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In The Long Run

What does it take to keep a classic rock band together, fresh, relevant, desired in the public for 13 years? Andy Benefield, drummer in Full Circle, perhaps one of the most long-standing and popular classic rock bands in Huntsville, shares his insights.

Full Circle Band

When the 'boys' of Full Circle look around them now, the faces they see are much different than 2006 when this talented group of musicians first met. They've watched many good bands form in Huntsville, perform for a while and then simply disappear while Full Circle has managed to not only remain relevant around the Huntsville area and are actually busier - more booked - and more popular now than ever before. How does a band go about maintaining this level of success for so long?

If it were easy to do then you certainly would see more bands doing so. There are a couple around, but not many! This bunch, as mentioned, all still the original members of this unique brotherhood are .... Andy Benefield, Mike Johnson, Gabe Larose and Mick Lesnick. They came together in 2006 totally by chance and accident through an original 5th member who soon departed and went his own way. These four said well, "let's just give it a try as a 4 piece and see how it goes". 13 years later and this music critique would have to say... it has gone pretty well boys!

Little did the four members of Full Circle know that 13 years later they would be one of Huntsville's success stories. They create music that no one seems to tire of. Not the band members, not the audience which are bigger than ever. Full Circle continues to grow their fan base every time they play.

What does it take to keep a band together over the long run?

First, all four members of Full Circle would tell you real quick, 'you have to like each other'. You could find these guys hanging out for dinner, the pool, cooking out with all their families, etc., outside of the music thing. They are all simply good friends and that is the #1 reason for this bunch.

When they step on stage there is just something about these 4 individual musicians that absolutely proves - the sum of them musically is greater than any one. No doubt, there's something special there. They definitely caught magic in a bottle in 2006 and its still there today.

Liking each other is a necessary ingredient to success. This is because half the 'pay' in performing is the joy in music itself. The Beatles for example created innovative music for the years they were best friends. When the friendship fell apart so did their band. Little things that disrupt band harmony that are annoyances in the short run are often fatal in the long term. Keep the members happy!

Next, the music itself must be high quality and innovative over time. Growing a fan base takes adding new fans and keeping existing ones. Full Circle has grown to cover 5 decades worth of music, with the absolute quality and sharpness. Don't even get me started on their 4 *very* unique Medley's, ranging from The Beatles to Pink Floyd. Material and arrangements I have never heard any other band in this area even attempt to pull off, it's not an easy feat. Full Circle does it with flawless precision!

Full Circle's roots are based in acoustic music, that is how they started out which has served them well all these years later. In the beginning there were no electric guitars, no set drums..... two acoustic rhythm guitars, acoustic bass and bongos / congas were the instrument. I believe this fact helped cultivate their clean tight groove they have and another benefit if they can very quickly switch to acoustic settings effortlessly, when a particular venue might require such. They also have maintained very high quality vocals / harmonies over the years which adds even more. Singing .. not screaming that you hear a lot today so yet another benefit of starting small. Acoustically where they really had to pay attention to every little detail of the music. So, when they did work into finally 'amping up', the basics were there and entrenched in their music to stay! All this combined, leads to a band that folks can sit and enjoy, sing along with the boys and carry on a conversation at the table at the same time without getting blown out by overblown volume which can happen easily in most venues. This band is not built to show off their speaker racks, not at all, they want quality first and foremost in their music they put out and that is one thing they will never compromise on. If you have never heard this band live, I would encourage you to do so soon.

In Conclusion...

In case you missed it, I am both proud and honored to be a part of Full Circle!  But the real purpose of this article was to share our "secret sauce" which isn't really a secret. Personalities must mesh, friendships need to form and the music needs to grow along with the band. In the end most local bands stay together for the joy of music (as long as the friendships are there) but break apart if the members don't feel a part of the whole. Sometimes breaking up is the right course.  But when the right ingredients are  there, and both band members and audience enjoy the music, magic happens.  Here's hoping that magic happens to your band or favorite band.

Editor's Note:

Below is an interview that Annabelle, formerly of, did with Full Circle in 2017. You can view Full Circle's page on to learn more and check their upcoming music schedule.