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split the band’s expenses in exchange for the shows. Private donors also contribute financial support while Hotel Christine in Landstuhl offers the group free lodging. Tubbs notes that it costs roughly $30,000 for the group to make the trip for a week. Former USO Stuttgart Programs and Volunteers coordinator Stephanie Norby calls them “true patriots.” “They were always so appreciative to get food and accommodations provided whenever possible, but were just happy to have a venue where they could sing, dance and make our service members feel at home again,” she says. The man and the plan behind the music “I’ve played guitar non-stop since I was 7 years old,” says Tubbs. “I’d hear a jingle on TV and go try to figure it out on the piano or guitar. My mom saw this and really encouraged it and made me practice. I’m glad she recognized and made me pursue it. She understood the artistic side of it, which is something I feel a lot of parents don’t do.” Over the years, Tubbs also learned bass and drums. His passion led him to study music at Lambuth University before the U of M acquired the Jackson, Tenn.-based, centuryold school in 2011. “Once I graduated from Lambuth, my passion led me to Memphis. It was either Memphis or Nashville, and Nashville just wasn’t me. I was, and still am, engulfed in music,” Tubbs says. Tubbs continued to pursue his musical education at several notable universities, including Oxford University in England and Berklee College of Music in Boston, before moving to Memphis to get his master’s degree and doctorate in musicology at the U of M. While Tubbs was attending the U of M, he met lifetime band mate and friend Doug Pierce, who founded Willy Pete and, according to Tubbs, is the creative mastermind behind the group. Early on in their friendship, the two started a band, Pierce; Tubbs played drums and Pierce sang and played guitar. The two, along with a bassist, toured the country while Tubbs was still earning his doc36

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THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

Profile for University of Memphis

Fall2014  

University of Memphis Fall Magazine

Fall2014  

University of Memphis Fall Magazine