A group of local musicians have maintained their relationships, both as friends and as band members, throughout almost three decades. They’ve graduated from playing in a basement to a nicely furnished music room because “they can’t climb the stairs anymore.” Now playing together as the Silverline band, Chuck Costner, Darrin Stroud and Stan Nantz were formerly known as the Basement Boys. 

The Silverline band played a benefit concert recently at a small venue in Vale to raise money and memorialize former band member Bryan Ayers. The former lead singer and rhythm guitarist lost his battle with depression in 2017. Over $1,000 was raised at the event, which was donated to the West Lincoln High School athletic department, as well as a full truckload of canned food for Lincoln County Christian Ministries. Ayers was a star football player and wrestler while he attended West Lincoln High School.

Two new members have been added to the Silverline band, Simon Stroud, Darrin Stroud’s son, on lead/rhythm guitar, and Jack Harrison on drums. Eddie Watkins continues to be the soundman for both bands. Except for Harrison, who grew up in Florida, all of the past and current members of the band went to Lincoln County schools.  

“We were just a basement band,” Nantz said. “Brian and his younger brother, Philip, and I went to school together. We would get together and hang out and they found out I played drums. They played guitar and sang so they invited me over to play music.”

Through mutual friends, they met Darrin Stroud and he started playing with them.

“We just played in the basement and enjoyed one another’s company,” Nantz said. “We finally got brave and went out and played some. I’ll never forget the first place we got payed to play. It was at Ben Yount’s house for Page Yount’s wedding reception. We played under a milk barn. Everyone was sitting on hay bales, it was all nice.”

Word got around about this band and people started to come to the basement to hear them play. Ayers’ daughter, Brittney, heard them play and said, “those boys in the basement sure can play,” and that’s how the band got their name.

The Basement Boys played local pubs, parties and at the Lincoln County Apple Festival a few times. Then, in 1988, Nantz went off to college and the rest of the members did their own thing. They’d play together occasionally, but not as they once had. They got back together 19 years later and played at the Apple Festival again. During that concert, they added Simon Stroud, who was 14 at the time, and Costner’s 12-year-old son, Chase.

They resumed playing together, but it wasn’t the same, Nantz said. Ayers’ illness started to take over and he’d miss practice. The band broke up once again until they got back together in 2017, six months or so after Ayers passed away.

“He had a long, sad battle,” Nantz said.

It was weird how the band got back together, Nantz said. Darrin Stroud called Costner to get together to play and 20 or 30 minutes later Nantz called for the same reason. 

“I wasn’t comfortable singing 23 songs and playing the drums,” Nantz said. “It was too much for me to do. Chuck played in a band with Jack (Harrison) and we added him in as the drummer. I’ll be honest with you, it’s probably the best thing we’ve ever done.”

The Silverline band currently plays at locations around the area. They’ll be playing next at Zippers on July 31. 

“We’re now a bunch of old men and a young boy playing rock music,” Nantz said. “We gel pretty well. We don’t get a lot of time to practice together but when we do, everything just flows.”

It was so successful, the plan is to make the benefit for Ayers an annual event. 

“Just to celebrate him and our love for him,” Nantz said. “He was a dear friend. As long as the good Lord will let us and we don’t fall down dead, we plan to make this a yearly event.”

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