April 14th, 2014 came the end of an era for a band that boasted the same line-up for 10 years when bassist J.R. Gregory announced that he would be leaving Ballyhoo! to progress to the next chapter of his life. While J.R. will be missed, the next chapter of Ballyhoo! starts with their new bassist & Florida native, Nick Lucera…
“I’m so happy to be a part of the Ballyhoo! family. It’s a great opportunity for me, but I have big shoes to fill. I just can’t wait to get on stage with these guys and shred some bass!” shares Nick Lucera, who moved to Maryland from Florida to join the band. He played in a couple bands that Ballyhoo! use to play with in Florida and after management put them in a room together to jam, Nick was already looking for places to live when he was offered the job.
“He’s a really nice guy and we laugh about the same stuff. It’s gonna be fun to get to know him more once we get back on tour. Hoping he’s not a creepy sleepwalker or “white girl wasted” when he gets drunk. Only time will tell,” shares Howi Spangler, Ballyhoo! Vocalist/Lead Guitarist.
Ballyhoo!’s first show with Nick on bass will be May 9th at The Depot in York, PA.
After 10 years of playing in the same line-up, I’m sure it’ll be an adjustment for the group, but one they’re fully capable of adjusting to. While Ballyhoo! was in Denver, CO this past February, we filmed Ballyhoo! for The Pier’s Live Acoustic Series and Passafire bassist Will Kubley filled in for an absent J.R. and the performance sounded amazing.
Howi continues: “We’ve been having rehearsals for the last couple of weeks. Nick has a lot of songs to learn, but he’ll be ready for the first show May 9th.” With regards to J.R. Howi continues: “It was a pleasure to play with JR to my left for the last ten years. He has a great, melodic style that I love and I know he’ll keep music in his life in whatever path he chooses, going forward. He’s also a very good friend and it’ll be weird when we start making him buy our next albums. Ha ha!”
Little does Howi know, we had planned to give J.R. a free copy & let him review it for The Pier! (Ha ha!)
We look forward to the next chapter of Ballyhoo! music with their new line-up. Nick has his work cut out for him, replacing J.R. & learning a sizable collection of songs that the group put out over the last 10 years! J.R., Mista J – we at The Pier will most certainly miss you, but we’re grateful for the 10+ years of shows & a whole collection of music you recorded! Best of luck to you, sir!
Backstage: A Ballyhoo! Story
Article By: Mike Patti
Photo of J.R. By: Amanda Zancanella
Here is J.R. Gregory, aka Mista J’s ‘Goodbye’ Announcement via Facebook:
“The past ten years of my life have been one wild and crazy adventure. I’ve traveled our great country coast to coast, played out at sea, had many unforgettable experiences (I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten as well!), and played kick ass music for thousands of people. Made lifelong friends, met fascinating people, and have witnessed some extraordinary things during this adventure. I’m very lucky and grateful to have had the experiences I’ve had with Ballyhoo!. However, after much time spent in thought and self-reflection, I’ve decided it’s time for me to progress to the next chapter in my life. This Spring, I will be leaving Ballyhoo!.
I want to thank the fans for all of their support throughout the years. Without all of you Hooligans, this would’ve never happened. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you very much!
To all the great bands that I’ve been lucky enough to share the road with, thank you. You have motivated me to become a better musician and helped me keep my sanity on tour. We’ve had some damn good times together. I look forward to seeing all of you when you come through Baltimore. If you’re lucky, I’ll bring you a can of Old Bay!
Biggest of Up’s to the crew members that I’ve had the honor to work with. You guys bust your asses every night for us and keep this train a rolling! Remember, never send an idiot to do an idiot check!
Thank you to my family and friends back home. Y’all were there from the start and have never stopped pushing us to pursue our dreams. Your unconditional support has helped me through the tough times and made the good times that much better. You were the ones coming to the shows before anyone outside of Maryland knew who we were. Because of you, we were able to take this band far beyond the Free State. I can not thank you enough. I’m looking forward to being home and spending time with all of you.
Finally, thank you to my bandmates, my brothers, my family. This past decade (Holy crap, it really has been a decade!) cannot be put into words. Well it could, but I would have to write a damn novel. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, I’ll keep it short and sweet. I love you guys. You are and will always be family to me.
Every story has an end, but in life every end is just a new beginning.
Safe travels everyone and we’ll announce my final show soon. (It’ll be in Baltimore)”
J.R. Gregory aka Mista J.