Though they aren’t technically defunct, South Carolina’s Five Way Friday aren’t anywhere near the touring juggernaut they were in the late 90s and early 00s. Formed at Wofford University, the band (Michael Helmly on guitar, Joe Good on drums, Randy Helmly on vocals, Mac Leaphart on guitar and Gibbs Leaphart on bass) toured throughout the Eastern Seaboard in support of their debut full-length Moon Driven World. Released in 1999, on the band’s own label, the disc brought together modern rock stylings (a la Matchbox Twenty) with earnest roots sentiments (The Wallflowers, Counting Crows).
A major draw in their homestate, the quintet would go on to record two more albums, and add two more band members. Organist Michael McWhorter joined for 2000’s Run Like This, a hook-laden, guitar-oriented disc that veered more towards Tonic and DIshwalla. Three years later multi-instrumentalist Rivers Pearce joined for Wrecked, an amalgamation of the band’s styles and their finest work to date. That album, produced by Hootie and the Blowfish’s Mark Bryan also attracted attention from Chapel Hill NC’s Redeye Distribution, who signed the group to their short-lived label Red Eye Records.
Though the band is technically still functioning and plays gigs sporadically, nearly all of the band members have full time jobs, families and various other commitments. The lone two exceptions are Mac Leaphart, who released his debut Line, Rope, Etc. in 2009, and Rivers Pearce who tours in and around the Southeast.
For more information on Five Way Friday, head to the band’s Myspace page. Tune in next month as we profile two of North Carolina’s most promising and most ephemeral rock acts: Firstman and Far Too Jones.
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