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Roanoke drummer Chuck Meredith played with many acts over the years, including The Kings, The Elderly Brothers, Sweet Charity, Smack Dab and Elmer Coles.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Many in the Roanoke music world were mourning the death of Roanoke drummer Chuck Meredith last week.
Meredith died unexpectedly on Wednesday at 60, likely of a heart attack or stroke. No autopsy was performed, his friend Chuck Poss said.
Meredith made a lot of friends over the years, as he performed with such acts as The Kings, The Elderly Brothers, Sweet Charity, Smack Dab and Elmer Coles. His playing career went back as far as the iconic Roanoke rock band The Royal Kings. Several who knew him posted their memories at The Roanoke Times music blog cutNscratch this week. The common threads were his great sense of humor and his granite-strong groove.
“He had a larger than life personality and a kickass right foot,” Meredith’s cousin, Bill Adams, posted.
Ray Mitchell wrote: “One of the best guys and drummers I have ever known. Thanks for all the laughs and great times!”
Richard Evans posted: “It was always comfortable on the front line when Chuck was playing in the back. He could have (should have) been a stand-up comedian. I miss him already.”
“I have known Chuck since we were 15,” wrote Chip Scruggs. “I have tried for years to get him to write a book on his adventures traveling with the various bands he was in. I guaranteed him it would be a best seller. He was always fun to be with and kept you in stitches with all his stories.”
Johnny More posted: “I had the pleasure of playing with Chuck ... [when he was with] The Royal Kings. I will miss Chuck dearly and will pray for the family. I joined the Marines in ’65, and lost touch but always remembered the ‘good times’. When the Kings Inn opened I always went to say ‘Hello’ to him.”
Pianist William Penn wrote: “I will remember Chuck as a joyful, talented, and friendly person.”
Among Meredith’s survivors is his girlfriend, Donna Sweeney, who posted: “Today I lost my best friend and soul mate of twenty five years together and my life will never be the same.”
Steve Bernard wrote that he met Meredith in 1986, and like a lot of people in the valley, he felt like “he was my best friend. We worked together in the car business, the insurance business and the concrete business. We had fun if it was turning over a canoe in the middle of Craig’s Creek or tailgating at Tech games. ... Everybody have a ‘Cold Brrrr’” in Meredith’s memory.
Several people on Facebook noted Meredith’s way of playing with the language. Posting on the social networking site about funeral arrangements and a wake scheduled for the Coffee Pot on Friday night, Poss wrote of hoisting “a glass or two” in his honor. “As Chuck would say, getting ‘gaulded’ is optional.”
Surely several got gaulded last night.
Roanoke native, “Star Search” winner and longtime performer Durell Coleman also posted on Facebook, from his home base in Los Angeles. Coleman wrote that Meredith was a great drummer and a “stand up/straight up kinda guy.”
“When I wanted to be a full time entertainer, Chuck gave me my [first] break” with Sweet Charity, and later, Sea Witch. “To spend time with Chuck GUARANTEED side splitting laughter!!”
Another drummer gone
As I was learning more about Meredith over the past few days, I heard that the valleys’ music community had lost another drummer, Darrell Akers, 46, who died of cancer on Tuesday. Akers had been the drummer in Staxx and 7 Wishes, popular rock cover bands from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
The latter act, Staxx, was the harder traveling, harder partying and more successful of the bands. And according to former bandmates, Akers made all of it easier though his personality.
“He was one of the most kind hearted and hilarious people I have ever known,” Staxx bandmate Rusty Gwaltney posted on Facebook. “I’m not sure how I will ever get used to not hearing his voice on a daily basis.”
Akers didn’t play much after the band split up, but was part of a 2004 Staxx reunion and turned out to be the “hero of that show” who “played like the champion he was,” bandmate Kip Gaudette wrote.
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