Dead Dog readies for annual Myrtle Beach-area 9-11 benefit

For Weekly SurgeSeptember 4, 2013 

Are you ever astonished at how quickly time seems to move? How about the fact that Wednesday (Sept. 11) will mark the 12th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania, known simply as 9-11? Regardless of how it may seem like it was yesterday, the calendar doesn’t lie. While the initial shock of that terrible day has lessoned over time, many in the Myrtle Beach area consider one local, annual fundraising event as the best opportunity to remember and honor the many first responders and citizens who lost their lives on that horrible day.

Within hours of the original attacks in 2001, owners of the Dead Dog Saloon, then located in Myrtle Beach, began to find ways for its customers to gather, and let off steam. The following year, in 2002, an event, a remembrance, was born and has since grown into the largest fundraising effort along the Grand Strand specifically to honor the victims and the heroes of not just 9-11, but of any natural or manmade disaster striking the U.S. The Dead Dog’s Fallen Heroes Benefit, 11 a.m. – midnight Wednesday will continue that tradition at the venue’s Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk location.

In addition to raising nearly $150,000 since 2002, the event features a full day and night of live music, a formal ceremony at 1 p.m., live auctions, free food, golf tournament (Monday), and raffles. This year’s proceeds, expected to be in the $15 - 20,000 range, will benefit the Horry/Georgetown Counties’ Fire & Life Safety Expo, the Rolling Thunder Grand Strand Chapter, and, as always, the Georgetown Sheriff Dept.’s “Shop with Santa Program.”

Bill DeVaughn, of Little River, is Chairman of the Board of Rolling Thunder South Carolina Chapter 3 (Grand Strand), a biker-friendly organization that provides a color guard parade during the ceremony held at the Dead Dog. DeVaughn says the organization began as a way to create more visibility and accountability for American P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s of all foreign wars, but has expanded to include services to veterans and their families. “We support all types of veteran’s organizations,” said DeVaughn. “We’ve been bringing our group [to the Dead Dog] for six years.”

The event, which draws thousands, has its solemn moments, but most in attendance are there to show their support for the cause, give what they can, and enjoy the food, drink and live music. This year’s musical lineup will feature many of the Dead Dog’s regular acts, which donate their time and talents for the event. While last-minute adjustments, additions, and substitutions are always possible, in years’ past the event organizers have held to the schedule without much variation.

WPDE’s “Carolina & Co LIVE” will broadcast live from the Dead Dog Saloon beginning at Noon; 1 p.m. is the formal ceremony and music from Chasing Revelry; 2 p.m., Bil Krauss; 3 p.m., Paul Grimshaw Band (shameless plug); 4 p.m., The Winchesters; 5 p.m., Backfire; 6 p.m., Josh Brannon Band; 7 p.m., Nick Andolora Band; 8 p.m., The Mullets; 9 p.m., The Necessary Band; 10 p.m., Not Yet Rated.

“Our first benefit was in 2002,” said Charlie Campbell, event co-founder and Dead Dog Saloon owner. “We fully support the Georgetown Sheriff’s ‘Shop with Santa Program’ which provides toys for underprivileged kids. Every year we donate to the Horry & Georgetown Counties’ Fire & Life Safety Expo; they bring school kids out on a field trip and teach them about fire safety. We added Rolling Thunder last year; they do a lot of great work for the veterans. In the past we’ve contributed to the Red Cross Katrina Fund, the Charleston 9 [firefighters who died in service in 2007], and we stay tuned to any, God forbid, national or regional needs.”

Music provides an all-important focal point for the benefit, according to Campbell, and each year seems to hold at least one special musical surprise.

For the first time in nearly a year, the Necessary Band will regroup for a one-time reunion show at the Local Heroes’ Benefit. After the act disbanded in 2012 and two of its members moved out of state, bandleader and founding member Mark Necessary changed his priorities. He still performs, though less frequently as the bassist in the Mike McCoy Trio. He spends most of his time as a husband and father, and, for the first time in a long time, he’s hitting the books. “I’ve got a lot of classes in front of me, but the goal is to obtain a nursing degree and get my R.N. [designation].” Keyboardist Mark Montanaro will travel in from Nashville, Tenn., and drummer Danny Evans from Pennsylvania to join Necessary and McCoy.

Campbell is an avid music lover. “Music is of great importance to this event, and I can’t say enough about [musicians’ donations] of time and talent. It warms my heart. I hope we’ll do this event forever.”

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