- Associated Press - Monday, June 19, 2017

WATERLOO, S.C. (AP) - Hack Wall doesn’t care what it’s called.

Blues, heavy metal, gospel, country, beach music - none of that matters to him.

When it comes to music, there’s only one thing that’s important to Wall.

“I want the bass to move the hair on my legs. I wanna feel it,” he said. “I’m not a show off, I’m not a hot dog. I just like to boogie and have fun, feel it and make it happen.”

Wall, 72, first picked up the bongos in the early 1960s as a high school student in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, but it wasn’t until he went to Gardner-Webb University in Charlotte that he bought his first drum set.

“It was just a matter of some guys in the dorm had guitars, there was about five of them and they needed a drummer, so I said, ‘Shoot, let me try.’ So I went to the pawn shop in Shelby and got me a cheap set of drums, and that’s where it all started,” he said. “I had a little rhythm and it looked exciting. It turned out to be pretty good.”

With that began a love affair with music. Through what Wall describes as a “day job” with Jushi U.S.A. - a Chinese-based fiberglass manufacturing company - and as a private contractor, Wall funded his hobby as a musician. He’s always been fascinated with recording and sound editing and over the years, he accumulated enough equipment to form a small recording studio - and that’s just what he did.

At his home in Waterloo - which sits on a 52-acre plot of lakefront property - Wall has assembled a fully equipped recording facility.

From the outside, the sheet-metal structure - sitting at the end of a long dirt road, nestled in the woods next to Lake Greenwood - looks fairly unassuming. But upon entering, one finds something surprising. A rack of guitars, three different drum sets lifted on stages, amplifiers of varying size, switch boards, stage lighting and a wide range of other music equipment fill the room. He calls it WaterHorse Music Studio - a place where bands come to jam, record and rehearse.

“I always wanted a place to practice besides the living room, and I’ve always wanted to record it,” Wall said. “Everything in the studio belongs to the studio and it’s accumulated over God knows how many years for different needs, and I never throw anything away.”

David Hawkins, who has known Wall for close to 20 years and replaced him at Jushi when he retired two years ago, is also passionate about sound editing. Wall hired him at Jushi, and Hawkins said he looks at him as a teacher, in fiberglass and music.

“Hack’s a mentor,” Hawkins said. “No matter what it is, whether it’s music or fiberglass, he’s always teaching people.”

Wall has hosted and played with a diverse group of musicians at the studio since he opened it in 1999 - from hard-rock to church groups - and has recorded some of the area’s best known talents.

“Hack is a prolific musician,” said Graham Webster, a former business associate and longtime friend of Wall’s. “He’s worked with musicians from all over and he’s got a wide range of interests.”

Hawkins said Wall’s desire to teach others is what he admires most about him.

“He has so much knowledge and experience and he doesn’t want to just keep it to himself,” he said. “He wants to share it with others.”

Wall passed down his love for the drums - and music in general - to his son and grandsons. Now, he said, he’s introducing the instrument to his 2-year-old great-grandson.

“Drumming in the family,” he said. “My great-grandson is only 2 now but he loves getting up there. We’ll get him there.”

Wall said, more than anything, he has the recording studio because he loves it.

“A lot of bands come through here and I don’t charge them nothing as long as they don’t charge me for the entertainment,” he said. “It’s just payback. I’ve been doing this since high school, well over 50 years, and it’s still fun, and as long as it’s fun, I’m going to keep on doing it.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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