Black Diamond lets youth and drive push their musical dream

by Charles Womack

On Oct. 25, Plum Krazy’s in Greensboro will host one of the Triad’s biggest music events of the year — Roctoberfest. The event features 10 bands, lots of cool people and great food and drink specials. One of the bands, King, NC-based Black Diamond, is ready to let their youth and passion for music ignite the club’s entertainment stage out on Guilford College Road. Their youth is evident: The oldest member of the band was born in 1994. The three-piece band, named after a song by their favorite band KISS, is made up of Lionel McGee, 11 on the bass, Max Childress, 10, on drums, and Nick Branscome, 14, on lead guitar and vocals. Black Diamond has an even dozen harddriving songs ready to turn loose on the crowd. “We love classic rock,” said Nick, a 9 th – grader at West Stokes High School. “We play AC-DC, KISS, Steppenwolf, Twisted Sister, Metallica and more.” Drummer Max Childress, a 5 th -grader at Westfield Elementary, grew up in a musical family. His proud father Trey has played in many popular bands in the Triad and his current band, Five 2 One, is also on the Roctoberfest bill. By keeping it in the family, Black Diamond also gets to share some equipment expenses and practice in the Childress family basement at least once a week. “I have been playing drums for six years and my favorite drummer is Alex Van Halen,” said Max. “I love playing the songs we do especially, ‘Holy Diver,’ it’s my favorite.” Beside rocking versions of great classics, Black Diamond also turned out some very good original material with titles such as “Everybodies Going Insane” and “Black Lightning.” As the band sets up for a recent practice, Lionel McGee, straps on his Ibenez bass guitar and cranks up the volume on his 5foot Ampeg amp. The thick, pounding bassline of AC-DC’s “TNT” bumps the ceiling of the basement practice facility. Nick Branscome screams away in classic Bon Scott style and rips some mean licks on his Gibson SG. Max Childress pounds away on his drum kit and pulls the trio in tight. They are ready.

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