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Saturday, May 26, 2012

WIND Blows Back in Town for Reunion


Creative Side

by Lavoy Caldwell

Mike Davis, Richard Murray, Jackie Garrett, Tim Cox, Tom Norton,
 and John Hodges are the members of WIND that will be
 playing at Summer OFF Main June 2.


When Jay and Evelyn Norton moved their family to Roanoke, Alabama in 1970 from Memphis, Tenn. little did they know the musical chain of events that would occur.

The eldest son Bill already had aspirations for musical fame and joined the group Rock Candy soon after moving to town as their drummer. His little brother Tom would tag along to practices and soon became enamored with the band's talents.

"I remember being amazed at Tom Ziglar's talent," Tom Norton said. "It was that moment, I got serious about the guitar."

A couple of years later Norton along with Handley High School classmates John Hodges, Mike Davis and Jackie Garrett formed the group WIND. Robert Burns and Gerry Knight joined the group as road crew at the time as well.
Mike Davis, Tom Norton, John Hodges and Jackie Garrett
formed WIND in 1972 in Roanoke.


"Our first performance was the 1972 Miss Handleyan Pageant," Norton said. "At that time, we only knew five songs."

Because of that first gig, the band was able to book two additional performances almost immediately, the Wadley High School Prom and the Woodland High School Prom.

"We gained an almost instant following because of those three performances," Norton said.

The band continued to play around the area for the next few years and picked a couple of additional members including bass player Tim Cox from Lafayette and drummer/vocalist Richard Murray from Camp Hill.

"We played in Auburn and the Lake Martin area a lot but we also would play after football games at Handley High School at the Roanoke National Guard Armory," Norton said. "We charged a few bucks at the door, and on a good Friday night we would have 300 plus people there. For some broke college students that was a lot of money back then."

The band experienced some growing pains when Garrett left in 1974 and played as WIND for only a few more years.

The group hasn't performed together in 35 years and many never thought a reunion show was a possibility. However, things changed when lead guitarist was battling esophageal cancer in 2011.

"I always wanted to play with WIND again," Norton said. "And, when I got sick, it was the wake-up call I needed to get started on this."

Norton spent several weeks in the hospital after surgery and was touch and go for a while.

"I visited Tom Norton in the hospital, he was lying in bed with tubes coming out of every portal of his body." John Hodges said. "He called me to his bedside and told me to get a drum kit. Because he was putting WIND back together.

"And, that was a year ago," he said.

Once he was released from the hospital, Norton began making phone calls.

"Tom called me and I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to play with my old buds for nothing," Mike Davis said.

Davis, currently lives in Nashville, Tenn., where he owns an audio production company. Since his playing days with WIND, Davis has toured the country with Dolly Parton as her go-to keyboard player.

Norton continued to call his former band mates and virtually got the same response from everyone.

"I haven't played with this group in 35 years," Tim Cox said. "Tom called and asked me to sit in with them and that's why I am here."

Considering the group lives all over the Southeast, practices have been a little difficult to coordinate, but all six members have participated at some point.

"It has been great to rejoin the old band," Richard Murray said. "I have rekindled old friendships and remembered old times through this experience. And, I am here because Tom Norton told me to."

The band will be performing at Summer OFF Main on June 2nd for the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.

"We have been practicing and trying to re-learn some of the songs we were known for back in the day and we are all really excited about playing together again," Norton said.

Performing during the 1970s, WIND was known for playing the music of day like The Eagles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Doobie Brothers and Southern Rock and Roll.

"We have had a blast practicing together getting ready for this show and hopefully we will have a great reunion with our fans on June 2nd," Jackie Garrett said.

The band will be the musical headliner for Summer OFF Main and are slated to take the stage at 5 p.m. It is an outdoor event and the band will be playing in front of the Handley High School Auditorium where they made their debut in 1972.


1 comments:

It's been a long time coming, it's gonna be a long time gone....CSNY...I'll do my danged best to be there...Cary

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