An interview with Back Porch Rockers, performing at Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach this Saturday

Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach is this Saturday, October 12, 2019

Call 910-278-7584 for tickets.

Note that overflow parking is available up the street at the BB&T Bank. It is a short walk to the Oktoberfest held at the Fire Station.

When did the band decide to entertain FREE for non profit events?
When we formed the band in 2016, we decided that we would perform only for legitimate non-profits and charities. We do perform for private parties, but we have a requirement for them to raise a minimum of $1000 for a charity of their choice. This has never been a problem. Several private parties we have done have exceeded over $3,000. We are all retired and this is one of the ways we donate back to the community we live in.

How many years have you been doing this for non profits?
As stated above since the inception of our band in April of 2016.

Approximately how much has the band earned for non profits?
Well, there are bands that track this info, but we do not. A couple of reasons, first, it is not that important to know how much we help raise, it is far more important to us, that we are able to help. We don’t actually raise any money, we just provide the entertainment, and as you know there are many others involved who assist in organizing fund raisers. We did track this dollar information in our first year or so and if I had to guess, we have helped raise approximately $200K over the past few years.

How many events have you done in 2019?
We are scheduled to perform for 18 events in this calendar year. We have done 13 to date.

What about the funds you need to continue?  Instruments, gas, etc.
All expenses are absorbed by the band members, it is our way of helping the cause.

Give us some info on the members of the band.  Their love of music,
playing for audiences, etc.  Tell us about your band.

Steve Privott, our lead guitarist, is from Virginia and has been playing since he was 13 years old. He played and recorded professionally in the 60’s and has shared the stage with performers including The Yardbirds, The Loving Spoonful and Neil Diamond.

Kurt Chismark, performs vocals and percussion for our band, has an extensive background in music including a Music & Recording Industry Certification from San Francisco State University.

Martin Murphy, our bass player, also performs vocals and 6 string guitar and our music arrangements. Martin began playing guitar in high school and played in a popular Cleveland, Ohio band that opened for both national and international touring acts before retiring from the music business. Taking up music again in the 80’s, Martin began played electric bass for a 10-piece R&B group then for an acoustic guitar act. After another prolonged absence from music, he retired to the Southport area in 2015 and began playing again.

Dave Testa is our drummer and provides back-up vocals. Dave had an early interest in music inherited from a singing mother. This inclination was reinforced by an older brother who played drums in a high school rock and roll band. Dave’s earliest bands were in High School, with one locally successful soul band just before college. He then retired from playing for about 30 years and then a revival as his wife encouraged him to get back into music. He has played for several groups here in the area before bringing his talents to our band.

Jim Irvine, guitar, began playing music in 5th grade by taking piano lessons. He switched to playing Trumpet in 6th through 8th grade taking lessons and playing in the school band. When the “British Invasion” hit America Jim took up playing a 12 String Guitar. Jim left music when he was in his early 20’s and got a real job. Around 2010, with the encouragement of his wife got back into music and started taking lessons again, where he met several other students that eventually formed the band.

Linda Harlow, guitar and vocals, began her musical venture by playing her older sister’s accordian and then her younger sister’s guitar. She played with several small groups in college but gave it up when she started her professional work career as a French professor. After moving to Southport in 2010 she began taking guitar lessons and eventually helped form our band.

Randy Lewis, guitar and vocals began his journey into music very late in life. Growing up, he never showed any interest in music although his parents and siblings were very involved in music. After retiring a dear friend of his sent him a nice guitar in 2014. He started taking lessons from his instructor and mentor in Oak Island who then, convinced him to sing as well. After meeting and playing with a few other students, specifically, Linda Harlow, Jim Irvine and Dave Testa, the idea of a band was born.

To summarize, we all have a very strong love of our music and our desire to perform for others. All of us are still learning to be entertainers. Several of us help other bands when the need arises and all of us are involved in other volunteering positions. We love what we do and we love this community.

What about the turnover?  Do you have much?
We have had no turnover since we started performing publicly.

Do any other bands in Brunswick County play for non profits?
There is one other band that I am aware, that plays exclusively for charities and non-profits. Mike’s Garage Band has been doing this for approximately 10 years. Their fundraising revenues and have exceeded over $1million! Their band has done such great things for this area. They are great friends and supporters of our band.

Additionally, most every band down here will play a benefit or fundraiser from time to time. The band that we referred for your fundraiser earlier this year, Trilogy and their jazz band, are prime examples.

The Friends are feeling fortunate that there are people like the Back Porch Rockers that consider the plight of non profits by helping with their fundraisers. Those of us that are passionate about historic preservation, the aged, young children, pets and others thank these folks for their time, love of what they are doing and doing it with a happy heart. Again, we thank them!

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