Local band Chorduroy a staple for bar-goers
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 23:09
As a child, Derek Hubbard wanted to be an archaeologist because of his childhood love for Indiana Jones. Now, as the lead singer of the band Chorduroy, he rocks out with hoards of college students at the Deer Park Tavern’s weekly Sunday Funday and other bars on Main Street.
“I still like to play in the dirt to this day,” Hubbard says.
Hubbard says he learned to play the trumpet when he was eight-years-old. He played in bands throughout high school and has continued pursuing his passion for music ever since.
Chorduroy started with four university graduates eight years ago, Hubbard says. As the members entered their late 20s, the friends went their separate ways, but Hubbard says he was not ready to let go of his music.
Hubbard says he asked his neighbor Everett Gray to fill in as a guitarist for one summer and Gray has now been playing with the group for four years. They also picked up bass player Kevin Vecchione and drummer Jimmy Earnshaw to complete the band, Hubbard says.
The group plays at bars, including Kildare’s Irish Pub and Catherine Rooney’s, weddings and other events in the Philadelphia and Delaware areas.
“We have the variety for weddings,” Hubbard says. “The nieces are on the dance floor with the grandmothers and you have to keep them dancing.”
A few years ago, Hubbard hosted an open-mic night on Sundays at Deer Park. After returning from a summer break, the evening special had died down, he says. Hubbard proposed that he and his friend play that night, out of the fear that open-mic would be shut down. Now, after adding a full band, they have created their own event, Hubbard says.
Hubbard says he likes Deer Park and playing on campus because of the variety of people. The diverse crowd and the energy college students can bring to a performance are why he likes playing in the area, he says.
“You guys create the atmosphere,” Hubbard says. “We provide the soundtrack.”
Senior Katie McCarthy has been going to Deer Park almost every Sunday after she saw the band last year on her 21st birthday. She says the band is attentive to the crowd and never denies her song requests.
“They create a fun atmosphere,” McCarthy says. “If they’re joking around, the audience will joke around with them. They’re interactive with the audience which is different from other bands in the area.”
Senior Christine Feil, another Sunday Funday regular, says she likes the band’s mix of music styles.
“Going to see them play live is different from seeing other bands live,” Feil says.
The band plays different covers in all genres of music, but Hubbard says they are a rock group that puts their own spin on the songs they play.
Gray, who is from Texas, adds a blues style, while Vecchione is well-versed in recording and writing and Earnshaw has toured with popular acts such as G. Love & Special Sauce, Hubbard says.
The members also have their own small side projects where they write more, express their creative sides and keep their musical mind sharp, Hubbard says.
“We’re rockers born and raised,” Hubbard says.
All four members have done national tours, but they decided to focus on their local following. Hubbard says the touring lifestyle can get old and the economy has made touring less glamorous than it used to be, so a cover band is a good alternative.
“We play for the masses,” Hubbard says. “We try to play for people, not for ourselves. What we get out of it is just playing our instruments, being on stage. We’re musicians, 100 percent, full-time. That’s what we find joy in, bringing music to people.”
Hubbard says if he knows part of a song that’s requested, they’ll play it. He likes mixing up the song selections because it can get boring playing the same things repeatedly.
“We rarely play a song the way it’s written,” Hubbard says. “I have a problem with bridges. I’ll get tired of a song and want to switch to a new one.”
For example, when playing Mr. Brightside by the Killers, the band usually delves into several lines from Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down” mid-song.
Hubbard says the band has talked about putting a CD out, but is sticking to their cover venues in Newark, Wilmington and Philadelphia for now.
The band is also starting an open-mic night called “Open Jam” on Wednesdays this fall, Hubbard says. Local musicians of any level can come play with help from the band.
“We’ve been playing non-stop for eight years and we’re not going anywhere,” Hubbard says.