A well-known musical group is making a comeback in the community. The Velvet Bombers have “no big dreams or goals, but just want to entertain,” according to Gordy Wilcher, one of the original members.
The band consists of members David Malone (keyboards), Bob Meacham (guitar/vocals), Wilcher (bass/vocals), Mark Gordon (guitar/vocals) and Greg Franzman (percussion).
In 1983, a group of local musical artists purchased the sound equipment from the Happy Goodman family in Madisonville and moved it to Owensboro using horse trailers. There, the band — including original members Wilcher, Bobby Blackford, Gordon, Larry Basham and Dennis Kiper — decided to compose and just play for fun. Songs were pitched to Randy Travis and the band was approached about presenting a song to Tina Turner, before the performing bug hit.
After having fun performing for a friend’s wedding in Illinois as a favor, the Bombers practiced for a year and then spent a whirlwind 25 years performing 100-150 times per year at corporate events and weddings all over the United States. During that time, they played Friday After 5 for 18 straight years and were the first local band to be asked to perform at the Executive Inn’s Showroom Lounge. A performance at the governor’s mansion for Governor Paul Patton was a highlight of their time together.
In 2016, Blackford died after battling a lengthy illness.
We felt like we couldn’t replace him,” Wilcher said.
The band decided to quit performing. Then in 2018, Wilcher, Meacham, and Gordon chose to begin playing as the V-Bombs Unplugged, an acoustic group. They enjoyed playing music for patrons at local wineries and restaurants for a few years as well as serving as the opening act for Friday After 5 in 2021.
Now the Velvet Bombers, complete with their electric instruments, have decided to reunite and already have multiple performance venues and dates lined up. They will be at Lure on June 25, July 21, Aug. 12 (as part of Friday After 5), Sept. 17, and Oct. 6. The Velvet Bombers will rock the Green River Distillery on Sept. 23.
“We just want to make some noise, and we hope the time is right,” Wilcher said. “We plan to choose songs people remember and want to dance to, but also play songs we want to do.”