38 Special (2010)
|Genres||Southern rock, hard rock, arena rock, country rock, blues rock|
|Associated acts||Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Zant, Grand Funk Railroad|
|Past members||Donnie Van Zant|
Donnie Van Zant, the younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd founder Ronnie, began playing music himself during his teen years, forming the band Standard Production in 1968, which paved the way for Sweet Rooster, Donnie's first professional outfit that he formed in 1969 with guitarist Jeff Carlisi and bassist Ken Lyons, soon joined by drummer Steve Brookins. Carlisi left Sweet Rooster after graduating high school to study architecture at Georgia Tech and was replaced by Don Barnes in 1970. Brookins also left to work as a truck driver and Sweet Rooster was defunct by 1973.
Nevertheless, Van Zant, Barnes and Lyons, while continuing their day jobs and working in other bands, began working on composing original songs in their spare time. By 1974, they decided it was time to get serious and form "the ultimate band" that would be their "one last shot" at success. Briefly, Van Zant was considering a higher-paying position for the railroad he worked at but was finally convinced by brother Ronnie to stick with music since it was "in his blood."
The new outfit comprised Van Zant, Barnes, Lyons, Brookins, second drummer Jack Grondin and a returning Carlisi. The band's name was thought up after an incident which found the boys practicing in a warehouse out in the middle of nowhere. When police arrived after being notified by locals of the noise, the band members were unable to come out because of a padlock on the door. One of the cops said, "That's all right. We'll let this .38 special do the talking", and shot off the lock.
Now that they had their name, the group spent most of 1975 and 1976 playing a steady grind of one-nighters, mostly in the South and the Midwest. Eventually, big brother Ronnie figured Donnie and the gang had paid enough dues and set them up with Skynryd's manager Peter Rudge, who also handled the Who, and was tour manager for the Rolling Stones. Rudge quickly set the group up to open shows for red-hot acts, like Peter Frampton, Foghat and Kiss, and got them signed to A & M Records, who assigned Dan Hartman (of Edgar Winter Group fame) to produce their very first album, 38 Special, which was released in May 1977.
Just before the record's release, bassist Ken Lyons decided to leave the band. He was replaced by their friend and original Lynyrd Skynyrd member Larry Junstrom, who had contributed to one track of their debut.
Also in 1977, the band decided to add two female backup singers, Carol Bristow and Dale Krantz (before she left in 1979 to front Rossington Collins Band and eventually marry Skynyrd's Gary Rossington). Krantz would be replaced by Nancy Henderson (1979-1981), Lu Moss (1981-1984) and Lynn Hineman (1986-1987) before backup singers were dispensed with in 1987.
In October 1977 Ronnie Van Zant was killed when Skynyrd's plane crashed. Donnie wrote "Take Me Back" as a tribute to his brother, which appeared on the band's second album, Special Delivery (March 1978), also produced by Hartman.
The band's first two albums had a strong Southern rock influence. By the early 1980s, 38 Special had shifted to a more accessible guitar-driven arena rock style without completely abandoning its Southern rock roots. This shift helped to usher in a string of successful albums and singles. Engineer Rodney Mills, who'd worked with Atlanta Rhythm Section and others, assumed the producer's reins from here on and Survivor co-founder Jim Peterik became a frequent songwriting collaborator of the band's from 1979 on, which helped account for this change in sound and subsequent success.
"Rockin' into the Night", the title track from the group's third album (released in October 1979), which Peterik and his bandmates had originally written for Survivor, was instead given to 38 Special. Sung by 38's guitarist Don Barnes (who would sing lead vocals on all of the band's hits through 1987), the tune became their first song to receive national airplay, peaking at #43 on Billboard magazine's singles chart in early 1980.
Their next release, Special Forces (May 1982), contained the Top 10 smash "Caught Up in You" (just like "Hold On Loosely", composed by Barnes and Carlisi with Peterik) which hit No. 1 on Billboard magazine's Album Rock Tracks chart, as did the single, "If I'd Been the One" (October 1983), from their November 1983 release Tour de Force. "You Keep Runnin' Away" (August 1982) and "Back Where You Belong" (February 1984) continued the sequence of hit radio favorites.
In the fall of 1984, they had another hit with "Teacher, Teacher", from the soundtrack of the 1984 film Teachers, written by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. The song climbed to #4 on the Billboard Top Tracks Chart, spending 10 weeks on the chart.
By 1987, Don Barnes had decided to leave 38 to go out on his own. He recorded an album called Ride the Storm, which, though slated for release in 1989, was shelved after A & M Records was sold and did not see the light of day until 2017–twenty eight years later.
In the meantime, the group moved on, bringing in guitarist Danny Chauncey, after drummer Steve Brookins also decided to leave, and singer/keyboardist Max Carl, from West Coast rhythm and blues unit Jack Mack & the Heart Attack.
The next release, Rock & Roll Strategy (June 1988), saw the group playing down their heavy guitar sound and putting forth a more '80s pop keyboard-oriented approach, led by Carl's more R&B-style voice. "Second Chance" (taken from Rock & Roll Strategy) was a No. 1 hit on Billboard's adult contemporary chart in early 1989.
Carl was also lead singer on "The Sound of Your Voice" (Billboard Hot 100 #33 in 1991) from Bone Against Steel (July 1991), which saw the group moving from A & M to the British label Charisma Records. That same year, Bobby Capps came aboard as keyboardist/co-singer and drummer Scott Meeder replaced Jack Grondin after the latter decided to leave the music business. The band found themselves without a home after Charisma folded in 1992.
After touring with the band through the spring of 1992, Max Carl decided to depart, making way for the return of Don Barnes. Since that time, the band has mostly concentrated on touring, with an occasional release of new material. Scott Hoffman took over the drum chair from Meeder later in 1992. Donny Baldwin (ex-Jefferson Starship) filled in for Hoffman on some 1996 tour dates after Hoffman was down with a broken arm, but Gary "Madman" Moffatt (formerly of Cactus) has been the band's drummer since 1997.
In 1996 38's long time guitarist/co-founder Jeff Carlisi, tired of the endless touring, decided to leave to form the Bonnie Blue Band, which led to the supergroup, Big People, which also featured Benjamin Orr (from the Cars), Liberty DeVitto (from Billy Joel's band), Derek St. Holmes (ex-Ted Nugent) and Pat Travers. Unfortunately Big People failed to launch.
During the summer of 1998, Donnie was sidelined after a leg injury and the band continued touring without him until he was healed enough to return to the road.
In 2007 38 Special was the opening act on Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr.'s Rowdy Frynds Tour. Also, on September 27, 2008, they filmed a CMT Crossroads special with country singer Trace Adkins, performing both artists' hits from over the years.
In 2012 a notice was posted on 38 Special's website saying Donnie Van Zant would not tour with the band due to health issues related to inner-ear nerve damage, although he would continue to write and record with the band. But in 2013, after nearly a year of missing performances, it was confirmed that Van Zant had officially left 38 Special after 39 years and was retiring from music.
In 2014 longtime bassist Larry Junstrom was replaced by Barry Dunaway (a veteran of many classic rock outfits, including Pat Travers Band, Yngwie Malmsteen and Survivor). Dunaway had previously filled in for Junstrom for a handful of shows in 2011 and a few shows in 2013 as well. Junstrom was then forced to retire due to a hand injury that required surgery.
Since 2019, the 38 lineup has consisted of Don Barnes, keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Capps, drummer Gary Moffatt, bassist Barry Dunaway, and guitarist Jerry Riggs. This leaves Don Barnes as the only original member, although Barnes was absent from the band from 1987 until 1992.
Bobby Capps is an American rock keyboardist. He is best known for being a member of the Southern rock band 38 Special since 1988; he worked with them between 1988 and 1991, and came on board in 1991. He became a full-member later in the 1990s.
The band, which started as a Southern rock band and switched to a more straight-ahead rock sound, had several hit singles between 1979 and 1991.Caught Up in You
"Caught Up in You" is the first single released from Southern rock band 38 Special's 1982 album, Special Forces. It became the band's first number-one single on the Billboard Top Tracks rock chart. It also became one of the band's two top ten pop hits, reaching number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Their other Top 10 single, "Second Chance", reached #6 in 1989. The song also went Top 10 in Canada, peaking at #9 on the RPM Singles chart.Donnie Van Zant
Donald Newton "Donnie" Van Zant (born June 11, 1952, in Jacksonville, Florida) is an American rock vocalist/guitarist. He is best known for being a member of the band 38 Special, from its formation in 1974 until 2013. He is the middle of three sons of a truck driver. Older brother Ronnie (1948–1977) was the original lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd; who died in a plane crash in Mississippi. Younger brother Johnny (b.1960) has been the lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1987; the two also perform together from time to time as the group Van Zant.
According to a posting in March 2013 on the 38 Special website, "Donnie Van Zant has not been able to join the band's performances for the past six months. In accordance with his doctor's strict orders and due to health issues related to inner-ear nerve damage, he will not be able to join 38 Special onstage in the foreseeable future. Donnie will continue to write and record with the band." However, it was announced later in 2013 that he had officially left 38 Special, and was retiring.Hold On Loosely
"Hold On Loosely" is a 1981 rock song by 38 Special and the first track from their fourth studio album Wild-Eyed Southern Boys. Released as the lead single from the album, the song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Rock Tracks chart and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. It later appeared on their 1987 compilation album Flashback: The Best of 38 Special and their 1999 live album Live at Sturgis. It was the 13th music video to be played on the day that MTV debuted in 1981.Larry Junstrom
Lawrence E. "Larry" Junstrom (born June 22, 1949) is an American bassist, best known for having been in rock band .38 Special from 1977 until 2014. He was also one of the founding members of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.Max Carl
Max Carl Gronenthal (born January 29, 1950) is an American rock singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter. He is the current co-lead singer of the classic rock band Grand Funk Railroad. In addition, he spent several years as the keyboardist and lead singer for the southern rock band 38 Special, for whom he co-wrote and sang lead on the hit song "Second Chance".Rockin' into the Night (song)
Rockin' into the Night is a 1980 song by American band 38 Special. Written by Gary Smith, Frank Sullivan and Jim Peterik of Survivor, it was the title song on 38 Special's third album, Rockin' into the Night. The band's first single, it reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100.Special Forces (38 Special album)
Special Forces is the fifth studio album by southern rock band 38 Special, released in 1982. The band embarked on the Special Forces Tour to support the album.
Three of the four charted singles from the album were co-written with Survivor's Jim Peterik, including "Caught Up In You", the band's first Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit.Tour de Force (38 Special album)
Tour de Force is the sixth studio album by the southern rock band 38 Special, released in 1983. A music video was made for the track "Back Where You Belong", which featured the band portraying detectives who are, humorously, trying to find a missing woman.Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
Wild-Eyed Southern Boys is the fourth studio album by the southern rock band 38 Special, released in 1981.
Three of the four songs written or co-written by Survivor's Jim Peterik for the album charted as singles: the title track, "Fantasy Girl" and "Hold On Loosely".