‘General Hospital’ Co-Stars Hit the Road as Port Chuck
When Scott Reeves parted ways with Aaron Benward, his partner in the country duo Blue County, he had no idea that his life would come full circle and music would once again take center stage. Last December, the former soap opera actor hung up his cowboy hat to return to acting, taking on the role of Dr. Steve Webber on 'General Hospital.' But from the moment he stepped back into the acting scene, his music career also experienced a resurgence, thanks to the similar musical ambitions of 'Hospital' co-stars Bradford Anderson ("Damion Spinelli"), Brandon Barash ("Johnny Zacchara") and Steve Burton ("Jason Morgan").
"Steve was an initial voice as far as me coming to the show in the first place," Scott tells The Boot. "Once I got there, he talked me up as far as what I was doing in Nashville with Blue County and musically. We even talked about the possibility of me doing something musical in the show."
Not long after Scott's 'GH' debut, Steve got to work on putting together his dream band. "I'm such a fan of Bradford's and Brandon's voices, and obviously we know that Scott's a rock star!" he says. "Everybody is so different. So I said, 'Why don't we put together a cover band? We can do it for appearances and have it be a thing where everybody will love the songs and have a great time.'"
"Steve's always been a rapper, really," adds Scott. "That was his passion growing up. We all come from very diverse backgrounds. We couldn't be more different, but the same."
After discussing the logistics of forming a band, Scott, Steve, Brandon and Bradford decided to give it a shot, calling themselves Port Chuck. "We were looking for a band name that was kind of a wink to our viewing audience [without] hitting them over the head with it," Bradford tells The Boot. "We didn't want to have something that would look like we were trying to be like a rock band or have a song that was going to be like a cliché rock band."
Word spread quickly to Nashville of what Scott and his co-stars were up to, and Port Chuck were asked to play at ABC's block party during the 2010 CMA Music Festival. "If it wasn't for Scott's experience, since he's been playing music his whole life, there's just no way this could have even been put together in time for that at all!" Steve says, laughing.
When Port Chuck made their Music City debut, they really didn't know what to expect. "We figured there would be 200 to 300 people there at the most," Scott says. "We thought if that happens, it would be enough to have fun and have a blast. There were 1,600 people there in front of us, and it grew. It got bigger and bigger ... It was awesome!"
However, not all Port Chuck members were as comfortable performing live in front of crowds of that magnitude. "For Scott, playing that show was like going into his living room in his underwear," Steve laughs. "I, on the other hand, almost threw up!"
"I don't think fans even knew what to expect," Brandon tells The Boot. "They probably just expected us to be four actors getting up there like a garage band."
After playing their set of cover songs -- including tunes by Johnny Cash, Poison, Bon Jovi and Linkin Park -- Scott received nothing but praise on Port Chuck's unique blend of harmonies and charisma. "It was cool to have industry people saying good things about it," Scott notes.
SOAPnet was on hand to take surveys following Port Chuck's performance at CMA Music Fest, and most of the feedback had a consistent theme. "People were saying they should be singing their own stuff – not this cover stuff," Steve recalls.
After discussing their options, Scott, Steve, Brandon and Bradford decided to take Port Chuck on the road for a five-day run in September with SOAPnet as their sponsor. "These guys get to jump into something like this at an incredible level," Scott says of the mini-tour. "The crossover with TV and with the music is so cool. I don't see anything wrong with that. People want to come see you and have a great time. People obviously have the idea that music is music. I love country music. I've always had the MuzikMafia mentality as far as getting up there and doing your thing. If people love it then they're going to come see it if you're speaking to them. That's all that matters."
"And these songs have spoken to us all over the years," Steve adds. "It's going to be a fun experience."
Luckily for Steve, Brandon and Bradford, Scott's road warrior skills and "invaluable experiences" of touring with Blue County for eight years will be put to good use. "Scott told us to bring food because you don't want to eat at the truck stop in Illinois somewhere," Steve grins.
"And he told us about shower schedules," Brandon interjects.
"The great thing about working with Steve and Scott is they don't overlook any detail," says Bradford. "They think through everything. We've all traveled together in the past, and it's been a pretty luxurious experience! This is going to be a new experience, but if we're with these guys, we know we're going to be safe and comfortable. What else do you really need?"
"I want to make sure that first and foremost they're taken care of where it's not uncomfortable for them," Steve says protectively. "They don't have to worry about anything. They love the fans. They'll go do their jobs and do what they've got to do, but everything else is going to be taken care of."
With Scott's background and connections in Nashville, he hopes that Port Chuck can pick up an opening act slot for artists such as Montgomery Gentry. "Troy [Gentry] and Eddie [Montgomery] are 80's country rock," Scott says. "That's what I love about them. They're a little dirty and gritty. I think we would fit."
While they continue to chip away at the music scene, fans can still tune into 'GH' to see what kind of trouble Dr. Webber, Jason, Johnny and Spinelli are getting into!
"I like the mysteriousness that people have about me," Steve says of his intense, mobster-killing character, Jason. "Then they meet me, and they go you're not like your character at all! For a while, when I would do comedy shows, it was like too much for them. They were like I can't even comprehend this situation right now. You're smiling and you're having fun. I have one look on the show!"
"Our fans are real casual," Bradford says. "With other shows, people might then catch once a week, but the people who watch our show watch it every day. It's a big time commitment. They are more likely to come up to us on the street than to Brad Pitt, maybe. They have more to talk to us about."
"Soap fans are very respectful," Steve agrees. "The connection there is generational. It's been in your family for a long time. It sounds cliché, but if they didn't watch, we wouldn't have a job. That's why I'm so into taking care of them and going the extra mile because so many times people have one bad experience, and they're just done. Now we have a musical connection with our fans. It kind of lets the walls down even more."
As far as the future for Port Chuck, anything is possible. "We're taking it all one day at a time with this stuff," notes Brandon. "We finally have an outlet for this idea we had. We couldn't be luckier because we had Steve who was behind us 150 percent, and we've got Scott, who is really the musical backbone to our group."
"We all feel pretty lucky just to be able to do something like this which is huge in a lot of ways," Bradford says. "To be able to share this with our viewing audience is really cool."
Port Chuck gears up to hit the road for their 2010 Fall tour which includes stops in Nashville, Tenn. on September 8 (Zanies Comedy Club), Vernon Hills, Ill. on September 9 (Zanies Comedy Club), Newton, Ct. on September 10 (Treehouse at Edmond Town Hall), Levittown, N.Y. on September 11 (Governor's Comedy Club), and Staten Island, N.Y. on September 12 (Uncle Vinny's at the Lane Theatre). For more information on Port Chuck, visit their official website.