Musician returns to area with band for performances
For Philip Hatfield, the opportunity to perform for old friends and family scattered across Cleveland, Lincoln and Rowan counties is something very special.
“I spent more than 15 years living in North Carolina,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to perform in Charlotte.”
Hatfield is the lead guitarist and primary songwriter in touring rock act “Under Surveillance.” The group is touring the east coast in support of their second CD, “Savannah Moon.”
The Charleston, West Virginia-based act mixes sounds of 70s soft rock with edgy 80s rhythm guitar with the college radio-inspired jangle of the 90s. The core of the group consists of three musicians who have banged out power chords together for more than 30 years.
Along with drummer Randy Brown and bassist Phil “X” Crace, Hatfield has toured the U.S. in various groups, all playing original compositions. Under Surveillance originally formed in 1985, and has experienced lineup changes through the years, primarily at the lead vocal slot.
“Randy and I became friends in the second grade,” Hatfield said.
When his friend brought a record to school to play for “show and tell,” a musical connection was made that has never ended.
“We began playing and performing together in ninth grade,” Hatfield said.
In 2013, the band released “Between the Lines” on Revolution Records. That record featured vocalist John Mullins, who had previously worked with Johnny Marr of “The Smiths” fame. Today, the group is led by the blues influenced, gritty vocal stylings of Eve Marcum Atkinson.
“When John left for work related things, we had to find a way to fill that gap and we appreciate his contributions to the band,” said Hatfield. “We auditioned 14 or 15 people after that. Eve came to us out of the blue. When I listened to her demo I just remember saying that we needed to get her in here tomorrow.”
As a songwriter, Hatfield said that the band was excited because of her raw power and tonal control. He immediately wanted to write melodies that complimented the timbre her voice.
“For a songwriter, it opened doors for me in terms of melodies and harmonies that I haven’t been able to experience before,” he said. “We had never worked with a female vocalist. We have never followed trends. We make music that makes us happy and that transcends to our audience. Writing from the angle of a female is a whole new challenge for me. Eve has an intuitive ability to project the message of my lyrics and bring to life what is in my head.”
Hatfield said that the group’s appeal comes from their multitude of influences.
“We are older players and we come from the vinyl era of rock-n-roll,” he said. “Our influences are multigenerational and it all just comes out in our music.”
Hatfield, a published author and historian who possesses a Ph.D, has authored multiple titles including, “The Rowan Rifle Guards: A History of Company K, 4th Regiment, North Carolina State Troops 1857-1865” and “The Other Feud: William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in the Civil War.”
Currently, the band is writing for a third CD and has included four new songs in their current set.
“The CD will be called “Cold Town” and will be heavier and darker than our previous work and we should release in in the spring of 2017.”
The band is returning to a vintage production environment with a nod to analog tape while employing the vintage equipment that it currently uses.
“The concept of the title comes from the perspective of an artist struggling in a small town where that environment doesn’t really support music or art,” he said. “I think that most artists can relate to that sentiment at some point in their lives. We are lucky where we are, we get a lot of local support but I have been to other places and talked with many musicians who do not.”
The band looks to continue its cycle of writing, recording and touring which may include a European trek in early 2017. The band is in the process of nailing down a distribution deal with a New York based label.
US will perform in November at Tommy’s Pub at 2007 Central Avenue in Charlotte at 10 p.m. Find the band on Facebook or visit scarletrevolt.com for more information.