Wooden Soul:
bustin' butts
March 1995

The members of Wooden Soul play what they want to hear, and they hope their audience likes it, too.

"We don't do the norm, just for the sake of doing it because it's popular right now," said guitar and sax man Mark Kopp.

"We're not a sing-along band," he said. "We do the stuff that we want to do. We don't do it with an attitude, we do it because this is the stuff we enjoy doing and we hope the people out there will enjoy it as much as we do."

The members lay no claims to being top-notch musicians, either.

"We're a bunch of average musicians who just want to play as best we can -- together. That's our strongest suit, that we want to play together," Kopp said.

"You can have a team of the greatest baseball players and they can get beaten by a bunch of average guys who hustle," he said. "That's what we've always done. We've busted our butts from start to finish."

Wooden Soul sticks mostly to covers, a policy which evolved from the band's stumbling start with original material.

"We weren't accepted as an original band in this area," Kopp said. "If it wasn't something already established, people didn't seem to take to it too much. ... Now it seems to be the thing to do, now it's big to be an original band. But it didn't work for us."

Now that original material is "in" in Lancaster, Pa., Kopp said Wooden Soul is comfortable doing covers.

The band's playlist includes tunes from the Eagles, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkle, Hall & Oates, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. They also throw some rhythm & blues, soul and Motown into the mix.

"We're just a bunch of music misfits who just really, really enjoy it," Kopp said. "To play for 15 years and still have the joy, the passion when we play, that's saying something.

"We threw all the rules and regs away years ago. Now we're playing for ourselves."

Kopp and his brother, Doug, are the only original members of the group which formed in 1979 as the Wooden Band. They later changed their name to Chesapeake, and finally Wooden Soul.

The Kopp brothers, now joined by Wooden Soul guitarist/vocalist Blaine Albright, also perform as the Keystone Kopps.

"We do some of the same material," Kopp said. "With the band we do it as a full arrangement, as the Keystone Kopps we do it as an acoustic trio."

interview by
Tom Knapp

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