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5 questions with Robby Cox of The Swingin' Medallions
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The Swingin’ Medallions perform Friday at the Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville.
Summer MusicFest Series
What: The Swingin’ Medallions
When: Gates open 6 p.m., concert 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St., Gainesville
How much: $25, $240 per table
More info: 770-534-2787

The Swingin’ Medallions, which became popular with its 1966 hit single “Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love),” will kick off the The Arts Council’s Summer MusicFest series on Friday.

The band, based in South Carolina, has been touring since the ’60s and the band’s sound is influenced by saxophones.

“We actually have five (saxophones); everybody kind of switches off, two altos, two tenors, a bari sax and a trumpet,” said Robby Cox, the band’s drummer. “The Medallions have been around for so long in different incarnations and they just seem to have a popularity around the Southeast.”

Concertgoers are welcome to head over to the lawn at the Smithgall Arts Center at 6 p.m. Friday; the band will take the stage at 8 p.m. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs, coolers and blankets while enjoying the band’s beachy sounds.

We caught up with Cox to find out what the Swingin’ Medallions have planned for the Gainesville show.

Question: How many original members are in the band?
Answer: Three of the guys are sons of the originals, but we don’t have any originals who travel with us. They come around from time to time, but not anything steady. The original guys are early- to mid-60s ... (Original member) John McElrath, Shawn and Shane are his sons, and he started the band back in 1962. Hack Bartely, his son is Jake, and he’s in the band as well.

Q: How did the Swingin’ Medallions get their start and why do you think the band is still around today?
A:
Started in Greenwood, S.C., in 1962, and we are still from there. And then they had “Double Shot,” which was a No. 1 hit for them in 1966, and then they had a couple of other singles that charted.

Q: Is the show the same as it was years ago or has it been modernized?
A:
We have a good time with the crowd and it’s a family friendly show — all ages — and it seems to have a lot of appeal. We try to change things up but we are deeply rooted in tradition and we appreciate what those guys handed down to us and what they did. We try to keep a lot of it, especially since there is a lot of choreography in some of the songs and we try to keep that true to what they did in the ’60s.

Q: What makes the Swingin’ Medallions the party band of the South?
A:
Actually we got that from Lewis Grizzard. I guess he went to University of Georgia back in the 1960s, and then right before he died in (1994) ...  he had written a couple articles and he gave us that nickname.

Q: What do you have planned for Friday’s show?
A:
We’ll just have a good time and a lot of fun.

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