Part Time Party Time Band gets Hall of Fame honor
During the late 1970s, a local band made a splash at the neighborhood pool.
This past weekend, more than three decades later, that same band — now known as the Part Time Party Time Band — made a much bigger splash, being inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame.
The High Point-based band was one of 10 Hall of Fame inductees — including the likes of well-known rhythm ‘n’ blues crooners Billy Scott and Gene Chandler — during the annual Carolina Beach Music Awards ceremonies Saturday in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“This means a lot to us, because this is recognition from peers and fans across a 30-year time span,” said longtime member Garry Gahagan, who plays bass and handles bookings for the band. “To us, this is the equivalent of a Grammy.”
The popular beach music band has had more than two dozen members through the years, many of whom traveled to North Myrtle Beach for the induction ceremony.
“When they called our name to come up to the stage, it looked like half the room was gonna go up there,” Gahagan said with a chuckle.
The band joins a long list of distinguished beach music acts that have been inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, including such legends as Bill Pinkney & the Original Drifters, Chairmen of the Board, the Embers, the Clovers, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, and Archie Bell & the Drells.
The band traces its roots to the late 1970s, when a few guys in the Kynwood Village development in Trinity — who shared a mutual appreciation for beach music — put a band together to perform at neighborhood pool parties. They even came up with a clever name — the Kynwood Village People.
As the band began to get booked for gigs beyond the neighborhood pool, the name was changed to the Part Time Party Time Band during the early 1980s — but its devotion to beach music remained intact. More gigs and beach music festivals followed, and the band eventually began recording in the late ’80s.
The band’s current members are Gahagan; Mike Freeman (lead vocals, trumpet); Danny Pierce (lead vocals, saxophone); Brian Barfield (trombone); Dustin Jennings (trumpet); Warren Phillips (lead vocals, guitar); Charlie Carter (lead guitar); Chris Walden (drums); Joey Walden (keyboards); and Bill Walden (sound, lights and staging).
According to Gahagan, Bill Walden has been doing sound for the band since the 1980s, a relationship that led to the addition of two of the band’s current members — his sons, Chris and Joey Walden.
“They were just little guys, 9 or 10 years old, who sometimes came along with their dad if we were playing close to home,” Gahagan says. “Eventually, they became very accomplished musicians, and as other guys retired from the band, they were able to take their place, and they do a terrific job for us.”
The one constant throughout the band’s history, Gahagan says, is that — as their name implies — they really are a part-time band, as the majority of the members have held day jobs in addition to playing with the band.
And that, he says, makes the band’s induction into the Hall of Fame that much more special.
“This is a part-time endeavor for us,” he says. “For all intents and purposes, we’re in competition for recognition and opportunities to play with full-time musicians, and I think that says a lot for the talent and motivation of the people involved in what we do. For us, this is recognition for doing something as well on a part-time basis as other people do on a full-time basis.”
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“I’m with the band”
While the Part Time Party Time Band’s style of music hasn’t changed much through the years, the roster of musicians has. Here’s a breakdown of the band’s members through the years:
•Original members: Jimmy Johnson, Jim Blackburn, Freddie Dunlap, Otis Harris, Ed Blair, John Stewart, David Spell.
•Current members: Chris Walden, Joey Walden, Garry Gahagan, Charlie Carter, Brian Barfield, Dustin Jennings, Mike Freeman, Danny Pierce, Warren Phillips, Bill Walden (sound engineer).
•Other members: Herman Hucks, James Whitley, Wilson Brown, Gregg Gibhardt, Norman Allred, Blaine Smith, Scott Adair, Eric Smith, David Garrett, Sonny Pless (sound) and Ricky Spencer (sound).