LUMBERTON — Rock may never die but the same can’t quite be said about rock bands, which have a long history of burning bright but fast.
With that in mind, Mark Schwarze, drummer and assistant professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, considers his eight-year tenure with local alternative rock quintet Big Daddy Drive quite an accomplishment, and on June 7 at 9:30 p.m. at Candy Sue’s Downtown, the end will begin for Schwarze.
Schwarze will open the evening by reuniting with the 1980s Lumberton-based hair-metal group Trim, whose members he says have not all shared the same room together since 1988.
“I’m sad to play my last show with the band,” Schwarze said. “But I am excited that we can do it in our hometown and in front of those that have supported us for eight years”.
For Schwarze, who also serves as the president of the Robeson County Humane Society, the decision to take a facility job at Appalachian State University in Boone wasn’t an easy one.
“I am leaving for professional reasons, but it was a hard decision,” Schwarze said. “It was an offer I really couldn’t refuse, but I grew up in Lumberton and I grew up playing with these guys.”
Big Daddy Drive’s current lineup consists of people whom Schwarze has known for decades, in one band or another, including lead guitarist Keith Ross, lead vocalist Jami Moore, bass player John Gales, guitarist John Bryant and Schwarze on drums.
“When he told us he was moving to Boone, we decided we were going to put together at least a final show in this area and he brought the idea of having Trim reunite for a few songs before that as an opening act,” said Ross, who had also been part of Trim’s original line up with Schwarze. “He contacted the other guys and everyone responded well. Joey Townsend the singer has to come from Charlotte, and Marcus McNeil is living in Fayetteville. Funny thing is, they have all continued with music in one form or another. Everyone has stayed in it. Most guys who have played in a band before know that it is hard to not go back. Once you do it, you’re hooked.”
Trim is likely best known to locals for its song “One More Night Alone,” which enjoyed regional radio play in the late 1980s.
Schwarze has likely had his most success with Big Daddy Drive, which has opened for national acts 38 Special, Nantucket, Kansas, Will Hoge, Molly Hatchet and Little Texas.
Moderate success aside, Schwarze says that he doesn’t suspect there is anyone in the band who is seeking fame and glory.
“I think that ship has sailed. We’re older guys now, with careers and the music business is extremely hard,” Schwarze said. “I just want to find a nice balance of my professional career and music.”
According to Ross, Big Daddy Drive will live on even after Schwarze has packed his bags, though he is in no hurry to hold auditions.
“I try not to see it as a good-bye. We’ll be keeping in touch for sure,” Ross said. “But yeah, I enjoyed playing with him and to tell you the truth, it will be weird playing with another drummer.