Local classic rock band Brown 25 prepared to play before the annual Tipton Lakes Marina fireworks show last week when bassist Greg Hedges began musing over today’s second installment of the new, outdoor J.C. Bank Summer Concert Series. He promised that the foursome would light a fuse on good, old-fashioned, explosive tunes at the event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in front of The Commons in downtown Columbus.
Beatles. Rolling Stones. Pink Floyd. Probably two hours of music in all.
“If it were up to me, we’d probably do all British Invasion music,” Hedges said, referring to The Beatles, Stones, and other groups such as The Kinks and The Who.
As it is, the band just added a Beatles’ three-song medley to its current mix from the Fab Four.
Organizers said they were more than pleased with an estimated 350 people turning out for the first installment of the series last month.
“After not having had the concerts for a couple of years, I think people are anxious to get out and enjoy the summer evenings,” said Amy Shearer, the bank’s marketing director.
Brown 25 has long been popular at local gatherings of the past such as Biggest Block Party Ever, BBQ Blues &Brew and along the course of the Mill Race Marathon. Like the marathon runners, the group has endured — and done so in an age when most area bands struggle to stay together beyond a few years in a challenging market. Hedges performs with guitarist Jerry Mihay, drummer Derrick Carnes and keyboard player Bruce Zaring. All but Zaring share lead vocals.
“Derrick probably does have the best voice,” Hedges said. “But we also try to hit the backup vocals, and would like to do more in the future with vocal harmonies.”
When it comes to working together, Hedges and bandmates’ gratitude to concert series organizer J.C. Bank and might be as strong as their passion for all things rock.
“Events like this are invaluable to a community,” Hedges said. “So I thank J.C. Bank for rescuing this,” he said the the event formerly known as Neighborfest.
He chuckled when the topic of his and Mihay’s seemingly traditional, long, rock ‘n’ roll manes surfaced during a recent chat, and whether the luxurious locks give them even more street cred as classic rockers.
“Well, I’d like to think so,” Hedges said. “It certainly is one part of our self-identity. We’re definitely musicians playing rock.”
Many people recognize Hedges and Mihay as being among the most veteran performers in the house band of sorts for the annual American Pie rock concert at Columbus North High School’s Judson Erne Auditorium, normally nearly full with some 1,000 people in attendance.
Away from the stage, his musical mix for his personal soundtrack ranges from the jazz of Sergio Mendes to the rock of Badfinger. Onstage today, he looks forward to probably one song in particular utilizing his lead vocals. And it’s a rare one to find as a cover tune: Tommy James’ “Draggin’ the Line.”
“I think we do it pretty well,” Hedges said.
Attendees today can see and hear for themselves.