Photo by K.T. Vowell
Darren Welch’s current project is a blues-rock band known as the Darren Welch Group or DWG.
Lubbock native Darren Welch never had a choice — he was destined to pursue music. “It’s all consuming,” Welch said. “I just have to make music. I don’t know why that is, but I have to.” He laughed and added, “It’s really almost a curse.”
Welch can recall the exact moment of his childhood when he realized he wanted to be a musician: seeing The Beatles for the first time on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“That was it, you know? I wanted to be George Harrison after that,” he said. “I wanted to learn to play guitar. It was rough on my parents. They understood Elvis and Buddy Holly, but not so much the Beatles.”
Young Welch soon learned the basics of guitar. His next musical epiphany came when he heard “Led Zeppelin II.” “I began sitting down and trying to match the tones of the guitar that I was hearing—and I was able to.”
Welch mastered his instrument and started playing professional gigs. With friends, he formed a band named Impeccable. They released a live album, which has since earned a degree of a cult following on the internet. He went on to find greater success in a group named Ground Zero and spent several years playing all original songs.
Welch’s current project is a blues-rock band known as the Darren Welch Group or DWG. The band’s lineup features Welch on guitar, Landon Scoggins on vocals, Robert Smith on drums, and Kevin Powell on bass—with all band members contributing vocals. Former members include guitarist and singer Jesse Ballew and drummer Eric Holmes. Their first album, “DWG Volume 1,” was released in 2014 and is available from iTunes. Now Welch is hard at work finishing up “Volume 2.” DWG is known for their powerful blues-rock, but they demonstrate a wide range of musical styles. The rough mix of a new original song for “Volume 2” is a surprising departure into experimental pop.
For more than seven years, Welch has also worked as an instructor at South Plains College. He takes pride in the educational opportunities the college offers. “There’s been 33 Grammy winners to come out of SPC,” Welch said. “The Commercial Music program is awesome. You can get an associate degree in as little as 60 hours. It’s a wonderful program and it doesn’t matter how old you are—whether you’re 17, 30, or older. We have lots of non-traditional students. It’s a great place to foster your creativity.”
Recently Welch celebrated a milestone in his musical career with his first artist endorsement from a renowned guitar manufacturer. “I just got a Zemaitis endorsement,” he said. “Zemaitis is a great line of guitars, just a beautiful sound. I played my first show with that guitar on New Year’s.”
Currently you can catch Darren Welch performing acoustic rock with Mark Wallney at Jake’s on 50th Street. They offer up one of the finest musical experiences in the Hub City every Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
By Max McNabb