The History of Sidewinder
“Ladies and gentlemen, the East coast’s premiere rock and roll powerhouse –Sidewinder”
Spoken by long time band emcee Bono, this phrase marked the start of literally of thousands of Sidewinder shows throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The band was formed in Wilmington, N.C during the late 70s from the remnants of several local cover bands. One of the original members, Ronnie Brothers, was the first guitarist and later managed the band after leaving the stage some years later. The band went through numerous personnel changes during the roughly 16 year run but the direction was always the same – deliver a high quality rock and roll concert with state of the art production, polished showmanship, and musical excellence.
In 1981 Sidewinder became one of the founding acts for the Showtime Agency in Raleigh, N.C. and relocated there late that summer. Over the next few years Sidewinder became one of the top drawing acts in the southeast. Performing shows at legendary North Carolina venues such as the Attic, Switch, Roadies, and P.B. Scotts, the band built a huge following while playing a mix of popular cover tunes and original material. During the next few years the fan base spread throughout the southeast to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina. In 1983 Sidewinder appeared on the popular syndicated television show Star Search and made it to the semifinal round in the Spring of 1984.
The band won a sponsorship from Coors beer in 1986 and expanded touring to include the entire East coast as well as three provinces of Canada (Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). The advent of late 80s metal influenced the music style as Sidewinder changed with the musical preferences of their fan base. The final rendition of the band was renamed Chameleon and disbanded in 1994.
A charity event to raise money for Bono, who has been diagnosed as HIV positive, brought the band back together for a Raleigh show in 1998. The band, along with other popular Raleigh bands Nantucket and PKM, participated in another show the following year to benefit Ray Carroll, owner of the Switch and avid supporter of live music in Raleigh. After a 6 year hiatus Sidewinder was asked to perform in a multiple band show to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of NC.
The East coast’s premiere rock and roll powerhouse