Formed back in 2009 when friends Lucas Quincy Smith and Jacob Hamilton would hang out at Genung’s Fish Camp in Crescent Beach, strum on their guitars and banjos, write original songs and sing harmonies, Rivernecks has transformed from friendly duo to six-piece rock outfit. The band, comprised of Terri Gamble on vocals, Smith (vocals, guitar), Hamilton (vocals, guitar), Andrew Virga on lead guitar, Hunter Miller (vocals, bass) and Paul Scavuzzo on drums, will be opening for the upcoming Backyard Block Party at the Amphitheatre on April 10. Described by Hamilton as having a “Southern rock and stoner country sound,” Rivernecks have played everywhere from the 450th Celebration to NobFest and beyond. Compass caught up with Smith and Hamilton to chat about having a good time, the local music scene and future plans. Here’s part of that conversation.
Compass: How has the band progressed over the years?
Lucas Quincy Smith: We’ve gotten better at playing our songs and have new ones that all seem to be better than the last. Four members now write songs, whereas before it was just Jacob and I.
Compass: What is the band’s ethos or is it just about having a good time and playing music with friends?
L.Q.S.: We do stand for having a good time. Are we a social force? If you’re worried about people drinking tons of Busch beer and getting high on life, this may happen. If we stand for anything else, it’s having a clean river full of fish safe to eat.
Jacob Hamilton: I don’t think the band has any set ethos at all, but we all care about the place we live, and we all care about the Matanzas River. We get our food from the river. We are playing a benefit for the Matanzas Riverkeeper on April 16 at Genung’s Fish Camp. Also, this is not quite an ethos or statement, but we all do agree that Rivernecks would like unlimited beer at all shows if possible. And I’d like to see that in writing.
Compass: What do you think about St. Augustine’s current music scene?
J. H.: I think the St. Augustine music scene is almost becoming overwhelming. At least compared to how it was when I was in high school. There was nowhere to really see a loud band that played original music other than some shady venues. Now, it seems every bar actually wants bands to play. But the places that I’m extremely gracious for are Nobby’s, Planet Sarbez and the amphitheater. These are the three main venues that encourage original music, help local bands and also host touring acts from around the world. I’m very thankful for all the people that are involved with the St. Augustine music scene today, as well, including Charlie Solana, Ryan Murphy, Tyler Fieldhouse, Rich Diem and Nick Haneman, just to name a few. Big ups to them.
Compass: If you could change something about the local music scene, what would it be?
J.H.: If I where to change anything, I’d reduce the noise ordinance downtown to not start until midnight. Also, the county should give out grants for a good PA system to help every venue that hosts original music. A lot of countries in Europe do this because it supports and promotes culture and the arts.
Compass: What would you like the future of Rivernecks to look like?
L.Q.S.: More grays and longer hair or less — depending on the person.
J.H.: I’d like Rivernecks to be a part of the Florida state flag one day. And I’d like to play with Natural Child whenever possible. They are the greatest.
Compass: You currently have a self-titled album available. What else in regards to future recordings?
L.Q.S.: Yes. We want and need to desperately [record]. It’s been a long time since we recorded. A lot has changed.
J.H.: We would like to record a full album with Lenny Rutland in the near future. And we have our first album available at shows only — if we remember to bring them. Tone Vendor may have a couple copies left.
Rivernecks will perform at Backyard Block Party featuring Lera Lynn and Israel Nash at 6:30 p.m. April 10 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show.