This Charleston band has been partying for years. Their main job is to have fun … and when they have fun everyone has fun. The popular dance band includes six sing-from-the-gut vocalists and the horn section is nothing to sneeze about either.
Bass player Jack Tankersley and Mike Shuler (guitar/vocals) founded the group in 1991. Both had been with the Rivieras. Jack was co-leader with Jimmy Hendricks, but left after a difference over which direction the band should take. Shuler followed shortly afterward and the two formed East Coast Party Band (ECPB). Jack serves as the day-to-day operations guy, handling bookings, costumes, song selection, etc. and Mike is his business partner, making decisions about the band.
Joel Reese (vocals/trumpet) and Mark Black (musical director/vocals/saxophone) make up the horn section. Jerry Polk (vocals/drums) was invited to join the band by his dad, the late Gerald Polk, who passed away in 2004.Prior to working with ECPB, The senior Polk had also been a member of the Swingin’ Medallions and the Melody Makers. Jason Moore (saxophone/keyboards) eventually replaced him. Rounding out the group are David Fuller (vocals/keyboards), James Moore (guitar/vocals), and Jack’s wife of 25 years, vocalist Beverly Tankersley.
Polk, who started playing drums professionally at age five, has performed with Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. David Fuller began playing the downtown nightclubs of his hometown, Mount Pleasant, when he was still a teenager. In Columbia, S.C. he joined Lion a band managed by deejay Woody Windham. The group was signed by Mainstream Records and enjoyed some regional success.
Originally from Clover, S.C.Mark Black grew up with music. The Black Brothers, his father’s family (including his aunt) performed locally and practiced in the basement. By age ten, Mark had decided that he would play the saxophone. After graduating from Appalachian State University, Mark joined the Fabulous Kays. He was a member of the Embers from 1996 to 2004, and signed on with ECPB as their musical director. For the past two years, he has also played with The Legends of Beach, made up of former Embers bandmates. A very successful studio musician, Mark is also known for producing two full-length documentaries that have aired on the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.
Joel Reese has played trumpet with some of the best – Marvin Stamm, Rich Mattison, Bill Watrous and Roger Pemberton. And despite undergoing surgery for throat cancer in 1998, he’s still playing … and partying.
East Coast Party Band has recently been named as official ambassadors of Mount Pleasant, where they play on a regular basis. These ambassadors of fun will be at the Charleston Beach & Shag Music Festival at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 30. You won’t want to miss the party.
This piece is also being published in the Beach Newz music column of Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue June 18 – July 2, 2009, p. 24.