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January 5, 1998

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Alabama. Not the state, but the country music super-band called Alabama. The band includes: Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook, and Mark Herndon. Their steady stream of number one hits include such favorites as Why Lady Why, Mountain Music, and The Closer You Get.

Unlike many country singers who've opened theaters in Branson, Missouri, Alabama instead opened a beautiful theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. According to drummer Herndon, "We just do things differently!" (Because they are on the road touring, Alabama only does about 15 to 18 shows a year in Myrtle Beach, but other top singers perform at the theater while they're away.)

Although the group has won numerous awards - over 150 music awards, including two Grammys, eight Entertainer of the Year awards, and the Artist of the Decade award - the award Herndon is the proudest of is the third Entertainer of the Year award. Why? "Because I don't think anyone will ever do that again!" he exclaimed.

As happy as all the awards make Herndon, he doesn't take his family on the road with him because he'd have no time to spend with them. "It's not a high life or a big party - it's a 9 to 5 working job, " he stated. Yet, he loves touring, has done it over 20 years, and feels very lucky to make a living this way.

But, Herndon wasn't with Alabama from the start. In the early years, Alabama went through a string of drummers. In 1979 Herndon's mom, who worked at a bar where Alabama was performing heard that Alabama needed a new drummer. She quickly passed the word to Herndon who auditioned and got the job. (The Alabama band was unheard of at this time.)

Although Herndon helped make Alabama a great band, and it became tremendously successful, he doesn't take the credit for their success. "I don't think that I - or any other band members - could have done it alone. I just completed the chemical formula," he declared.

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