Arts & Culture

Five Minutes With: The Headliners' keyboardist Steve White

The Headliners have been around about four times as long as The Beatles. And, at this point, have probably played Beatles songs four times as much as the Fab Four ever did.

The Hilton Head Island sextet is one of the Southeast's premier cover bands, playing everything from beach music to classic rock. Band leader Larry Perigo started the group in 1973, landing a regular gig on Hilton Head six years later. Most of the current members have been together for a quarter century.

The Headliners have just gotten through an eventful month, having played the Governor's Gala and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" wrap party.

Longtime keyboardist Steve White explains how The Headliners have managed to stay together.

Question. You guys have had a busy month, playing for the governor and at the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" wrap party.

Answer. It's been great. We've done a few things like this before -- the pre-inagural for Gov. Carroll Campbell a while back, the Southern governors conference. Getting a call for Nikki Haley's inauguration was cool. I thought it was going to be real high security and really stressful. But it ended up being really easy. Larry said something funny, he said, "She said she was going to create jobs in the state and as it happens we got one of the first ones."

Q. What has it been like playing for all this time together?

A. Bands I've been in before only lasted a few years. We're run more like a business. A lot of other bands are just run loose. We're more professional.

Q. You guys ever get sick of each other?

A. No, we're not like that. A lot of times in bands you have personality conflicts. We all get along.

Q. You guys play a lot of oldies, classic rock and stuff like that. So, what was the band playing when you first joined?

A. Our repertoire hasn't changed tremendously because we do a lot from the '50s and '60s. In the '80s and '90s, someone would come in every week, "Hey, you heard this song on the radio? Let's learn this song." It's so different now. It's more difficult to grasp what the big hit song is anymore.

Q. How many songs do you know?

A. Wow, hundreds. We've played them so much you can't forget them if you wanted to.

Q. What's been the most memorable moment for you?

A. The governor's ball was special. We also did this one thing right after (the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks). It was the first game after 9/11 that pro football resumed. It was the Jacksonville Jaguars home game. It was Hilton Head Day. They asked us to sing the national anthem. Security was off the scales. Jets and helicopters were buzzing around. We started and got to "Oh, say ..." and the vocal monitor went out so we couldn't hear ourselves. I think we ended up doing OK (laughs).