THE BAND - Above and beyond everything else, we are all good friends. We enjoy each other's company whether we are playing music or not, (most of the time we're playing music). We have never considered ourselves professional musicians and never will. On stage or off, we play Bluegrass music because we want to share our LOVE of this music with others. If we can stir memories, start a toe to tapping or just bring a smile to someone's face, then we're having a good time. EXIT 81 has been playing the music we love for the better part of eighteen years in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas and God willing, we'll be playing for many years to come!
Walter Eisenhart (banjo), an original member of EXIT 81, has been playing music for about thirty years. With too many musical influences to name, Walter's passion is the banjo. He also picks the guitar and can play you a run or two on the mandolin and fiddle. Before Walter started playing with this band, he played guitar for The Grand Prairie Boys. They toured extensively around the eastern United States and played a gig or two in Europe. Superb banjo pickin, along with his lead and harmony vocals, Walter is a cornerstone in the foundation of EXIT 81.
Randy Pfeifer (dog house bass), also an original member of the band, began playing music in the junior high school band and soon after, those Bluegrass roots began to grow. Randy started out playing guitar with EXIT 81, but switched over to bass without missing a beat. With a used standup bass and many a long night of slappin those gut strings, before we knew it, Randy was playing like an old pro. Randy's rock solid bass, strong tenor harmonies and a couple of lead vocals thrown in, he's the glue that holds us all together.
David Norman (guitar), another original member of the band, borrowed his brother-in-law's guitar in high school and started learning the chords. Wasn't too long after when he met up with "The Boys" and the rest is Bluegrass history. David's love for Bluegrass music is displayed each time he starts pickin and singin one of his favorite songs. David's impeccable rhythm guitar and spicy off-beats, along with his lead and harmony vocals, creates the spark that ignites the entire band. David is always pushing and striving to make himself and the band better.
Mike Whorton (mandolin), was born playing music. Mike's father played music all of his life and Mike is a chip off the old block. His first musical adventure led him to the arena of country music where Mike's band "Lookin for Eight" toured extensively across the country with a few recording sessions in Nashville. To many long nights away from the family and he had to call it quits. With the fire of music in his soul, he sat in a couple of practices with EXIT 81 and well, you know the rest. Mike? haunting mandolin, lead, bass and harmony vocals always leaves the audience wanting more.
Bob Wilcox (fiddle), the last original member of the band, can play just about anything he can get his hands on. Bob started out playing Bluegrass, but country music tugged at his shirt tail for a while. Bob played in the same country band that Mike played in "Lookin for Eight". To many smoke filled rooms and a new wife carried Bob away to South Carolina. Bob's Bluegrass roots were to strong and he headed back home to Arkansas never to stray again. Bob's fun loving attitude follows him everywhere he goes. Whether on stage or just hanging out, he's a blast to be around. Bob's flashy fiddle play leaves you with one word to say - WOW!
Chris Cummins (dobro/lead guitar), started out in the country music field playing lead guitar for (you guessed it), "Lookin for Eight". Chris has toured with various country bands and had some recording time in Nashville. Around the beginning of the year 2000, the Bluegrass bug bit him and he ain? been the same since. Chris asked if he could play with us and we told him the only opening we had was for a dobro. Since he had never played dobro before we figured he'd hang his head and quit bugging us. Within a few months, man were we glad he didn't. Chris' dobro sounds like he's been playing for years and his lead guitar is unbelievable. With his dobro, lead guitar, lead and harmony vocals (along with his outstanding song writing abilities), Chris' musical talents are what dreams are made of.