Sliding from sideman to front-man, wasn’t quite what local guitarist, singer/songwriter Mike McCoy planned on doing late in 2012, but with the sudden disbanding of the Necessary Band last fall, McCoy did what was, well...necessary. McCoy formed the Mike McCoy Trio shortly after it was announced that the Necessary Band, a long-time staple of area bars, would cancel its remaining gigs due to personnel issues. Faced with a sudden loss of income McCoy did what any hardworking family man would do in a similar situation; went out and hustled up some work, by first enlisting his former bassist and band mate, Mark Necessary, who has settled happily into the side-man role.
“I talked Mark into sharing the singing with me,” said McCoy, “but he wanted to kick back and relax a little bit after years of running the Necessary Band, and go back to school. He didn’t want to book the band or do any of that, and so I’ve been doing what [he used to do.]” McCoy also enlisted drummer Pete Roditis, who he’d met at open jams in the area.
McCoy, 55, moved to Myrtle Beach from Atlanta in 1987 where he lived and worked off and on for many years. Prior to that he’d enjoyed stints in Philadelphia and New York City where he did some commercial work. “I had to get out of the [New York City] thing,” said McCoy. “You’d work for three months and then you couldn’t find work for three months. I had to get out of it. I played on some hair gel commercial, or something like that. But my biggest claim to fame was I played with the Manhattans in Atlanta for a couple of months around 1979 or 1980, when their guitarist was in jail up in New York. So I was the white guy with the group for a while when their hit “Kiss and Say Goodbye” came out. I earned my chops in and around Atlanta and the Virginia-Highland [neighborhood] where there were 12 bars, and everybody played all of them. You could start at 8 p.m. and finish at 4:30 [a.m.]”
Once in Myrtle Beach, McCoy found the gigs a bit harder to come by and he had to supplement his income, like most local musicians. “My [wife] Laura and I ran the kitchen at Shamrock’s for 14 years, before I joined the Necessary Band in 2006,” said McCoy. “I had been playing out, though. I was doing solo stuff and I had been looking for a band but could never find the right one until I met the Necessary Band. I got close to six good years with the Necessary Band.”
The extensive crowd-friendly play list of the Necessary Band came in handy for McCoy’s new venture, but he’s taking his trio in new directions as well. “We still play a lot of the songs the Necessary Band did - Al Green, Tom Petty, the fun stuff, and we’re incorporating more reggae into our set list. Reggae is Pete’s thing. He’s a really good reggae drummer.” Like most bands this time of year, the going is rough for the Mike McCoy Trio. “January and February have been brutal,” said McCoy. “The worst winter I’ve had in seven years. I’m going to keep booking, playing some solo shows, might have to pick up some daytime work.”
McCoy is singing and playing more in the three-piece band, which is fine by him. “I thought carefully about adding a fourth member, but I kind of like the three-piece. I play a lot more guitar, so that’s fun. We’re starting to do some originals, too. The front-man thing is not new to me. I’ve done it off and on my whole life.”
See the Mike McCoy Trio at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Dead Dog Saloon in Murrells Inlet.
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