the Band's story
Pilot Hayes (born Christopher Allen Hayes, February 17, 1986) was born and raised into a working class family in Charlotte, NC. Although they didn't look it because they lived way below their means. His mother was a social worker with a vocal range of a songbird and his dad was a journey man, with a variety of businesses, but mostly known for Union Drywall and painting. It puzzles Hayes to this day why his parents never monetized their use of their artistry. Nevertheless....
There were always instruments around the house from as long as he can remember. Snare drums, harmonicas, bongos, acoustic guitars. This was thanks to their father who always encouraged Chris and his brother Taylor engage their creative sides. In fact Hayes' dad made him play his guitar for five minutes most days after school, aside from denoting words from the Websters dictionary. It was that, or he wasn't allowed to ride bikes in the back yard which was a 21 acre park.
Fast forward to 2012. Hayes and longtime musician friend, Michael Ferguson decided to take their music out the basement of their hometown of Charlotte, and pursue the musical tidings of the quaint coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Settling in to the slow and pleasant relaxed beach life, and attending college at UNC-W.
Hayes and Ferguson immediately began toasting the open mics including the town locals favorite, "Katy's", near the University, and their personal favorite spot, "Mellow Mushroom", on Oleander. This is where the two became acquaintances with soon to be band brother and key ingredient to the bands eclectic genre-blending sound, Todd Hasz. Hasz was nothing short of the life of the party, blessed with the gift of local celebrity, bass guitar virtuoso and flute aficiando.
One fine day, in a public speaking class at the Cape Fear College, Hayes life was changed when he met and quickly became good friends with the mysterious Chris Williams. "He was putting on this presentation, this instructional video on how to play the drums....only he was playing these drums like I had NEVER seen, said Pilot." He was blown away by the speed of Williams' hands, as drummed in the video. He knew right then that the two of them would make music happen together, and they did. They hit the open mics that led to coffee houses then to bars, onto venues, into festivals and now, national tours.
Later that year after playing gigs under the name...."RadioHayes and Echopoint21", the band added a few highlights along. The band then experienced a tragic setback. The death of their bass/flute virtuoso, Todd Hasz. Having no choice but to keep the band rolling, then added to the mix was rocker/producer, Andy Kirn, who's main influence were the hot tube amp style shreds of the rhythm and rock blues legend, Led Zeppelin.
Soon added to the mix was world class saxophone player, Roy Harper (Formerly of the James Brown Band). Roy has played music for over fifty years. Pilot was ecstatic when Roy agreed to accompany the band on stage during its first few local shows. The band has joined forces with many more noteworthy musicians such as Japan transplant-New Orleans multi instrumentalist Adam Lassiter and guest saxist, Will Smith.
The band played their first live concert near Greenfield Lake, at a place called Legion Stadium. The city was hosting a "Greater Wilmington Recycle Revival" where people could trade their stuff around for free. The Granny Band, donated their time for free and was scheduled to open the show, but somehow was bumped down into the mix and ended up playing last and headlining their first ever concert together. "I remember some lady walking up to us after the show on the big outdoor stage and saying, "Y'all were the Best band that played ALL day....thank you for changing things!", and walked away. Well I'm glad we made her day, but what about everyone else's?" He laughed.
The PHBand started recording fervently in their own lakefront "Greasy Studios" which has developed their own record label, Greaser Records.
The band began playing clubs in Wilmington, slowly, as life at the beach is, they didn't care to move. But, the more they played, the more people listened.
(Todd Hasz' everlasting, mind bending low end grooves and toe curling, ever-so-gandy flute arpeggios will forever sustain in the minds of musical fans that were able to hear him, as he gave his ghost on due to an infection while awaiting a heart transplant in Harrisburg, Pa. This inevitably caused a massive short in the system of the band, that words simply couldn't describe. Overnight, the bands musical energy, ego and overall spirit to get out and rock the world was shattered into a billion pixels of stardust, and scattered into a sea of lost memories.
For two years the band didn't care to play live. The heartbreak loss of such a friend and brother soiled the spirits into a downward spiral.)