Band celebrates 10th anniversary

Published 2:26 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Members of 10-year-old Brewton band A Den of Thieves aren't trying to be famous anymore - they just love music.
Band members endured the tragic death of an original band member, played at many venues, recorded one full album and stuck with the same name, unlike many first-time bands. So when the idea to have a 10-year anniversary celebration was discussed, no one had to think twice.
Ten years ago, Brewton brothers Stephen and Rusty Dolihite decided to form a band. Rusty had played with Shannon Brantley in high school, so when they needed a third member to complete their sound, they recruited Brantley to sing vocals and play guitar.
They practiced in the &#8220tater shed at mamaw's” as often as they could, Brantley recalled. Tragically, a couple of months later, Rusty died in a car accident in June 1995.
After his death, Stephen and Shannon continued to play their music, only singing acoustically. Eventually, Stephen got the urge to record a CD and solicited the help of members from local band the Murder Creek Boys.
Still nameless, and with the generous monetary help from their families, the two bandmates along with several members of the Murder Creek Boys, began to record their first album, &#8220Jade,” inside a recording studio in Dothan.
Rodney Mills, who has produced the likes of famous bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Mars and Greg Allman, helped master the CD.
On the first album, listeners can hear one song Rusty wrote - &#8220Sleepy Southern Town” - which is what inspired the two bandmates to start recording. Accompanying Brantley and Dolihite were Richard McDaniel, Shane Bodiford and Jeff Ray Campbell.
Right before the album was set to be released, Stephen came up with a name for the band - A Den of Thieves, which comes from a passage in the Bible, was his first choice.
According to Brantley, &#8220Jade &#8220was the first CD ever to hit streets in Brewton.”
At the time, he said, everyone was still listening to music on tapes. On Cue was the only music store in Brewton, and the store began selling copies of the album.
Their sound can be described as &#8220kudzu rock,” or as Stephen notes, &#8220Southern roots, blues-based rock'n'roll.”
Still singing acoustically, a friend recommended Neil Jackson to play drums. Jackson is a self-taught drummer, who learned to play by watching drummers and listening to beats.
It was Christmas and New Year's of 1998 when the three had a touch of fame. They had traveled to Atlanta and began to record a four-song demo at Tree Sound, one of the premier recording studios in Atlanta. Upon entering the studio, they learned they would be playing right after Matchbox 20 recorded one of their albums.
A Den of Thieves has played all over the southeast, including several festivals and BayFest in Mobile. They will be playing July 1-2 at The Keg in Orange Beach and July 8 at Willie's. They have come a long way since their first gig in Troy at The Front Porch.
They are still working with the demo and hope to merge those songs with songs they will be playing at their anniversary celebration on Saturday, which was Stephen's idea.
Band members plan to sit on stage and play old songs they haven't played in a long time, while new songs and friends will join them on stage and reflect over the years.
Cochran McMillan and Robert McDowell helped the band secure The Ritz, and friends helped with the printing of the authentic tickets.
The 10-year celebration is set for Saturday at The Ritz. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at George's BBQ or any band members for $5.
And like any good rock musician, all the band members agree that if it wasn't for their family, none of what they have done could have been accomplished.