Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself

The Keys Weekly had the opportunity to interview two of the four members of the Georgia Satellites in advance of their arrival this weekend in Marathon.

Unfortunately, very little of it was suitable for print in a family newspaper, despite the raucously funny tone of the interview. Let’s put it this way — the band thinks the tour/music is incredibly important but not at all serious.

“I just go where they tell me. I show up at the airport and they tell me where I’m going,” laughed lead guitar and lead vocalist Rick Richards. He’s an original member of the band that got its start in the ’80s. It wasn’t until 1986, though, that the band released its biggest hit — “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” — written by Dan Baird. (Only Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” kept it from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100).

“Listen, we were an Atlanta bar band. We bastardized some country songs and put some rock in there. And we were also heavily influenced by the British Invasion. We didn’t cater to the trends or the demographics. And then all of a sudden we just had this song that people liked,” Richards said. “We had that hit song and we were just happy to be there.”

The band opened for the likes of Tom Petty, David Bowie, Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger and REO Speedwagon. “The caliber of the women and the caliber of the hotel were definitely upgraded,” he said.

The other hits on the self-titled album that propelled them to fame in 1986 were “Battleship Chains” (Terry Anderson) and “Every Picture Tells a Story” (Rod Stewart). In 1988 they recorded a version of “Hippy Hippy Shake” featured in the movie “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise. Soon after, Baird left the band for a solo career and the musicians went into a bit of a hiatus before reforming in 1993. The current line up features Richards, and newcomers Fred McNeal (vocals, rhythm guitar), Bruce Smith (bass) and Todd Johnston (drums). In all, the Georgia Satellites has four studio albums; the latest — “Shaken Not Stirred” — was released in 1997.

When he isn’t playing with the Georgia Satellites, Richards told the Weekly he’s a gynecologist. “He’s telling the truth,” said drummer Todd Johnston. “No, he’s not.”

In reality, Richards collaborates quite a bit with Guns n’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin in his band, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. They toured in the 1990s and have recorded seven albums. “We just finished something a couple of months ago. It’s on iTunes or YouTube or some [email protected]! like that,” he said. (We’re guessing here — but in 2016, they performed together on the “Walk’N Song;” possibly that’s what he’s referring too.)

Richards promises the band will play a rockin’ set list. Yes, they will play all the favorites. Yes, they’ll play a couple of oddballs. (“I really like the Beatles’ ‘I Am the Walrus.’”)

 Did you know?

Drummer Todd Johnston’s day gig is as an investor with a Silicon Valley startup that is investigating genetic testing for food supply. He also speaks Spanish and has two children (one planned, one not). “Playing music means I get to enjoy my life and not become a fuddy duddy.”

Bring a chair

As with other events at Marathon Community Park’s amphitheater, the public is encouraged to bring some lawn chairs or a blanket. No coolers. Beer will be for sale at the event, and all proceeds benefit the projects of the local chapter of American Legion including scholarships, donations to charity, and Project Vet Relief.


11:30 a.m. — gates open

11:45 a.m. — Opening Ceremonies (American Legion Color Guard with special guest Bill Hoebee from the “Hoebee in the Afternoon Experiment”)

Noon-12:45 p.m. — Shastina

1:15-2:15 p.m. — Fiddle Rock

3:15-4:30 p.m. — Georgia Satellites

5:15-6:15 p.m. — Above The Skyline

6:45-8:15 p.m. — Lazy Bonez

9-10:30 p.m. — Molly Hatchet 

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