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Six Pack:

October 23, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Musician Mark Bryan teaming up with Denny Hamlin to host celebrity golf tourney

Musician Mark Bryan, who is teaming with driver Denny Hamlin to host the inaugural Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam on Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 29-30, answers this week's six questions.

1. How exactly did this two-day event, which starts with a concert on Monday and ends with a celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament at the Daniel Island Club's Beresford Creek Course on Tuesday, come about?

Bryan: About this time last year, we hosted a similar event in connection with the Nationwide golf tour championship -- myself and a guy named Denis Gallagher down here in Charleston. He has this group called the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation. They do private busing all over the country, and then I have this after-school program for kids called Carolina Studios. We started this thing to benefit our charities, and some of Denny's guys were down here last year and had such a great time, they put me together with Denny.

He's become such a golf fanatic. We thought golf and music would make a great combination, so we're partnering together this year to try and raise a bunch of money for our charities. Charleston doesn't get a whole lot of NASCAR love, and there are a bunch of fans down here who would love to see some of these guys. So we've got not only Denny coming, but the Waltrip brothers, Coach Gibbs, Dale Jarrett. It should be a good time.

"We did a bunch of stuff [as Hootie and the Blowfish] with NASCAR early on, and now [Darius] is picking it up. So it's good to keep that tie-in with NASCAR."


2. Who's the better golfer, you or Denny?

Bryan: We're looking forward to it. We're playing together for the first time leading up to the event here. I guess we'll see whose better at golf -- drivers or musicians.

3. As a founding member, songwriter and guitarist for the band Hootie and the Blowfish, how do you fare when you play a round of golf with your friend and the band's lead singer, Darius Rucker?

Bryan: He's kicking my butt. I play a decent game. I'm a 12 (handicap), but he's down to an 8 now. I can't beat him.

4. Rucker certainly has been busy now that he's crossed over to do some country music as well, but you've stayed busy too over the last 20 years. What exactly does your charity, Carolina Studios, do?

Bryan: We work with mostly inner-city kids here in Charleston. We have a mobile bus now, thanks to Denis (Gallagher). He donated a mobile studio to our charity last year. So we're able to go around to all the schools in the county now. We have a location in town where there is a studio, and now we have a roving mobile studio on the bus. Kids come to these studios after school and mix beats, or sing or rap over top of them. We have a little recording booth in there as well, and they love that process of learning how to work that software. And at the same time, they get to write and record their own songs.

The kids who have gotten into it absolutely love it. They come back every time. They turn a bunch of new kids onto it. It's really great for a lot of creative kids who maybe aren't able to play a sport or get into anything else. A lot of kids who don't get a lot of out school on a day-to-day basis are really latching onto this, and we're using it as an incentive to keep them coming back to school. It's been a good fit.

5. Of course everyone always wants to know when and if Hootie and the Blowfish are going to get back together and tour again. Will it happen?

Bryan: Yeah, at some point we will. The other three of us are kind of just hanging. We're ready to go so it's pretty much a done deal; it's really just a question of when. It won't be next year because Darius is working his new album right now. So the earliest would be 2014, but we really haven't put anything on the calendar yet.

6. Have you been surprised by how big a country star Darius has become, and how he's tied it all in with NASCAR?

Bryan: I wasn't surprised creatively by it. Musically, we've always had a little bit of that (country) running through our sound. But I was surprised by how big he got and how quickly it happened. It was just like Hootie when we blew up like that.

It's always surprising and always fun when that happens. He's riding the wave right now. We did a bunch of stuff (as Hootie and the Blowfish) with NASCAR early on, and now he's picking it up. So it's good to keep that tie-in with NASCAR.

You know, we've been friends with (Michael) Waltrip a long time. I met him through Darius. ... And I've always been a big fan of Elliott Sadler and he's been a fan of mine, so we have nice thing going on, too. Plus we played at Myrtle Beach and got to know Dale Earnhardt Jr. a long time ago. It's fun to keep that all going with NASCAR, no doubt, and we're looking forward to building on that with this Pro-Am Jam while raising some money for charity in the process.