ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) — It’s been a heck of a run for the popular rock band Sister Hazel.
This weekend not only do they play their annual “Hazelnut Hang” at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms but these rockstars on the move hit a major milestone that has nothing to do with music.
With their signature sound, their popularity is enduring and their longevity, impressive.
“I think that’s why we are able to stay a band,” explained bassist Jett Beres. “Keep it fun and fresh – it’s never felt like a job. The same guys are together, enjoying the company, enjoying writing and making music.”
Since their college days in the early 90’s, Charleston’s been a favorite touring stop.
Now a 12-year tradition, The Hazelnut Hang is fan interaction during the day and music through the night but these guys aren’t college kids anymore.
“We are getting up there in age,” said Beres. “It’s important that we take that into account. Aa few years ago we started doing a 5K here for our charity- A Run Down The Beach.”
And that got the proverbial wheels turning in their heads. They set their sights on a race called the Keys 100, a 100 mile relay race from Key Largo to Key West.
“It was scary – scarier for some of us than others,” said Beres. “The only one that had experience was our drummer Mark. We all were starting from ground zero. We had eight months to train and mentally prepare and like anything in our band- motivation comes from the other guys”
A staple on the road for any band is the tour bus but for Sister Hazel, a big piece of training for this test was ditching that bus.
“That was the hardest- waking up on tour bus at 5 a.m. and putting on running shoes or getting dropped off five miles outside a venue on the way into town and running to the venue,” said Beres. “Making it work with everything else on the road, that was the hardest part.”
Two weeks ago— excuse the obligatory analogy— it was showtime.
“Knowing your teammates or band mates are alongside and pushing to finish, we knew the obligation to finish was shared,” said Beres. “We all did 15-23 miles during day in 16.5 hours- two hours under the expected finish time so we’re very proud.”
All the while, they raised money and awareness for cancer charities.
“At the end of the day, it reaffirms what we do,” said Beres. “It’s always a part of what we do. Our namesake Sister Hazel was a philanthropic person. She gave her whole life to this type of work. We’ve followed her footsteps from the beginning. It allows us to have a purpose outside of music.”
There’s no finish line in sight for these rockers on stage. As for their new found passion…
“The 100 miles for now will suffice,” said Beres. “We’ll see what comes. Making it down to Key West in one piece, that’s enough for us.”