INTERVIEW: 38 SPECIAL

Classic Rock band 38 Special will make the hills come alive when they play an outdoor show on Sunday, July 3 for Ellicottville’s Annual Summer Music Festival.
 
The band was at the top of the charts in the 80’s with their upbeat signature sound with songs like “Hold On Loosely”, “Caught Up In You”, “Fantasy Girl” and ”Rockin’ Into The Night”.
 
When you attend one of their shows you’ll find yourself saying … “I know this one” with every song they play. As part of the music scene for more than three decades now, the band is still on the road playing at least 100 shows a year.
 
I had the chance to catch up with singer/songwriter Danny Chauncey, who plays guitar and sings with the band.  We talked about how they are excited to be playing at the Music Fest, and why they love the unique outdoor venue.
 
We also talked about new material they are working on, a song he co-wrote that was a huge hit for a popular vocalist, his favorite decade with 38 Special and how family to him means being significantly outnumbered.
 
With over 20 million records sold, this band continues to satisfy their long time fans and look forward to recruiting new ones every show they play. Guitarist and vocalist with the band Don Barnes said it best … “When those lights go down and we all walk up those steps to the stage and hear that crowd roar, it’s a real rush to the head. It feels like we’re getting ready to strap ourselves in and it just takes off from there.”
 
For tickets to 38 Special's performance on the slopes of Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, NY, go to www.ellicottvilleny.com or call 1800-349-9099.  Tickets can also be purchased at area Wegmans through June 19.
 
 
A CONVERSATION WITH DANNY CHAUNCEY
 
HULICK: You are heading this way for a show at the Ellicottville Summer Music Festival.
CHAUNCEY:Yes. We love that area of Western New York. We have a lot of great fans there. We’ve done some outside summer shows at ski resorts and it’s terrific with the hills as a natural amphitheater.
 
HULICK:With over three decades of touring, is there anywhere you haven’t played that you’d like to?
CHAUNCEY:There’s one venue … you know when you’re a little kid and you want to be a guitar player or you want to be in a rock band one day and you play records and you grab the nearest tennis racket and close your eyes and imagine yourself in a certain situation or a certain venue … for me that venue was always the Oakland Coliseum because I went to high school right there in Alameda, California. We haven’t done that particular venue or the outdoor Oakland Coliseum, which is where the Oakland A’s play. The indoor one is where I saw my first concert … Grand Funk Railroad and B.B. King.
 
HULICK:Do you guys write all of your own music or do you have other writers contribute?
CHAUNCEY:It’s kind of both. We write within the band and then we also have other writers. The most significant outside writer we have is Jim Peterik of the band Survivor and he was also the lead singer and songwriter from the band Ides of March. I think Jim wrote by himself the song “Rockin’ Into The Night”, which was 38’s first big sort of breakthrough radio song. Then he co-wrote “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up In You”, which are probably the two favorite songs that people like. He was here recently because we are working on a new record and it was so much fun to be back with him writing because he is just insanely talented and a super good guy.
 
HULICK:You co-wrote the hit song “I Wanna Go Back” which Eddie Money recorded.
CHAUNCEY:Yes. You know I’m always writing, but every once in a while when you play it back and you’re making a demo of it on the guitar or whatever and you just go … WOW!  Where did that come from? That was one of those songs. It’s happened just a small handful of times in my life.
 
HULICK:You mentioned you were writing some new material.
CHAUNCEY:That’s been our plan for the past 12 years. We’ve kind of resisted doing a new record because there’s really no place to get it played, so for us we tour so much and no one wants to or has the time to get in the studio. But it’s so different this year. Everyone is grown up and has learned to appreciate each other and appreciate the shared journey. We were just together doing some sessions in Nashville a couple months ago and we had a great time. Everyone was playing and everyone was involved and excited about the songs. Fortunately we’ve had 12 years to write them so we have some really good things to work on. We aren’t looking at it like we have “x” amount of records to sell or be played on “x” many radio stations; we look at it as it is part of what we do naturally anyway and once we removed the expectations on ourselves to do anything other than create something we can be proud of, it has changed our view of going back in the studio. If we’re not going to enjoy the process, there’s really no point in doing it. Right now we are at a place in our lives - and careers - where we actually enjoy being around each other and the fun of making a record has actually got us excited.
 
HULICK:What’s been your favorite decade with 38 Special?
CHAUNCEY:The current one. Absolutely. It’s one of those things that as you get older you cease to be all about striving every minute and you sort of relax and enjoy the gift we’ve been given. You make it a point that it’s equally as valuable, probably the most valuable thing we can do for our music and ourselves, is to enjoy the moment … really have fun with it.
 
HULICK:Are you married and have children?
CHAUNCEY:Yes, I am happily married to a great woman and we have three daughters … 20, 18 and 16 years old.  We have two dogs that are both girls and one cat that is also a girl. So I am way outnumbered. It’s estrogen central. (laughs)
 
HULICK:(laughs) So you have plenty of experience at nodding yes and agreeing?
CHAUNCEY:True. Agreeing has become one of my better skills. (laughs)
 
HULICK:Describe 38 Special in one or two words.
CHAUNCEY:Good question. I’m thinking of things that just sound corny, like uplifting pop. It’s hard to answer that from a seat where it’s been so much of your life. Our songs, for the most part, are always positive. With other bands I’ve been in when I hear the songs or think back, the lyrics were pretty negative. But with 38 Special you see the difference when you are playing a show and the audience is responding in a positive way … when you go on every night and you see a certain look in people’s eyes, you see they have certain expectations … and then they get into the groove of the show, and you can see them from where their facial expressions were at the beginning of the show and to what they look like at the end of the show … and you can see that you’ve given them a positive experience … they’re moved, everything’s been uplifted from one place to a higher place … and that’s pretty cool to be a part of that. 
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