By Suzanne Schmidt
Recently the guys came together to form a band and are playing a few gigs a month at places like Rapscallions in Land O’ Lakes and Skinny’s Sports Bar in Wesley Chapel. The band plays classic rock with tunes like “Wasting Away in Margaritaville” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Sometimes the band will play original music as well.
Many musicians dream of becoming famous rock stars but members of the local band The Loopers gave up on those dreams about 20 years ago.
Their next show will be 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. April 23 at Ukulele Brand’s, 4805 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Mike Sams of Wesley Chapel is the lead guitar and back up singer. He started playing the early 1970s and spent 16 years playing full-time with several bands including Classics IV featuring Dennis Yost, Switch and Sudden Change.
“I went as far as I thought I was going to go,” Sams said. “I always enjoyed playing and it was great because I went all over. It was something I enjoyed and I was making money at it.”
Sams said he loves getting up in front of the crowd.
“I like to play music because it is challenging,” Sams said. “I can always get better. I am doing things now that I couldn’t do 20 years ago. I never thought I would be playing again. We are just a bunch of older guys who like to play music.”
The band is working on some original music as well with the hopes that someone will want to buy it and record it.
“We are not trying to be stars,” Sams said. “It would be nice to sell the song and see it end up on the radio.”
Tom Burt of Wesley Chapel is the newest member of the band and the youngest. He plays bass guitar and is a back up singer. In addition to playing with the band, Burt also plays at Crossroads United Methodist Church.
“In the beginning, it is a rush and you are nervous,” Burt said. “After you play enough, you get comfortable. After my 20-year-hiatus from playing it feels good to be playing again.”
Burt played in a band called Bobby’s Box after he graduated high school in the late 1970s when he lived in Denver.
“When I was younger, it was thrilling and exciting,” Burt said. “I had dreams of being a rock star, but now I just do it to have fun. We always say the more you drink, the better we sound.”
Bruce Ballas of Land O’ Lakes is the lead singer and he plays rhythm acoustic and electric guitar. He has been playing guitar for 42 years.
“It is mostly a hobby for me,” Ballas said. “I like to play smooth rhythms on the acoustic guitar. It is relaxing. It is a lot of fun to play with the guys. We get to meet a lot of people.”
Ballas said everything is going so well that the band is already starting to have fans.
“We have a lot of people who like to come out and listen to us,” Ballas said. “We have had as many as 60 people follow us. We play a nice variety of music and every time we play we try to switch it up. We play a lot of songs people like but don’t hear that much.”
In addition to playing covers and the occasional original song, the band will also take requests with or without a tip.
“If they write a request on a $100 bill we guarantee that will be the next song,” Ballas said.
Buddy Walker of Thonotosassa is the drummer and the lead singer for a few of the songs. He used to be a full-time musician in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s.
“I am trying to rekindle an old flame,” Walker said. “It can be a lot of fun. I like the little circuit we are on in Land O’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel.”
For more information, e-mail the band at .
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