were close friends. Lots of people like to claim ties to Gregg, but he and Jay were legitimate friends.
Frank: Yes! He called me from Florida one time while on stage with Gregg.
Jerry: He was asked on stage to play with Gregg a time or two?
BH: Jay's a stellar player, but it still wouldn't surprise me if he were a little sweaty-palmed.
Frank: He was a tad nervous. I would have been, too. Something like, 10,000 people in the audience that day.
Sean: Yeah, that would’ve been nerve-racking for almost anybody
BH: Each of you has pretty remarkable resumes. I can't wait for folks to hear about the band. If I'm not there, make sure somebody's wife or kid gets some FB live so I can see it!
Sean: That’ll definitely happen.
With their mix of soul, R&B, and classic rock, The Dukes’ Statesboro debut promises to be a fantastic night of music and fun. Eagle Creek Brewing Company is hosting the band's first concert in the Boro on March 31 starting at 8 p.m. With this group of extraordinary musicians, you can expect to hear a lot more from them in the future.
For more information about their March 31 show, you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thedukeshavesoul/.