Living Well – How have you handled the responsibility of
carrying on the The Marshall Tucker Band legacy and brand?
Doug Gray: Most our current members have been together for the last 25 years. One of the best decisions we made last year was switching to a larger agency to represent us. We’ve completely seen a spike in our popularity. In fact I can’t help but laugh when I hear people say “our band is up and coming” after 45 years of performing. Currently, I’m 69 years old and I’m having more fun than ever.
Living Well – How did you decide on the band name?
Doug Gray: Marshall Tucker is a real man who lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He is 90 years old and just retired from choir director at his local church. When the band was just getting started, we needed a warehouse. Mr. Tucker was the previous tenant at the warehouse we ended up renting. One day we found a keychain with the script “Marshall Tucker.” At that time we had no idea this was a real man, but it seemed like a great name for a band (at the time we were calling ourselves Toy Factory). Shortly after, when a show promoter asked us for our band name for the marquee, the guys agreed to call ourselves The Marshall Tucker Band for that show - the name stuck and we never changed it.
Living Well – Over the years you’ve been able to collaborate and inspire many musicians. Who do you enjoy listening to?
Doug Gray: Zac Brown of The Zac Brown Band is a great friend of mine and I love watching them perform. I will tell you, the great Allman Brothers will always be one of my favorite bands. I also love watching The Voice and seeing the young kids bring their love and God-given talent to music. I truly enjoy the pleasure they have for music and keeping up with what style is popular.
Living Well – What are some keys to staying current, both in your life and career for more than 4 decades?
Doug Gray: My grandkids (6 & 4 years old) and my daughters keep me young. The passion and enjoyment I get from all types of music continues to push me to recreate and grow my craft. I’m constantly learning and never stop. The key to life – never stop!
Living Well – This year you will perform close to 125 shows. What stop are you looking most forward to and why?
Doug Gray: BB Kings Blues Club in Manhattan is a small venue we’ve been visiting for years. We always end our year in New York and the entire band looks forward to this stop. This is our chance to invite Artists we love working with. We really let our hair down and just jam out.
Living Well – Tell us about your favorite instrument and the significance behind it.
Doug Gray: I started playing Piano when I was 6, but you can’t carry a piano around so I got into guitar. However I realized early on my real instrument and gift is my voice. 15 years ago I had a minor surgery, but otherwise I just keep my voice and health in check and I’ve been blessed over all these years to share my gift with our fans.
Living Well – When you’re not touring, where do you like to spend your time?
Doug Gray: In 1972 I bought my first place on the shores of Myrtle Beach for $7,500. This is still my favorite place to kick back and relax when I’m not touring. In fact, as we’re talking I have my feet up and am capturing a little R&R before heading back out on tour.