In December of 2010 the legendary rock band Ma Kelley celebrated their 25 years together by doing a reunion show in Bloomington, IN. The beloved band sounded tight, together, and it was as if they had not missed a beat since their initial break-up in late 1995. Fans danced, sang along to their favorite tunes and were treated to a show that only Ma Kelley could provide. Everyone left happy that night and hopeful that the band would find a way to stay together, unfortunately that did not happen. Lead guitarist Troy Seele would continue to perform with the metal band Iced Earth while lead singer Terry Potts would continue to front a number of other bands while working on a solo project and the other members of the band would continue their daily lives, with drummer Cozy Johnson working with other bands, keyboardist Dan Metro being part of Purdue University and bassist Dane Coe playing on.
Ma Kelley was on the verge of greatness and signed with a national record label but much like what happens to any number of great indie bands, it would be the beginning of the end for the band. The demands of the record company were next to impossible to meet and after much like relatives who overstay their welcome the band would soon find themselves fighting with one another, so much so that a few did not speak to one another for years.
Fast forward to 2014 and once again Ma Kelley is preparing to hit the stage for one last bash and Potts has said these will be shows that should not be missed.
“We are planning on tearing up the stage, blowing the roof off everywhere we play,” Potts said. “This very well could be the last shows ever for Ma Kelley and they are going to be epic.”
There are few bands who have a loyal and devoted following as Ma Kelley, some would compare their fans to those who follow Jimmy Buffet or who used to follow the Grateful Dead. Modern day comparisons of Ma Kelley fans would pit them against Phish or Widespread Panic.
“Our fans are great, they are f-ing awesome and they give us such energy when we play,” Potts said. “I get wired up as it is but when the fans start getting into it, it is a charge for all of us.”
Ma Kelley is well known for the “human” element in their music including the critically acclaimed song “Welcome Home to the Homeless” and “Nothing Ever Changes” which chronicles how there are times no matter how hard we try, things will never change. For as much as Ma Kelley has a “human” quality to their music they also know how to just flat out rock with songs “Rain,” “Cry, Cry,” “Love in the Dark,” and “Whiskey Drinking Woman.”
“There are so many songs to choose from, we could play a four hour concert,” Potts lamented. “For the two hours or so we will be on stage you can bet we will leave your ears ringing.”
So far the band has dates booked through August and there is a possibility another date or two will be added in September depending on when Seele has to return to Iced Earth.
“Rehearsal has been intense,” Potts said. “We really haven’t missed a beat but man, it feels like an hour of rehearsal is like running the Boston Marathon.”
“I want to make sure the fans long remember Ma Kelley so maybe I am overdoing it a little in rehearsal but I can’t stop pushing myself and the band because this is our legacy, this is history,” Potts told me.
Ma Kelley released five studio albums, most available as a download from Amazon or from CDUniverse. There are sure to be copies available at the upcoming shows as well and there have been rumors that the band plans on videotaping the concerts for a possible live CD and concert DVD.
Dates announced so far include August 2, 2014 in Frankfurt, IN, on August 16, 2014 in Attica, IN at ABATE Kickapoo Kick, on August 23, 2014 at the Salt Creek Brewery in Bedford, IN and on August 30, 2014 at The Doghouse in Brownsburg, IN.