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38 SPECIAL

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

Jacksonville, Florida's Southern Rock act .38 SPECIAL, although being imbued with the influences of that genre and the fact that lead vocalist Donnie Van Zant is the brother of LYNYRD SKYNYRD vocalists Johnny and Ronnie Van Zant. .38 SPECIAL has steadily built their success by steering progressively toward mainstream Rock and AOR with each successive release. To date .38 SPECIAL has sold in excess of ten million albums worldwide.

Van Zant had previously been a member of ALICE MARR. Van Zant left ALICE MARR, being replaced by ex-SKY singer Randall Hall- later of ROSSINGTON COLLINS and LYNYRD SKYNYRD, to join SWEET ROOSTER. His elder famous brother Ronnie had persuaded his sibling to concentrate on music rather than accept a job offer from the railroad. The first incarnation of the band included Van Zant, guitarists Don Barnes and erstwhile SWEET ROOSTER man Jeff Carlisli, bassist Ken Lyons and the double drumming of Jack Grondin and Steve Brookins. The young Carlisi also benefited from Ronnie Van Zant's advice when the vocal legend told him to finish his schooling before joining a band. He only joined Donnie's band after he had secured his degree in architecture.

Upon it's formation in 1975 the band had no title but after having their rehearsal room raided with .38 special brandishing cops one night the band name became glaringly obvious. Many years on the club circuit followed as the band developed their In 1975 .38 SPECIAL was opening for LYNYRD SKYNYRD.

By 1976 Ronnie felt sufficiently impressed to arrange a showcase with A&M Records. .38 SPECIAL were duly signed up. The band's self-titled debut, produced by Dan Hartman and issued in August 1977, garnered good press but only scored the band a no. 148 position on the US charts. '38 Special' comprised a set of originals bolstered by the CHUCK BERRY cover version 'Around And Around'. The lead single 'Four Wheels' came to prominence, attaining a no. 14 spoton the national singles charts.

November 1978's follow up 'Special Delivery', once again seeing the production desk manned by Dan Hartman, included a guest appearance from LYNYRD SKYNYRD's keyboard player Billy Powell.

Previous to recording their third studio album, 1980's 'Rockin' Into The Night' recorded at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia, .38 SPECIAL enlisted former LYNYRD SKYNYRD bassist Larry Jungstrom in place of Lyons. The LYNYRD SKYNYRD connection continued with Rodney Mills being brought in to produce. The album, notably included lead track 'Rockin' Into The Night' penned by the SURVIVOR duo of Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, hit no. 57 in the USA.

The breakthrough created by 'Rockin' Into The Night' provided the launch platform for the band's follow up May 1981's 'Wild Eyed Southern Boys'. Again produced by Rodney Mills, Jim Peterik co-wrote the band's first big hit single 'Hang On Loosely' working with Barnes and Carlisli. 'Wild Eyed Southern Boys' gave 38 SPECIAL their first top 20 album.

In 1982 .38 SPECIAL experienced its first top ten single with 'Caught Up In You'. The band was asked to contribute music to the 'Teacher Teacher' movie and the title cut was lifted as another Billboard hit.

'Tour De Force' surpassed the million sales mark in America as 'If I'd Been The One', 'Twentieth Century Fox' and 'Back Where You Belong' were all strong radio hits. The band dropped out of the scene in 1984 only to return two years later contributing to the soundtrack to the movie 'Revenge Of The Nerds 2'. .38 SPECIALS 1986 album 'Strength In Numbers' gave the band another gold album.

In 1987 Barnes upped and left to pursue a solo career. Don was replaced with ex STU BLANK BAND / MISTRESS / BILLY SATELLITE guitarist Danny Chauncey and keyboard player MAX CARL was also added in a period of transition due to the group reverting to a single drummer format thanks to Steve Brookins also leaving.

the 1988 album 'Rock n' Roll Strategy' the band shifted deeper into AOR territory and gave the band their biggest hit to date when the single 'Second Chance' broke into the American top ten. Although the critics were impressed the album failed to sell and .38 SPECIAL parted ways with A&M Records. Undaunted the band doggedly got their teeth into live work for a two year period during which they signed to Charisma Records for the more traditionally southern flavoured 'Bone Against Steel'.

Barnes had returned to the fold but long term member Carlisli departed. Carl also left (later to join GRAND FUNK RAILROAD) to be replaced by Scott Hoffman. The band also augmented their live sound with keyboard player Bobby Capp.

For the 1997 release 'Resolution' .38 SPECIAL were down to a quartet of vocalist Donnie Van Zant, guitarists Don Barnes and Danny Chauncey and Larry Junstrom on bass. Drums were sessioned by DEGARMO & KEY man Greg Morrow. The band's longstanding songwriting collaborator Peterik added his touch once more. For touring the band filled the drummer's position with Gary Moffatt.

Although the band had been inactive for some time .38 SPECIAL bounced back with 'Resolution' with the single 'Fade To Blue' going top 20 in America.

In 1998 Van Zant teamed up with his brother Johnny, lead singer with LYNYRD SKYNYRD, to record the VAN ZANT 'Brother To Brother' album. Barnes & Peterik collaborated once more on JIM PETERIK's 2000 solo album 'World Stage' reworking 'Fade To Blue' and 'Changed By Love' from the 'Resolution' album.

The band narrowly missed a potential catastrophe in August 2000 when a gust of wind brought a lighting rig crashing down onto a stage in Mancos, Colorado while the band were performing. Miraculously the band escaped harm.

Carlisli turned up again in 1999 as part of BIG PEOPLE alongside fellow guitarist PAT TRAVERS and former TED NUGENT singer DEREK ST. HOLMES. During early 2004 Carlisli formed up with the SOUTHERN ROCK RENEGADES, an all-star celebration of Southern Rock founded by an elite cast of players. Fronted up by Henry Paul of the OUTLAWS, BLACKHAWK and the HENRY PAUL BAND and WET WILLIE vocalist Jimmy Hall, additional guitars were supplied by LYNYRD SKYNYRD veteran guitarist Ed King and the MARSHALL TUCKER BAND's George McCorkle. Guest vocals came courtesy of Alison Heafner whilst ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION's Robert Nix delivered the drums.

In 2005 it was announced that Donnie Van Zant had formed an alliance with LYNYRD SKYNYRD's Johnny Van Zant. Natually billed VAN ZANT, the duo duly signed to Columbia Records Nashville for a Country flavoured album.

STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON and 38 SPECIAL launched into the US 'Can't Stop Rockin' summer 2009 tour on 13th May at Albuquerque, New Mexico's Sandia Casino Amphitheater.

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