Yes, I was once a member of a band with the improbable name of Legend. Make up your own joke or comment. I won’t do your work for you.

Legend was originally formed by a group of teachers from Central School in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. By the time I joined the band most of the original members had been replaced. If I recall, when I was in the band only one teacher remained. Possibly two.

Honestly, I joined Legend because I was trying to get into one of the singers’ britches, and figured being in a band with her wasn’t a bad way to go about it. I’ll satisfy your curiosity and tell you right away that, yes, I did get into her britches. In return she broke my heart. A fair exchange, I guess. But that wasn’t all I got out of Legend. Not by far.

I have to credit Legend with expanding my horizons. Before I joined the band I was caught up in hard rock and rarely listened to anything else. Maybe some blues. But when I joined Legend, I suddenly found myself playing songs like “My Girl”, “Under the Boardwalk” and “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera). Not to mention a bunch of beach songs that I would have never gone near otherwise. I think I snickered through my first couple of gigs, but quickly came to appreciate the songs I was playing. Hell, the bass part in “Under the Boardwalk” is a hell of a lot more interesting than the bass in Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at The Moon”.

With Legend I played a wide variety of styles. Sure, there was no more hard rock. No more Judas Priest. But I played some classic rock (Bad Company, Robert Palmer), beach music (Billy Vera, Exile), some old pop standards (like “Everyday People”), and even some comtemporary pop that I would have hated otherwise (Madonna, George Michael, Katrina & The Waves). I played a lot of music that I never would have played in other bands. And I learned an important lesson. I learned to groove.

I’m not trying to give Legend all of the credit for my development. I think the other members would agree that we were good, but not great. We played gigs for Moose Lodges and reunions. We once played for the student body at Central School. We weren’t barn-storming the clubs and playing blues festivals. We were just noodling around, having a good time and making a little money on the weekends.

I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t so much learn things from Legend as I did from the music I played with Legend. I realized that there was a whole other world out there. In the years that followed, I always felt sorry for the musicians I’d grown up with, who gave me a hard time about playing beach music and pop. I felt sorry for them because they never grew as musicians. They’re still churning away in North Carolina, playing a lot of the same crap that we played together back in the 1980’s. They never moved on.

So if nothing else, I owe Legend for the opportunity to move on. Even if I did have to play a George Michael song in the process.


  • Mike Bailey – lead vocals
  • Vince Canova – horns
  • Wicasta Lovelace – bass, backing vocals
  • Ronnie Whisnant – guitar, backing vocals
  • Kathy White – backing vocals, keyboard
  • Larry Wright – keyboard, horns, backing vocals
  • Cindy Unknown – backing vocals, keyboard
  • Tim Unknown – drums
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