Neal Stryker & the Bandits
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Neal Stryker & the Bandits

Band Rock Pop


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"Show of the Week"

Mix the sassy vocal styling of Mick Jagger with the melodic song sensibility of Dave Matthews, add a dash of fun-loving, free-style improvisation, and you have the formula for red-hot Upstate band Neal Stryker and The Bandits. Catch the group tonight at 8:30 in a free performance at Delaney's Music Pub and Eatery, 117 W. Main St. at Daniel Morgan Square. For a sneak preview, visit - Escape from The Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC 4/22/05

"Neal Stryker & the Bandits"

TAD TAYLOR, For the Herald-Journal
May 27, 2005

If you've been looking for Neal Stryker, meet Nick Miller.

Miller, a 26-year-old Spartanburg High School graduate, studied classical guitar performance for two years at the University of South Carolina before returning home and stirring up the music scene with new rock band Neal Stryker and The Bandits.

Expanding to Spartanburg venues such as Canyon's and Delaney's after forging a loyal following in Greenville nightclubs, the band is recording tracks for its first full-length album to compliment a series of demos it has been giving away at area performances.

Music lovers may recognize the band's rhythm section, composed of Davis Page MCs alumni bassist James Cromer and drummer Daryl Gray. Along with vocalist Geoff Reid, a Greenville native who returns to join the band on weekends from his new Atlanta home, and part-time percussionist Doug Reid, the heart of the group is a sonic mixture of classic rock, funk and soul with a touch of a Southern drawl.

Question: Give me a little background. When did you guys meet and how did you form the band?

Nick Miller: We're right at a year (old) for Neal Stryker and The Bandits. The three of us (James, Daryl and Nick) had been in a band together a couple of years ago, Principal Flair, and we had always kind of talked about getting back into it. Geoff and I met each other several years ago working at Alltel. He moved down to Atlanta and we just kept in touch. From time to time he'd come into town to visit and we'd just tinker around on guitars, nothing real serious. About the last week of May, maybe the first week of June of last year, Geoff called me up and … was like, "Hey, you want to play a show?" We hadn't really practiced anything before, but his brother Doug played a conga, so I went down there and … it started out as Geoff, Doug and me playing acoustic guitars and the congas and pretty much that show was where Neal Stryker and The Bandits formed.

Q: What did the band set out to do?

NM: At that point it was just for fun. Probably about a month or two before, Geoff and I actually had sat down and attempted to write a song together, which ended up becoming "Straight Ahead" which is one of our songs on our (Web) site right now.

Q: How did you come up with the name?

NM: We remembered hearing Martin Short on "Leno" or "Letterman" or something like that and he was talking about back in the '80s he played on this really short-lived TV series called "I'm a Big Girl Now," and his character's name was Neal Stryker. It just somehow morphed into Neal Stryker and The Bandits. We thought it was kind of funny to have a band name that had somebody's name in it, but nobody was actually that person.

Q: Who are the band's influences?

NM: They range very widely. As far as James and I, we were both classically trained, so classical music is an influence on us as well as modern music. It's really hard to say who all our influences are because there are just so many. Jeff Buckley is a big influence of mine and John Mayer is a big influence, which ties into Stevie Ray Vaughan, which ties into Jimi Hendrix and predecessors of that. As far as popular music is concerned, I've probably mellowed out a lot more since I first began listening to it, although I still love and enjoy putting in an old Guns 'n' Roses record or Led Zeppelin. The Marshall Tucker Band is a big one; in fact Paul Riddle was Daryl's drum teacher.

Q: What is the band's writing process like?

NM: A lot of times one of us will come to the table with just an idea, whether it's a musical idea or lyric idea or something like that and then it just starts evolving. Sometimes it's a couple of us getting together and developing an idea and then presenting it to the rest of the band. A bunch of the songs that we have now are some of Geoff's that he's just had over the years … We take it and run with it and change it all around and do all kinds of stuff with it, and then it ends up becoming a Neal Stryker and The Bandits song as opposed to a Geoff Reid song, or a Nick Miller song or a James Cromer song. For the most part, Geoff's written the majority of the lyrics, but other than that, the music itself is a pretty big collaborative project.

Q: What has been your most unusual gig?

NM: The first time we played at Delaney's there was an error and a double booking.

They ended up having to let the other band play, but we stayed there all night long and, at the end, about 11:45 the other band finished, and we quickly set up in about 15 minutes and just played a great, fun little set of basically original music and a couple of covers. It wasn't the best of situations, but it ended up being fun, nonetheless, just because we ended up getting to play in front of people, and that's what the important thing is.
- The Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC

"Bandits' Rock Puree Will Steal Your Ear"

Neal Stryker and the Bandits
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 2:11 pm

By Donna Isbell Walker


Nick Miller: Guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

James Cromer: Bass and vocals

Geoff Reid: Vocals, guitar, harmonica

Daryl Gray: "Drums and hijinks"


A combination of rock, pop, funk and soul, or in Miller's words, "rock puree."


The band got together last June with Miller, Reid and Reid's brother Doug, who still sometimes "guest stars" on percussion and congas. Cromer and Gray joined a month later, and the band became a four-piece. The members have been part of several other local bands, including Principal Flair, the Davis Page MCs, Cameltones, Madman Alley, and Loose Cannon and the Bullies.


The band as a whole counts Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp and Eddie Van Halen among its influences. Individually, Miller is influenced by Toad the Wet Sprocket, Better Than Ezra, Smashing Pumpkins, Guns 'N' Roses and John Mayer. For Cromer, influences include classical pianists, as well as Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For Reid, it's Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, Rolling Stones, Nada Surf, and the Damnwells. For Gray, influences include the Marshall Tucker Band, Rolling Stones and Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band.


There isn't anyone named Neal Stryker in the band; the group thought the name sounded cool. The Bandits part came from a T-shirt Doug Reid's wife wore with the word emblazoned on it.


Being in the audience at a Neal Stryker and the Bandits show is like "being thrown in the fire. It's mayhem," said Cromer.

Even so, "we don't take ourselves too seriously," Miller said. "It's all about fun."


Neal Stryker and the Bandits have released a seven-song demo CD, but they are in the midst of recording a full-length disc, to be released in April. The band will perform March 5 and 17 at Dougal Maguires in Greenville, and March 12, at Canyons, in Spartanburg. Check out the Web site at
- The Greenville News, Greenville, SC

"St. Patrick's Day 2006"

Neal Stryker and the Bandits will be playing a super-long and super-Irish set at Delaney's on St. Patrick’s Day night. This will be a blow out show of sorts, with 6+ hours of music, so you’ve got lots of time to stop by this most Irish bar on this most Irish occasion.

The schedule - Friday, March 17th:
6-9: Irish music along with music by Irish bands.
10-close: The usual stuff with some new tunes added for your listening delight.

Everyone's Irish on St. Paddy's Day, so join NSB at Delaney's for some good music and a couple of pints of Guinness... - Hub-Bub.Com

"Neal Stryker & the Bandits"

July 11, 2005

You may remember Neal Stryker as the character played by Martin Short in the ill-fated 80s sitcom "I'm a Big Girl Now," but if not, you'll soon remember him as the imaginary frontman for this diverse acoustic band. Though there is no one in the band by the name of Neal Stryker, lead guitarist and backup vocalist Nick Miller says, "we just thought it'd be a lot of fun to name ourselves after this Martin Short character, and then it kind of melded into Neal Stryker and the Bandits."

The group, together for over a year now, began as an acoustic trio featuring guitar, mandolin and congas, but has since grown into a more full-fledged band. They've recorded some demo tapes and are in the middle of recording their first full-length album. Nick Miller grew up with a classical background, learning violin at an early age and picking up guitar when he was in middle school. "Music is such an incredible form of expression, and especially playing in front of people is just a gigantic high." says Nick, who attended USC for classical guitar performance.

"One unique thing about Spartanburg is the unbelievable wealth of musical talent. You can go out on any given night and find a good performance somewhere. The only thing that hinders is it is there should be more clubs and opportunities for people to play."

Neal Stryker and the Bandits' music is diverse, both sonically and lyrically. Taking input from every member, their music explores common themes such as love and breakups, to more abstract concepts, personal memories and experiences of the band members themselves. One song, titled "Wasted Adoration," has an upbeat, happy alt-country feel to it, but the lyrics themselves are dark and brooding. The song is about someone falling out of love.

Nick's own musical style was heavily influenced, he says, by Jeff Buckley (you can find at least one Buckley album nearby him at all times), though he's also been listening to Ryan Adams and Jump, Little Children. He insists, however, that the music of Neal Stryker and the Bandits cannot be compared to other groups. "Good music influences me, sure, but none of us in the band really try to mimic anybody."

"We're just about having fun. We love playing for people, not just ourselves, and we just hope everyone else enjoys it as much as we do. It's great playing here in Spartanburg; it's home to most of us, so it's always nice to see faces of family and friends in the audience. This city looks nothing like it did when I was growing up. Spartanburg's got an aura about itself, a 'Spartanburg attitude' if you will. I think the people who live here get it and understand, and I think it's great that there are things starting to draw people in here instead of people in Spartanburg going elsewhere to have a good time. Now it's starting to be the other way around."

"A celebration after sundown"

TAD TAYLOR, For the Herald-Journal
Published March 15, 2007

As the sun begins to set on Shamrocks on the Square and St. Patrick's Day turns into night, the celebration is only getting warmed up.

Many Spartanburg venues, as well as celebrations in surrounding areas, rock St. Patrick's Day revelers into the wee hours with an impressive array of local and regional musical talent.

Merely steps away from the daylong festival, Delaney's Music Pub and Eatery, which bills itself as Spartanburg's premier Irish pub, embellishes a special Irish menu featuring Irish Whiskey Steaks and several traditional Irish dishes with a tasty musical treat.

Returning from a too-long absence from area stages, native Spartanburg band Neal Stryker and The Bandits returns for a unique threefold show.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the band performs three hours of traditional Irish music and a few contemporary Irish tunes from the likes of U2.

Guitarist, violinist, mandolin player and vocalist Nick Miller said the first portion of the evening would feature acoustic, traditional Irish music almost exclusively.

"We'll mix it up," he said, and "probably switch around, probably about every song, to different instruments."

Miller said around 9:30 the band will switch gears, and he and bandmate Geoff Reid will perform a brief set as an acoustic duo and feature more intimate material before the full band reconvenes around 10:30 for a fully electric rock 'n' roll show.

For St. Patrick's Day celebrants who perhaps prefer a little spotlight themselves, Ed Miller hosts a St. Patrick's Day party, karaoke-style, next door at Wild Wing Cafe.

Several of Spartanburg's best native acts are performing for St. Patrick's Day around town and throughout the night.

Filled with musical momentum following its recently released CD "Slow Moving Train," indie-rock group Marc Higgins Band performs at the Nu-Way Restaurant and Lounge on Kennedy Street, and the Shane Pruitt Band performs at Club 299 at the Spartanburg Marriott Hotel.

For a bit of Irish delivered Southern-rock style, check out Tytas Canby at Lil D'z in Hillcrest, Hickr'y Stix at Southern Comfort on Southport Road or the Trik Alley Band at Friendz at Lake Bowen.

On the outskirts of town, P.J.'s Bar and Grill presents an evening filled with DJ Cadillac Raw's ripping rhythms.

If the urge to venture out of town strikes you, get to the ninth annual Blarney Bash takes place outside Connolly's Irish Pub on East Court Street in Greenville, just off of Main Street in downtown, around 4:30 p.m. The Steven Kane Band, Irish Dance and Bag Pipers and Retro Vertigo will play until red-hot rock band Parmalee closes the evening with a concert at 8:30.

Inside, Connolly's presents acoustic artist Jason Marcum at 4 p.m., as well as Donnie Blackwell and Doug Jones later in the evening.

Check out the Nightlife Calendar for venue addresses, contact information and more showtimes.



A St. Patrick's Day festival will take place Saturday outside McGee's Irish Pub, at 116 W. Orr St., from 1 to 10 p.m. There will be food, music and dancing. Call (864) 261-6401.

Anderson will also have a St. Patrick's Day parade from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It starts at Greenville and Main streets and proceeds south along Main Street. Call (864) 245-7702.

Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte will hold its St. Patrick's Day Parade and Charlotte Goes Green Festival. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at Tryon and Stonewall streets. Charlotte Goes Green will be at Tryon and Third streets. The festival will go on from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and feature Irish music and dancers. Admission is free. Visit for information.


Get to the ninth annual Blarney Bash outside Connolly's Irish Pub on East Court Street in Greenville, just off of Main Street in downtown, around 4:30 p.m. The Steven Kane Band, Irish Dance and Bag Pipers and Retro Vertigo will play until red-hot rock band Parmalee closes the evening with a concert at 8:30.

Inside, Connolly's presents acoustic artist Jason Marcum at 4 p.m., as well as Donnie Blackwell and Doug Jones later in the evening.

Hendersonville, N.C.

Hendersonville will celebrate St. Patrick's Day from Friday through Sunday. The festivities downtown include music, food, crafts and Irish stories. Events go on 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call (828) 697-2022.



McGee's Irish Pub

116 W. Orr St.

(864) 261-6401


Hannah Flanagan's Irish Pub

27 Biltmore Ave.

(828) 252-1922


Hartigan's Irish Pub

601 S. Cedar St.

(704) 347-1841

Ri-Ra The Irish Pub

208 N. Tryon St.

(704) 333-5554


Connolly's Irish Pub

204 E. Court St.

(864) 467-0300


Hannah Flanagan's Pub

300 N. Main St.

(828) 696-1665

Blac - The Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC


NSB have released 4 demos:
1. "Scattered, Smothered, & Shaved"
Tracks: Straight Ahead, Mental, Wasted Adoration
2. "Neal Stryker & the Bandits"
Tracks: Funkin' Roaches (live), Straight Ahead, Domestic Cans (live), Mental, Temporary Insanity (live), Wasted Adoration, Mama's Basement (live)
3. "Tan Year 'Round"
Tracks: Reason Free, Home, Domestic Cans, Wasted Adoration, Straight Ahead, Mental
4. "No Mercy"
Tracks: Temporary Insanity, Straight Ahead, Domestic Cans

"No Mercy" is available for download on Sonicbids and the official website," CD's are also available at live shows.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Neal Stryker & the Bandits began as a fun side project between Nick, Geoff, & his brother Doug (who makes occasional appearances on hand percussion). When playing for friends during the group’s inception, they were pleased to discover that their original songs brought about even better responses than cover songs. They were lucky to find that James and Daryl were available to bring drums and bass into the mix, and in the summer of 2004 the lineup was complete. The group soon found that each member’s ability to bring his own creativity into the song writing process gave every song a unique feel, with Funk, Folk, Pop, Soul, and Rock being the main influential styles. All the members have been friends and in various bands (some together) over the past 9 years, a bond that has helped them write and independently record songs at a steady pace. Since the band formed in mid-summer '04, they have played at various venues in Charleston, Spartanburg, & Greenville, SC. Currently NSB is working on their full-length debut album which will be independently released in late spring/early summer '05. Influences range widely amongst the members of the band, from classical music (due to James and Nick's classical training in piano, violin, and guitar) to artists of today such as Ryan Adams, John Mayer, Johnny Cash, Jeff Buckley and nearly everything in between. NSB puts a lot of thought into their songs both musically and lyrically, and the result is an ever-growing collection of music in which each song possesses a significantly different vibe.