Public exposure

Three Cubicles Down ready to play Turkey Trot for Education

Preparing to play for the Turkey Trot are members of Three Cubicles Down, now called Three C-D. From left are Jeff Gregg, Michael Myers, Terry Brennan, Laura Mohr and Randy Rayborn.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Preparing to play for the Turkey Trot are members of Three Cubicles Down, now called Three C-D. From left are Jeff Gregg, Michael Myers, Terry Brennan, Laura Mohr and Randy Rayborn.

Three-CD is coming to the Turkey Trot for Education.

Pause for effect. Not cheering yet? Come Sunday, Nov. 22, you will be.

For the unannointed who don’t work at Clayton Homes, Three-CD is the company cover band formerly known as Three Cubicles Down.

You know you’ve hit the big time when the smallest crowd at any of your shows is a 1,000 people and, after three years, you change your name.

The band even has the T-shirts -- European tour T-shirts, with all the best European venues printed on the back.

Granted, they never toured Europe - the only place they’ve played is Clayton Homes events. But the T-shirts sold like crazy, and the proceeds went to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

“The company matched the money raised, and they were a little surprised by how much we raised,” band member Mike Myers said.

Recently, the members opted to change the name of the band to Three-CD.

Three-CD’s public debut is Sunday as the headliner entertainment for the Turkey Trot for Education, a race that has also had a name change. Turkey Trot used to be called Run for Education, or Run for Ed. When organizers decided to step it up a notch and make it a sanctioned race, they decided to change the name.

Proceeds will still benefit Blount County Education Foundation and area schools. To date, approximately 400 runners are signed up with many more expected to sign up day of race.

Myers plays guitar, does vocals and is a software programmer. Other band members are IT support manager Jeff Gregg on drums/keyboard; property coordinator for retail/commercial real estate Laura Mohr on vocals; Terry Brennanm, software programmer, on bass guitar and vocals; and loan service auditor Randy Rayborn on keyboard and lead vocals.

Gregg was the catalyst that got the band together. It began with the summer Clayton Homes event on the property that usually had activities such as karaoke and a water dunking booth. In the summer of 2006 organizers wanted to do something different, and they approached him about finding a local band to play.

“I thought, ‘I know enough people at Clayton. I could piece a band together.’ Ever since then we have played the summer event and Christmas parties.”

Gregg said they always try to give the audience at the company events something new so they are constantly learning songs, both old and new tunes, because of the wide variety of tastes at the company. “We try to appeal to the young and work our way up to our age,” he said.

Myers said the band performs everything from Wilson Pickett to Nickel Back.

“We haven’t gotten Taylor Swift down just yet,” Rayburn quipped.

Gregg said the band performs the kind of music people enjoy listening to and have grown up on.

“We have developed a laundry list of hits over the past three - anything from Huey Lewis to Lover Boy to Sheryl Crowe,” he said. “We really try to give a good show.”

Mohr said what is great is each member has their own favorite music and each member is willing to learn the others. “Everyone is good with everyone’s taste. You bring your own identity into it,” she said.

Myers echoed Mohr’s comments, adding that the diversity pushes the group to be more versatile.

“I grew up playing classic rock and a lot of these guys came from the ‘80s, and Laura came from country,” said Myers. “It forces us to get out of our comfort zone.”

Myers said the routine they normally follow is they would get together a couple or three months before an event and work up 15 songs. “We’ve been able to work up quite a bit of music in a short amount of time,” he said.

Brennan is new to the group and about half the songs in their catalog are new to him. “We’ve been doing some intense rehearsals over the past couple months to get ready for the show,” he said of the Turkey Trot gig.

Myers said everyone in the band has a good work ethic. “We’ll work on our own so that when we get together for a group session, it’s more rehearsal instead of practice,” he said. “Everybody comes in one or two times through, and we’re close to having it done because of work they’re doing on their own.”

Even the band personnel is a bit fluid, Gregg said. “There is usually a change in our band members simply because someone no longer works here or has a schedule conflict,” he said.

Myers, Gregg and Rayborn are the original members. “There has been a bass player, guitar players and singers filter in and out through the whole process. Everyone gets along. There’s none of that back biting and fussing and larger than life egos and junk,” he said.

Often after a show is done, the members don’t know what to do with themselves. “It’s just fun. We get done with a gig, and it’s like death at Christmas - what do we do now?” Myers said.

Rayborn said the members have built solid friendships. “I get together with Jeff at least once a month and sometimes once a week for lunch,” he said. “Each time, we are building this camaraderie.”

Gregg said every time they play, it is a good challenge. “We try to appease a different decade but we also have to keep in mind what our capabilities are,” he said. “There are many songs we’d love to do, but it may be outside our limits.”

Gregg said word is getting out about Three-CD. In December they’re playing a Christmas event held at the University of Tennessee with more than 1,000 people. Now the group is beginning to see they may be more than just a group of people who work together and play instruments.

“We see ourselves as being a band!” Gregg said. “We’d like for word to get out about us,” he said.

Rayborn said there are local bands that play at local venues like Two Doors Down and Preservation Pub that will have 50 to 100 in the audience. “We’re spoiled. We’ve never played for less than a thousand,” he said.

And Gregg added that they are not a bar band. “We like playing more mainstream events,” he said. “We’re not playing because we need to play, we play because we like it.”

Brennan said he has only been with the band three months. “I came here from Orlando and played in a band down there for a number of years. These guys came to me and invited me to play in the band,” he said. “I really consider that an honor. Now I have a group of friends I can play music with.”

Myers said they all goof off with each other. “We had a photo shoot. If you could’ve seen us goofing off with each other,” he said. “I’ve played in a lot of bands over the years and seen the egos. I don’t know where you reach the point where egos go away, but egos are not happening here.”

Gregg said that comes from people not taking themselves too seriously. Rayborn brought laughter with his response. “Whatever, I’m a diva,” he said.

Mohr said she first learned about band in an email before the summer picnic. The email asked if she could sing with them at the picnic. “I was very excited. I used to sing at Opryland and Liberty Land and did the theme parks,” she said. “It was nice to get back into the singing atmosphere, and these guys are easy to get around. They keep it clean around me.”

Mohr said it’s very comfortable with the band. “My husband is excited. We have two kids, and we’re trying to work practice into our schedule once week,” she said. “It’s very exciting to have this in my life.”

Myers said he’s been happy with the chemistry in the group. Often it takes a long time to feel where the other performers are going to go with the music. “We have that already. We work on arrangements and everybody has input as far as determining an idea for things to do to make it different,” he said. “It’s great. I tell people I play with some of the best musicians. They’re very professional.”

Myers said it is an honor to do the Turkey Trot. “They could have had any band. To choose us speaks volumes. What a great thing,” he said. “My wife is a teaching assistant, and my son is a teacher, so I have a heart for the education system. This is a good opportunity.”

Rayborn said his wife teaches in Roane County. “Now if she complains about my playing music, I’ll say, ‘I’m doing it for education - education rocks,” he said.

Gregg praised Clayton for creating a situation and atmosphere where they felt comfortable forming and promoting the band. “None of this would have been possible without Clayton Homes. I’m not trying to score points, it truly has been the best place I’ve ever worked,” he said. “Some of the best people I know I get to work with every day. I love the type of work I do. Then to perform music on top of that -- it’s just icing on the cake.”

Myers agreed. “I’ve never seen so many different people under one roof yet everybody is headed in the same direction. The focus is doing what we can do to get people in homes,” he said.

Myers said it’s the American dream for a family to have a home to call their own. “It’s incredible. We have modular homes and everything from financing and insurance. It’s the whole bundle,” he said. “To walk in these doors and see this is a team. It’s an amazing, amazing place to work. If you could pick any place to work on the planet, this would be it.”

Rayborn chimed in, “What other business would let a bunch of people get together on the clock and talk about music,” he said, referring to the interview time.

Myers said the company encourages the band and encourages employees to have healthy lives outside work. “It makes you well-rounded. They promote family and values,” he said.

Each of the band members said performing is something they love to do. “We are able to express ourselves in music and singing. That makes it special. It fills our lives up,” Myers said.

Brennan said he never wants to stop performing. “When I get too old to get up on stage and play, shoot me,” he said. “That’s what I love doing.”

Myers said every artist has a desire to share what they do with the general public. “It’s almost a compelling feeling of there’s a need to do this and if you don’t, there’s a part that is missing,” he said. “There’s something inside that hurts if don’t and it’s not an ego thing. There’s a desire to take this talent inside you, the happiness you see in people as they dance and sing is worth more than money.”

Rayborn said, “They’ll have to bury me with my microphone in my hand. It’s going to come with the package.”

The 2009 Turkey Trot for Education is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Clayton Homes Corporate Headquarters at 5000 Clayton Road, Maryville. There is a 5 K and a 1-mile fun run/walk to help support education while promoting health and fitness. The event is open to the public, even if you are not participating in the run. The band will crank up after the runners finish the course. Other activities will be available as well.

Proceeds from Turkey Trot will benefit the Blount County Education Foundation, which offers grants to fund mini-grants in all 21 Blount County Schools. To register or for more information, go to www.turkeytrotforeducation.org.

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