Have you ever gone completely slack-jawed, blown-away by a live band that you’d never heard of? Well, now I have. And that band is Hilton Head Island’s own, Steppin Stones, born and bred right here on the South Carolina geologic tennis shoe. I first saw this band at the Chamber of Commerce Christmas After Hours party 2012, where I had gone to connect with local businesspeople and promote myself. I ended up connecting with exactly – goose-egg – new business contacts, except for Gregg Russell and Mira Scott (two of Hilton Head’s most renowned artists, whom I already know, and who don’t need my services by any stretch of the imagination), who were also hanging out front row while the Steppin Stones blasted out “Gimme Shelter“ like nobody’s business.
It might amuse you to know that the Steppin Stones is comprised of three teenagers, who rock down the chandeliers with as much talent and gusto as their predecessors, a la Steppenwolf, and the Rolling Stones; two bands by the way, who entertained us waaayyyyyyyy back yonder before these kids were born. But you knew that already. The great thing about this band is that you can bring the whole family and totally rock yourselves… OUT. Your kids will love this group, because they’re watching their contemporaries on stage, while you will also love them, because they’re playing our favorite tunes from our own, said, formative years. The whole event resolves the paradox of being safe AND totally cool. And, as everybody knows, that’s really hard to do these days.
How did such a trio begin? Well, apparently, while many kids around the age of seven are watching tv and playing video games after school, these three decided it was more fun to make a whole lot of racket in the garage. So, under the watchful tutelage of two well-known island artists, Nancy Mitchell and Matthew Wicklund (lead singer, Hannah Wicklund’s, parents) the Steppin Stones emerged out of Palmetto Bay bedrock. Oh joy, you say, will they be on America’s Got Talent? Not any time soon, since this band is already booked all summer long, and everybody within lowcountry regional earshot has already heard of them. Lead singer and guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and bass guitarist, Mick Ray, started out playing piano when they were each six years old, and went on to take guitar lessons for five more years. Ryan Tye began drumming at age eight. Their manager/roadie/sound guy is Hannah’s father Matt Wicklund, who is the go-to man if you want ever want to book this group. Mom, Nancy Mitchell, is renowned for her paintings and murals that can be seen in various island public venues and private homes.
Since officially forming the band in 2006, Hannah, Ryan, and Mick, have improved and honed their repertoire substantially, taking on classic rock songs with edge and confidence. Not afraid to tackle the difficult ranges of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Mick Jagger, they will transport you to a time when young up-and-coming bands actually played instruments and wrote their own music. And in keeping with their rock muses, the Steppin Stones also write and produce their own music, which is for sale on cd’s at any of their concert showings. Sample the video below, where they sing one of their original songs, “Make Up Your Mind,” (starts about four minutes in). This past January, their 2nd cd hit the Internet called, Handle Me, and is doing quite well. Currently appearing three nights a week at different Hilton Head venues (see schedule below), Hannah and her bandmates – now, age sixteen, Mick, seventeen, and Ryan, seventeen – graduated high school this year, and are looking towards their own careers in music. So, if you want to catch up with them before they are too famous, and tickets to their concerts are the price of a small mortgage payment, you will most definitely want to check them out this summer on Hilton Head Island.
SUMMER, 2013 SCHEDULE:
Thursdays 6:30-8:30 pm, Coligny Plaza; Fridays 4:00-7:00pm, Hilton Head Beach and Tennis; and Saturdays 7:30- 9:30 pm, under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town
For info and bookings, call: 843-842-2380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org And finally, in honor of Father’s Day, I implore only islanders who have been here since the early ’80’s to read on (anyone else will be bored to tears beyond this sentence). For those of you who may or may not have been of a certain age and living in Hilton Head thirty years ago, you may wonder, from what pedigree doth Hannah Wicklund spring? Ah… I am pleased to connect some dots for those of you who weren’t drowning in a beer bong at that time (or maybe you were). There once was a seaside cantina upstairs on the beach side of Coligny Plaza, in what is now known as The Big Bamboo restaurant. The cantina was known to local ne’re-do-wells as Dos Borrachos, which translates (most inauspiciously, I might add) to Two Drunks. Yes, I know. We are so proud, that this classy, gentile, family-oriented island was once home to a Mexican restaurant so named, Two Drunks. Very impressive. Well, it certainly spoke to the clientele, as I remember visiting (for entertainment and educational purposes only) with my best friend Amy on occasion, which would make us, dos senoritas entering to enjoy con queso and imbibing mucho cerveza, and exiting as dos borrachos.
Why do I mention this short-lived late-night dining pleasure from back in the day? Because starting at the early-bird crack of 11:00 pm, playing until the wee, 3:00 a.m.-ish on the weekends, we would rock out like idiots to the vivid music of Joe Walsh, Lou Reed, and the Young Rascals, as played by a local musical ensemble known as, the most prestigious, Bonzo Brothers (who later became the Truly Dangerous Swamp Band). Again, you ask… the point? Well, the point is, the drummer for the aforementioned Brothers Bonz’, was the one and only manager/roadie/sound guy of today’s rockin’ Steppin Stones, Matthew Wicklund, FATHER of lead singer, Hannah! (Whew… wasn’t sure I could put all that together coherently for you; or maybe it wasn’t very coherent, I’m sure I’ll find out.) So how cool is that? A Truly Dangerous Bonzo Brothers Legacy, lives on as we live and breathe on Hilton Head Island. Now, wasn’t that worth reading all the way down to this point?
And if I wanted to riff on the Dos Borrachos connection all day long (but I will spare you my immature ramblings for the most part, except for this one more thing), I could mention that sometimes, I went to the late-night cantina with both Amy, and another best bud, Steve; then I could say that three amigos entered the bar known as Two Drunks, and came out as Tres Borrachos.
Okay, that’s all. I’m done now. I think that’s enough double-pun-entendres. Happy Father’s Day, everyone.