Sweet Comfort Band 1978
In the early months of 1978 I led the music for the Arkansas Youth Convention. I’m not sure where it was held. Perhaps Little Rock. But I remember traveling in a car back to Hot Springs so that I could sing during the evening service. I’ll never forget that trip because I ended up changing clothes in the car while a friend of ours was driving. Oh, and Julie was about 7 months pregnant at the time. I made it to the church on time and no one was hurt in the process!
Back to the Youth Convention. While I was there I was approached by a couple of people. They said I was doing great and was just what they were needing for a special concert in June in their hometown.
So, I gave them my number and said I would wait for their call.
Sweet Comfort Band 1978
Well, fast forward to May. Our son, Aaron, was born. And by this time the guys wanting to do the concert had contacted me and I was sending them a promo photo head shot for their poster.
Oh, they had told me that I would be the opening act for a band from California called Sweet Comfort Band. (that sounds a little like the whiskey Southern Comfort, but I assure you they are two different things!)
The promoters scheduled the concert for June 26, 1978 in their hometown of Harrison, Arkansas. Tickets were $3.00 and it was going to be held in the Town Hall Music Theater.
I knew that Aaron would be a month old by this time and Julie might be okay with me leaving town for 3 days.
They sent me airplane tickets.
I’m pretty sure since the concert was on a Monday night I flew up on Sunday afternoon. I remember flying in a puddle jumper, most likely from Little Rock. Anyway, I brought my guitar and a suitcase with me.
Sweet Comfort Band drove into town that night and we all had a cookout together. The guys in the band were nice, but I hit it off with Randy Thomas, the guitarist, better than the rest. The other guys were Bryan Duncan (keyboards and lead vocals), Kevin Thomson (bass/vocals/preaching) and Rick Thomson (drums/vocals).
One of the things I heard from the promoters is that Kevin (the one who booked the band) was a little nervous when he found out that only 77 tickets or so had been sold. The promoters told them they would guarantee their fee ($500.00 back then) no matter who showed up on Monday night. Monday night, as I was staying in the home of one of the promoters, he told me they couldn’t pay me. I said, “Hey, just get me a plane ticket back to Houston and we’ll call it even!” They did.
Sweet Comfort Band 1978
One of the highlights of meeting the band was visiting with Randy Thomas. He was funny, friendly, and he loved Dr. Pepper. He liked it so much that he wrote the President of the company and they sent him Dr. Pepper promo items like coupons, stickers, t-shirts, and more.
Randy also knew that I was nervous and had never been in a situation like this before, so he befriended me and tried to encourage me.
We got to the Music Theater early to set up their equipment and sound system. The kids started rolling in. But it was sad to look out into an event center that would easily hold 5-600 people and only see 70+ kids and parents in the folding metal chairs. I felt for the promoters.
I had never been the opening act. I had no clue. So, I had a list of about 7-10 songs that I was going to play and sing. I did a few on acoustic guitar and the rest on Bryan Duncan’s Fender Rhodes or whatever kind of keyboard it was. It was foreign to me. I was really used to pounding out the chords on a real piano. I totally did not feel at ease playing his keyboard. Even in the sound check I was nervous and unsettled. My performance reflected that. Not much energy. The songs were probably a bit too slow. It was just not a good time for me. I was glad to get off the stage and listen to the guys rock.
The band was awesome. Now, I had been in a Christian rock band in college called Theophilus. But, Sweet Comfort Band was at the next level and even had airplay with their songs, like “When I Was Alone” and “Somebody Loves You.”
So, my memories include Bryan Duncan’s amazing vocals; Randy’s great guitar playing; great vocals and drumming by Rick; and fantastic bass playing by Kevin, which also included a solo. Kevin played a bass that I had never heard of, but have not forgotten. It was an Alembic. Wow. Here he is playing a solo on it.
To hear some of SCB’s songs check them out on YouTube or go to Sweet Comfort Band.
Oh, by the way, I got home alright. Little did I know that in 2 1/2 months Julie and I would be packing up a U-Haul and our 4 month old son and heading to Asheboro, NC. But, that’s another story. Hopefully part of a book I’m writing.
Thanks for reading.