38 Special singer eager to rock in Biloxi

COURTESY 38 SPECIALDon Barnes will be bringing Southern rockers 38 Special to the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi on Saturday night.
COURTESY 38 SPECIALDon Barnes will be bringing Southern rockers 38 Special to the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi on Saturday night.

Don Barnes and 38 Special have been performing hits such as "Fantasy Girl" and "Back Where You Belong" for more than 30 years. The Jacksonville-born Barnes, who will be performing with the band Saturday at the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi, had only one question before they arrive in Biloxi.

"Is it hot down there yet?" Barnes asked during a phone interview with the Sun Herald. "It's been dog days here in Atlanta -- it's like concrete, heat and humidity."

But he and members of 38 Special, who have survived more than three decades in the music industry, aren't going to let the heat stop them from performing in South Mississippi.

"Man, we love playing that area, we love playing the Hard Rock," he said. "We get to see all of those manic fans who want to hear all of the songs that have been a part of a history of the band."

Although 38 Special hasn't released an album of new material since 2004, Barnes said they will be bringing an all-new show to Biloxi.

"We're putting together a medley of songs from movies and doing some new stuff, but we want to make sure everyone hears their favorite song, whether it's 'Back From Paradise' from 'Revenge of the Nerds II,' we've got it all in there," Barnes said. "We have a new light show and effects and smoke. It's going to be a good time -- the Hard Rock is a great place to see a show."

Barnes said that he expects the fans to be making YouTube videos at the show, something he said does not bother him.

"Man, you might as well just give yourself away because the more eyes and ears that are on it, the more people are going to come out, because you can't download a live show -- we're all about people sharing their videos of us," he said.

He said fans can expect a "tight show" from the band.

"Over the years, 'we've learned to respect the space between the groove -- we don't go out there and burn through the songs and play on adrenaline because that's for the younger guys," Barnes said. "They think that's power, but if you're playing outside of the groove, you've lost the groove -- we've learned to just stay back in the beat and let it come to you and let it be all of that."

After 30 years of touring, Barnes said he still has to remind himself not to play off the adrenaline, especially when "Hold On Loosely" comes up in the set.

"I still get the butterflies before we play that one, and it comes deep in the set," he said. "The stage is dark and when I hit that B-chord, the crowd goes crazy because they love that song and so do I -- I can't wait for it to come up in the set list. People ask me if I get tired of playing those songs. Man, those songs are like little nuggets of gold in your pocket."

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