The Doctors are in. . . .
Combine heaping portions of bass, rhythm guitar and brass with uniquely hip, feel-good
grooves and you have the beginnings of a healing party that is safe to administer in massive
doses to any member of the family, ages 8 to 80.
"It's simple. If you're in a funk, well ya gotta go and get the funk. It'll fix you straight up," says
Dr. Walter Hemingway, medical chief of staff for The Root Doctors, South Carolina's
preeminent feel-good clinic. "Music — funky music — is the remedy, man."
Formed in 1987, The Root Doctors have amassed a wide and passionate following, filling
music venues throughout the Southeast.The band's debut release, "He'll Eat Anything" sold
well and created a buzz that did not escape the notice of music industry leaders. In 1995,
Strawberry Skys studio producer Ron Hollins and Grammy award-winning engineer Bernie
Grundman worked with The Root Doctors on the release of an impressive second effort
titled "No Bones About It."
Their reputation as a hard-driving, versatile, mature and highly talented band with
diverse musical influences caught the attention of numerous promoters, and in the years to
follow, The Root Doctors opened shows for top national acts, including Little Richard, Ray
Charles, The B-52's, The Gap Band, CAMEO, KC and The Sunshine Band, A Flock of
Seagulls, Morris Day and The Time, and Heatwave.
In 1996, the band experienced national television exposure when MTV covered an outdoor
concert in Finlay Park (Columbia, SC), at which The Root Doctors performed in front of
14,000 bouncing and gyrating hometown fans. It was their first performance incorporating
new arrangements for a three-piece horn section, percussion and even a gospel choir. The
crowd roared its approval of the versatile blend of pop, rock, jazz, gospel, rap and funk
A third album, released in 1999 and titled "Taste It," also garnered rave reviews. Produced by
Mark Williams and recorded at the Reflection Sound Studio (Charlotte, NC) and Strawberry
Skys (Columbia, SC), the album marked the band's first time recording with a four-piece horn
section. Precisely executed, "Taste It" provided a perfect showcase for the band's many
years of professional experience.
"There are no freshman missteps here. Everything is clean, balanced, well-mixed and
generally right on the money," wrote one reviewer. "Plenty of other bands could learn from
The Root Doctors' production prowess."
"What makes the band work is that we have a strong show and great songs. One of our strengths is also that we enjoy performing together and are friends. That comes across especially in our live performances. "
lead singer Hemingway said.
Wherever the band performs, it never disappoints, always keeping an emphasis on having
fun and making fans happy. The Doctors' performance during Columbia's 2001 Three
Rivers Music Festival added new legions of fans.
"(I am ) digging Columbia's ultimate and longest-running dance party band, The Root
Doctors, and being reminded that Walter Hemingway is still a dynamic frontman.
Wearing a Columbia Inferno hockey jersey and dreads to die for, he led his charges
through some hard-hitting funk."
— Michael Miller, The State newspaper, April 2001
"We enjoy (the show) as much as the fans do," Hemingway
said. "Our fans have been phenomenal, and The Doctors always have been about pleasing