Sunday, February 5, 2023

Derek St. Holmes to Perform at Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival

The Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival is April 12 at 8:00 p.m. at Ground Zero Blues Club. St. Holmes is longtime singer for Ted Nugent.

Derek St. Holmes
Derek St. Holmes

“I have always been a big blues fan and coming down and playing in the Clarksdale where the blues originates is very exciting to me,” says Derek St. Holmes, lead singer for Ted Nugent’s band. For those who have heard Nugent’s signature songs, such as “Stranglehold”, and others, that is St. Holmes singing.
St. Holmes will be performing at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale on April 12, 8:00 p.m., at Ground Zero Blues Club. Local Cleveland musicians Scott Coopwood, Barry Bays, and Haley Bennett will be performing with St. Holmes.
“Derek is one incredible singer and guitar player,” said Coopwood. “He and I are close friends and he has been coming to the Delta for a number of years soaking up our sights and sounds. He loves it here.”
St. Holmes performed at the Juke Joint Festival last year.
“It was standing room only inside of Ground Zero last year,” says Coopwood, the owner of Delta Magazine and Delta Business Journal who is also a musician. “Last year, we played all blues songs even though many in the crowd shouted for some of the Ted Nugent material that Derek co-wrote. From what I am gathering, we are going play a similar blues set, however, I think the crowd will hear some of Derek’s and Ted Nugent’s hits as well this year.”
In the early seventies, Ted Nugent first became aware of Derek’s band, “Scott”, as he opened a show for Ted’s old band the Amboy Dukes at the Lincoln Park Theater in Chicago. When the Amboy Dukes disbanded, Nugent was looking for a lead singer to give a new band he was assembling the sound that would catapult him to stardom.
St. Holmes was hired and the band of Ted Nugent with Derek St. Holmes as the lead singer was launched. Nugent’s new band immediately embarked on an extensive U.S. tour. Traveling and performing nearly 300 days a year, they played with other popular bands, such as Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. In 1975, at only 22 years of age, St. Holmes found himself traveling the world and playing to sold out audiences in U.S. and European cities. The 1984 documentary This Is Spinal Tap features a lead vocalist named “David St. Hubbins,” whose name came from St. Holmes.
Scott Coopwood and Derek St. Holmes performing at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, April 2013
Scott Coopwood and Derek St. Holmes performing at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, April 2013

“I have known Ted since 1971,” says St. Holmes. “He has always been a great guitarist and always a close friend. People wonder how Ted and I get along. We get along incredibly well. There is a lot of water that has passed under the bridge throughout both of our careers, especially during our twenties. Ted was struggling hard to be a huge success and I was struggling hard trying to help him with that goal and occasionally we would cross each other a little. However, today we are very close and he is like a big brother to me.”
For the past two years, Ted Nugent and St. Holmes have toured across the U.S. with REO Speedwagon and Styx.
“People often ask me to tell them my favorite gig of all time,” says St. Holmes. “I always respond – playing Madison Square Garden for the first time in New York.”
To date, Nugent and St. Holmes have performed and played in the largest venues all over the globe and have sold millions of records. In the late 1970s the Ted Nugent band sold more concert tickets and records than any rock band in the world during that period.