The Marshall Tucker Band, the southern rock group behind sing-along anthems including "Can't You See," "Fire on the Mountain," and "Heard It in a Love Song," will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.
Marshall Tucker Band hail from the era of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Charlie Daniels Band and The Allman Brothers Band. Five decades after members took their famous moniker from an inscription on a misplaced key ring, the band is still going strong. Led by singer Doug Gray, the group will launch an extensive concert tour in 2022 to celebrate the milestone that most artists of their vintage fail to experience.
Gray is looking forward to making new memories with fans next year. But in the meantime, the 73-year-old South Carolina native enjoys remembering highlights from the last 50 years.
Doug Gray's Top 5 Memories from 5 Decades of Marshall Tucker Band:
1. That time Marshall Tucker Band ran a toll booth in their Dodge van.
"We were in a Dodge van going up the road, and we were going through a toll booth and this guy said, 'You guys can't go through this to exit,'" Gray recalls. "They didn't know there's six other guys laying around in the back of the floor of the van giving me Hell."
Gray was determined to go anyway, floored the gas pedal, and took off.
"That was it," he said. "We made it about a mile down the road. We got pulled over, and they thought we were smuggling people. All these guys start rolling out of the back seats and the back floor. Those are the things you remember because it makes you strong as a group."
2. Marshall Tucker Band always paid the hotel bill first.
"We weren't making any money, hardly," Gray said. "And we were out on the road, and it was close to Christmas. We were buying gifts from a drugstore. Tommy (Caldwell) was taking care of the money and came up and said, 'You guys aren't going to like it, but this is what we made last night.' He handed each of us a penny."
The pennies were all that was left after Caldwell paid the hotel bills and set aside gas money to ensure the band made it to the next gigs.
"That's the story that made us strong, Gray said. "Who would go on if that was your future, especially after you'd been to Vietnam? It was kind of degrading that we were starting at zero, but we also had an intent. We knew that if we got on that stage, we'd forget about all that stuff and owing people money and things like that. That's why we're the way we are, who we are and why we're still, why I'm still here."
3. Doug Gray knew the sacrifice for the music business was worth it when someone told him he wanted to hear Marshall Tucker Band "for the rest of my life."
"This was a man who said that," Gray said. "Back in those old times, people didn't admit that they really liked somebody, that they love somebody."
Soon after the exchange, Marshall Tucker Band played Kenny's Castaways in New York City.
There were about 40 people there. Three months later, the group opened a show for The Allman Brothers Band at Madison Square Garden.
"It was unbelievable," Gray said. "That was in the times when people could light a match or a cigarette and hold it up for an encore. We did three encores at night, and people could not believe it."
4. Marshall Tucker Band gets its first gold record, signifying 500,000 albums sold.
"It was from the people," Gray said.
He remembers Marshall Tucker Band was playing close to its South Carolina home but rented a hotel room on the beach, anyway. A few band members were down by the ocean relaxing before their show when one of the team started screaming and waving frantically from the balcony of their room.
"We decided that we better go look … cause he was very excited coming from that room," Gray said. "So we walked in, and he said, 'Man, y'all need to sit down. We got our first gold record."
The accomplishment came one year after they started the group.
"I said, well, 'I guess we're doing this for the right reasons,'" Gray said. "We appreciated the fans, and we still appreciate them to this day."
5. Marshall Tucker Band NEVER argues.
"It's respect," Gray said. "Respect has done it all. It's not only beautiful, but it's also a very warming experience."
After the show, Gray explained the group unwinds together, and someone might say, "You really outdid yourself tonight."
"It's not always that way for everyone," Gray said. "Nobody argues in my band because the original band never argued or got in fights. I had already been in the military. You don't fight with your superior. You learn that, but there's no superior in Marshall Tucker Band. I'm not trying to be a star. I don't want to be a star. I want to share that light that God gave us all."
The Marshall Tucker Band "50th Anniversary Tour" Schedule:
Jan. 12 - The Woodlands, TX - Dosey Doe
Jan. 14 - Corpus Christi, TX - American Bank Center
Jan. 15 - Baton Rouge, LA - L'Auberge Casino
Jan. 21 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall ^^
Jan. 22 - Tallahassee, FL - Donald Tucker Auditorium ++
Jan. 26 - Okeechobee, FL - Seminole Hard Rock
Jan. 27 - Immokalee, FL - Seminole Hard Rock
Jan. 29 - Miami, FL - Magic City Casino +
Feb. 3 - Huntsville, AL - Mark C. Smith Concert Hall
Feb. 4 - Atlanta, GA - Symphony Hall
Feb. 9 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium @
Feb. 10 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theater ~
Feb. 11 - St. Louis, MO - River City Casino
Feb. 12 - Chicago, IL - Copernicus Center ~
Feb. 17 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre ~
Feb. 18 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Feb. 19 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rivers Casino
Feb. 20 - Washington D.C. - Capital One Hall ~
Feb. 23 - Torrington, CT - Warner Theatre ~
Feb. 25 - Charleston, WV - Charleston Municipal Auditorium ~
Feb. 26 - Atlantic City, NJ - Harrah’s Casino
March 3 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre ~
March 4 - Cleveland, OH - MGM Northfield Park ~
March 5 - Anderson, IN - Hoosier Park ~
March 9 - Evansville, IN - Victory Theatre ~
March 10 - Peoria, IL - Peoria Civic Center Theater ~
March 11 - Shipshewana, IN - Blue Gate Theatre ^
March 12 - Cherokee, NC - Cherokee Casino ~
March 17 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre ~
March 19 - Tucson, AZ - Tucson Music Hall ~
March 20 - Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre ~
March 25 - Eureka Springs, AR - The Auditorium #
March 26 - Roland, OK - Cherokee Casino Roland
March 27 - Lubbock, TX - Buddy Holly Hall ~
April 8 - Biloxi, MS - IP Casino
~ with Dave Mason
@ with Dave Mason and Atlanta Rhythm Section
^ with The Kentucky Headhunters
# with The Outlaws
^^ with Firefall and Bertie Higgins
+ supporting Kansas
++ supporting ALABAMA