Local band sweeps Yes! music awards


By Jeff Linville - [email protected]



Big Daddy Mojo performs at the River Ridge Taphouse earlier this month. From left are Lance Lucas, Brett Munn and Andy McHone, with drummer Brian Beatty in the back.


Jeff Linville | The News

Drummer Brian Beatty, who lives in Mount Airy, plays an electronic drum set with Big Daddy Mojo.


Kelly Mills Westmoreland | Special to The News

Copeland native and Surry Central grad Andy McHone plays a gig in Clemmons recently. McHone won the 2016 Best Bassist Award from Yes! Weekly.


Jeff Linville | The News

Brett Munn, left, and Andy McHone jam at River Ridge Taphouse.


Kelly Mills Westmoreland | Special to The News

Lance Lucas, left, and Brett Munn were the founders of Big Daddy Mojo six years ago, and they have since won Best Local Cover Band each year.


Jeff Linville | The News

The 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs” pulled off a rare feat, sweeping the Oscars’ top five awards. The movie took first in best film, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.

This incredible feat has only happened three times in the history of the Academy Awards.

While not quite up to that lofty perch, a local music group has pulled off its own version of a Big Five sweep.

Big Daddy Mojo recently swept the music category of Yes! Weekly’s annual awards. The publication, which launched in 2005, names a best local cover band, best singer, best guitarist, best bassist and best percussionist.

Big Daddy Mojo, which includes a resident of Mount Airy and one from Copeland, has won the past six awards for best cover band, but this is the first time the group has taken all five honors.

Singer Brett Munn has won five of the past six awards, coming in second to Katelyn Marks one year.

Guitarist Lance Lucas has won three times and was runner-up once.

This is the first win for bassist Andy McHone, a Surry Central graduate from Copeland, and drummer Brian Beatty, a Forbush grad now living in the Granite City.

McHone, 44, said he started his musical endeavors on piano around age 8.

“My mom plays piano, has played in church for many years,” said McHone.

He joined the school band on trumpet at 11, then picked up guitar a year later.

Three years later at the age of 15, McHone joined a new band called Black Tie that included 16-year-old singer Joel Casstevens, from North Surry High School, and 14-year-old drummer Tracy Hodges, from Mount Airy High School.

McHone would stay with that band a few years. At the same time, he would shine in school, earning first chair in the All-County Band twice.

Over the years, he has played with a number of different bands like Savage Heart, Hollowpoint, Cheap Shot and Camel City Pie, the last of which came with drummer Beatty.

After a couple of decades on the six string, McHone began playing bass a few years ago and joined Big Daddy Mojo along with Beatty in the fall of 2013

Beatty, 37, said he, too, started in music at age 8 while growing up in Yadkinville. He played in concert and marching bands in school and jazz band in high school. He said he got his first drum set at 14; after graduation he joined his first rock band and has been playing with various acts for more than 15 years.

Among his previous groups were Camel City Pie, Cheap Shot, Dam-Fi-No and Powertrip.

When he’s not beating the skins, Beatty is decorating them.

“I am the owner/artist of Ink House Tattoo Shoppe at 867 N Franklin Road here in Mount Airy,” he said.

As for Big Daddy Mojo, Beatty said the members feed off the audience’s energy and have a lot of fun during the performance.

The fun and playfulness starts with singer Brett Munn.

The Jamestown native moved to Lewisville in 1989 as he opened up an optometry practice. Over the years he would add a second location.

Munn was having some health issues and was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis, which causes muscle weakness and fatigue.

He decided to sell his practices in 2008, but said he still owns the buildings, which brings in income.

McHone said Munn still puts on a great show, but sometimes the other members have to help Brett with his gear at the end of the show because the fatigue has kicked in.

Munn said he started learning piano at age 12 because his grandmother had a player piano; he would sit and watch how the piano played itself and learned how chords were formed. In high school Munn joined his first band as a keyboard player.

After retiring from optometry, Munn was looking for something to do when he saw an ad on Craigslist from a guitarist looking for a singer who could play some guitar and harmonica.

That ad was from Lance Lucas, a Kansas native who married a North Carolina gal in 2008. After moving to the Tar Heel state, Lucas was looking for a musical outlet and found Munn.

Big Daddy Mojo would officially start as a group in 2010 and went through several lineup changes before finding McHone and Beatty more than two years ago.

Big Daddy MoJo performs cover tunes ranging widely from classic rock to blues to pop to R&B and even some funk.

“We will play for anyone that will sit still long enough for us to set up our gear,” said Munn.

When the band won the 2015 best cover band award, Munn told Yes! Weekly, “Our sound is influenced by artists like Albert King, Freddie King, B.B. King, Rodney King, Billie Jean King and anyone else with the last name King. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Al Green, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye and Carlos Santana are musicians that we all respect and enjoy sharing the music they did to our audiences.”

While known for its performances of others’ work, the band also has created original songs as well.

The band has developed a pretty good following, and some fans will travel to wherever the band goes to play, said Munn.

That local popularity is reflected in the growing list of awards the band has collected.

Big Daddy Mojo performs at the River Ridge Taphouse earlier this month. From left are Lance Lucas, Brett Munn and Andy McHone, with drummer Brian Beatty in the back.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0JAL3096_filtered.jpgBig Daddy Mojo performs at the River Ridge Taphouse earlier this month. From left are Lance Lucas, Brett Munn and Andy McHone, with drummer Brian Beatty in the back. Jeff Linville | The News

Drummer Brian Beatty, who lives in Mount Airy, plays an electronic drum set with Big Daddy Mojo.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_KELY8097_filtered.jpgDrummer Brian Beatty, who lives in Mount Airy, plays an electronic drum set with Big Daddy Mojo. Kelly Mills Westmoreland | Special to The News

Copeland native and Surry Central grad Andy McHone plays a gig in Clemmons recently. McHone won the 2016 Best Bassist Award from Yes! Weekly.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0JAL3137_filtered.jpgCopeland native and Surry Central grad Andy McHone plays a gig in Clemmons recently. McHone won the 2016 Best Bassist Award from Yes! Weekly. Jeff Linville | The News

Brett Munn, left, and Andy McHone jam at River Ridge Taphouse.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_KELY8103_filtered.jpgBrett Munn, left, and Andy McHone jam at River Ridge Taphouse. Kelly Mills Westmoreland | Special to The News

Lance Lucas, left, and Brett Munn were the founders of Big Daddy Mojo six years ago, and they have since won Best Local Cover Band each year.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0JAL3089_filtered.jpg.jpgLance Lucas, left, and Brett Munn were the founders of Big Daddy Mojo six years ago, and they have since won Best Local Cover Band each year. Jeff Linville | The News

By Jeff Linville

[email protected]

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

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