Iconic Charleston party band calls it quits after 25 years of rocking the Lowcountry

by Lorne Chambers | Editor

Longevity is something that’s extremely hard to achieve in the music business. Yet Plane Jane has been at the forefront of the Charleston party scene for two and a half decades. But at the end of this month, the beloved cover band is hanging it up.

Plane Jane guitarist and founding member Scott Sain says the band actually talked about ending their impressive run in 2017, but decided to do one more year, making it a cool quarter of a century as one of Charleston’s preeminent party bands.

According to Sain, lead singer Bobby Alvarez has wanted to give up the band’s busy schedule for some time, but Sain convinced him to play through 2018. They billed it as their farewell tour, continuing to play their furious schedule of bar gigs and private parties.

“I didn’t want to rebrand the band again if  [Alverez] left. He just fits so well with what we’ve been doing,” says Sain. “We could have gotten someone else to sing I guess, we’ve done it before. But I didn’t feel like I wanted to do that anymore. It just seems like the right time.”

Asked if it was bittersweet to say good-bye after such a long time, Sain pauses for a moment. “I’m certainly not tired of playing. I enjoy playing music with those guys. We have a blast. So it’s kind of bittersweet in that regard, I guess. But other than that, I’m glad to have some more time for other things,” he says. “But I don’t have to be on stage showing off my guitar skills every night … I don’t have any for one.”

But before Plane Jane says goodbye for good, the six-piece band plans to rock out a few more times. You will have four chances to catch Plane Jane in West Ashley this month beginning with a show at the Town & Country Inn and Conference Center on Savannah Highway on Sunday, Dec. 16. Then they will play RPub on Saturday, Dec. 22, Southern Roots Smokehouse on Friday, Dec. 28, and finally Trayce’s Too on Saturday, Dec. 29.

In the ’90s Sain was a member of the popular local band The Pondering. He recalls the band going on the road, often out of state to play gigs. “We were traveling all over the place, trying to play these original songs for maybe $200 a night. I eventually found out that we could just play Mustang Sally and get 20 times,” he says laughing.

Plane Jane made a name for themselves on the local club scene, mainly playing the area Wild Wings circuit and the Charleston Oyster Festival during the late ’90s and early 2000s. They repeatedly won Best Cover Band in the Charleston City Paper’s Best Of Charleston reader’s poll.

Asked what some of the most memorable moments have been over the last 25 years, Sain gets a little sentimental. “Honestly, it’s all the friends we’ve made doing what we do over the years.”

One particular memory that stands out for Sain is when a couple who met during one of their shows at Wild Wings downtown were getting married in Las Vegas and paid for the whole band — then a nine-piece — to fly out and put them up for three nights in the Golden Nugget Casino. At the time, the groom was the manager of the Charleston RiverDogs. In October he was just hired as the manager of the Blue Jays.

“We’ve been very fortunate to sustain a career this long. Just being able to sustain a band playing three, four, five gigs a week and to still being able to maintain a crowd night after night. That’s no small feat,” says Sain. “We’ve definitely had a great run. I don’t have any regrets.”

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