Rolling out the red carpet for the Grimmy Awards

By Paul Grimshaw,February 5, 2009 

  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that award season is upon us. Red carpets, paparazzi and glamour abound at the Golden Globes, The Academy Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, The Grammys, and now … here come The Grimmys. The inaugural 2009 Grand Strand Grimmy Awards will perhaps generate a little less buzz, but we hope will be no less important to the local community of musicians, their technical support, the many live music venues, and fans of local music.

  Music is everywhere. It’s the soundtrack to our lives. We hear it on the radio, our iPods, TV, the Internet, movies, church, when we go out to eat, at concerts – and even when it’s not there, we hear it magically in our heads – sometimes we can’t get rid of it. Beethoven composed entire symphonies while completely deaf. We can no more shut out music than we can shut out our inner dialog. One simple melody can change our mood; make us happy, sad, angry or excited. A clever lyric can make us think, laugh, become introspective or inspired. A well-produced rhythm track can get our booties shakin’, and all in all, that’s pretty remarkable.

  But as remarkable as music is – it needs us humans to give it life and to keep reinterpreting it and, as is the case with the Grammy Awards, to occasionally recognize those who do something remarkable with it. With the 51st Annual Grammy Awards scheduled for Sunday night, we thought it was good timing (a musical term, by the way), to honor the musical men and women of the Grand Strand, who make some pretty remarkable noise, without much fanfare or well-deserved respect – until now.

  Your intrepid Weekly Surge Music Notes columnist has his very own Grand Strand Music Awards – The Grimmys – and I couldn’t be prouder, though I really think I received the assignment because my name is better suited for the semi-bogus sound-alike award. The Kimeys , the Woodys (that has a certain adult video awards ring to it), the Yaleys, the Burchies just didn’t ring as true as the Grimmys – sorry guys.

  Before we get too far along in understanding what the Grimmys are all about, it’s important that you know what they are NOT about. The Grimmys will not help anyone achieve their long-term musical aspirations or garner any national press. If nominated, when you’re old and gray, it’s highly unlikely that you (or anyone else) will ever mention your Grimmy Award in your memoirs. We didn’t solicit nominees, and we didn’t lose a lot of sleep over who would make it and who wouldn’t, though it was a long process. We had a small panel of judges, (who will remain anonymous) and we’ve probably blown it in a hundred different ways – so if you’re a working musician and didn’t win (or receive a nomination) get over it. A Grimmy Award (or the lack thereof) will not change your life. We would have loved to award every musician or technical person a Grimmy, but we couldn’t – time and space are limited, after all. We’ve undoubtedly made some bad choices and missed a few worthy souls here and there, so, we’re sorry, but really, just get over it. If one of the winners waves their Grimmy in your face, reminding you that you didn’t win, say “BFD,” flip them the bird, and then tell them where they can stick their Grimmy.


  We hope the Grand Strand Grimmy Awards will continue for at least 51 more years, an accomplishment of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and its trademarked Grammy Awards, originally named for the first record players of the late 19th Century, the gramophone. We’ll make changes and evolve to make each Annual Grimmy Awards better than the previous.  For this, our inaugural year, we decided to steal directly from the Grammy Awards and have declared nominees in 27 categories, some of which you’ll recognize, and others we created. We narrowed each field of nominees, from dozens in some case, to as few as made sense, which was no easy task. The judges then voted a winner in each category. We looked for overall entertainment value, professionalism, impact, skill and whatever intangible je ne saia quio (that certain mysterious something), that makes a winner. Occasionally the voting was close. Sometimes it was not so close and a clear winner emerged – we’ll leave that to your imagination. Sometimes bitter disputes between the judges led to blows, but we persevered. Who were the judges? Don’t ask, we won’t tell you.


  The talented men and women of the area’s professional theaters were not included for nomination, because, frankly, they’re all too good and would skew the results. Yeah, that’s right – they’re the best on the beach. You (and when I say “you” I mean “we”) club musicians and would-be rock stars owe it to ourselves to check out the musicianship in any of those theater house bands – their exceptional talent is the reason they play six – eleven shows a week, year-round, and get paid well to do it. So here’s a special nod of recognition to the singers and musicians of The Alabama Theatre, The Carolina Opry, and Legends in Concert – you’re among the finest entertainers around and each deserve a Grammy, not a Grimmy – thanks for understanding.

  Steve Bailey, too, was eliminated as a nominee. Have you heard that this guy plays bass? He wrote the book. No, really, he wrote the book. Bailey, who is an Artist-in-Residence at Coastal Carolina University, and a lifetime Myrtle Beach resident, has written the curriculum for six-string bass courses, and he’s toured and recorded with superstars of rock, pop, country and jazz music. You know the guy. If you don’t, you should.

  The House of Blues was omitted from our “Best Venue” category because of the apples and oranges position in which it falls, however the concert hall needs to be recognized as one of the best live music venues in the Southeast, let alone the Grand Strand. We are very fortunate to have a world-class music hall, like the House of Blues, in our own back yard. Music fans of all ages regularly travel here from around the region to see the great acts booked into this venue, not to mention the many tens of thousands of visitors who find their way through its doors each summer.

  These exceptions are not meant to say the rest of you are second-class – the Grand Strand is loaded with great venues, large and small, and tremendous musical talent. The nominees listed here represent the best of the best. We wanted the Grimmy Awards to go to those who slog it out in local clubs and smoky bars where fickle crowds, sketchy acoustics, and late nights mean the performer/nominee is paying his or her dues on the road to stardom.

  Another nod must be given to the other obviously ineligible group of musicians – those who receive little or no well-deserved recognition, only because of their close association with yours truly. Drummer/vocalist Rob Amodio, bassist/vocalist Clark Sullivan, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Lenny Myers and guitarist/vocalist Tom Hanlon are the finest musicians I’ve ever been privileged to perform with. Because of their misfortune of working with me, they’re excluded from virtually all press coverage in the Weekly Surge. So I would tip my hat, if I wore one, and hereby do grant an honorary Grimmy Award to each of the fine players in The Paul Grimshaw Band (hey, it’s my freakin’ award), recognizing their additions to the musical family of the Grand Strand. Their skills make the band look good, night after night, and not enough is said on their behalf.


  Each category’s nominees must have made a significant musical impact to the Grand Strand, having produced a recording, and/or performed, or been a part of live, local music in 2008. After a careful selection process, that lasted at least 20 minutes, the ballots were placed in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on Surge Editor Kent Kimes’ desk before tabulation by the infamous accounting firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. One winner was chosen in each category by the judges, who will remain anonymous, but included music professionals, critics, and talent buyers, who were not eligible for an award by the Grimmy Academy. But hey, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

  The nominees are…

• Chris Yale – “Well Enough Alone”
• Silenced – “Guidelines for Sinners”
• St. Jack – “Everybody Needs an Angel”
• Super Swamp Heroes – “The Truth”
• Ten Toes Up – “Bridges & Breakdowns”
• The Necessary Band – “Start to Back, Front to Finish”

  The winner is…

  St. Jack, “Everybody Needs An Angel” – Out of nowhere St. Jack began to turn heads with catchy hooks, introspective lyrics and fine production. Led by drummer Matt Forde and guitarist/vocalist Dan Wenzel, the judges felt this record edged out others in a very competitive field.

• Atalaya
• Hand Grenade
• Some Ambulance
• St. Jack
• Strong Like Tiger

The winner is…

  Hand Grenade – Fun party rock, great stage show and really good songs helped Hand Grenade win the Grimmy for Best New Artist. WKZQ’s on-air personalities Jersey (Mark Mailer) and Dr. J (Josh Rainone) hooked up with fellow Jersey pals Wally C. (Walter Conroy) and Mus (Rich Stumps) to form the anti-“Dude Rock” band, believing music should be fun. The judges agreed.

• Dan “Jack St. Jack” Wenzel – St. Jack
• David Atwater – Black Label
• Jaesen Moore – The IZM
• Jason Hearn – Black Label
• Jeremy Dunham – Silenced, Potatoheads
• Kevin Shiels – The Kevin Shiels Band
• Marcel – Marcel, Eason, The Eason Duo
• Stevie “Mac” McLendon – Eason, The Eason Duo, Black Label

The winner is…

  Jaesen Moore – Up against considerable vocal talents, the judges voted Jaesen Moore the winner in this category as his hard rock band, The IZM, continues to make fans throughout the region. The confident front man Moore, has an incredible range, and sings with power and dynamics. Sample Moore and band at

• Angie Capone – Angie Capone, The Lazy River Band
• Gabbie Rae – Gabbie Rae and the Wow Factory
• Jaynie Trudell
• Joan Burton – Joan Burton, The Guilt Trippers
• Nancy Joyner

The winner is…

Angie Capone – Capone, who by the way covers Stevie Nicks songs better than Stevie Nicks, has proven her versatility and staying power, having performed along the beach for more than a decade. She can be seen with her band The Lazy River Band at open mike nights and in area club performances.
• Act II – Ronnie O’Briant, Dave Sharrock
• Dave & Damon
• Eason Duo – Stevie McLendon, Marcel Almanzor
• Jonathon Roberts – Jonathon Roberts and various collaborations
•  Potatoheads – Shaun Brown, Jeremy Dunham
• The Papaya Brothers – Chris Alley, Brock Bender

The winner is…

The Eason Duo – Long before Eason was a band, Stevie “Mac” McLendon and Marcel Almanzor had performed as a duo in the area. Several years later, the Eason Duo emerged in full force after the breakup of popular local band Eason, for which both worked. Their exceptional vocal and guitar talents, and broad set list make them a pleasure to watch and popular with fans and club managers alike.
• Bernie Kenerson
• Josh Gregory - Ten Toes Up
• Kid Drew – Red Emotion Riot
• Painted Man
• Travis Newman - Eason
• U ‘N’ I

The winner is…

  Bernie Kenerson – Up against a serious list of contenders, Bernie Kenerson, horn man, and woodwind player, is known for his talents on the EWI (electronic wind instrument), and has performed with some of the area’s finest jazz musicians.

• Dan Wenzel – St. Jack
• David Atwater – Black Label
• Jaesen Moore – The IZM
• Jeremy Dunham - Silenced
• “Kid” Drew Voivedich – Red Emotion Riot

The winner is…

 Jeremy Dunham, Silenced, The Potatoheads – While not a hard rock vocalist, Dunham’s clean, clear tenor voice suites the Three Doors Down-styled songs he writes for his band Silenced. Whether live or recorded, Dunham has earned his Grimmy with true talent as a songwriter, guitarist, and as this award recognizes, as a singer.

• Circles In Autumn
• Flick iT
• Hand Grenade
• Psych Ward
• S.A.V.A.S
• SharkLegs
• The IZM
• The Wet Teens

The winner is…

  Hand Grenade – Controversy aside, this band edged out louder and harder bands for the award, proving the group’s versatility, skill and popularity with the judges.  It’s the second Grimmy for the band, featuring the Garden State’s finest; Mark Mailer, Josh Rainone, Walter Conroy and Rich Stumps. Go Jersey!

• Aftermath
• Half Mast
• Indifference
• Massacre of the Umbilical Cord
• Rightwing Conspiracy           
• The Classic Struggle
• The Hundredth

The winner is…

The Classic Struggle – Call it thrash, hardcore or metal – if you can bang your head to it, then it’s “Headbanging.” The Classic Struggle does it as well as any, with national releases to its credit, major tours of the U.S. and has beat out a long list of nominees. The band will play a somewhat rare local show at Tha Bar (8th Ave N., Myrtle Beach) on Feb 13.

• Soul Function
• The Necessary Band
• Tru Sol

The winner is…

  Soul Function – Mixing classic R&B with a little old-school blues, and whatever else Travis Worthy and his back-beat bunch come up with, Soul Function has performed for many years along the Grand Strand, growing a fan base of those who love it fast and funky and with a lot of well-dressed soul.

• Black Label
• Gogglez Pizano
• N’ Tranze
• The Necessary Band
• The Regime
• The Tim Clark Band
• Tru  Sol

The winner is…

  The Regime – This four-piece ensemble has seen numerous personnel changes during its many years, but in 2008 drummer/vocalist Tom Kane provided a steady dose of rock ‘n’ roll covers (heavy on the Led Zeppelin) with smatterings of funk with band mates Dave Gillease on guitar, Damon Bradley on keyboards and Alex Mazevski on bass, winning the judges votes amidst a crowded field of the area’s best. Congrats.

• Baboon Brigade           
• Hand Grenade
• Old Scobes
• S.A.V.A.S.
• Sideways Derby
• Silenced
• St. Jack
• Super Swamp Heroes
• Ten Toes Up
• The IZM
• Wicked Gift

The winner is…

  Ten Toes Up – Dedication, relentless touring and recording, and a good dose of natural talent, have helped secure the Grimmy-winning combination for a band that manages to work regularly in and out of town playing 90 percent original music. 2008 saw many fine original bands showcasing their work, but Ten Toes Up caught the attention and the votes of our judges.

• 843 Boyz 
• J-Sneeze
• Sunni G
• The Masterminds
• U C Stradegez

The winner is…

843 Boyz – While DJ QP’s Battle of the Beach saw U C Stradegez win last week’s Hip-Hop Live finals, the Grimmy judges found favor with the 843-Boyz, awarding them the inaugural Best Rap/Hip-Hop Grimmy. Peace.
• Brian “Benny” Baldonado
• Cat Puncher & the Mayor
• DJ – QP – Hip Hop Live
• DJ Dimitri - Club Kryptonite
• DJ Kyle – Malibu Surf Club
• Rich Hargrave – Revolutions

The winner is…

DJ-QP – The proactive, promotion-oriented Phil “DJ-QP” Jackson has garnered the Grimmy, beating out a strong field of contenders. He even spins bar mitzvahs and Super Bowl parties, so, good going QP.

• Black Label
• Charlie Brewer Trio (Band)
• Charlie Floyd
• Sawgrass
• Southpaw
• Super Swamp Heroes
• The Endeavor

The winner is…

Super Swamp Heroes – South Carolinians are particular about their country and southern rock music. They know good from bad, and so does the Grimmy Academy. Super Swamp Heroes edged out some pretty stiff competition for this category and was labeled by one anonymous judge; “highly underrated.” Not anymore.

• Billy Wright
• Brad Long
• Charlie Floyd
• Rusty Bruton – Super Swamp Heroes

The winner is…

  Brad Long – Local singer/songwriter Brad Long has Nashville written all over him; boy-next-door good looks, a sack full of great songs and a powerful and emotive tenor voice that won’t quit. Now armed with a Grimmy, he’s sure to score the big deal he deserves. Front man for groups such as Cheyenne and Black Label, before leaving to pursue his Nashville dreams, Long now travels back and forth between his home in Conway and his growing support team in Music City, which includes producer Teddy Gentry of Alabama fame, and a host of others who, like the Grimmy judges, believe in his musical future.           

• Dianne Hoffman – The Endeavor
• Jaynie Trudell

The winner is…

Jaynie Trudell – In a two-nominee field, Jaynie Trudell, who is admittedly difficult to categorize, edged out the competition, in part, because of an Americana/bluesy/soulful voice that rocks in the best of southern and country traditions, ala Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Alannah Myles (“Black Velvet”) and others who blur the line. Trudell is also a fine songwriter, guitarist and pianist.

• Bummz Beach Cafe – Myrtle Beach
• Droopy’s – Myrtle Beach
• For What It’s Worth – Myrtle Beach
• Fosters – Myrtle Beach
• Fresh Brewed Coffee House – Myrtle Beach
• Pat & Mikes – Little River
• Quigley’s Pint & Plate – Pawleys Island
• Wahoo’s – Murrells Inlet

The winner is…

Droopy’s (5201 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach)  – Size does matter, and Droopy's, a small neighborhood bar, with the most rock ‘n’ roll per square foot, wins in a crowded field of small-sized venues vying for the Grimmy. Host to local acts and nationally touring indies, Droopy’s has provided some memorable musical moments with bands stuffed between the towering cases of imports and the ice machine. The sports bar/ping-pong/pool hall features surprisingly friendly acoustics.

• Dead Dog Saloon – Murrells Inlet
• Hot Fish Club – Murrells Inlet
• Pirate’s Cove – North Myrtle Beach
• Ron Jon’s – Myrtle Beach
• The Cattle Company - Conway
• The Clubhouse Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach
• The Sound Garden / Rock-N-Roadhouse –  Myrtle Beach
• Wild Wing Café – North Myrtle Beach

The winner is…

  The Clubhouse Myrtle Beach (510 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach) – This venue pulled out a Grimmy because the judges felt they’d seen more live rock ‘n’ roll from the widest variety of highly diverse bands (local and national), and because of the club’s willingness to host benefits and host young bands that rarely have opportunities to perform in a club setting.

• Blarney Stone’s Irish Pub Martini & Cigar Bar –Myrtle Beach
• Hard Rock Café – Myrtle Beach
• Margaritaville – Myrtle Beach
• The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill – Myrtle Beach
• The Beach Wagon – Myrtle Beach

The winner is…

  Blarney Stone’s Irish Pub and Cigar Martini Bar (Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach) – Catering to both the college crowd and tourists in search of live rock ‘n’ roll and cold beer, Blarney Stone’s packs ‘em in, especially on Friday nights, and features live music every weekend. Large enough to hold several hundred, the venue recently expanded the stage area, pipes the live music upstairs and outside, and added a permanent light show. It hosts local and regional rock bands and is on most local band’s short list of favorite venues in which to perform.

• “Kid” Drew Voivedich – Red Emotion Riot
• Alex Austin – Gogglez Pizano
• Brian McKenzie – S.A.V.A.S.
• Dave Gillease – The Regime
• David Atwater – Black Label
• Greg Bowman – Greg Bowman Blues Band
• Jeff Watson – Kevin Shiels Band
• Matt Garcia – The Tim Clark Band
• Travis Newman – Eason, Craig Morgan
• Vince Peeples – Painted Man

The winner is…

  Travis Newman – While the judges felt torn between so many fine players, ultimately Newman won the Grimmy because of his countless, mesmerizing performances on the electric guitar while in Eason, and in local jam sessions around town. Newman left Myrtle Beach in March 2008, landing a spot in the big show with rising country star and SONY recording artist Craig Morgan (“Redneck  Yacht Club”), leaving a hole in the local music scene but earning a Grimmy in the process.

• Charles Freeman – Ten Toes Up
• Cleve Morris- Black Label
• Kevin Mercer – The Tim Clark Band
• Lynwood Salvo – The Kevin Shiels Band, Who Shot J.R.?, Various
• Patrick O’Leary – Sawgrass, Wires & Wood, Rocky Fretz
• Rob Rotando – Red Emotion Riot
• Vinnie Ciapetta – Gogglez Pizano

The winner is…

  Patrick O’Leary – Name a local band during the past 10 – 15 years and chances are good that O’Leary has played bass with them at one time another. His contribution to the local musical milieu has been well documented. As comfortable playing bluegrass as he is jazz, O’Leary’s Grimmy is well-deserved and hard earned.

• Adam Miller – Ten Toes Up
• Danny Evans – The Necessary Band
• Greg Ford – Red Emotion Riot
• Jason Hearn – Black Label
• Jeff Sanson – The Sanson Brothers, Gogglez Pizano
• Michael Pridgen - Silenced
• Russ Whitman – Eason, Newman Salvo & Whitman, Frontiers
• Tommy Tipton - Various

The winner is…

  Russ Whitman – Thousands have witnessed Whitman’s abilities on the skins while with rock band Eason. Whitman, educated in, and comfortable with, the rudiments of percussion, is a drummer’s drummer, though preferring rock ‘n’ roll over other styles. Since Eason’s breakup, he’s been performing with Journey tribute band, Frontiers.

• Josh Gregory – Ten Toes Up
• Sam Hannaford – The Chainsaws

The winner is…

  Josh Gregory – Ten Toes Up’s energetic percussionist has shown the Grand Strand’s music fans what percussion, in its various forms, looks like when performed by skilled hands with an eye for showmanship. Every bit as important as any other player on stage, Gregory has moved the perception of percussion from that of a nice background addition to front-stage rock star status. Well done, Josh.

• Cary Simpson - Black Label
• Damon Bradley – The Regime
• Mark Montanaro – The Necessary Band
• Marty Richardson – The Chainsaws

The winner is…

  Damon Bradley – Quiet, usually with a cigarette and a beer, Damon Bradley’s performances show an innate sense of the sounds attributed to his instrument. Whether a song calls for a Fender Rhodes electric, Wurlitzer, rock organ, a string ensemble or a grand piano, Bradley plays with aplomb. He may be seen performing with The Regime, Dave & Damon and other acts around town.

• “Kid” Drew Voivedich – Guitarist - Red Emotion Riot
• Damon Bradley – Keyboardist - The Regime, Dave & Damon
• Shawn Snyder – Fiddle, Banjo - Various
• Travis Newman – Guitarist - Eason, Black Label, Craig Morgan

The winner is…

  Travis Newman – Representing the musician who demonstrates mastery at his instrument, guitarist Travis Newman consistently shows his skills in a wide variety of styles. His keen playing is matched by a commitment to the right sounds – called tone – and he thrilled local audiences for a year while playing with Eason and in jams at Bummz Beach Cafe and The Clubhouse Myrtle Beach.

• Brian McKenzie
• Echo 7
• Firehouse
• Glen Taylor
• The Drag
• The Mullets
• The Tim Clark Band

The winner is…

  Brian McKenzie – This is not the Geezer Award. This Grimmy recognizes a lifetime of musical achievement of at least one decade. McKenzie’s monumental contributions to the musical landscape are recognized through his many compositions, live performances (S.A.V.A.S., Sqwearl, Sideways Derby, and Electric Bird Noise) and far-reaching studio credits. His signature producer’s touch and unmistakable guitar playing are featured on dozens of recordings, many of which were nominated for Grimmys, and were produced at his Music Factory studio (formerly the Lazy i), dating back to the 1990s.

• David Henson - Margaritaville
• Seth Funderburk – Margaritaville, Ten Toes Up, South by Southeast
• Jeff Costa – Margaritaville, Lewis Black
• Roddy McCarson – Black Label, Dead Dog Saloon
• Jay Hodge – Dead Dog Saloon
• Scott Hyman – Tru Sol, Stormfront Productions

The winner is…

  Seth Funderburk – The best performance in the world can be reduced to trash with a bad mix. The job of Grand Strand’s soundmen is to make us all sound better than we are and none do it any better than this year’s Grimmy winner, Seth Funderburk. As co-owner of SeaNote Recording, manager and soundman for Ten Toes Up, engineer and co-organizer of South by Southeast’s many shows, Funderburk’s skill and mastery of the knobs have earned the judges’ nod.

• Paul Cook – Drummer, Who Shot J.R.?,  Various

The winner is…

  Paul Cook – Drummer, Who Shot J.R.?, Various - This category awards a Grimmy posthumously to those in the local musical family who have passed away during the award year, in this case 2008.  Paul Raymond Cook was a friend to many, a reasonable duffer, and carried a musical resume that included long-running gigs with Tanya Tucker and Jerry Reed. He played locally with Who Shot J.R.? and in jams around town. Dozens of YouTube videos document Cook’s musical legacy and may be found through Internet searches. He died Oct 12, 2008. He was 60.

  That wraps up the inaugural 2009 Grand Strand Grimmy Awards. We hope that you learned a little more about the depth and breadth of live music in the region and that you’ll make a point to wish the winners and nominees well, and more importantly, that you see and enjoy as much live music as you possibly can.  Next year, who knows, the Grimmys may go global.Rolling out the red carpet for the Grimmy Awards

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