Matt: My next stop is Pawleys Plantation where my playing partner is guitar-toting, bare feet-swinging Mark Bryan, a member of the band Hootie and the Blowfish.
Mark: This is spectacular. You don’t think golf course when you see this.
Matt: No, no you do not.
Mark: Go in.
Mark: Good shot.
Matt: Safely aboard. That feels good (laughs).
Mark: Really good.
Matt: How long have you been playing barefoot?
Mark: Most of the last like five to 10 years I’ve been into it.
Matt: But you like the feel in terms of balance and connection to the planet, that kind of stuff?
Mark: Correct. Yeah. You live in the low country, there’s beaches everywhere. So when I go out to play golf, I wanna feel like it’s also a day at the beach kinda like where I live. You know? I wanna feel like I’m on vacation, and-
Mark: Have that free feeling.
Mark: I grew up in Maryland outside of DC, and one of my band mates in high school and one of my best friends from childhood was Dean, our bass player.
Mark: So we played in a high school band together, and coincidentally both chose to go to University of South Carolina. And coincidentally were put in the same dorm. And down the hall from me was Darius.
Mark: I was hearing that voice, and I had brought my guitar down to college. And he was like, “Man, what songs do you know?” And we sat down and right away, we knew a whole set full of songs together. And so he’s like, “Man, I got this guy that’ll pay us in beer to just play music in his place across the street from the dorm.” And it was called Happy’s. It was like a chicken wing joint.
Mark: And right away started calling ourselves Hootie and the Blowfish. Which at the time I was like, “I guess it doesn’t really matter what we’re called.”
Mark: I didn’t love the name (laughs). I was just like-
Matt: You didn’t.
Mark: Well whatever. Yeah, sounds good.
Mark: You know … And then by the time college finished, we were just known as Hootie and the Blowfish, and we couldn’t … It was too late to change it.
Matt: Too late.
Mark: So we just went with it. And I guess it’s worked out.
Mark: I was wrong.
Mark: It’s a good name.
Matt: Uh oh … Hello. Oh …
Matt: That’s good.
Mark: That was a tough little putt. Oh, that looks good.
Matt: Oh …
Mark: Stop turning.
Mark: Stop turning. Good run.
Matt: Man. Alright.
Mark: I’ve always loved taking a song that means something to you, and you present it in a way that it means something to other people. And then you can go out and play it live, and they’re singing it back to you. That whole process.
Mark: Even songs as old as “Hold My Hand,” which we’ve played a thousand times, when somebody is singing along … Singing their heart out in the front row, it still hits you. It gives you chills no matter what.
Matt: It’s time to make our guest feel a little more at home, little more comfortable. I’m certainly gonna feel more comfortable. (Laughs) Nothing like playing in your bare feet.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Matt: There you go.
Mark: That’s the one.
Matt: There you go. There you go. Got it.
Mark: It hit the wood.
Matt: (Laughter) Has golf influenced anything you’ve written?
Mark: I’ve never written a song specifically about golf, other than the one Josh Kelly and I wrote for the Road Trip Myrtle Beach Show for Golf Channel years ago.
Matt: (Laughs) (Singing)
Matt: Oh (Laughs) That’s a very good putt.
Mark: Thank you. (Singing) We got the pin in for him, but I don’t think he’s gonna need it. (Singing)
Matt: Short. (Singing) OK, I gotta make that.
Mark: Alright. (Singing)
Mark: Oh … (Singing)
Matt: Denied. (Singing)
Mark: One time I did write a song on the golf course. I was lucky enough to play “Bel Air” with Mac Davis.
Mark: And Mac Davis and I wrote a song while we were playing 18 holes, and I still have the lyrics scribbled on the scorecard. (Laughs)
Matt: How good is that?
Mark: It’s so good. So I’ve meant to try to bring that one into the next Hootie album. We’ll see.
Mark: 18. Yeah. Last one.
Matt: This course is not short of memorable moments.
Mark: Oh, that’s a beaut.
Mark: That’s a fairway.
Matt: I think of Hootie and the Blowfish, and I … For whatever reason, I think of Myrtle Beach.
Mark: It dates all the way back to 1989 when we were seniors at University of South Carolina. And a couple of friends of ours talked us into coming down and playing this little bar called [Smidrey’s 00:04:50].
Mark: From there, we just started playing Myrtle regularly until we built up a following. And within about five years, we were playing to 2,000 people every time we came to Myrtle at this big place called the Purple Gator.
Mark: It was our biggest stop on the East Coast was Myrtle.
Matt: Yeah. Wow.
Mark: In the early days. And then from there, part way that into the House of Blues shows that we do every year now. For Monday after the Masters.
Mark: So it’s a big part of our history and a big part of our present.
Matt: Man, I think you’re onto something. (Laugher)