Williamstown Band to benefit from show at Smoot

By Evan Bevins

Special to the Times

In organizing his first concert — a fundraiser to purchase new drums for the Williamstown High School music program — Perry Knopp found some willing partners.

Charleston indie band Qiet and blues journeyman Greg O’Brien and the Spoodoo Cadillacs will take the stage at Parkersburg’s historic Smoot Theatre on Saturday for “Williamstown Band-Aid.”

Tickets to the show are $25 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased online at smoottheatre.com. There’s also a “donate” button for those who want to support the effort but can’t make it to the show.

“The drums are older than the kids,” said Knopp, whose daughter plays clarinet in the band. “They’re getting kind of beat up.”

Known for their genre-spanning songbook and dynamic performances, Qiet and its members are active in “getting people involved in making and enjoying music,” bass player James Maddox said.

“We’ve even given workshops in schools in West Virginia to further music education in our state,” he said. “To be offered to play this kind of show is definitely something we all responded to.”

Knopp said Qiet is hard to describe and, as such, needs to be experienced.

“They don’t fit any genre of music. They play things from the big band era all the way up to punk rock, soft rock,” he said.

In addition to Maddox, Qiet’s members are Christopher Vincent, lead vocal, guitar; Max Venoy, trumpet; Steve Barker, drums; Jared Layman, trombone, keys, backup vocals; and Tracy Lipscomb, violin, backup vocals.

Greg O’Brien lives near Shade in Meigs County, but has toured and performed around the country with acts like Tom “Tomcat” Courtney, Coco Taylor and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Living in Hollywood in the 1980s, he ran sound and performed with a variety of major blues acts.

“In the mix, I ended up doing shows for people like B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Robben Ford, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin (and) James Cotton,” O’Brien said.

The rest of the Spoodoo Cadillacs have impressive resumes of their own.

Drummer Steve “The Gate” Gaither started his career with Charlie Pride and has also played with James Brown, Della Reese, Johnny Rawls and more. Mike “Big Mike” Schallus has played around the U.S. and England and in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Jerome Mills is a member of the house band at many prominent Indianapolis blues venues, and his Jerome Mills Blues Band has opened for King and Taylor. Jeff Bradberry was bass player for Jose Feliciano, Johnny Winter and Delbert McClinton.

O’Brien is also an educator, having designed and built multiple recording studios and college music programs. Currently the director of entertainment and music technology at New Mexico Junior College, he said playing the Band-Aid concert is his way of giving back.

“If they’re (students) not given the chance to pursue what they love or even know if they like it … there’s going to be a void,” O’Brien said. “That’s the future of music here in America, and maybe worldwide.”

For the performances, Knopp lined up the Smoot, a 91-year-old downtown Parkersburg fixture.

“I picked the Smoot because it’s one of the best venues around,”he said.

Williamstown ‘Band-Aid’

¯ Fundraiser for the Williamstown High School band drumline

¯ 6 p.m. Saturday at the Smoot Theatre, 213 Fifth St., Parkersburg

¯ Featuring Qiet and Greg O’Brien and the Spoodoo Cadillacs

¯ Tickets: Adults, $25; students, $15

¯ Purchase: Online at smoottheatre. com/tickets.html; by phone, 304-422-PLAY (7529); or at the door