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Interviews  Duane Roland Southern Rock Allstars
For the first issue of Southbound Beat, I thought I would try to get an interview with Jakson Spires of "Southern Rock Allstars." Jak called and we talked almost two hours about "old" Jacksonville, people we knew and guys we played with, at one time or another. We even found out that we both went to Paxon High School and played on the same football team together but, just couldn't place each other. Until that conversation, I thought Leon Wilkeson was the nicest person I had ever met, then Jak called. Now I have two on my "Nicest Guy" list.
For the upcoming issue, I thought I would go back to SRA and try to get an interview with Dave Hlubek. I was emailed back and told that Dave was ill and had to leave the band. I was told that Duane Roland had been asked to join the band. Duane was not asked to replace Dave, but would he consider joining up with us. I asked if Duane would consider an interview and left my number. Duane RolandThe next Sunday evening I answered the phone and it was Duane Roland, one of the original members of Molly Hachet. Now, I know these guys are busy so I devised a method of interviewing via email. As I was explaining to Duane he stopped me and said,"No way, we're gonna talk".And that's what we did for almost two hours. Now I have added a third member to my "Nicest Guy" list. I truly felt like I had known him all my life and that I was talking to an old friend. As a matter of fact, I call SRA "Simply Real Americans". Duane calls them "Several Rabid Animals".These gentlemen are honest, down to earth, real people and I am a huge fan.
I asked Duane if he was originally from Jacksonville and he said,"No, I was born in Indiana and moved to Jacksonville in the third grade and I called it home". We talked a while and Leon's name came up. Duane told me the story about the first time they met. Duane said,"I was at a bar on Jacksonville Beach called Levida's and I met Leon. Leon said, "Come on , let's go to my house I have a new album you gotta hear". I asked him who the band was and he said he'll tell me when its through. So, we hopped in Leon's Roadster and drove over to his house. Leon scared me to death driving way over the speed limit, but who cared, the police knew who he was and left him alone. Leon put the album on and I listened to the whole thing. It was great! Who is it! Leon said it was a band from Australia called AC/DC. I remember saying, "They're gonna be huge!" And after they hit the states, the rest is history. Later on I had the priveledge of touring with them and even went canoeing with Bonn Scott, he was a nice guy and a lot of fun." He was as serious about music as we were.
I asked Duane what it was that compelled him to want to be a musician and he said, "I was at the "West Palm Beach Music Festival" and the line up was Johnny Winter, Vanilla Fudge,Janis Joplin, King Krimson and the Rolling Stones. It had rained and I was laying on a piece of plastic. King Krimson was  late  so Johnny Winter, Janis Joplin and The Vanilla Fudge got up and jammed and I came straight up off that plastic and said, "That's what I wanna do! I watched Johnny play and that was it for me.  I then asked him how he became a member of Molly Hatchet. He answered, "Dave Hlubeck and I were in rival bands. We knew of each other but, had never met. Dave had Molly Hatchet, they were from the southside and I had a band called The Ball Brothers Band. Anyway, one night I went to the "Castaways" on Jacksonville Beach and it had these two big double doors. All Dave could see was my shadow as I walked in and he knew who I was,and they were doing "The South's Gonna Do It Again" and when it got around to the part where he says "Dickie Betts picking on that red guitar", Dave sings, Duane Roland picking on that red guitar". When they finished the set, I met Dave. I knew Bruce Crump, the drummer, any way and I even changed a string and tuned Steve Holland'd guitar for him. About a week later, Dave didn't show for a job so, Banner Thomas called to see if I would sit in with them. I sat in for four sets and then Dave came screaching up apologising and a day later I was on the road sleeping in the back of an old truck." Learning to pay my dues.
I asked Duane about SRA. "Jimmy Farrar was doing some things  with the band and at his request (Dave had left the band at this point because of his illness) I played three shows with them and they asked if I would join them and I did. Its great to play with such caliber of musicians especially with "Thunder Foot" putting down the rythm. Jimmy will be doing the vocals. Jay is a great guitarist,he lites fire on that stage and makes me strike up on my side.,and with that pounding bottom of the awsome Charles Hart, I'll be flying out Friday." And now I'm looking forward to many great shows. Southern rock bands out there now....Look out...Here we come. You better put your helmuts on, your gonna need them.
I would like to thank Duane Roland for his kindness in taking the time to speak with me. If you liked SRA before you're gonna love them now. What a great group of musicians and to me they are truly "Allstars" in more ways than one.
Please visit and check them out for yourself and remember...Support your local Southern Rock Band! Soon an Allstar interview with the whole band....Can't wait.
Duane was just getting ready to leave as the interview was done so I would like to thank him so much for taking the time to talk to me...John Lanham for SBM.


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