Southern rock: 38 Special is made up of, in front (left to right): Donnie Van Zant,... (Courtesy)

"There was a time ... when a guy would bring beer to the hotel room after the show. These days, we get protein bars and Muscle Milk."

Guitarist Danny Chauncey of Southern rock band 38 Special described one of the ways the band keeps up stamina in the current chapter of its 35-year career. Besides swapping brews for more healthy choices, a boost in success in recent years has inspired the band to keep on their 100-city-a-year schedule for original and new generation fans alike.

"It's always been kind of an unspoken rule that we don't slack up, we stack up. We go out there every night to win," said vocalist and guitarist Don Barnes in a news release.

The six-member group will leave "no one disappointed," Chauncey said, when they hit the stage of H. Ric Luhrs Center Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. July 31 to perform songs going back to 1976.

"We'll play songs (often played) on the radio, and throw in little surprises," Chauncey said.

Best known today for the song, "Hold on Loosely," 38 Special has released 15 albums since 1976, garnering more than 20 million units in sales. The band consists of Donnie Van Zant (vocals), Larry Junstrom (bass) Gary Moffatt (drummer) and Bobby Capps (keyboard/vocals), along with Chauncey and Barnes.

Success in numbers is great, but the band finds the best measurement is the abilitiy to bring out fans' emotions.

"It's a fantastic feeling because that's your goal. You're trying to take a feeling and put it to music," Chauncey said. "When you see people physically reacting to it it's a great affirmation for a job well done."

The band feeds off its own energy, too.

"All the magic's still there. It's an emotional high for us as well as the fans," Van Zant said in a news release.

Despite affluence in success, the band knows that their story could have turned out very differently.

"We had a lot of success in the 80s but ... shortly after the grundge thing started happening ... everything just started slowing down. At that point I thought to myself, 'This is not real good.'"

Soon, though, things were looking up, as rock music from the 60s through 80s got a second wind when the moniker "classic" made for skyrocketing popularity.

"We do better touring now than we ever did before," Chauncey said. "We play shows and there's kids ... that were barely born when we were having our intial success."

38 Special is now in the pre-production stage of recording a new album, Chauncey said. While there will be some clear differences, overall the music will still have the 38 Special touch.

"I think our taste in music is pretty much still the same. We like stuff that has soul and melodies, stuff that we grew up listiening to," Chauncey said.

In the meantime, a live show album will be available in late August.

 

When you go

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. July 31

WHERE: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, Shippensburg University

COST: $35, $40, $45, $50

DETAILS: 477-7469 or http://www.luhrscenter.com