It was July 4, 2007, at a 4th of July party held at the home of Nigel Holland, owner of “The World’s Greatest 70s Show Band,” The Right On Band. I was a guest of the band’s guitar player, Tommy Hageman, my boyfriend at the time.
My memory is a little murky at this point, but one thing I do remember, and will never forget, is that Nigel told me that no one could make it as an 80s Show Band in this area.
“Challenge accepted,” I replied.
The rest is history. With the help of musician extraordinaire, Jess Willoughby, who recruited his brother Windle Willoughby, and Windle’s wife at the time, Danica Willoughby, and with the addition of drummer Eric Mills, with whom I had been jamming all summer, The Deloreans were formed. The band rehearsed for the first time in October 2007 in the Pembroke area of Virginia Beach, at my parents’ home. We performed our very first show four months later at H2O on Shore Drive on what was a leap year, February 29, 2008. The place was packed.
The Deloreans have experienced monumental changes in personnel along the way, including core member additions of drummer Cary Greco, and guitarist Tommy Hageman. Other additions included vocalists Meredith Hines, Rianna Pellino, and most recently, Joanna Lynne Decker.
It has been 10 years, and, oh what a ride! To take a step back and ask myself what it is like to be a “Delorean,” I can honestly say that I have no idea. I was chatting with fellow musician Steve Green of Strictly Business recently, and I told him I felt bad that I was so out of touch with the current Hampton Roads music scene, and he replied “That’s because 10 years ago you put your head down, started moving forward, and haven’t looked up.”
When you are so immersed in something like this, it becomes part of who you are and you don’t see yourself how others see you. In fact, oftentimes I meet people for the first time, and they get so excited to meet me in person (because they have only seen me on stage), and I laugh every time. To answer the question simply, it is just like being anyone else; we are simply doing what we do. The Deloreans is a job; a fun one, albeit, one that spreads joy and laughter, a vehicle for shared memories, but for us, it is a job. For some of us, it is a dream job, as well. I remember claiming that I would be a professional musician at the age of 15.
So why is this 10 year anniversary such a milestone? It is hard to make a living playing music; few succeed in finding work as a full time entertainer. Either you continue to evolve, improve, and innovate, or you cease to exist in this business.
At a glance, The Deloreans demonstrate the “on the surface” polished look, and, well, that’s the point! A behind-the-scenes look will tell a different story, however…not a story of gossipy secrets and turmoil, but one of hard work and perseverance. A week in the life of a Delorean means different things for different members of the band. I, the band owner, am in charge of everything from booking shows, managing the calendar and show timelines, managing equipment and crew, to choosing songs, coordinating rehearsals, managing social media and promotions, and of course the performance aspect of the show.
But what makes The Deloreans so special, and why have we stood the test of time? With over 100 shows a year for 10 years, and up to 200 in some of those years, some 1500 shows under our (fashionable 80s) belts, and we have only just begun. The band’s energy hasn’t declined, it just keeps getting better…the group doesn’t fight and bicker (too much), morale is higher than ever before…The Deloreans have developed familial relationships with one another, and it translates to the stage. That “magical chemistry,” explosive and drastically different personalities, and articulate attention to detail coupled with a strong desire to please [the audience] at every show gives this band an edge, one that continues to sustain the livelihood of some very talented individuals, and puts a lot of smiles on the faces of 80s music fans everywhere.
In summation, life as a Delorean is great. The exhilaration of taking the stage and witnessing the joy that comes when musicianship and preparation meet those who long for nostalgia and entertainment is something that words cannot effectively describe.
To witness the magic, join The Deloreans, on Saturday, February 10, 2018, at Hampton Roads’ premier concert venue, The NorVa, as we celebrate 10 years of serving Hampton Roads up enough memories to last a lifetime…and many more to come—10 years and counting…into the future!