Written by resident and publisher, Blaine Elizabeth Alexander
When a creative person is in "the zone," immersed in their craft…in their passion…things just start to happen.
For instance, The Millwrite Band was formed right here on the eastside! Their first booking was The Episcopal Church of the Advent’s 2019 Oyster Roast and Silent Auction and they’d booked several other gigs and then COVID hit. But that didn’t curb their desire or dedication to consistently hone their craft over the last year and enjoy being in "the zone."
Every Tuesday night, these four dedicated, eastside musicians gather in a "basement/garage-mancave-studio" in Converse Heights to practice and jam to the songs they have written…not cover songs, their own songs…TWENTY-EIGHT of them… written in less than two years!
Talk about being in "the zone."
The coolest thing about this is that ALL of the band’s families are on board to help support their dreams! These four musicians humbly say they are just regular guys that have full-time jobs, are married with children and lead normal lives. But, they have one thing in common: they love to be in "the zone"… together…having fun…creating their own unique sound. They’re not interested in being a cover song band but one known for their unique sound, where diversity is their signature.
They all agree, laughing, “When people ask what kind of music we play…it’s beer drinking music and everybody’s having a great time kind of music! Our sound ranges from Eric Clapton to Jimmy Buffet with some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty. The crazy thing is, we’ve been walking around each other for years and then we just all kind of came together.”
Roy McBee Smith, Jr., is a Converse Heights resident and the IT Operations Manager at Spartanburg Community College. He is the "basement/garage-mancave-studio" owner, lead guitarist, vocalist, writer and co-writer for many of the band’s songs. Last fall, they had a COVID free concert in his front yard for friends and neighbors. Roy says they’ve already started booking and performing again in local venues around Spartanburg.
Playing since he was 6 years old, Roy says, “In the ’80s, I started in Charleston playing acoustically around Downtown and the Isle of Palms. After I moved up here, I played in a few bands at local places, then started looking around for other styled musicians to join me.”
Scott Scheel is a Brookfield Heights resident and a Continuous Improvement Senior Business Analyst for Purpose Finance. Scott has performed in a few different bands over the years and loves the chemistry with this group. He says, “Tuesday nights are the best day of the week for me.”
Early on, Roy, Scott, Charles Refshauge and Cal Wicker formed a group that, as Scott explains, “played everybody else’s music. We just started writing our own songs,” Roy says, “we wanted to make our own sound rather than play other people’s music.” Scott adds, “Some songs came easy, some took a while. But, we keep tweaking them as we go along and now we can play a three-hour gig comfortably with just our own songs.”
Brandon Kimbrell is a Hillbrook resident, an Account Manager for Concept Packaging and has known Roy for several years…their sons are in Boy Scouts together. Brandon says he reached out to Roy on Facebook and joined the band as the drummer around the summer of 2020. He exclaims, “I just wanted to have fun! Playing our songs challenges me and it makes it fun for a drummer! I love the diversity of each song.”
Roy’s biggest cheerleader is his wife Bea Walters Smith, who happened to know John Moseley, who also happened to be a bass player. She reached out to John to join the band in July of 2020. Roy says, “A few weeks later, John’s playing live with us at the FR8YD!” John is a Converse Heights resident and Tech Lead at Wipro Gallagher Solutions. John had moved away for several years living in San Diego and Nashville playing in a few bands before returning to Spartanburg.
Overall, these four eastside musicians share the common bond of having fun, playing their own music, enjoying their connections with each other and benefit from being in "the zone" every single Tuesday night.
The band looks forward to playing in a variety of venues: opening for other bands, festivals, beer gardens/breweries or wineries, block parties, private parties, weddings, non-profit or charity and specialty events.
The Millwrites have played several nights at RJ Rockers, the FR8YARD, Drayton Mills’ Arts & Crafts Festival (twice), a neighborhood block party and a couple of high school reunions. They are recording tracks and will be sharing those on our website at themillwrites.com. They can also be found on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/QIc6hls3.
Their next event is April 17th at the FR8YD at 1pm. Join us in supporting our own eastside band!
Cover Photo: John, Roy, Brandon and Scott