South Charlotte

These dads are living their rockstar dreams by night

The starry-eyed dreams of children becoming Hollywood stars or rock legends are something we can all relate to.

For most, those dreams quickly get replaced with the reality of college, careers and starting a family.

But who says we can't have it all?

Tom Scharf had those dreams growing up and longed for more music in his adult life, in addition to having a family and fulfilling career. He managed to pull it all together: father and partner at a successful SouthPark company by day, rocking with his band at night.

"Yes, it is a dream come true," said Scharf, "and I'm having a blast."

Ollie Take Cover is a five-piece rock band bringing Charlotte a taste of the 90s and 2000s, plus some classics and a few 80s hits, with determination and passion.

The band consists of:

Tom Scharf, 37, rhythm guitar and back-up vocals, Matthews resident

Eric Scheffer, 43, lead vocals, University/Davis Lake resident

Scott Lister, 39, lead guitar, Ballantyne resident

Craig Speiser, 41, bass/keyboards and back-up vocals, Matthews resident

Brian Whisnant, 32, drums, Charlotte resident

Scharf started to search for band members on Craigslist in September 2009.

"It's just like the beginning episodes of 'American Idol' actually," said Scharf, referencing the interviews and amount of talent they went through over the past two years to get to the line-up they have today.

By snagging Whisnant and Lister on Craigslist, finding talent and friendship with Speiser through the help of their daughters who go to school together, and adding Scheffer only six weeks ago, Scharf is now confident Ollie Take Cover is ready to take on 2012, even after losing a few band members since their start in late 2009.

A once-a-week practice means no traveling for Scharf who has it quite easy.

"I just have to walk two flights of stairs, and I manage to complain about that," said Scharf, as Ollie Take Cover has their studio on the third floor of his Matthews home.

With shows booked at least once or twice a month, life is busy for these five men as they juggle jobs, growing families and a hobby most men would do anything to be a part of.

"We're not your standard 20-year-old bunch of guys. We're all professional and not out to make this a career, but we're still good at what we do," said Scharf.

He says his band gets compliments from venue owners and patrons, plus people stopping him in public or writing on the band's Facebook page.

If you think Ollie Take Cover is a unique name with a clever story behind it, you would be mistaken.

As you can imagine, having five men agree on a name for their band was time consuming. One member mentioned the name Molly Take Cover (Molly after his dog). When that was vetoed by the group, Ollie was considered, and it worked. Ollie Take Cover stuck.

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