Fuse lit for May to fire up festival season

By Steve Palisin


Starship featuring Mickey Thomas – (from left) Jeff Adams on bass; Phil Bennett on keyboards; Thomas, and Stephanie Calvert on vocals; John Roth on guitar; and Darrell Verdusco on drums – will headline North Myrtle Beach’s “Mayfest on Main” on Saturday, performing at 4 p.m.
Starship featuring Mickey Thomas – (from left) Jeff Adams on bass; Phil Bennett on keyboards; Thomas, and Stephanie Calvert on vocals; John Roth on guitar; and Darrell Verdusco on drums – will headline North Myrtle Beach’s “Mayfest on Main” on Saturday, performing at 4 p.m. Courtesy photo

In this hockey playoff season for Lord Stanley’s Cup, Georgia will score a hat trick with the concert performers Saturday afternoon at North Myrtle Beach’s 11th annual “Mayfest on Main.”

The opening act, at noon, Mother’s Finest, was formed in Atlanta in 1970; DR. W, at 2 p.m., includes Ross Childress of Atlanta, who co-founded Collective Soul; and the leader in Starship featuring Mickey Thomas was born in Cairo, just north of the Florida state line, near Tallahassee.

Mayfest is one of many fests and outings, including the annual “Military Appreciation Days,” warming up this whole month to get another Grand Strand summer sizzling.

Calling from the North Star State on April 22, the day after Minneapolis hometown son Prince Rogers Nelson died, Thomas spoke of “the tremendous impact” that the force behind “1999” and “When Doves Cry” had on the 1980s.

Before Thomas joined Starship in the late 1970s when the group’s name still started with Jefferson, he sung in Elvin Bishop’s band, taking the lead a few years earlier on “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” for which he went to bat on the “Struttin’ My Stuff” album in 1975, with “a strong, good feeling.”

“There was something about it that was special,” Thomas said. “I insisted we record it, and it was the last track we recorded for the album. ... It has stayed the test of time.”

“Fooled Around” made the “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1” soundtrack from 2014, and Thomas counted off various movies to which the single added flavor, such as “Boogie Nights,” from 1997, and others with use “in an ironic sense,” as in “Summer of Sam” two years later.

Thomas said his son was 18 when seeing “Guardians,” and happy to tell friends about hearing his father’s voice on screen.

Starship has been no stranger in movie music. “Rock of Ages” on Broadway this decade, and later in cinema, included “We Built This City,” in which he and Grace Slick shared lead vocals in the mid-1980s, just as they did in recording “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now” for “Mannequin,” which starred Kim Cattrall and Andrew McCarthy in 1987. Starship also supplied “Wild Again” for “Cocktail,” the Tom Cruise-Elisabeth Shue love story in 1988 packed with the hits “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

Thomas said “Nothing’s Gonna Stop” took an unusual path because “Mannequin” had no matching soundtrack album, “but the single became such a huge hit.” It also made Starship’s “No Protection” CD.

In the music video, interspersed with movie footage, and Thomas and Slick also taking a turn as mannequins in a store window, look for the song’s producer, Narada Michael Walden, playing keyboards in the background. Thomas said that in liking the “R&B nature” of its groove, the song was “something really different for Starship music, but not for me,” and the timing was perfect for Walden’s production, especially with his recent work on Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston albums.

With a towering tenor also driving other Starship hits such as “Jane,” “No Way Out,” Sara,” “It’s Not Over (’Til It’s Over)” and “It’s Not Enough,” Thomas said Starship being the national “spokesgroup” for helping runaways, with its 1-800-HIT-HOME national help line, let the band “give a little bit back” to help. The most graitifying part from that ambassadorship came at concerts when meeting former runaway youth who were safe and sound.

“It brings all things home,” said Thomas, who lives in California but relishes visits back home in the Southeast with family on islands off Florida’s Panhandle.

Seeing a gravitation toward “’80s music and classic rock” among the “younger generation” today, “it’s kind of like they’re becoming their own genre,” Thomas said.

“The kids I meet now in their 20s,” he said, “they know all the words to my favorite songs from the ’70s and ’80s.”

When running into actor Adam Sandler a few years ago at a Super Bowl, Thomas said he was thanked “for doing your part to keep the 1980s alive.”

Calling himself a “huge fan of Collective Soul,” whose members asked him to join them on stage at a concert, Thomas also looks forward to crossing paths this weekend with Childress.

Speaking by phone April 20, after driving through rush-hour traffic in Atlanta, Childress said he hears from fans of Collective Soul’s big run through the 1990s. He appreciates how such staples as “Shine,” “December,” “Where the River Flows” and “Listen” moved “various people with good memories.”

Childress said when playing Collective Soul tunes in an acoustic setting, in some cases, a story gets told in the music, and “that definitely takes it back” to the vibe from their origins and that “it’s not like a scripted thing.”

Singing some of the band’s repertoire that resulted from the group’s founding in Stockbridge, near Atlanta, and having done lead guitar parts, Childress said he likes the “different dimension” the songs bring in performance, and “it’s a lot of words to remember.”

Some concerts with Shane Evans, Collective Soul’s first drummer, who lives in Tennessee, might work out for this summer, said Childress, who said he sees fellow original bandmates “once in a while,” say at “a mutual friend’s CD release party.”

Childress said that besides comic books, video games keep the kid in him alive, particularly Warcraft, and a spinoff, “Heroes of the Storm.”

“Anytime I take a hour’s break from music,” he said, “that’s my entertainment.”

Atlanta’s pro sports teams keep Childress’ attention, too, especially the Falcons.

“I dig the time of year for football,” he said.

Asked what musical titans from his youth still impress him for always evolving and remaining relevant, generations later, Childress cited Elton John, “an amazing performer,” and Prince.

“My first album was ‘Purple Rain,’” Childress said, on the day before the news broke of Prince’s passing, at age 57.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.

If you go

WHAT: 11th annual “Mayfest on Main”

WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Main Street in North Myrtle Beach

INCLUDES: Concerts in “Horseshoe,” at Main Street and Ocean Boulevard:

▪ Noon – Mother’s Finest (www.mothersfinest.com)

▪ 2 p.m. – DR. W – Dion Derek Murdock, drummer for Mother’s Finest; Ross Childress, co-founder of Collective Soul, on guitar;and Will Tillman on bass.

▪ 4 p.m. – Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (www.starshipcontrol.com)


INFORMATION: 843-280-5570 or parks.nmb.us/Page.aspx?id=13

Some other celebrations in May

‘Military Appreciation Days’

Eighth annual “Miltary Appreciation Days,” through May 31. More details at 843-918-1014 or www.militaryappreciationdays.com:

▪ Veterans Resource Fair, 9 a.m.-noon Friday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10804, 111 S.C. 57, Little River. Details at 703-501-4045.

▪ Horry County Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps Drill Meet, 9 a.m. Saturday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach.

▪ “Missing Man Chair of Honor” dedication, with Rolling Thunder S.C. Chapter 3, 11 a.m. Saturday at Veterans Park, in North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex, at S.C. 90 and Robert Edge Parkway. (Contact: Bill DeVaughn at 843-685-1793).

▪ “D-Day Remembered” film, 1 p.m. Saturday at Horry County Museum (open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays), 805 Main St., Conway. Free. 843-915-5320 or www.horrycountymuseum.org.

▪ Events benefiting Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10420, 3459 U.S. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet: Mother’s Day Breakfast, 8 a.m.-noon Sunday for $10; and VFW Riders Lunch, noon-4 p.m. May 14, including music by The Coastal Boys, for $10. 843-651-6900.

▪ “Operation Paperclip” lecture, with Brett Riggs, historian, discussing the extrication of scientists from Germany by U.S. intelligence and military services during and after World War II, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Museum of Coastal Carolina, 21 E. Second St., Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Free with admission – $9 ages 13-61, $8 ages 62 and older, $7 ages 3-12, and free ages 2 and younger.

▪ Registration deadline May 12 for Military Officers Associaton of America Grand Strand Chapter Golf Tournament, benefiting college scholarships for JROTC high school seniors, wounded warrior vacations in Myrtle Beach, and veterans outreach programs, May 26 – with registration and lunch at noon, and start 2 p.m. – at Legends Golf & Resort’s Heritage Club course in Pawleys Island. $80 individual or $300 four-person team, and $5 discount for veterans. 843-251-4051 or 843-299-0167, or email jshort1020@aol.com or gerrysherwin@gmail.com, respectively.

▪ “Military Appreciation Dinner Dance,” 6 p.m. May 14 at Landmark Resort, 1501 S. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach. $32 – order at 843-918-1008.

▪ “Military Family Members Event, by Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina and Grand Strand Blue Star Mothers, 2 p.m. May 15 at Myrtle Beach Moose Lodge 1959, 479 Burcale Road, in Forestbrook community, west of MyrtleBeach, south from U.S. 501, with guest speaker Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach city spokesman. www.bluestarmothersofcoastalcarolina.com and www.grandstrandbluestarmothers.com.

▪ Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ third annual “Military Appreciation Night” and Military Card Set Giveaway, during game, with fireworks afterward, at 7:05 p.m. May 21 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach (Enter parking lot from Robert Grissom Parkway). Advance: $9, $11 or $13, and $2 more on game day. Also, with ID at box office, discounts of $3 for military for all games, in all sections, and $3 “Locals Appreciation”on upper-deck reserved seats for residents of Horry and Georgetown counties on Saturdays. 843-918-6000, 877-918-8499 (TIXX) or www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.

▪ Memorial Day weekend parade, 10:30 a.m. May 28 on Farrow Parkway, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, with Noah Galloway, U.S. Army veteran and a third-place finisher with Sharna Burgess on ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” in spring 2015.

▪ Family Picnic, noon-2 p.m. May 28 in Myrtle Beach’s Grand Park, across from The Market Common, with meet-and-greet with Galloway and concert by Andrew Thielen Big Band, and free meals for military personnel, veterans, and their families, and “Veterans Beard & ’Stache Beach Bash” contest.

▪ “Blood and Sweat Fitness Challenge,” in a Marine Corps style with eight male and female athletes each – and benefiting Special Operations Wounded Warriors – by Gunny’s Boot Camp in Myrtle Beach, 2-9 p.m. May 29 at RH Acres (formerly known as The Rat Hole – 843-213-2688 or therhacres.com), 3833 Socastee Blvd., Socastee, near entrance to Socastee Automotive. 843-209-2315 or www.gunnysbootcamp.com.

▪ Memorial Day Veterans March with Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, 9 a.m. May 30, south on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard between 16th and Ninth avenues North, with brief ceremony at former Pavilion site.

▪ Memorial Day ceremony, with Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance, 11 a.m. May 30 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center Plaza, on Oak Street at 21st Avenue North.

▪ Memorial Day tribute film, 1 p.m. May 30 at Grand 14 Cinema, at The Market Common.


▪ At Hobcaw Barony, on U.S. 17, just north of Georgetown: “Hike Hobcaw: Clambank,” 1:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, for $25; “Friendfield Village” tour, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, $20; “Art and Soul,” 1:30-4:30 p.m. May 12, $30; “Hike Hobcaw: Hobcaw Beach,” 9:30 a.m.-noon May 13, $25; and “Baruch Roundtable,” 6 p.m. May 19, $75.Reservations required at at 843-546-4623. www.hobcawbarony.org.

▪ 20th annual “Blessing of the Inlet,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday – with ceremony at 11:30 a.m. – at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, 4183 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. Free. 843-651-5099 or www.blessingoftheinlet.com.

▪ Annual Chili Cook Off for Big Paws Canine Foundation in Aynor – which trains and provides service dogs for veterans and first responders injured in line of duty – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Aynor Town Park. $5 donation to taste samples and vote for favorite. 844-244-7297 (BIG-PAWS) or www.bigpawscanine.com.

▪ 30th annual Rivertown Music & Craft Beer Festival, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday in downtown Conway, including bands, and Chicora Car Club classic car show at Palmetto Chevrolet (for which registration is $20, 8 a.m.-noon – 843-446-8021 or www.chicoracarclub.com). Free admission; buy food and beverage tickets on site. 843-248-6260 or conwayalive.com.

▪ Third annual “Fiesta Mexicana,” 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday at St. Brendan the Navigator Roman Catholic Church, 5101 Ocean Highway W. (U.S. 17), Shallotte, N.C. 910-575-2393 or saintbrendan-shallotte.org.

▪ Fourth annual “Totally Turtles!” 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, including various sea turtle-themed nature programs lasting 30 minutes each, at Myrtle Beach State Park, on U.S. 17 Business, one mile south of Farrow Parkway/Ocean Boulevard. Free with park admission: $5 for ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15. 843-238-0874 for nature center, 843-238-5325 park office, or www.myrtlebeachsp.com.

▪ At La Belle Amie Vineyard, 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School: “Key West Music Fest,” noon-5 p.m. Saturday, with music by The PG Quintet, and Latitude, for $8; and “Memorial Saturday Music & Cookout” May 28, for $3. Also, bring two canned/dry good items for food bank, for $3 off admission. 843-399-9463 or labelleamie.com.

▪ “Derby on the Creek” benefit for or St. Christopher’s Children, a Pawleys Island organization for Georgetown County youth with special needs. 4:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday at a DeBordieu Colony residence. $50. 906-286-0453, or email lisawillishinkson@gmail.com.

▪ At Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily and where “Nature Connects: Legos Bricks Sculpture” exhibit continues through Sept. 5: “Masquerade of the Muses” benefit gala, 5-9 p.m. Saturday, including music by PaperWork and three large screens to view Kentucky, for $175 or $300 – reservations at 843-235-6018; “Robotics Celebration Day” with South Carolina First LEGO League and Grand Strand Technology Council, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 14 – free with admission, which lasts lasts seven days: $16 ages 13-64, $14 ages 65 and older, $8 ages 4-12, and free ages 3 and younger; “Breakfast with the Butterflies,” 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 28, for $25 adult, $20 child – 843-235-6016; and “Build Your Own ‘Simply Amazing’ Creation” contest, with entries accepted May 30-June 3. 843-235-6000, 800-849-1931 or www.brookgreen.org.

▪ “Pawleys Pavilion Reunion,” benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Georgetown County and with The Entertainers in concert, 6-11 p.m. Saturday at Pawleys Island Nature Park, on North Causeway. $30 advance or $35 at site for ages 13 and older, $10 ages 3-12, free ages 2 and younger. 843-546-5685, ext. 6.

▪ Reservations due Monday for SOS Health Care’s “Family Fun Day/Field Day and Barbecue,” 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. May 14 in Georgetown’s East Bay Park, on east end of Front Street. 843-283-3033, or email diane.owens@sos-healthcare.com.

▪ Benefits for Family Justice Center of Georgetown County, which helps people affected by domestic violence (www.familyjusticecenter.org): Myrtle Beach Pelicans game, 7:05 p.m. May 12 at TicketReturn.com Field, with $11 tickets available at Family Justice Center, 1530 Highmarket St., Georgetown, or call 843-546-3926 or email TYoung@fjcgeorgetown.org; “Stand Up and Step Out Against Domestic Violence 5K,” benefiting 8 a.m. May 28 at Stables Park, on Petigru Road in Pawleys Island. $25 with registration by 5 p.m. May 26 at runsignup.com/Race?raceId=31679, otherwise $30 (email drjtroxell@gmail.com).

▪ 33rd annual “World Famous Blue Crab Festival,” 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 14-15 on Little River waterfront. Daily: $4 advance or $5 at gate, for ages 13 and older, and free ages 12 and younger. 843-249-6604 or bluecrabfestival.org.

▪ “Cruise-In Car Show,” benefiting American Red Cross, with Caravan of Stars entertainment, 2-5 p.m. May 15 and 17, at Jamin’ Leather, 1220 Port Drive, Myrtle Beach, off U.S. 17 Bypass, south of George Bishop Parkway/Harrelson Boulevard bridge. 843-294-1222 or www.jaminleather.com.

▪ Grand opening of Mulberry Park, 123 Mulberry St., Shallotte, N.C., 6 p.m. May 20 with The Embers featuring Craig Woolard; and music noon-2 p.m. May 21 by Big Barn Boom’s B3 Trio 12-2 p.m., and screening of Disney’s Inside Out” at dusk. Free. 910-754-4032, or email rjohnson@townofshallotte.org.

▪ “Local Grown Country Music Fest” – benefiting Children’s Recovery Center and with such artists as Keith Anderson, Lewis Brice, Luke Combs, Brad Long, Jeremiah McGuire, and Kenny George Band – 11 a.m. May 21 at Thompson Farm and Nursery,1625 Bucksville Drive, near Bucksport, off U.S. 701 south of Conway. $30 advance or $35 at gate for ages 11 and older, otherwise free. 843-236-1400 or thompsonfarmandnursery.com.

▪ Grand Strand Miracle Leagues’ “Baseball & Beyond” game – with participants with disabilities paired up with a pro athlete buddy each – 2 p.m. May 22 at James C. Benton Miracle League Field, outiside Myrtle Beach’s Pepper Geddings Recreation Center, 3205 N. Oak St. Reservations due May 10 at 843-455-8526, or email Isabel@gsmiracleleagues.com. www.grandstrandmiracleleague.com.


▪ At Brunswick County Association of Realtors building, 101 Stone Chimney Road S.E., Supply, N.C.: Southwest Brunswick Newcomers Club fundraiser for Brunswick Family Assistance, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, and Brunswick County Literacy Council, with Mike’s Garage Band, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, for $15 members, otherwise $20 (email eumfam@gmail.com); and “Juleps & Jazz,” General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ third annual Kentucky Derby-style fund “racer,” 4-7 p.m. Saturday, with jazz by Nick Michaels Trio, for $25 (910-612-7912).

▪ 15th annual “National Free Comic Book Day,” with free comic books given away Saturday at stores including XCon Comics, 807 Main St., Myrtle Beach (843-839-4820); and Coastal Comics, 1708 U.S. 17 Business N., Surfside Beach (843-750-0330). www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/992.

▪ “Read to Run” Freedom Readers summer kickoff festival, noon-2 p.m. Saturday at Georgetown County Parks & Recreation Beck Recreation Center, 2030 Church St., Georgetown. 843-251-1804 or www.freedomreaders.org.

▪ “Cinco de Meow” family bowling night, benefiting Sav-R-Cats International adoption center (based in the South Seas Village Plaza, 1117 S.C. 544, near Surfside Beach, just west of U.S. 17 Business, across from Walgreens), 6-10 p.m. Saturday at Surfside Bowl Entertainment Center, 510 U.S. 17 Business N., Surfside Beach (843-238-2695 or www.surfsidebowlingcenter.com). Bowl two hours for $10, including shoe rental. Reservations at 843-222-8057 or 843-222-7804. www.sav-r-cats.com.

▪ “Honoring Horry County Civil Servants,” with free food served to honorees, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. May 20 at Tabernacle of Meetings, 530 N. Azalea Drive, Surfside Beach. 843-457-1630, or 843-241-5528.

▪ “XCon World 9,” by Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance in Myrtle Beach and benefiting Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, May 20-22 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North. Advance: three-day badge, for ages 13 and older: $23 advance, and three-day VIP $150, both with pickup at will-call window; and free ages 12 and younger. 843-839-4840 or www.xconworld.com.

▪ Fifth annual “Flip Flop Ball,” benefiting Novant Health Foundation Brunswick Medical Center’s Greatest Need Fund, 7 p.m. May 20 at Brick Landing Plantation Golf Club & Restaurant, 1882 Goose Creek Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. $100. 910-721-1473 or NovantHealth.org/BrunswickEvents.

▪ Murrells Inlet Masonic Lodge 368 fundraiser, with chicken bog meals, 11 a.m.-2 p.m May 27 at Inlet Affairs, 4024 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. $7 dine in or take out. 843-215-8352.