Hotwire amps up band for Kent County reunion shows

The Dover-area group Hotwire as they appeared in the mid-1990s. From left, bassist Bill Precourt, lead singer Dale Hamilton, guitarist Jimi Brown and drummer Chris Foltz. (Submitted photo)

The Dover-area group Hotwire as they appeared in the mid-1990s. From left, bassist Bill Precourt, lead singer Dale Hamilton, guitarist Jimi Brown and drummer Chris Foltz. (Submitted photo)

Chris Foltz remembers his time in Hotwire as some of the best years of life.

“In addition to working together, we were all good friends,” he said.

“In spending time with people, it always helps when you get along well. It made it much more than just a job. Some bands play together but can’t stand each other. That never was the case for us.”

From 1987 to 1998, the Dover-area band was one of the most popular on the scene, performing around Delaware, Philadelphia and as far away as Virginia and West Virginia.

Consisting of Mr. Foltz on drums, lead singer Dale Hamilton, guitarist and vocalist Jimi Brown and bassist and vocalist Bill Precourt, Hotwire performed in the heyday of the Dover nightclub scene.

“There were a lot more places to play in Dover at that point in time than there are now,” Mr. Foltz said.

“There were 10 or 12 nightclubs and many of them had bands on a regular and weekly basis and some booked bands for a week or two in a row.”

Best Bets logo -NEWOnce that started to taper off in the late 1990s, Hotwire decided to call it quits.

“Billy was also looking to get out to spend more time with his church. After 11 years, we started seeing the changes taking place and decided to end things rather than find a new bass player. But none of us left with any animosity certainly,” Mr. Foltz said.

Hurdling ahead 18 years later, the group has reformed for a couple of area shows, playing Aug. 6 at Dover’s Touchdown Lounge on U.S. 13 and Sept. 3 at Seafood City, also on U.S. 13, in Felton.

“Jimi contacted me back in May and said he was thinking about doing this and that started the wheels turning. He thought it might be fun to do a couple of gigs,” Mr. Foltz said.

“The only holdout was Billy. In talking with him over the years, he hadn’t expressed a great deal of interest in getting back to do something but this time he did and it took from there.

“We aren’t trying to get the band back together permanently, just trying to relive some of those good times for a couple of shows.”

And they were indeed very good times. Mostly a cover band with a few originals in the mix, Hotwire played every venue they could, from the annual June Jam festival to the Bottle and Cork and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach and The Elbow Room in Philadelphia.

Mr. Foltz remembers one night at the former W.T. Smithers in Dover.

“We had so many people in there that they sold out of beer and rail alcohol,” he said.

“They had one bottle of high-class tequila left. We found that out after we finished playing and we wanted a beer.

Hotwire played got together last in 2013 during a celebration of life for the the late Dover musician Steve Fulkerson. (Submitted photo)

Hotwire played together last in 2013 during a celebration of life for the the late Dover musician Steve Fulkerson. (Submitted photo)

That was a fun night.”

Playing a mix of rock, rhythm and blues, funk and some country, Mr. Foltz said the band has had two rehearsals since coming back for its mini reunion and they are sounding as good as ever.

“We worked on some songs, narrowed down our list and went through them with very few problems. I was amazed that we all remembered our parts after all of this time,” he said.

Band members have all stayed in the area and have played together in some form or another over the years.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Hamilton played as a duo in the late 1990s and early 2000s as JD Martin; all of the members contributed to Mr. Brown’s CD “Eclectic Guitar” in 1999; and the four played an impromptu set at the celebration of life for the late Dover musician Steve Fulkerson at the Camden-Wyoming Fire Hall in 2003.

“That wasn’t planned. We were all just there and people knew of our history and asked us to get up and play a few songs,” Mr. Foltz said.

The August show at Touchdown will serve as the pre-show for a planned multi-school reunion held every year in Dover and Rehoboth Beach.

Alumni from Dover, Caesar Rodney, Dover Air Force Base and Holy Cross high schools get together annually in Dover and Rehoboth Beach. This year, the event falls on Aug. 6 but the traditional jam session on the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand will not happen this year so Mr. Foltz hopes class members will come out the night before to start the reminiscing early.

“We’ve had good response to it. We’ve put a few posts up on Facebook and people seem excited and interested enough to come out,” he said.

Mr. Foltz says their brand of classic rock is still popular today even with a different demographic.

“Toward the end when we broke up, we started seeing people come out to our show younger than we were,” he said.

“Lots of the music still stands up today. People said that some of the songs we did at the time were too obscure. But they have held up. Maybe we were ahead of our time.”

Although members say these two shows are isolated incidents, Mr. Foltz does hint that perhaps it might open the door to further gigs.

“You never know. A lot will depend on how much fun we have up there and if we all seem interested to do more. As long as it doesn’t seem like just a job to us, you might see some more things down the road,” he said.

Love Seed jumps to 25

Speaking of longevity, perhaps Delaware’s best-known cover band, Love Seed Mama Jump, is celebrating 25 years with a big concert Saturday night at their regular Thursday night hangout, The Rusty Rudder, 113 Dickinson St. in Dewey Beach.

Five of the six original band members will be on stage delivering their older and original tunes. Giveaways and T-shirts will be available.

Love Seed officially started its 25th anniversary celebration with an energetic show at Dover’s Schwartz Center for

Delaware's own Love Seed Mama Jump celebrates its 25th anniversary Saturday at The Rusty Rudder. (Submitted photo)

Delaware’s own Love Seed Mama Jump celebrates its 25th anniversary Saturday at The Rusty Rudder. (Submitted photo)

the Arts back in April.

Formed in 1991 by six Cape Henlopen High School grads just looking to have some fun over the summer, the quirky, high-energy pop-rock band has gone on to become a Delaware music staple, providing the seaside soundtrack for what is now a quarter of a century.

“That’s just crazy to think about,” lead singer Rick Arzt told Best Bets prior to the Schwartz show.

“I guess it’s true. Time does fly when you’re having fun.”

Looking back over the 25 years, Mr. Arzt said much has changed.

“Dewey really wasn’t the place where a lot of bands played. You had the Bottle & Cork but they mostly had the same bands over and over again from New Jersey,” he recalled.

“So we played at places like Arena’s and Sydney’s. Then in July of that first year we played the Rudder deck and that’s when things started to take off,” he said.

“We took that back to the University of Delaware in the fall and played The Stone Balloon and a bunch of frat houses and it went from there.”

Mr. Arzt still remembers that first agreement the group had with The Rusty Rudder.

“(Rudder founder) Jay Prettyman paid us 75 bucks each, plus all the beer and Jagermeister we could drink,” he said with a laugh.

In an age when bands break up due to all sorts of reasons, 25 years with most of the same guys is quite an accomplishment. And it’s not lost on Mr. Arzt.

“We’ve been friends for a long time and we love making music together. We’re also incredibly grateful that a crowd still enjoys watching us play,” he said.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at DeweyBeachLife.com.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters, Matt Damon returns in “Jason Bourne”; Mila Kunis stars in the comedy “Bad Moms”; and Emma Roberts is in the psychological thriller “Nerve.”

New on DVD and download starting Tuesday are the comedies “Mother’s Day,” “Meet The Blacks,” “The Bronze” and “Keanu” and the thriller “High Rise” with Tom Hiddleston.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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