Music Q&A: Terry Hawkins of the Delta Kings
Terry Hawkins is drummer for the Delta Kings and owner of a drum shop in downtown Champaign.
In our new local music Q&A, Hawkins talks about his band, which will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday on the Central Illinois Bank Stage at the Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival, also in downtown Champaign.
Q: Who are the members of your band? Any new ones?
A: The Delta Kings formed 20 years ago with Bill Humphrey, Kenny McNichols, Terry Hawkins and Matt Stewart. We have played central Illinois clubs, festivals and at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. We have recorded five CDs; two of them had harmonica player Doc Lecouris in the studio playing harp on several songs. We always liked his style of playing and singing, so we asked him to be a full-time member of the Delta Kings.
Q: How did you first grow interested in music?
A: Growing up in Champaign was great; you could hear live music all the time. In the 1960s, we started seeing live music, mostly rock 'n' roll, so that was the type of records we bought. As you got older you were exposed to many different sounds and styles.
Q: Which bands did you like when you were a teenager? Which bands now? Who has influenced you the most?
A: Influences for the Delta Kings are blues, rhythm 'n blues, rockabilly and Motown.
Q: Do you have a favorite instrument? What kind of amplifiers do you prefer?
A: We all like to use vintage amps and drums.
Q: How did your band get started?
A: We have all known each other a long time, since high school. When you get older, it is harder to find people to play with your own age (50s) — so you call on old friends to form a band with.
Q: How often do you play nowadays?
A: We used to play as much as we could, which was two or three times a week. We have slowed down a bit, now playing 90-minute shows, festivals, sharing the bill with other bands.
Q: Do you write your own songs? Tell us about that experience.
A: We have written songs, but there are so many great songs to choose from other artists that fit our style of playing. So we are constantly finding new material that we won't get tired of playing.
Q: Do you feel a special connection with the audience?
A: Our job is to entertain. When you see people dancing and clapping, it makes you feel like you're doing something they like.
Q: What's your favorite clothing item for performance?
A: Everybody in the band likes black clothing. You won't see us on stage with shorts, sandals or tank tops.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more info on the Delta Kings, check out their Facebook page.