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The Hit Men is a unique musical opportunity. Five of the most prolific hit-makers in the music industry are bringing their musical careers together on stage after working together in the studio for more than 40 years. All of these men have worked with countless musicians over their careers such as the Four Seasons, Barry Manilow, LL Cool J, Carly Simone and Korn. On this tour, they are performing some of their classic high-energy hits. Hitmen will be at Givens Performing Arts Center on April 23.

As studio artists, these men performed steadily for decades, which makes for an incredible concert. These are men who have worked tirelessly for perfecting their craft and they have yet to slow down. 

“A lot of times we see older artists come back and perform their old songs, but more often than not they have not kept it up. You hear them and just say ‘oh boy.’ But we are still in shape, we never stopped. We are studio artists we are the background guys. We never got out of it. If we are not up to it we don’t get to work. People call us because we know what we are doing and still sound great,” says Jimmy Ryan a Hit Men member. 

Despite being continually active in the music industry, this concert does not focus on their modern work. Instead they are taking a step back in time. 

“Production technology has come so far that the studio can take mediocre music and with the right beat, make it great to dance to, but it is not a song, it’s just a thumping beat. It doesn’t have the longevity that a great song has that really touches your heart,” Ryan said. 

Their goal is more than performing great music; it is about transporting fans back to happy musical memories. 

Even more important, the entire reason this group was created was to have fun. This desire to have fun is at the heart of every performance for both the band and the audience members. Performing in the studio and on the stage are both great, but very different. “Playing live is really when you get the feedback,” Ryan explained, “When you play for crowds between 1,000 and 7,000 and they are all on their feet cheering, you feel so much acknowledgment. Performing is really not just about the pay, though the pay is nice. It is about making people happy. We make people feel young again and that is tremendous, we are doing a psychological service.” 

After years in the music business, Ryan has some advice for aspiring musicians, though it can truly apply to anyone looking for success. “Don’t be lazy,” he explains “If you want to grow up and really give people something, you have to put the time in. You can do it in any number of things. Otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time - most of all your own. There are new apps that make it easy to make okay music but not great music. That takes work.”

The Hit Men will perform on April 23 at 8 p.m. at the Givens Performing Arts Center. Tickets begin at $31. To purchase tickets or for more information visit http://www.uncp.edu/giving.advancement/givens-performing-arts-center/broadway-and-more-series. 


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