The Marshall Tucker Band is still making memories for fans
It was nine minutes after 11 a.m. when my phone rang. I answered and the person on the other end said, “Jackie, Don’t be mad at me. I’m so sorry I’m late.”
It was Doug Gray, founding member of the Marshall Tucker Band — a group who’s had seven gold and three platinum records.
He was only nine minutes late and apologizing to me — and carrying on a conversation like I was a long lost friend.
I was witnessing firsthand what Ruth McFarland of the Cleveland Rutherford Kidney Association told me about the band. She said when her group called to see if the band would play a benefit concert on May 29, they were treated with respect and kindness.
“They have been extremely helpful,” she said. “I told them we are just a bunch of women trying to plan this concert and they told me to call anytime with any question I had. They are super nice.”
Not only is the band giving the Kidney Association a good deal, but they provided “Meet and Greet” passes for them to auction off.
Proceeds from the concert will help the non-profit organization assist individuals who are currently on dialysis or have received kidney transplants. The association identifies and helps meet the needs of individuals with kidney disease and their families, in addition to promoting organ and tissue donor program awareness. Contributions made to Cleveland Rutherford Kidney Association are used for transportation, financial assistance, and continuing operations of the support center.
Gray, who was calling from his home in Spartanburg, S.C., knows several people who are fighting kidney disease and is glad for the opportunity to help someone else.
“We’ve been very blessed with what we have and we have the ability to go out and play,” he said. “We do a lot of shows for kidney associations.”
He’s been performing since he was in high school and said the reason the band has remained a favorite for 39 years is because they don’t take their fans for granted.
“You are talking to somebody who’s not better than you,” he said. “You are talking to somebody just like you. I have two graduating from high school. I’m 62 years old and a grandpa. My daughter is a psychologist.”
He truly enjoys being on stage and performing.
“That’s the easiest part of my life,” he said. “It would be foolish to stop something you love so much and that so many people love. One thing that has kept us around is our fans come to see us to bring back old memories and create new memories with their families.”
I remarked that I didn’t expect him to be such a down-to-earth guy, and he could easily put himself on a pedestal because of the band’s success.
“The pedestal is flimsy,” he said. “It dissolves very fast if you don’t keep supporting it and nurturing it and showing people you are who you are. You don’t get anything by being ugly.”