The Georgia Satellites formed in the mid-'80s with a simple idea - "Playing blues-based, British-inspired rock 'n' roll that can be played anywhere with beer and electricity - in that order."
It's a philosophy that guides them to this day, according to guitarist Rick Richards, and it will be on display when the band headlines the opening night of the Eastwood Rib Fest.
Richards and bass player Rick Price, who share vocal chores, have been playing together since the mid-'80s, before the Georgia Satellites' debut album put the band on MTV and rock radio with "Keep Your Hands to Yourself."
"We just had a lot of common interests, British invasion stuff," he said. "We're both big fans of that era: Dylan, Beatles, Stones. That was our common denominator."
Lead singer and guitar player Dan Baird was the band's primary songwriter, Richards said, but everyone contributed to the arrangements and shaping the songs in the studio.
When the band was recording its 1986 Elektra debut, "Hands" was no one's idea of a sure-fire hit.
"That was an afterthought, one of those songs just hanging around," Richards said. "We did it at the end of the session. Some DJs in Texas and Louisiana started playing it, and it just took off. It had a life of its own."
The band was too busy with nonstop touring to pay close attention to the Billboard charts, but they saw the crowds getting bigger at the live shows and were hearing the song on the radio in the cities where they played.
"It was just a right-place, right-time circumstance," he said. "People were looking for that kind of rawness that was missing from the era. There was a lot of blase, programmatic and pretty lame pop stuff out there. For a two-guitar southern band to come across playing Chuck Berry-style rock 'n' roll was unheard of. We filled a void that was missing at the time."
"Battleship Chains" continued the band's radio success, but that was a more controversial choice for a single within the band. The song was written by Terry Anderson, a friend and fellow musician. Elektra heard a demo of the band singing Anderson's song and insisted they record it for the album. The Satellites felt like they were stealing one of their friends' signature songs.
"We were naive to the ways of the industry at the time," Richards said. "We believed there were scruples in the music business."
Any tension between the band and Anderson disappeared when Anderson started getting the royalty checks that come with writing a hit single on a platinum-selling album.
The band had another radio hit with a cover of "Hippy Hippy Shake" that was featured on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise movie "Cocktail," but radio and MTV didn't show the same love for the band's subsequent releases.
Baird left for a solo career in 1990, but after a couple years off, Richards and Price ultimately decided to continue performing as the Georgia Satellites.
"Dan's absence left a gap, but we really enjoyed playing with each other," Richards said.
The live shows feature all of the favorites from the band's debut album and rockers "to get people on their feet and forget their woes for a few hours," but the band also continues to write new songs even if playing the old ones live is more lucrative.
"You have to be creating music in a studio setting," he said. "That's where the creative juices come in rather than the more laborious task of beating it out on the road, which does have it limitations creatively."