The Outlaws has been entertaining the world for over 30 years now. In 70’s The Outlaws established themselves as first class players in the phenomenon that came to be known as Southern Rock and struck gold with hits like “Green Grass and High Tides” and “There Goes Another Love Song” These boys from Tampa also introduced the legendary Hughie Thomasson into the world. For die hard fans and new followers, here’s a quick overview on how The Outlaws began their journey to superstardom…
Contrary to what others believe, the band was originally formed in 1966 and played in local bar scene under various names. The band members during the 60’s were Hughie Thomasson (vocals/guitars), David Dix (drums), Phil Humberg (bass), Hobie O’Brien (guitars), Frank Guidry (guitars) and Herb Pino (lead singer). Name of the band back then was The Rogues before it was changed to The Four Letter Word. When guitarist Guidry joined the band he labeled himself as an outlaw since he left his former band to be part of the group.
In 1968, they were able to make their very first album. Unfortunately, it wasn’t released to the public because of a disagreement between the band members and albums producer. This was also the time when Guidry left the band due to a falling out with their manager on that time, Paul D. The band recorded another album in Miami around that year but again, it was never released. During those times, band started to fall apart. O’Brien and Humberg became family men and were replaced by Frank O’Keefe. Also David Dix left the band and was replaced by Monte Yoho. By the year 1971, the band eventually stopped playing after few and far between gigs.
Start of Something New
After a quick but life altering break, The Outlaws were reformed in 1972. The newly formed band included five exceptional musicians: Hughie Thomasson, Monte Yoho, Frank O’Keefe, Henry Paul (vocals/guitars) and Billy Jones (organ/guitars). Thomasson, Paul and Jones became eventually known as The Florida Guitar Army. The band began performing at colleges and universities and became crowd favorites of fraternities who consistently organized events.
Two years after their comeback, managers began to notice the importance of the band. Charlie Brusco became the band’s manager. Alan Walden then joined the wagon as co-manager when Ronnie Van Zant from Lynyrd Skynyrd informed him on how good the band was. In 1974, man behind Arista Records, Clive Davis, heard the band playing and offered them a contract to record and release an album.
Self-titled debut album released by Arista Records was so good that its singles garnered a spot in Billboards Top 100. Sold out concerts and top charting albums became the name of the game for The Outlaws. Not long after their first hit “Green Grass and High Tides” invaded radio stations, the band became a certified southern rock band.
The Outlaws Today
As with anything in life, success is laced with tragedies. After decades of playing and entertaining the world, The Outlaws have lost its original members Billy Jones, Frank O’Keefe and Hughie Thomasson, but show must always go on. The Outlaws today is a combination of the old and the new. Together with the two remaining original members Henry Paul and Monte Yoho, the band features Chris Anderson (vocals/guitars), Jon Coleman (keyboards, vocals), Billy Crain (vocals/guitars) and Randy Threet (bass/vocals).
Once a Southern rock band will always be a Southern rock band and The Outlaws is the proof that despite challenges and tragedies, determination and love for rock music will see you through.
The Outlaws Discography:
1976 Lady in Waiting
1977 Hurry Sundown
1978 Playin’ to Win
1978 Bring It Back Alive (live)
1979 In the Eye of the Storm
1980 Ghost Riders
1982 Los Hombres Malo
1986 Soldiers of Fortune
1993 Hittin’ the Road Live!
1994 Diablo Canyon
1999 So Low
Official website: www.outlawsmusic.com