The Thunder Rose Band was formed in 1986 and this month will make 30 years since the humble beginnings in Bob’s kitchen.
The founding members of the group are Bobby Hunley, Mitchell Mayes and Roger Hembree, and they formed the group to just have fun in their spare time. Hembree and Mayes had played in Atlanta, Georgia, through the 1970s in various southern rock groups. Many weekends were spent at CW Shaws in Doraville, Georgia, listening to Molly Hatchet before they were known or an occasional trip to Underground Atlanta in its heyday.
Hunley was the youngest of the three and had always wanted to play in a band and decided to learn how to play keyboards — a large undertaking for anyone. Mayes decided to play guitar; he had been a bass player for most of his musical career. Hembree decided to become the bass player to round out the group. The next member was drummer Reggie Masingo who was followed by steel guitar player Larry West. Through many years the band has always managed to keep the group going even though many members have come and gone and some have passed on.
To the best of the band members’ knowledge, they have outlasted any band in the Tri-State area.
As this year will mark their 30 year anniversary together, the band can proudly say they are booked through the summer at venues such as Bubba Brews, Hickory Star Marina and Stardust Marina to name a few.
Through all of the ups and downs, the band has remained friends throughout the years. Additionally, they have always supported other local bands by loaning sound equipment to local bands and did what they could to help their friends.
Some of the group’s accomplishments include winning the Jimmy Dean Country Showdown in 1997, headlining the Daniel Boone Festival in 1998 with an estimated crowd of nearly 8,000 people, playing The Chicken Festival, Nibroc, Black Gold Festival, the Claiborne County Fair, White Lightning Festival and the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival three times.
The band is proud to say they have never been a band who would “cutthroat” another group or play for less than what they thought they were worth. They recently set up the sound system for Jordan Smith to perform for the children at a Bell County school. The group believes Smith is a great singer and the members say they wish him all the luck in the world.
The band has a lengthy list of musicians who have been members or performed with them over the years. Those included Billy Money, Pete Hurst, Kenny Pennington, Doug Graham, Steve Harrell, Greg Smith, Fred Wooton, Kenny Joseph, Little Jack Bunch, Jack and Erica Overbay, Belvis Morgan, Donnie Farrell, Tommy Harrell, Margaret Tumer, Ricki Simpkins, James Leonard, Asa Mills, Wayne Mullins, Ron Hudson, Little Eddie Broughton, Eldon Huff, Chuck Hale, Mike Lambdin, Randy Goodman, Tommy Good, Susan Money, Shelaina Ely and possibly others. If members forgot anyone, they said they apologize.
Thunder Rose today consists of Roger Hembree, Al Webb, Don Breeding, Ted (Buck)Wilson and Eddie Money. The band says they have always played because they love the music, not just the money, and they encourage all musicians to respect themselves and not sell out, playing for little or nothing. They also advise to the younger musicians to remember if you play for nearly nothing, then that’s what you’re worth.
Information on the Thunder Rose Band can be found on Facebook, Reverbnation and at their official website.