While Hurricane Sandy breezed by us here in Myrtle Beach last weekend, the surfers, including lifelong Grand Strand native “Kid” Drew Voivedich, yearned for time to get out and enjoy the waves. Surfing and playing the guitar have been in Voivedich’s blood since he was a kid. His passion and skill with the guitar is well known. He’s earned a steady living for the past two years at Legends in Concert, while the surfing has been relegated to hobby status.
But this kid is shucking the moniker he’s been known by since he was 12, and a name that followed him into adulthood. Kid Drew is now just “Drew,” and The Kid Drew Band is now The Drew Anthony Band. It seems the kid is all grown up.
Voivedich, 26, grew up in Little River and by the time he was 13 he was a regular fixture in area music stores and occasional bar gigs with his musician father, wowing everyone within earshot. By his late teens and early 20s he was performing in his own bands in area bars from Charleston to Little River. Not much has changed since the early 2000s, except that Voivedich now holds that rarest of guitar gigs. He landed a real resume-builder in January 2011 when he accepted the position as a permanent member of the Legends in Concert house band, working six nights a week.
Mostly a Grand Strand fixture as a young teen, Voivedich starting sowing his oats as soon as he was able.
“I lived in Little River until I was 18,” he said, “then I moved to Murrells Inlet. I lived around the South-end for a while; Pawleys Island and down that way. Then I moved to Charleston, James Island, and moved back here when I was offered the job at Legends.”
At Legends Voivedich plays for a steady stream of celebrity tribute artists portraying anyone from Elvis to Michael Jackson and a host of country acts. His shows end at 10 p.m., and he’s managed to find a number of area bar owners willing to accept an 11 p.m. start for his own band, which is a bit later than the standard 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. start times. While he’s been “Kid Drew” most of his life, he’s eager to leave the blues-heavy youth label behind, instead billing his trio as “The Drew Anthony Band,” which is a combination of his first and middle names.
“It’s difficult to get away from it completely,” he said. “I grew up playing the blues, with guys like Smokehouse [Larry Brown]. For a lot of people I’ll always be “Kid Drew.” I don’t think I’ll ever 100-percent be able to move away from it. When I moved to Charleston I had an opportunity to try to get away from the Kid Drew thing, because nobody knew me down there.” That Charleston-era act was first called Red Emotion Riot, and then shortened to The Riot.
Even local bars are sometimes reluctant to allow Voivedich to move on, and still use the “Kid Drew” name on the marquee and in advertisements. “I understand [why they do that],” he said. “They’re trying to draw.”
For all the talent and music in Myrtle Beach, Voivedich sees the Grand Strand as a difficult place in which to really be heard. “This is not a music town. There’re only a handful of bands that draw around here, and even then I don’t think it’s because of their music, necessarily. I think it’s a popularity and party kind of thing. Club owners around here are all about ‘can you bring a crowd?’”
January will mark the start of Drew’s third year in the Legends band.
“It’s different then the bar gig thing. It’s great to have steady work and not have the pressure to book six nights a week, where you’re expected to play certain songs. We can play what we want to play, and because we enjoy it more, it’s more sincere, and I think the crowd picks up on that, and ends up being better for everyone.”
Voivedich hopes to one day make his way off the beach to share his talents with a larger audience. “I know so many people on the road with national touring acts. They’re happy and everything, but it seems it’s almost like a traveling theatre gig. Being on the road with a band, you’re playing the same thing night after night. At least here at home you’re close to friends and family, I can still do my bar gigs with my band. I don’t take that for granted. I’m blessed, and very thankful.”
The Drew Anthony Band performs each at 11 p.m. Thursdays at The 19 th Hole Grill & Sports Lounge in Murrells Inlet, and every other Saturday at Lumpy’s Bar & Grill in Pawleys Island.