Chatting with Bobby Capps, the keyboardist of the legendary Classic Rock band 38-Special, is just like talking with a good friend during a Saturday afternoon barbecue watching Razorbacks football.

Chatting with Bobby Capps, the keyboardist of the legendary Classic Rock band 38-Special, is just like talking with a good friend during a Saturday afternoon barbecue watching Razorbacks football.
That’s mostly because Capps, himself, was raised in the little Arkansas Delta town of DeWitt, and he jokes during a Thursday afternoon interview with the Hope Star and Nevada County Picayune, “I could well be out there on a tractor on a farm, right now. I graduated as a DeWitt Dragon, yes I did.”
Capps is also very familiar with southwest Arkansas as he attended Henderson State University up the road in Arkadelphia for a short time. “Oh yes, I know exactly where Hope, Arkansas is,” he said.
Capps now lives in Florida, which has been the home base of 38-Special for the better part of 40 years now.  Capps says the band has endured because of both “good music and clean living.”
Capps largely credits one of the band’s frontmen, Don Barnes, as the driving force behind the group and its music. Barnes is the lead voice of 38-Special and he plays lead and rhythm guitars, the mandolin, and harmonica. Barnes and Donnie Van Zant founded the group in 1974, and Capps joined the lineup in 1988.
“He believes in giving 110-percent, both on the stage and in the studio; he wants the group to be the best it can be. He wants the audience to have a good concert experience, and so do I,” Capps said.  
Within Classic Rock Radio, 38-Special has stood with other giants in the Southern Rock genre like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, and Molly Hatchet.
With several Gold and Platinum Albums, the band became famous with a series of 1980s hits like "Hold On Loosely," "Rockin' Into the Night," "Caught Up in You," "Fantasy Girl," "If I'd Been the One," "Back Where You Belong," "Chain Lightnin'," "Second Chance," and ”Teacher Teacher" from the 1984 film “Teachers,” starring Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, and Judd Hirsch.
Ironically, Capps himself, sings one of the band’s most critically acclaimed and decorated songs, the ballad “Second Chance,” which was actually a Number-1 hit on the Adult Contemporary Charts in 1989.
“The people out there still know us mostly by the two songs, ‘Hold On Loosely’ and ‘Caught Up in You,’ and that is all fine. I always wondered if I got to sing the ballad because no one else wanted to,” Capps jokes with a laugh.
A pleasant and understated humility is evident talking to Capps, who readily admits, “I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a great time with a great band; it has been a great ride.”
For Capps, coming out of the farm town of DeWitt, it has been one of those Hollywood style rides to the top of the popular music world.  After one year at Henderson State, Capps left and joined a series of regional bands in Little Rock, including a band called “Sweat.”
While performing in Jacksonville, Florida, Capps caught the attention of two members of 38-Special, and Capps joined the group as a keyboard technician, when he was elevated, almost overnight as the group’s signature keyboardist.
“I grew up on their (38-Special’s) music, on Lynyrd Skynyrd, on 8-Track tapes in an old Ford F-150 pickup truck in DeWitt.  If you had told me back then, that I would be a part of 38-Special, I would have said you were crazy,” Capps said.
Capps, who actually started off as a drummer, refined his talents as a keyboardist because, “There seemed to be plenty of drummers; the group’s I was with needed a keyboardist, so that is what I did.”
In the years since joining 38-Special, Capps has enjoyed a chance to play, and learn, from some of the very best keyboardists in the Classic Rock business.
“It has really been a great life and an honor to play with some of these great and talented musicians.  The folks from that time period took their music seriously, and all played their own instruments and music,” Capps said.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, of course, is considered by rock purists to be — along with the Allman Brothers — to be the spiritual godfathers of Classic Southern Rock, and Capps said “Skynard was our mentors and inspiration in 38-Special; no doubt they were the greatest influence.”
Later in 2018, Capps said 38-Special will open for Skynard’s farewell tour, which Capps said “It is a great honor to tour with those guys.”
For now, Friday night’s appearance in Hope is part of a weekend swing the group makes in Arkansas.  Afterwards, they head up state to Fort Smith for a Saturday concert, and later in the month, play in Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Friday night’s show will feature “All of our greatest hits, of course,” Capps said, “That is what the people are coming to see; that is what we want to deliver. We want them to close their eyes and remember that time back in 1982 or 1984, when they first heard one of our songs on the radio.”