After more than three decades together, 38 SPECIAL continue to bring their signature blast of Southern Rock to over 100 cities a year. And at each and every show, thousands of audience members are amazed by the explosive power of the band’s performance.
Their many Gold and Platinum album awards stand in testament to the endurance of a legendary powerhouse.
With sales in excess of 20 million, most associate the band with their arena-rock pop smashes, “Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into the Night,” “Caught Up in You,” “Fantasy Girl,” “If I’d Been the One,” “Back Where You Belong,” “Chain Lightnin’,” “Second Chance,” and more – Timeless hits that remain a staple at radio, immediately recognizable from the first opening chord, and paving the way to their present-day touring regimen.
The co-founders of the group, vocalist DONNIE VAN ZANT and guitarist/vocalist DON BARNES, say it’s all about maintaining that intensity in their live shows. Barnes says, “We never wanted to be one of those bands that had maybe gotten a little soft or complacent over the years. We’re a team, and it’s always been kind of an unspoken rule that we don’t slack up, we stack up. We go out there every night to win.”
It is that steely determination that lives on in the hearts of these ‘Wild-Eyed Southern Boys.’
Completing the team is guitarist/vocalist DANNY CHAUNCEY, bassist LARRY “L.J.” JUNSTROM, drummer GARY MOFFATT and keyboardist/vocalist BOBBY CAPPS. For 38 Special onstage, it is a celebration of camaraderie and brotherhood, a precision unit bringing the dedication and honesty to a long history of classic songs, as well as surprisingly fresh new material.
Since 1976, the band has released more than 15 albums. And from the start, they’ve toured relentlessly, bringing their signature brand of ‘muscle and melody’ to fans worldwide.
Donnie Van Zant adds, “This music keeps our wheels on the road. We’re a band that’s tried to stay honest with what has driven us over the years. We started out with nothing but bold determination to make our own history and to endure. Looking back now, it has been our greatest pride to have persevered and attained that level of success and longevity. For us, it’s the ultimate validation.”
Van Zant is a unique driving force for the band, with an unending spirit that propels the rest to consistently take it up a notch. His name is synonymous with Southern Rock royalty. He is the brother of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ronnie Van Zant, the late iconic singer and founder of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Around the fall of 2009, the notion of releasing a new live album started to take precedent. The band felt that their in-concert offering many years before had lacked in sound quality not yet available in the technologically-advanced decade since. Additionally, a need to showcase a new spirit of 38 Special was growing, a band that had matured into a tighter unit after three decades on the road, with an innate ability to read each other on the stage.
Barnes explains, “Back then, we had been rushed to release something quickly without having the luxury of choosing between different performances. It was a single show in the 90’s that had been recorded at a venue where logistics were a real challenge, the weather wasn’t cooperating, and we ended up not entirely satisfied with what we got.
For LIVE FROM TEXAS, we were able to carry our digital recording equipment with us to several cities, and now had our own private studio for remixing. So this was going to be a real pleasure to put together. The crowds were massive and all of those classic songs deserved a chance to shine in an enhanced live fashion. We were finally able to deliver what we represent onstage.”
Their initial idea was to make a live recording available exclusively at the band’s shows, with an eye toward having fans take home a copy to carry on the party. But what they found as they listened back – after gleaning select tracks from various cities across Texas – was a blistering new set with a distinct difference in performance as well as audio quality than years before. It grew into an excitedly motivated plan to make available to the world 38 SPECIAL – LIVE FROM TEXAS, a collectively proud history of a band that has made the road a part of its heritage.
“And the magic’s still there,” adds Van Zant. “It’s an emotional high for us to keep ‘bringing it’ after all these years. That’s what you hear on the new live stuff, that sense of urgency and power.
When those lights go down and we all walk up those steps to the stage and hear that crowd roar, it’s a real rush to the head. It feels like we’re getting ready to strap ourselves in and it just takes off from there.”