Early years (1996-2000)
The band was formed in July 1996 by newly-elected governor Mike Huckabee and members of his executive staff. They all enjoyed classic rock, and several of them were talented musicians in their own right. They drew their name from the fact that all of them work in the Capitol building, and because according to Huckabee, "in the course of our playing, we offend just about everybody." In 1999, the band gave a performance in the Governor's Conference Room, during a bill-signing ceremony in honor of Arkansas native Johnny Cash.
Huckabee, the front man and by far the most famous member of the band, was drawn to music from very early on in his life. He has played guitar since he was a child and states unequivocally that "music was life changing for me."
The band's most popular song, Jammin' For Jesus peaked at #96 on the Billboard top 100 modern rock chart.
Recent times (2001-present)
Huckabee's band played at Washington inaugural balls put on by the Free Republic in both 2001 and 2005. In recent years Capitol Offense has honed their sound to such an extent that they have opened for several high profile artists, including REO Speedwagon, Willie Nelson, Percy Sledge, .38 Special, and Grand Funk Railroad. During 2007, front man Huckabee took his musical act on the presidential stump with him, performing numerous times without Capitol Offense during his campaign in Iowa. At one stop, backed by two record store employees, he covered a Chuck Berry song, before answering questions from the crowd at the store.
Capitol Offense is a cover band that plays a mix of classic rock, Motown, country and blues. The band intentionally shuns the trendier hit-makers, preferring older tunes. "We don't try to play trendy stuff," Huckabee has said of his band's musical tastes, "nothing without a long shelf life." Early on, all of the band members played only Gibson guitars, and did so "proudly", according to a note Huckabee sent to the company in 1999. However, as of July 2007, Huckabee sported a black and white Fender bass during his campaign stop record store performance.
Capitol Offense's lineup is as follows:
Mike Huckabee - bass
Aaron Black- vocals
Marynell Branch – keyboards
Gordon Caffey - lead guitar, vocals
Rick Calhoun - guitar, vocals
Teri Cox – vocals
Chris Pyle – drums
Steve Pyle – vocals