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Power to the People - 2009



You could say that the Soulscholar story is a lemonade out of lemons story. Soulscholar began when Donnie Hopper got fired from his job. All of a sudden he had an abundance of free time. His wife saw a guitar and amp a garage sale for a very fair price. His experience had been as a drummer, but he had always played around with guitar so he purchased the guitar and began to pick away. He did not consider himself to be a songwriter and was surprised when he started getting song ideas. He was even more surprised when his friends and former band mates, Mark Hubbard and Mark Whitbeck, told him they were good songs. Whatever muse had enchanted Donnie soon spread to Mark and Mark and they too began writing again. Over the next couple of years, this developed into an album project, the result being "Power to the People." The inspiration hasn't faded. Soulscholar already has enough material to release at least two more albums, and the new songs continue to come at steady pace. Donnie had been the drummer in previous collaborations and filled that role in the recording of "Power to the People." Mark, Mark, and Donnie decided that for Soulscholar, at least live, Donnie would play guitar. In February of 2009, Soulscholar set out to find a drummer. In what seemed like Divine intervention, their first audition proved to be a perfect fit and Erich Friebel came on board.
While Soulscholar is relatively new, it's members have many years of experience and are each seasoned musicians.

Donnie's Bio:
Donnie Hopper is a musician with over 29 years of experience. He plays drums, bass, guitar, sings background vocals and is experienced in a variety of musical styles. Don’s earliest memories are with his dad listening to a record called, “Strictly Instrumental”, a blue grass record featuring Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. Also, he was brought up in an old time Pentecostal church which was very musical. It was his brother and sisters who let him hear artists like Bob Seger, Steve Miller along with all the big rock bands and soul bands of the seventies. Don however found a favorite in, “Lynyrd Skynyrd” at the age of nine. For his tenth birthday his sister Sherry bought the record, “One More from the Road” and he spent hours upon hours listening to it and every other record he could get his hands on. At the age of twelve he started playing trombone in the school band which he continued to do through to the twelfth grade. By age 16 in 1984 he found himself involuntarily air drumming to the intro of ZZ Top’s “Gimmie all your lovin’” his sister Sherry told him, “You should take drum lessons” even though he always wanted to learn guitar, he took drum lessons for five years from teacher Mary Mooney. Since, Don has studied more complex musical styles and artists. Don joined several bands before meeting Mark Hubbard and Mark Whitbeck and the three would go on to be in two different bands together. His musical influences are too numerous to list, but he credits Doug Pinnick of "King’s X"and "Pound Hound" as his main song writing influence and the main reason for his interest in song writing. He’s still only a novice at guitar and mostly uses it as a tool for song writing but his guitar influences are Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Tim Sult, Keenan Hopper, Ty Tabor (A little) and Marty McFly. 

Hubbard's Bio:
Mark Hubbard was raised in a family of musicians. His father, mother, brother, and sister each play at least one instrument. Mark started playing bass at the age of ten and soon began to play in his father's church. A few years later Mark switched over to electric guitar after a friend from church showed him a couple of blues licks. It was during this time that Mark first developed an interest in recording and began writing instrumentals for practice purposes. When Mark joined his first band, he began writing lyrics and singing backup. His friends and band mates complemented his singing voice and encouraged him to develop it further. In between that time and the present, the circumstances of life have caused him at times to put his music on the back burner. Around 2005, Mark began to realize that he would never be really happy unless he was playing music and began to work to develop his talents with a new intensity. It was around that time that an old friend, Don Hopper, contacted him and the Soulscholar project began. Mark's influences include, but are not limited to, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Allman Brother's, Frank Zappa, Van Halen, King's X, Clutch, and many more.

Whitbeck's Bio:
Mark Whitbeck has played bass guitar in the Metro Detroit area for over 20 years in numerous local bands. Completely self-taught, Mark lays down the low end to a variety of music from sundry genres. His current gig with Soulscholar affords an opportunity to realize his latest ambition to emulate many of today’s hottest bass players while still maintaining his own identity. If you like what you hear, feel free to drop him a note