Okay, where does it start...? Let's pick a year. How about... 1984! It was a very good book and a very good year as
well because that is the year that four rejects from the 70's band Cirkus decided that there actually was LIFE
after sex, drugs and Rock & Roll. Well... there was life after sex and drugs anyway. That LIFE was and is called
Streetkar, and the Rock & Roll has never stopped.
Streetkar was formed by Lane Sewell, Don Melton, Ron Naramore and David Hulsey. Although among themselves
they had the voices to get by, they knew they needed someone to handle the weight of the main lead vocals so Tim
Dodgen was invited to join them. Tim was a good blues vocalist and a hell of a good harp player. These guys
started jamming, but the jobs just weren't coming their way so David suggested that they start playing "oldies".
At that time there was really only one band on the local scene playing that style of music. With that knowledge
Streetkar started working up a lot of 50's and 60's music with a little 70's thrown in for good measure. It didn't
take long before the word got out and Streetkar started playing a few more gigs here and there. It was a good
time for all but in 1986, Tim decided to leave the band.
For a couple of years they kept it a foursome. They picked up gigs here and there playing for Customized Van Club
reunions, Elk Clubs and the like. In 1988 Barry Graham joined the band as lead vocalist and Streetkar seemed to
have found its voice. With Barry's great voice in the lead spot the band really took off. The band started picking
up some of the more exclusive country club gigs and corporate parties, as well as becoming a staple at some local
clubs like Smokey Joe's and The Ox.
Today, only Lane and David remain from that fateful and fortunate time. Don Melton (bass) and Ron Naramore
(guitar and keyboards) left the band in 1994. In that same year Gary Neighbors took over the bass duties, while
John Morris came in to fill the keyboard void and play a little guitar on the side. This presents us with most of
what Streetkar is today.
As a side note, John and Gary have a bit of pre-history with this line up as well. Back in 1976 there was a little
band called Tower. John and Gary were the respective keyboard guy and bassist for that band. Not only that, but
David was the drummer and Barry was the lead singer. Over the course of a couple of years personnel changed
and the aforementioned Don Melton became the bass player for Tower and he brought Lane into the band with
him. Now you can see what is developing here... Tower morphed into what became Cirkus... which is where this
Okay... Now on with that story... !
One night in 1997, Streetkar was performing at The Superior Grill when in walked none other than Michael
Mershon Hill. Now first you have to realize that Mike actually has a long history with the current Streetkar lineup
as well. This is the guy who worked sound and generally got things done in both Tower and Cirkus. I guess you
could say he's another reject from the 70's like the rest of us. Anyway, prior to Mike showing up that night, Gary
had been doing a pretty good job taking care of the sound mix. Especially when you consider that he was playing
bass, singing backup vocals, walking out front to determine that things didn't sound quite right, walking back to
the stage to turn a couple of knobs on the console just in time to sing a couple more harmony lines. The fact that
the lead guitarist was threatening to cut his paycheck because he couldn't hear himself just added to the joy. All
this changed that night because that was the night that Mike Hill rejoined the Rock 'n Roll ranks.
Barry continued to carry the lead vocals for a few years, but in 2000 he moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Barry
tried to continue working with the band, but the commute just was too long and eventually he had to leave the band.
At this point Streetkar knew that good singers that you could get by with were a dime a dozen, but Barry had set
a pretty high standard. Enter Skip Genery.
With big shoes to fill , Skip stepped right into those shoes and almost broke his neck. Most of the band had
known Skip from high school (he was a couple of years younger than most of us), but they all had known of his
vocal work to some degree. Skip had been out of the music business for a few years and believe me, at first it
showed pretty good. We almost had a rebellion between those that wanted to keep him and those that wanted to
kick him out the back of the van pulling the trailor. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and Skip became an
absolutely awesome addition to the band. As one of the best pure Rock 'n Roll singers in the area, Skip certainly
helped carry Streetkar forward to what it has become today.
During Skip's break in period, Streetkar knew they needed some help and since they also knew that Mike, yes the
sound guy, had some singing experience they asked him to fill in on some lead vocals. Not only did he fill in, he
went WAY beyond the call of duty. To this day, Mike's voice is an integral part of the Streetkar sound both as a
lead vocalist, and as a harmony singer on almost everything else. He is also the guy who usually talks between the
songs mainly because we simply can't shut him up! Must have come from his past DJ experience. That was plenty
okay with the rest of the band because nobody else liked to talk anyway.
Skip was great, but after a couple of years it became clear that Skip was pretty much bigger than Streetkar, so
he got married and left to start his own all-star Rock 'n Roll band in 2002. Streetkar knew that Skip was good and
they were pretty sure he could handle being the main attraction. Be that as it may, Streetkar went about its own
business of finding another lead singer. Enter James Clark.
It is a rare moment when a man who can sing the phonebook comes to work with a little Rock 'n Roll band in
Birmingham, Alabama. Fortunately for Streetkar, that singer also lived in Birmingham, Alabama. James showed up
for his first gig at Inverness Country Club and absolutely knocked everyone's socks off!. Since then, it has been
one accolade after another. Streetkar always knew they had the instrumental parts down, but for the first time
they had a singer who could sing absolutely anything, in absolutely any style you might want it.
Finally, Streetkar was complete! Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, soundman/vocalist and a great lead singer. What
else could a band need? Well, here is the kicker...... One day we got a call from a man who had seen us perform at
the Gardendale civic center for a concert in 2012. He said he loved our sound and wanted to hire Streetkar to
play for a private party he was having in celebration of his 50th birthday, however, he had one stipulation, he
wanted a saxophone in addition to the instrumentation we already had! We told him that we'd never had a sax with
the band before and really didn't know anyone who played well enough to fit in with Streetkar's style of music!
"Well", he said, "I know a saxophone player who is very good and I think would fit perfectly with your band! His
name is Danny Fravel and if everyone agrees to it, I want him to play with Streetkar at my party!"
Well, needless to say, we were all a bit skeptical about letting someone just come in with no rehearsals and play
with us! After all, we had been together for quite awhile and our arrangements had undergone a lot of honing,
tweaking and fine tuning over the years. If this sax player isn't as good as the man thinks he is, it could mean
disaster for our sound and potentially hurt our reputation! So, after doing a little research and learning that
Danny Fravel had been around for awhile and was not a newcomer to the music business. Everyone in the band
discussed it, and even though we were still skeptical decided to give it a go.
Danny Fravel showed up for the gig, introduced himself and broke out his horn. Just listening to him warm up
sounded promising, but still, we weren't sure how he would fit in with our arrangements. Well, by the time the
evening was over, we were all sold! It was like Danny had always been with us. The sax added another dimension to
the band that we were missing. He has been a permanent member of the Streetkar family ever since!
This lineup is how Streetkar remains to this very day!
How could Lane and David have ever known that the little band they started way back in 1984 would not only
survive, but thrive beyond anyone's expectations. Like I said earlier, 1984 WAS a good book, but an even better
To all of those who have followed Streetkar for the last 32 years, a great big THANK YOU, and we hope to see
While Streetkar occasionally books itself throught this website, they are also represented by Southeastern