“For me, it’s been great getting back to playing,” says guitarist Scott Quattlebaum (a.k.a. “Mookie”), a founding member of Charleston rock band Uncle Mingo, who, despite a busy day job as a developer, finds time to produce tracks with his longtime mates in his home studio. “That whole creative process in the studio and with the band is terrific. We’ve done more than I ever thought we would do. I have no regrets. I’m just excited to play like we’re doing now.”
Uncle Mingo formed in 1989 during a lull in the local scene when very little new rock action was happening. Along with a handful of like-minded garage and jam bands, they quickly rose to prominence with a regular string of wild, theatrical performances at the Music Farm, Myskyn’s Club Dog Alley, and the Windjammer.
The classic Mingo lineup featured Quattlebaum on vocals and guitar, Bryan “Mo” Moore on vocals and bass, drummer Robert Thorn, and keyboardist/saxophonist Jason Moore. Old-time fans from the early ’90s still recognize the ringy snare drum and saxophone lines of “Little Baby Brother,” the funk bass poppin’ of “Remember Me,” the piano boogie of “Sydney,” and the heavy Chili Pepper-esque rock groove of “Super Stupid Things.” One of the most enduring fan favorites may be their band’s best regional hit, “Bottle of Moonlight.”
Mingo recorded a few indie albums and toured the East Coast through 1998, when things nearly ended with a band scuffle during a particularly tense tour. These days, with drummer Greg Walker (of the Blue Dogs) on board as main timekeeper, the funky fun continues at its own pace.
“This band is now an occasional thing,” says Quattlebaum. “We never really said good-bye. I don’t think any of us mean to kick it back like we were. We’ve turned a corner and are entering Uncle Mingo, mach 2.” —T. Ballard Lesemann
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