Tragikly White Celebrating 25th Anniversary with Free Concert
August 24th @ 10pm – Rev Room, Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK — The year was 1993. Hair bands were out, grunge was in, and music fans seemed focused only on the Seattle scene. Singer-songwriter Rick Martin returned to Little Rock from L.A., after a gig writing and performing a movie soundtrack with his hair band AZRO, and had a new idea: Performing danceable 80’s hits at clubs all over the region.
The band’s name? Tragikly White.
25 years later, as one of Arkansas’ most beloved and highly regarded bands, Tragikly White has played an estimated 2,500 concerts, benefits and special events throughout the eastern half of the U.S. They’ve headlined music festivals across Arkansas, playing in front of crowds of up to 10,000 people. Their energetic blend of rock, funk and dance music has made them a favorite of music venues and charity groups.
No matter how successful the band has become over the years, they have never forgotten their roots. That’s why Tragikly White has scheduled a free concert on Aug. 24 at the Rev Room, 300 President Clinton Ave., at 10 p.m. The concert is open to all fans of the band and is expected to draw a lively crowd of supporters of the group named “Best Band” in Arkansas Times and Soirée Magazine reader polls.
“We’re very excited about the chance of seeing our friends and family and playing some of our favorite songs in one of our favorite clubs,” said Rick Martin, the band’s founder, guitarist and lead singer since its inception. “This is our way of giving back to the people and community that has given us so much over the years.”
From the Arkansas State Fair to Pine Bluff’s Smoke On The Water Festival, Tragikly White has played numerous large-scale events across Arkansas. The four-man group, which includes bassist-vocalist Jimmy Tomlinson, guitarist-vocalist Tim Reed and drummer Michael “Smitty” Smith, has entertained at corporate events for some of the state’s leading commercial outfits, including Walmart, Dillard’s, Tyson Foods and Parker Cadillac.
“They were really easy to work with,” remembered James Ballew, who booked the band for the Bryant Family Festival numerous times during its 17 years of existence. “The audiences always liked their mix of music, they were more than just a country band or a hip-hop band or a rock band. They gave a little bit of everything to the crowd.”
Tragikly White has also earned a reputation for helping out various non-profit organizations, drawing huge crowds at fundraisers for groups like the American Red Cross, the Good Samaritan Society and the American Cancer Society.
“They’ve always been a highlight at our annual Double Header event, a dinner, silent auction and party for the Miracle League,” said Peggy McCall, executive director of the Little Rock-based organization, which provides disabled children with the opportunity to play baseball in friendly setting. “About six years ago, one of our players, Grant, asked the band if he could sit in with them. They let him play drums with the band that night and that gave him a whole new level of confidence. Grant plays with them every year now and he’s got his own band. That they allowed him to get up there and play was just super cool.”
A favorite of the local club scene, Tragikly White incorporates a variety of musical genres into its shows, able to tap into the energy of the audience while keeping the atmosphere light and enthusiastic.
“There’s few that have been able to do what they do, that’s stay at the top of their game,” said Chris King, the owner of the Rev Room and the nearby Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack. “Every time they play, they deliver smiling faces and dancing feet.”
The band has endured its share of struggles along with way. Lead guitarist Alan Hash died in a car accident in 2016, leaving behind a son and daughter.
“Alan’s death left a big hole in the band, I think about him all the time,” said Martin. “He was a very important part of the band for a very long time. We will be paying tribute to him and everybody who has been in the band over the years at the show, as well as thanking everyone who has done so much for us over the past 25 years.”
Over 25 years, Tragikly White has enjoyed triumphs and experienced tragedy. Yet, they have persevered and are known as one of Little Rock’s most beloved party bands.