The Mulligans Band Stage 4th Annual Summer Jam ’19 Concert

Event to raise funds and awareness for the Emerald Coast Autism Center
Photo by Zandra Wolgram

Growing up in Niceville, Edwin Watts loved the game of golf. He loved it so much that it became his business, earning him considerable success.

But from his early days, music was always in Edwin’s heart. Then came that Sunday night in 1964 when America first saw The Beatles, and then-19-year-old Watts knew at some point he would be able to call himself a musician.

And that is just what Watts has become at age 76 as one of the organizers of a local band known as The Mulligans.

Band members range in age, from Watts’ generation to a current high school sophomore, and the material covered ranges from the original rock ’n roll of the 1950s through the next several decades and beyond. Covers include the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, America, Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, Alan Jackson, Hank Williams, Jimmy Buffett and Santana.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can’t play,” said Ray Angerman. “Just give us a day, and we can get there. Sometimes we surprise ourselves.”

Angerman is the pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Shalimar, and some people are even more surprised to find that his son, Austin, is the keyboard player for The Mulligans.

And yes, the name of the band has a connection to golf.

Or as manager, Lincoln Cox explained: “The basic nature of the term involves the opportunity to take a second chance, which is just what Edwin and the other members have done with this band.”

Some musical groups really do start in someone’s garage, but this one was born from several friends just jamming in Edwin Watts’ living room.

“We would be happy if we were shootin’ marbles together, we just love each other so much,” said Dan Mossman, a former Marine aviator who is a retired commercial airline pilot.

“The nice thing about this band is everybody’s a star and everybody gets showcased. It’s just wonderful.”

Watts grew up listening to radio broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry with his parents on Saturday nights, but watching the lads from Liverpool on Ed Sullivan ignited a spark.

“That’s when I went out and purchased my first guitar,” he recalled. “It was a Gibson electric, and I bought it at a pawn shop. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice and play, so I more or less learned on my own.”

Edwin Watts Golf started its business in 1968, and the founder developed it into a global success based on brand name golf equipment, apparel and accessories.

He retired in 2008 after selling the company to Sun Capital Partners, Inc.

But several years before that, Mary Watts presented her husband with a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar for his birthday. With that, he began applying his dynamic energy more and more to music.

“He’s a guy who, when he wants to do something, he does it well,” said Cox, who once was a main marketing man for Edwin Watts Golf. “He’s very focused on the task at hand, whether it’s accounting, or making deals or playing guitar.”

So it was time to find a teacher, and it didn’t take much asking around before Watts connected with one Steve Spayde. “He’s just an incredible player,” Tony Leonard, who owns Playground Music in Fort Walton Beach, said of Spayde.

“He knows guitars inside and out. Back in the ’60s, Steve was a long-haired musician who would come in our store and play every guitar he could until somebody would have to run him off at the end of the day.”

So it started, with Watts and Spayde. But soon it involved friends Tim Richey (guitar), Angerman (guitar and percussion) and Mossman (guitar and harmonica).

And currently, Brad Sanko is on keyboard, Harry Eckel on drums and Greg Roth on bass guitar.

“The friendship just built,” Spayde said, “and one day Edwin said, ‘Hey, let’s make this a band.’ And really, we have just as much fun hanging out as we do playing together.”

Which happens at weekly practices in a rented studio the band refers to as “The Clubhouse.” Dozens of friends and family members regularly attend, and the sound naturally leads to spontaneous dancing.

“We’re really a community band, that’s always been our goal,” Watts said, “and with our background, we have the ability to bring more to the table than just playing. We can help with sponsorships and marketing, and we can also provide a revenue source.”

One way The Mulligans give back to the local community is through their annual Summer Jam concert.

This year’s event is set for July 13 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with music and dancing to follow at 7 p.m. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the event.

Indivdual tickets to Summer Jam ’19 are $40. VIP tables that seat 10 are $450. To purchase tickets in advance, call (850) 651-5604 or (850) 585-4988.

Proceeds will benefit the Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC).

Located on the campus of the Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, ECAC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and improving the lives of young children with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and the surrounding areas.

“The Mulligans are very proud of what we have been able to give back to the community through our fun and entertaining music events,” said Cox. “We intend to continue supporting local organizations in this way far into the future.”

Categories: Nightlife