This Friday (March 16), The Oak Ridge Boys release a brand-new album, 17th Avenue Revival, which pairs them with Dave Cobb, one of the top producers in Nashville – known for his work with Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, and Brandi Carlile. The guys have been associated with each other since 1973, and in honor of that, Music Update Central asked two of the Oaks’ members their thoughts about the other two men who have made the Oak Ridge Boys one of the most respected entertainment brands in the business!
Duane Allen (who joined in 1966) on William Lee Golden (1965)
“William Lee is the longest-termed member of the Oak Ridge Boys. He came here in 1965 one year before me. We have been dear friends through thick and thin. We’ve never really had a problem. If we have a problem, we work them out. We’ve all grown old together, and we’ve all matured together. We realize that it’s not the little things that are important that break you apart. It’s the little things that you can add up on the positive side that you want to embrace about each other. It’s a lot like being married. I know everything about my wife. I know what she doesn’t like. I could zero in on that,and make it a miserable day for the both of us. I could do that right now, and it would be until we came together and told each other those two words – ‘I’m sorry.’ The Oak Ridge Boys grew up when William Lee came back to us. We all learned to say I’m sorry. We also learned that the good things we created together could grow if we just got on the same page and not let the little things tear us apart. We’re different. We have different likes. But, it all comes together as the Oak Ridge Boys.”
Joe Bonsall (1973) on Richard Sterban (1972)
“After all these years, we still have a bass singer. Nobody has a bass singer now – I mean, the southern Gospel quartets still do, but I’m talking about where we play and what happens with what we do. We can throw something at them every night that will blow their mind. After ‘Elvira,’ I would probably say he’s the most famous bass singer in the world. His ‘Oom Papa Mow Mow’ is so known around the world that it’s made him more than likely the premier bass singer. He’s an undeniable talent, a quiet guy, just an all-around good, honest man. He might not say much, but when he does, it’s well worth listening to. Richard Sterban communicates with a lot of the media, and represents us well. I love Richard Sterban. I’ve known him since I was fifteen years old, and I was in Philly, and he was in Jersey. He was one of the only guys that was performing Southern Gospel in the Delaware Valley. I found him and looked him up, and we became friends. We actually sang in a group for six years before he went with the Stamps and Elvis. He joined the Oaks in ’72, and then I did the next year, so we’ve been singing together her forty-four years. He’s a unique talent, and people love Richard Sterban. I know I do.”