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The Whitesidewalls bring reunion to the Paramount

Pat “Hound-dog” Brown, left, and David “Swanee” Swanson are two of the original members of the Whitesidewalls, who will visit the Paramount Theatre on March 19. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

When the Whitesidewalls went to perform their first ever show, there was one thing they didn’t have: a name.

But after 20 years of touring the country with their rock ‘n’ roll, then 20 years of separation, the Whitesidewalls are back together and bringing their show to the Paramount Theatre.

When local musician Dennis Charnecki got the opportunity to reel in some of his favorite music and possibly open for the Whitesidewalls at the Paramount, he jumped on it. The band plays rock ‘n’ roll from 1954 to 1964, often referred to as the Golden Era of rock, and it does it with energy.

Members of the band get very animated on stage, like classic rock shows. They wear authentic classic rock attire, and they can all play multiple instruments. That’s something much needed, because they often wear themselves out on stage.

“I’m excited because I appreciate excellence in music.” Charnecki said. “They have to be very disciplined. To get one person like that, it’s kind of amazing. To get five people like that, it’s kind of like drawing a royal flush in poker. For me, it’s like wow.”

Pat Brown, or “Hound Dog,” started the band in his garage in 1972. He and his buddies from the Twin Cities didn’t have a title. But when they went to play their first show at a bar, the promoter said they had to put something on the poster. Because they played a lot of 50s rock, they quickly crafted the name Whitesidewalls — referring to the sidewalls of tires on old 50s cars.

After many years of touring the country, the band fell into some troubles and lost the rights to its name. But less than two years ago, they got the chance to buy the naming rights and get back together.

“I didn’t think I’d ever play again,” Brown said, who had been shuffling his way through various business careers. “I just wanted to be a Whitesidewall again.”

Although they are much farther removed from the good old days of rock ‘n’ roll, they took a chance to start touring again. So far, it has worked.

“I just quit my job a year ago last June and never looked back,” Brown said. “Now we’re just scratching the surface again and finding some success.”

Many avid rock ‘n’ roll fans remember the Whitesidewalls.

Brown said people remember hearing them when they were kids and have been excited to see them touring again.

“They’re one of the most polished acts on stage today — five originals,” Charnecki said, who plays his own rock and developed an appreciation for the Whitesidewalls many years ago. “People, I hope they understand what’s coming here.”

Although not all the original members could remake the band, Brown and former member David “Swanee” Swanson — the first two — were able to be a part of it.

“We want people to know, it’s actually Swanee and me back together again,” Brown said.

Brown said he couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to perform at a place like the Paramount, something the band was accustomed to.

“You’ve just got to stand on the stage and have the whole crowd applaud, as a performer, there’s nothing else like it.”

Although the Whitesidewalls love the theater performances, they also perform at casinos, festivals, weddings and other events.

“We’ll go anywhere anyone wants us to go.”

Though the band has been separated for many years, it’s lost neither its passion for rock and roll, nor its energy to excite the crowd.

“You can’t play this stuff if you don’t love it,” Brown said. “Rock and roll in its purest form was from 54 to 64.”

The Whitesidewalls perform at the Paramount 7 p.m. March 19. Brown said their show is for all ages.