TRU ROCK REVIVAL
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still Rock'n it
through the night!
Donald Barnes (born December 3, 1952) is an American rock vocalist and guitarist and one of the founding members of the Southern rock band 38 Special. Barnes performed lead vocals on nearly all of the group's biggest hits, including "Rockin' into the Night", "Hold On Loosely", "Caught Up in You", "If I'd Been the One", "Back Where You Belong", "Like No Other Night", "Somebody Like You", "Teacher Teacher", "Back to Paradise", "You Keep Runnin' Away", "Fantasy Girl" and more.
"It's so much fun. When I'm on stage, I don't feel my age, even though I'm now 69. I feel like I'm in my 20's. Fortunately, I've still got most of my vocal abilities and there's some real solid players in the band. And, I love meeting the fans and hearing their own stories. Everyone has a story if you take the time to listen."
KM: Hi Don. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. Thanks for taking the time today.
DB: Thank you. This is a nice break from the day to day, you know?
KM: Yeah, I understand. Are you ready?
DB: Yes sir. Ask away.
KM: Let's start off with me saying, I've been a huge fan of 38 Special for years. I used to play the hell out of Wild Eyed Southern Boys, Hold on Loosely and Chain Lightning. Loved all those songs and I still do. Now that I'm living in Asheville, I love driving on the Blue Ridge Mountains with the windows down and cranking some 38 Special. Thank you and Donnie and the rest of the guys for all the great music you put out over the years.
DB: Oh man, thanks for being a fan and for listening to our music. We loved every minute of every song we ever wrote.
KM: You're currently the lone survivor, the only founding member still with the band. Your co-writer and co- lead vocalist, Donnie Van Zant, left the band around 2013. How does that make you feel when you're on stage, looking around and you're the only original member still in the mix?
DB: Old! Lol. Yeah man, I'm the last one standing. Donnie had to stop touring because of some health issues, inner ear issues. He still writes and sings but doesn't tour. I really miss sharing the stage with him.
KM: Do you still keep in touch often?
DB: Oh, defiintely. He's my brother from another mother, as they say.
KM: 38 Special ruled the airwaves in the early to mid 80's and you guys are still going, nearly 50 years later. Does that surprise you, the longevity of the band?
DB: You know, I once told Donnie [Donnie Van Zant], "I'd be very surprised if I looked over on stage after 40 years and saw your face." If he didn't have this inner ear issue, guess what? I'd be looking over at him now.
KM: Back in the day, when you guys performed in concert, you used to stand there behind the mic, play the guitar and sing, not moving around much. Now, these days, you're more animated. What changed?
DB: Back issues! If I stand too long in one spot my back stiffens up. Life on the road for an old rocker! Lol. If I move around now, I stay looser and I'm able to do my thing better.
DB: Yes, seriously.
KM: Going back in time, one of the first bands you toured with was KISS. What was that like?
DB: Lol. How's that for a pairing! KISS and these unknown Southern Rockers. It was a lot of fun. I even got a glimpse of Gene Simmons without makeup on that tour. That was when they were all real secretive of their identities.
KM: Imagine if you had a cell phone back then. You could have made a mint selling that photo of Gene without makeup to the National Enquirer.
DB: Yeah, you're probably right. Lol.
KM: You guys have come a long way since then, having a lot of bands who have become mainstream open for you. How does that make you feel?
DB: Old again! LOL. No, seriously, we were given our chance and it's been a treat helping other bands along the way. Any time we've been able to help other bands it's been awesome. That's how it should always be.
KM: These days, 38 Special still plays a lot of shows, around 100 a year. How do you keep up that pace?
DB: It's so much fun. When I'm on stage, I don't feel my age, even though I'm now 69. I feel like I'm in my 20's. Fortunately, I've still got most of my vocal abilities and there's some real solid players in the band. And, I love meeting the fans and hearing their own stories. Everyone has a story if you take the time to listen.
KM: Revenge of the Nerds. You guys wrote the theme song for the second movie, "Take me back to Paradise." I know a lot of people were thinking, "38 Special sold out." How did you guys feel about that?
DB: Man, we didn't sell out. I know there were some diehards who felt that way but then they come to our show and you should see them dancing to that song and singing the chorus. That's a rock'n theme song, don't you think?
KM: Yeah, it is. How many movie theme songs feature 3 lead guitars?
DB: Exactly! LOL
KM: Are there any plans for any new 38 Special music?
DB: We'll see. Right now, we're just having so much fun doing our thing, playing in front of our fans and enjoying it.
KM: Don, thanks for calling in. Have fun on the rest of the tour and hopefully we'll see you in Asheville!
DB: I'm not sure if we'll be there but check out the tour schedule. We do love Asheville.
Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.