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Whitey Glan 11/2017

November 7, 2017 – Pentti “Whitey” Glan was born on July 8, 1946 in Finland , just after World War II had come to an end and tensions with Russia were high. The family moved to Toronto Canada soon after.

Whitey Glan’s first serious band was the Canadian soul band The Rogues (later called Mandala) which he formed with keyboardist Josef Chirowski and bassist Don Elliot; they had worked together in other teenage bands like Whitey & The Roulettes. Mandala had their first hit single with “Opportunity” with original singer George Oliver, recorded at Chess Records.

In 1966 Glan played several shows with Mandala in Ontario and recorded the first two demo songs of his career (“I Can’t Hold Out No Longer” and “I’ll Make It Up To You”). Roy Kenner had replaced George Oliver. When they played their first shows in the USA they performed at the Whiskey A Go Go. They recorded their only album Soul Crusade in 1968 which produced a hit single (“Loveitis”) but they disbanded in 1969 after several line-up changes and poor album sales. Continue reading Whitey Glan 11/2017

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Mark Selby 9/2017

September 18, 2017 – Mark Selby was born in September 2, 1961. Born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma, Selby spent his youth harvesting wheat and playing in bands throughout the Midwest before moving to Hays, Kansas to attend Fort Hays University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music. 

He was musically gifted in three ways: as a songwriter, a singer with a soulful voice and a guitarist with some impressive chops. His future as a blues rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and producer started in Germany, where he signed as a solo artist to ZYX Records.  Continue reading Mark Selby 9/2017

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Erik Cartwright 7/2017

July 9, 2017 – Erik Cartwright (FOGHAT) was born on July 10, 1950 in New York City and grew up in Minisink Hills, Pennsylvania. A 1968 graduate of East Stroudsburg High School, he became one of the area’s prominent rock guitarists, alongside his friend G.E. Smith. Erik’s first gig as a professional musician was with the band Dooley in Allentown, PA.

In 1970-1971 he studied at the famous Berklee School of music before His early guitar work is featured on singer Dan Hartman’s It Hurts to Be in Love (1981). His first album as a co-leader was the self-titled debut of Tears (1979), with Nils Lofgren on piano. Right after he had just recorded the Tears album the invitation to join Foghat, and replace original lead guitarist Rod Price, came. Continue reading Erik Cartwright 7/2017

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Kenny Cordray 5/2017

kenny cordray blues guitarist

May 21, 2017 – Kenny Cordray was born on July 21, 1954 in Dallas Texas and moved to  Houston, Texas in 1966 where he learned to play guitar on British invasion  songs from the Animals and Them (Gloria etc).

In 1968 he went to see a gig of the Children where the guitar player didn’t show up. He sat in and soon signed up.

Subsequently Cordray became the lead guitarist for THE CHILDREN under the ATCO label and later on ODE records produced by Lou Adler. He co-wrote the ZZ-Top hit song “Francine,” which peaked at 69 on the Billboard Hot 100, with Steve Perron for ZZ Top’s album “Rio Grande Mud.” Continue reading Kenny Cordray 5/2017

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Sonny Geraci 2/2017

Sonny Geraci, vocalist for the Outsiders and ClimxFebruary 5, 2017 – Sonny Geraci (Outsiders and Climax) was born Emmett Peter Geraci on November 22, 1947 in Cleveland Ohio. Sonny was a street kid, growing up in Cleveland to the music of Motown, the British invasion and all the music that came before.

Still in high school he joined a group called The Starfires. Actually his older brother Mike played sax for a number of groups in the greater Cleveland are and when the Starfires needed a new singer, as theirs was called up for military draft, Mike suggested his brother Sonny. After he joined the group, he pushed the rest of the band to record and change the drummer and change the guitar player and finally change the name to The Outsiders and started to record songs. It was a good move.
The first single “Time Won’t Let Me” was almost an afterthought as they were planning to cut a Beatles song, but instead opted to record an original.

Continue reading Sonny Geraci 2/2017

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Andy Fraser 3/2015

Andy-FraserMarch 16, 2015 – Andy Fraser (Freewas born on Andrew McLan “Andy” Fraser 3 July 1952 in the Paddington area of Central London and started playing the piano at the age of five. He was trained classically until twelve, when he switched to guitar. By thirteen he was playing in East End, West Indian clubs and after being expelled from school in 1968 at age 15, enrolled at Hammersmith F.E. College where another student, Sappho Korner, introduced him to her father, pioneering blues musician and radio broadcaster Alexis Korner, who became a father-figure to him.

Shortly thereafter, upon receiving a telephone call from John Mayall, who was looking for a bass player, Korner suggested Fraser and, still only 15, Andy was in a pro band and earning £50 a week, although it ultimately turned out to be a brief tenure.

Korner was also instrumental in Fraser’s next move, to the ultimately very influential rock band Free, which consisted of Paul Rodgers (vocals), Paul Kossoff (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums). Fraser produced and co-wrote the song “All Right Now” with Rodgers, a No. 1 hit in over 20 territories and recognised by ASCAP in 1990 for garnering over 1,000,000 radio plays in the United States by late 1989. In October 2006 a BMI London Million-Air Award was given to Rodgers and Fraser to mark over 3 million radio and television plays of “All Right Now“.

Simon Kirke later recalled: “All Right Now was created after a bad gig in Durham. We finished our show and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. It was obvious that we needed a rocker to close our shows. All of a sudden the inspiration struck Fraser and he started bopping around singing All Right Now. He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes.”

Fraser also co-wrote two other hit singles for Free, My Brother Jake and The Stealer. Free initially split in 1971, and Fraser formed a trio, Toby, with guitarist Adrian Fisher (later with Sparks), and drummer Stan Speake. Material was recorded but not released, and Fraser re-joined Free in December 1971. He left for the second time in June 1972.

After leaving Free, Fraser formed Sharks with vocalist Snips (later Baker Gurvitz Army), guitarist Chris Spedding plus drummer, Marty Simon. Despite being well received by the critics, especially for Spedding’s tasteful guitar work, Fraser left after their debut album, First Water (1973).

He then formed the Andy Fraser Band, a trio with Kim Turner on drums and Nick Judd on keyboards. They released two albums, Andy Fraser Band and In Your Eyes, both in 1975, before that too folded. Attempts to form a band with Frankie Miller came to nothing, and Fraser re-located to California, to concentrate on songwriting. He crafted hits for Rod Stewart, Chaka Khan, Paul Young, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack, Wilson Pickett, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, Randy Crawford, Etta James, Frankie Miller, and Ted Nugent.

Fraser’s most famous compositions remain “All Right Now” and “Every Kinda People”, which Robert Palmer recorded in 1978 for his Double Fun album. In 1984, Fraser released another album of his own. Fine, Fine Line featured ex-Back Street Crawler drummer Tony Braunagel, Bob Marlette (keyboards), Michael Thompson (guitar) and David Faragher (bass), with Fraser contributing vocals.

Having been diagnosed with HIV, he was later diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a form of cancer that had been very rare until the onset of the AIDS epidemic. This time-line was called into question by Fraser’s subsequent revelation that he was homosexual. He played bass with former Free colleague, Paul Rodgers, at Woodstock ’94, but otherwise kept a low profile until 2005, when a new release, Naked and Finally Free, appeared. At the time of the new album’s release, Fraser was interviewed by Dmitry M. Epstein for the DME website and revealed: “To be quite honest, I never thought of myself as a bass-player. I actually only used the bass-guitar because the other kids in our school-band wanted to be the singer, or drummer, or guitarist. I have always thought of myself as doing whatever was necessary to make the whole thing work. I’m happy adding piano, or tambourine, or anything that helped”.

In early 2006, writing for Vintage Guitar magazine, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview with Fraser, covering his career, influences and instruments and, in April, Fraser responded to the revival of interest in his music by announcing two rare live shows at Southern California’s Temecula Community Arts Theatre on 4 May. The shows, highlighted by an eight-piece band, were his first live performances since the 1994 Woodstock reunion.

In his later years Fraser was very active as CEO of his record label/multi-media company Mctrax International, which lead him to sign to his label UK protégé Tobi Earnshaw in 2008. He enjoyed getting back on the road in recent years, touring in the US, UK and Japan, as well as performing on stage playing bass for TOBI. Andy was currently working on a multitude of projects including the Summer release of “Standing At Your Window”, which he co-wrote with Frankie Miller, planning a UK/European Tour that included the Sweden Rock Festival alongside former Free bandmate Simon Kirke in Spike’s Free House, scheduling the release of his autobiography, and the release of “Tears of a Mermaid”, a film he was co-producing with his daughter Hannah “Mermaid” Fraser.

In 2008, Fraser wrote and sang the song “Obama (Yes We Can)”, to support the campaign to elect Barack Obama as president of the United States.

In May 2010, Andy Fraser was interviewed for BBC2’s documentary series titled Rock ‘n’ Roll. The project includes a five-part documentary, narrated by British music show anchor-man Mark Radcliffe plus online and radio content. “The documentary aims to explain the success of some of the greatest bands of the past 50 years, including the Who, the Police, the Doors, Bon Jovi and the Foo Fighters”.

In mid-2013, Fraser played a supporting role as bassist in the band of protege Tobi Earnshaw for a short series of UK dates. Accompanying Earnshaw and Fraser was a veteran ally, guitarist Chris Spedding. Fraser has produced and mentored Earnshaw on a number of album releases.

Fraser died on 16 March 2015 at his home in California. He was 62 and had been battling cancer and AIDS. The cause of his death however was a heart attack as result of hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

A survivor of both cancer and AIDS, Fraser had a close brush with death in the 90’s, so he took his health very seriously. “Andy practiced a dedicated daily exercise routine and followed a strict healthy diet, he was in excellent shape. We celebrated with him as he performed onstage just weeks before he passed. Andy was bouncing and jamming, flying high on life right to the end!”, states his daughter Hannah Fraser.

He was also a strong social activist and defender of individual human rights, dedicating much of his time and resources to humanitarian and environmental causes. “Andy was such a passionate musician, such a good man, such an unconditional support to me as a father. He had a burning desire to do good in this world, and he single-mindedly dedicated himself to promoting the causes which he believed in.”, states other daughter Jasmine Fraser.

On the news of his death tributes began flooding in from all over the world, Joe Bonamassa dedicated 4 shows at the Apollo Hammersmith in his honor, Gov’t Mule played a tribute to the Free song Little Bit of Love, co-written by Fraser and a show he was slated to perform at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on May 25th, and many feature articles in Newspapers and Magazines, worldwide.

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Sam Andrew III 2/2015

Sam-AndrewFebruary 12, 2015 – Sam Andrew III was born in Taft, California on December 18, 1941, but having a military father he moved a great deal as a child. His early musical influences were Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard and by the time he was seventeen living in Okinawa, he already had his own band, called the “Cool Notes”, and his own weekly TV show, an Okinawan version of American Bandstand.  He also listened to a great deal of Delta blues. His brother Leland Andrew frequently stated his brother was the “Benny Goodman of Japan”.

He attended the University of San Francisco, and became involved with the San Francisco folk music scene of the early 1960s. However it was not until he returned from over a year in Paris and almost a year in Germany, that he met Peter Albin at 1090 Page Street. After playing together at Albin’s home, Sam suggested they form a band. They found guitarist James Gurley and drummer Chuck Jones, and Big Brother and the Holding Company was formed ready for their first gig, at the Trips Festival in January 1966. Soon after painter and jazz drummer David Getz, replaced Jones. As Big Brother and the Holding Company began to gel, Andrew brought many songs into the band. Continue reading Sam Andrew III 2/2015

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Danny McCulloch 1/2015

Danny MccullochJanuary 29, 2015 – Danny McCulloch (the New Animals) was born July 18, 1945 in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Not even in his mid teens, he started out with local band The Avro Boys, who became Tony Craven & The Casuals. In 1960, the band linked up with new singer Frankie Reid and Danny remained with the group until October 1962.

During his time with The Casuals, one of the band’s drummers was Mitch Mitchell. Danny next joined Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, before joining The Plebs. During 1966, he worked briefly with The Carl Douglas Set.

In late 1966, after the breakup of the original incarnation of The Animals, he joined the “New Animals”. They released a series of albums and hit singles, including “San Franciscan Nights“, “Monterey” and “Sky Pilot“. He and Vic Briggs were fired from the band and they started a duo career. In 1969 they released the album Wings of a Man.

Continue reading Danny McCulloch 1/2015

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Jack Bruce 10/2014

Jack-Bruce-500October 25, 2014 – Jack Bruce, probably best known as songwriter/singer and bass player for 1960s Super Group Cream, was born in Glasgow/Scotland on May 14, 1943.

His parents travelled extensively in Canada and the U.S.A. and Jack attended 14 different schools, finishing his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition. He left the Academy and his homeland at the age of 16, because of poverty and discouraged by his professors’ lack of interest in his ideas.

Jack travelled to Italy and then England, playing double-bass in dance bands and jazz groups, and joined his first important band in 1962 in London. This was Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc. with whom Charlie Watts, later to join the Rolling Stones, was their drummer. Jack left Alexis in 1963 to form a group with organist Graham Bond, guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Ginger Baker. This group became the seminal Graham Bond Organisation after McLaughlin left, and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith joined. Jack was compelled by Ginger Baker to leave this band after three years, because his playing was “too busy”!

Jack turned down Marvin Gaye’s offer to join his U.S.-based band because of his impending first marriage. He then joined John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, where he first met Eric Clapton, followed by Manfred Mann in an ill-advised attempt at commercialism. It was Ginger Baker who initially asked Jack to form a trio with Eric Clapton. Eric insisted that Jack would be the singer.

Cream went on to sell 35 million albums in just over two years and was awarded the first ever platinum disc for Wheels of Fire. Jack wrote and sang most of the songs, including “I Feel Free”, “White Room”, “Politician” and perhaps the world’s most performed guitar riff, in “Sunshine Of Your Love”. Cream split in November 1968 at the height of their popularity; Jack felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to re-discover his musical and social roots.  Continue reading Jack Bruce 10/2014

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Alvin Lee 3/2013

Alvin Lee 68March 6, 2013 – Alvin Lee,(Ten Years After) born Graham Anthony Barnes on Dec. 19, 1944, was a truly inspired blues rock guitarist-vocalist, whose performance with Ten Years After during Woodstock 1969, catapulted him into superstardom. The song “I’m Going Home” became legendary and his speed earned him the title “The Fastest Guitarist in the West”. A lifelong search for freedom resulted in more than 20 albums of superb blues rock. Ten Years After would ultimately tour the US twenty-eight times in seven years – more than any other UK band.

He was born in Nottingham and attended the Margaret Glen-Bott School in Wollaton. He began playing guitar at the age of 13 and in 1960, Lee along with Leo Lyons formed the core of the band Ten Years After. Influenced by his parents’ collection of jazz and blues records, it was the advent of rock and roll that sparked his interest.

He began to play professionally in 1962, in a band named the Jaybirds, they began that year to perform in the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany. After a couple of name changes by 1966 they had finally decided on the name Ten Years After.

Continue reading Alvin Lee 3/2013

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Lou
Martin
8/2012

piano player with Rory Gallagher bandAugust 16, 2012 – Louis ‘Lou’ Martin was born on August 12, 1949 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

With very musically inclined parents, Martin started learning the piano at the age of six, and joined his first professional band, Killing Floor, in April or May 1968. In 1969 Martin and Stuart McDonald were recruited by 17-year-old Darryl Read who formed a band for Emperor Rosko’s brother (Jeff Pasternak) called Crayon Angels, which Read put together and played drums, while Rosko acted as manager.

Martin later left Killing Floor to play alongside blues guitar virtuoso Rory Gallagher, and is featured on several of Gallagher’s albums, including Blueprint, Tattoo, Irish Tour ’74, Against the Grain, Calling Card, Defender and Fresh Evidence. He also played rhythm guitar on one track, “Race the Breeze” from Blueprint.

After leaving Gallagher’s band, Martin and drummer Rod de’Ath formed Ramrod, after which Martin played with Downliners Sect and Screaming Lord Sutch, and also toured with Chuck Berry and Albert Collins.

Martin played in the Nickey Barclay band in London in the 1980s, alongside Barclay (ex-Fanny) on keyboards, with John Conroy (ex-Sam Mitchell Band) and Dave Ball on lead guitar (ex-Procol Harum). The band played across London on the blues rock circuit during the 1980s at venues such as The White Lion, Putney; The Star and Garter on Lower Richmond Road; The Golden Lion, Fulham and the Cartoon, Croydon.

Killing Floor released an album in 2004 named Zero Tolerance, on which Martin participated.

Lou died after a long period of illness including a battle with cancer and a number of strokes on August 16, 2012.

The following interview with Lou Martin was done by Markus Gygax, publisher of Deuce Quarterly for the issue 46 Feb. 1989 and gives a revealing picture of the life of a sideman in Rock and Roll.

Intro: Apart from Gerry MacAvoy, Lou Martin seems to be the most famous and most popular musician who has ever played in Rory’s band as you can gather from the more or less frequent polls in DEUCE; the letters that I get, as well as what the not-so-great-fans say about Rory’s music. Besides, Lou is the only one – what great news- who, after their split -up, joined the band once more to record an album (see Defender).

On the 20th of May, 1988, the Mick Clarke Band played Chur; it was also their first live performance with Lou Martin. It is true that Lou and Mick both played with the Killing Floor, the Ramrod and on the first two solo albums by Clarke. But they had never played live because they were just about to change the man on the keyboards.

In October 1988, the Mick Clarke band played a rather long Swiss and Austrian tour, which I have organized for them. On this tour, Lou Martin played as support, his only equipment was the piano and his vocals.

While being in Chur for four days with the band, Lou Martin talked about lots and lots of things. Lou was apparently enjoying the tour very much, probably because it was his first solo tour and therefore a special event. Unfortunately, we did not record any of the conversations we had during these days. Therefore I sent a written interview to Lou shortly after the concert, which he gave me back on my visit in London at the end of July 1988.

In my opinion, it is a most interesting interview a of a man who lives mainly for the music (he is also fond of flowers, dogs and cats). He has seen a lot in his life, he has got a quick eye for any kind of music, and it is always interesting to listen to what he tells you. It seems that giving interviews is an everyday routine for Lou, but you will see that he is not used to it at all. So now let’s hear what he has to say. Here is his very first interview for DEUCE;

MG- Lou, let’s start from the beginning. Where and when were you born?
LM- In Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 12th of August, 1949.

MG- As far as the music is concerned, were you influenced by your parents? Did you play any music at home?
LM- Yes, a lot. My father sang mainly operatic music, and my mother played the piano. We listened to the music all day, mainly classical music.

MG- When did you start to play the piano?
LM- At the age of six

MG- Who were the first people you played with?
LM- The first time I formed a band was at school. It was just for fun. Nothing serious. We played rock’n’roll, Shadows songs, rhythm & blues by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, a few songs by the Animals, and almost everything which was in at that time.

MG- Did you do any kind of job before you started to be a professional?
LM- I intended to train for something, namely music teacher. But I think I was too infatuated with my own music.

MG- How many years have you worked as professional?
LM- This year, exactly 20 years

MG- When did you join Killing Floor?
LM- In April or May 1968. I saw their advertisement in MELODY MAKER and answered it.

MG- How come you didn’t play on the second Killing Floor album, Out of Uranus, but you name is mentioned on the cover just the same?
LM- At that time, I was not permanently in the band, so I played on only one song namely called Call for the Politicians. The producer wanted the keyboard sound far in the background; but he still wanted me to play somewhere.

MG- Who are your musical favourites?
LM- I am interested in many styles. I often listen to classical music, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachromicoff, often jazz, folk, Bob Dylan is one of my favourites, early rock, and of course, the blues.

MG- Who are your favourites on piano?
LM- Jerry Lee Lewis, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Pete Johnson, Fats Waller, Dave Brubeck, Horace Silver, Ray Charles, Ramsey Lewis James etc.

MG- Do you write some of your songs?
LM- No, I just improvise known melodies and mix them somehow.

MG- Would you like to record an album?
LM- Sure, an album with a healthy mixture of my favourite styles and good musicians would be nice.

MG- Can you give me a list of your favourite LP’s?
LM- Oh, I could give you 200 titles. I will try it anyway, but I just cannot give you a sequence. There are Elvis Presley ( Vol.1 & 2, The Early Years), Carl Perkins, Little Richard (number 1 and 2), Jerry Lee Lewis (practically everything), Howlin’ Wolf (everything), Muddy Waters (everything), Bob Dylan (almost everything), Rolling Stones (almost everything), Chieftains (no.5), Dubliners (Revolution-album), John Fogerty (Rockin’ All over the World), John Mayall, etc.

MG- Now let’s talk about Rory. When did you first see him live?
LM- I saw him for the first time in 1968 at the Marquee Club in London, at that time with the first Taste setup, namely Eric Kitteringham and Norman Damery.

MG- When did you first meet him in person?
LM- It was sometime in 1971.

MG- How did you come to join Rory’s band?
LM- Rod De’ath, who was with the Killing Floor, just like me, substituted for Wilgar Campbell on the drums as everybody knows. Shortly afterwards, Rory asked me whether I would like to join them too.

MG- On the first album, Blueprint, you seem to play also on the guitar. On which songs?
LM- Only on one track, on Race the Breeze. I played the rhythm guitar. By the way, even nowadays, when I am at home, I play the guitar, even more often than I play the piano. Just to relax.

MG- Did you or other musicians in Rory’s band never give any interviews?
LM- We gave one in 1973 for New Musical Express. Gerry, Rod De’Ath and myself were interviewed. It would certainly have been great fun. But that guy was such an idiot. When the interview was published, everything had been misinterpreted. That cured us all. This one here is the second interview in my life, but this time I am convinced that you will publish what I have said.

MG- Otherwise, which were the best moments during the period in Rory’s band?
LM- Over the years, there had been so many marvelous live shows. It is impossible for me to pick out particular concerts because most concerts with Rory were marvelous. The very best memories are those of the gigs at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1976 or ’77 – even Bob Dylan got so enthusiastic over this shows that he came to see Rory in the dressing room after the concert- and all the shows we did during ’72 and ’76 in Belfast and Cork in Ireland.

MG- Are there any bad memories of the Rory era?
LM- If my memory does not fail me, there are hardly any bad memories. Except for some occasional trouble with the instruments there were not any. We were much more constant than other bands and this goes for Rory even nowadays.

MG- Which LP, do you think, is Rory’s best one, choosing from those on which you played? Which one, in your opinion, is his best of those you did not take part in?
LM- Of course I have my favourites -20:20 Vision on Tattoo is really nice. At the Bottom on Against the Grain has always been one of my favourites, then Banker’s Blues on Blueprint; I have still a great respect for the album, Calling Card. On this album, the band sounds incredibly compact. It has got a marvelous sound, fantastic songs. In my opinion, everything is perfect. Besides, I am happy with the version of Seven Days from the Defender album. Anyway, Defender is one of his very best LP’s.

MG: How did the surprising cooperation for the Defender LP come about?
LM: Rory rang me up and told me that he was going to record an acoustic blues track for his new album. He thought that my style would be good for the song. It took us one afternoon to get the track finished.

MG: In which country is Rory most popular?
LM: I am not able to tell you because I really don’t know. But I think his prestige throughout the world guarantees his success in every country.

MG: Did you change your attitude towards the Rory Gallagher Band before you became a permanent member and since you left the band?
LM: I always admired the band and I still do so now. Rory’s set-ups have always been great; he has always had excellent musicians with him.

MG: Before recording Defender, did Rory ever ask you to play on one of his other albums?
LM: No, he did not

MG: How was the situation when the split between Rod de’Ath and you happened?
LM: Very friendly

MG: Are you still in touch with each other?
LM: We meet each other occasionally, but our engagements make it sometimes difficult. The contact is still there, though. I think we are always glad to meet now and then.

MG: Have you ever had any contacts with other musicians of the Taste/Rory?
LM: I met most of them and had a good drink with them. I have never met Norman Damery, Eric Kittering ham and John Wilson.

MG: After the split, have you seen Rory live again?
LM: I am quite ashamed to admit that I never have. Just once I watched a TV show with Ted McKenna on the drums. But I do want to see Rory again, particularly when he plays Mark Feltham.

MG: Did you get any “precious metals’ for Rory’s albums on which you played?
LM: For Tattoo there was a gold disc, a silver disc each for Against the Grain and Irish Tour ’74. I hang them all in the front room if my house.

MG: Are Rory’s Irish tours so fantastic as it is described everywhere?
LM: Absolutely. Ireland is our home country. The enthusiasm and gratitude which we received on our Irish tours is indescribable. It is the most thankful audience in the world. Emotional and excellent concerts. I am sure that this is still the case nowadays when the band plays there.

MG: What do you think of the albums which Rory recorded with black artists such as Albert King and Muddy Waters?
LM: Excellent albums. These people are our roots.

MG: What did you do after the split with Rory?
LM: Rod De’Ath and I formed Ramrod. Then I tried to get solo engagements. Band wise, I did not do anything except a few sessions with Dowliner Sect and Screamin’ Lord Sutch. A few things with Mick Clarke. The Southside Blues band, sessions with Tommy Morrison, tours and concerts with Chuck Berry and Albert Collins.

MG: What are you doing at the moment?
LM: I have a flower shop on my own, which I run during the day. In the evenings, I have a permanent job with a West-end French restaurant where I am the bar pianist. It is near Leicester Square, Central London. Sessions happen occasionally.

MG: How did the co-operation with Chuck Berry come about?
LM: The London Capitol Radio announced that they were looking for two musicians for a Chuck Berry tour. A friend of mine, a musician, told me about it. I got in touch and go the job.

MG: How was the engagement with Albert Collins arranged?
LM: Again, a friend of mine, also a musician, gave me a ring and told me that Collins was looking for a pianist for his two shows in London. I played there and got the job.

MG: What about the Screamin’ Lord Sutch?
LM: We recorded an album, which was arranged by Rod De’Ath. Sutch’s old hits were being re-recorded for an LP which was planned to be put on the German market. Keith Grant (bass) and Terry Gibson (guitar), two old friends of mine, who played with the Dowliner Sect, were also there.

MG: What about the recordings of Gerry McAvoy’s solo album?
LM: All the recordings were organized by Gerry. They were recorded before and after I left the band. Most of the recordings were recorded live in the Bridge House, one of the best clubs at the end of the 70’s. At that time, there were many friends helping each other at concerts or studio sessions.

MG: What about Tommy Morrison? Is he a club performer in England or how would you describe him? I have never heard anything about him….
LM: Tommy is a good friends of Paul Rogers ( ex-Free/ Bad Company/ The Firm). Since Paul and I know each other, he asked me and Rod De’Ath whether we would like to record an LP with Tommy. I do not think Tommy has ever played live.

MG: How big, do you think, is the chance for a successful future for the Mick Clarke Band? Can you imagine a break-through of the band, similar to Vaughan’s, Thorogood’s?
LM: Mick and I have been very close friends for over 20 years. His development as a guitarist is most remarkable. In my opinion, he certainly ranks among the top musicians. His voice and stage performance have improved greatly. So why not?

MG: Is there the possibility of you becoming a permanent member of the band?
LM: I would like to spend as much time as possible with the band. But because of my engagements, it not possible just now. I would like to be more involved. Anyway, I play on the first two of the four albums by Clarke. If I had more time or if there were not so many engagements, I would not have to think twice.

MG: Which musicians did you do jam sessions with? Are there any hard rock bands among them?
LM: It is hard to remember everybody, but there were certainly a few sessions worth being remembered. For example, there was a very fine one in 1975 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Rory was there, Rod De’Ath and Gerry MacAvoy, Louisiana Red came, Harvey Brooks on bass, a West Coast veteran, who played on Mike Bloomfield’s LP’s. Besides, there was the whole brass band of Etta James. During an American tour there was a big encore with the Rory band and the Doobie Brothers. During a break in 1973 in Chicago, I played two days in Otis Rush’s band. At that time I saw lots of interesting people for the first time live, for example, Junior Wells, Phillip Guy, Mighty Joe Young……In 1968, we (killing Floor) played with Freddie King. There were hardly any hard rock musicians, no famous ones for that matter.

MG: Music wise, which moments do you consider the best?
LM: The first time I was live on stage with Freddie King and Rory, the gigs with Otis Rush, the shows with Albert Collins and Chuck Berry, then of course when I met Muddy Waters, the concert with the Mick Clarke Band in Chur was brilliant.

MG: Which was the best period?
LM: When I was with Rory, no doubt. Everybody in the band was improving incredibly fast because we played most nights and everywhere. In any case, I learnt most at that time.

MG: What did you enjoy more, to play live or in the studio? Which live performances did you enjoy most?
LM: I liked every band a lot. We always had a lot of fun on stage. There were so many fine gigs with Rory. And even though they were writing so many negative things about Chuck berry nowadays, I must say that at least every third gig with him was fantastic. As far as the studio is concerned, I usually played with Rory. But other studio recordings , too, were nice. Apart from Rory, it is probably Mick Clarke I like working with most.

MG: Which LP, in your opinion, is the best from those you played on?
LM: Calling Card, because of the way I play and also the whole feeling of the album. I would have liked to have made an LP with Chuck Berry because the group he had at that time was really great. I also like the two albums with Mick Clarke, particularly, Rock Me. It would be nice to get a gold disc for that one.

MG: Now, here is a quite different subject: What do you or other Rory band members think of fanclubs?
LM: No idea. Anyway, I think a good fanclub is important for 90% of the musicians. I do not think that it is smiled at. Probably there are many people who realize only now that there is a Rory fanclub and that the fanzines is really interesting. In any case, I like reading it.

MG: Apart from music, do you have any other hobbies?
LM: I’ll enjoy a good drink…..

MG: Here are a few questions which I am really interested in. Is it something special to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival?
LM: It is one of the most important jazz festivals in Europe. Beautiful setting and scenery.

MG: I would like to know what do you think of my favorite musicians. Here they are: Canned Heat, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Taj Mahal, John Hammond and Tony McPhee’s Groundhogs.
LM: During all the years that I have been in the music scene, I have met musicians, either personally or at least I saw them live. Of course I have also collected their LP’s. My favorite if those you mentioned are John Hammond and Canned Heat. During one of Rory’s concerts in 1974 or 1975 in Canada, there was a session with John Hammond. Later we were joined by Freddie King. I also saw Taj Mahal live. However, I prefer his early works when he played more blues than he does now, Nowadays, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, as well as Tony McPhee’s Groundhogs play mainly the clubs in London. In general, their shows are still very good.

MG: Here comes my last question, which might also be quite interesting for our Deuce readers. What would you do if Rory asked you whether you would like to join the band again?
LM: If he really offered me this job, I would probably say yes. We have the same roots and he has certainly influenced me over the years.

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Bob
Welch
6/2012

bob-welchJune 7, 2012 – Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac) was born on July 31, 1945 in Los Angeles, California, into a show business family. His father was the successful Hollywood movie producer Robert Welch, best known for his work with Bob Hope. Neighbors were Yul Brunner and Jonathan Winters. As a youngster, he learned clarinet, switching to guitar in his early teens and developed an interest in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music.

After graduation from high school, the younger Welch moved to Paris for a while, but returned to Los Angeles shortly after. After dropping out of university he joined the Los Angeles-based interracial vocal group The Seven Souls as a guitarist in 1964. When the band broke up in 1969 Bob moved to Paris and started a trio and became friends with future CBS correspondent Ed Bradley.

In 1971 while living there, he received a phone call from Mick Fleetwood asking him to come to London. Fleetwood met him at the airport, Welch told the Nashville Tennessean in 2003. “He was driving a yellow VW. He was 6-6 and weighed about 120 pounds. He was a strange-looking human being.”Welch was invited to join Fleetwood Mac, and along with fellow newcomer Christine McVie, Bob helped to steer the band away from Peter Greene/Jeremy Spencer’s blues roots into a more melodic direction.

During the time he spend with Fleetwood Mac they released their album Future Games in 1971, Bare Trees in 1972, this album included Welch’s song Sentimental Lady, Mystery To Me in 1973 (included Bob’s son Hypnotized), also that year the band released Penguin and Bob’s final album with Fleetwood Mac Heroes are Hard To Find in 1974.

Things became problematic between Bob and other guitarist Danny Kirwan, due to the latter’s alcohol abuse. Kirwan left the band in August 1974 after he refused to go on stage at a concert after an argument with Welch and Mick Fleetwood fired him. Welch then left the band in December 1974, after a brief affair with Christine McVie, much to the dislike of bass player John McVie and was replaced  by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.

Welch left the band amid the chaos of the McVie divorce, just prior to mainstream success with the 1975 album “Fleetwood Mac” and then “Rumors,” Fleetwood Mac’s acclaimed 1977 superhit album.

The following year he created Paris, the Hard Rock band with Todd Rundgren, Thom Mooney, Hunt Sales and bassist Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull). Paris released their first album “Paris” and “Big Towne, 2061” in 1976, the band split up the following year, after which Welch then embarked on his solo career.

He scored a massive hit with “Ebony Eyes” in 1977. The album from which it was culled, “French Kiss,” featured a number of former Fleetwood Mac members, as well as a rendition of “Sentimental Lady,” a song originally recorded with Mac but reworked by Welch.

French Kiss his first solo album was released in September 1977, Three Hearts in 1979, The Other One that same year followed by Man Overboard in 1980 and Bob Welch in 1981. The albums contained several singles successes including “Hot Love, Cold World”, “Ebony Eyes”,  and “Precious Love”. His next album Eye Contact was released in 1983 the same year he became addicted to heroin.

Bob then met his wife Wendy Armistead Welch at Johnny Depp’s club the Viper Room, when it still was called Central. They got married in 1985, moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1990, and had no children.
Wendy Welch was given credit by her husband, in his own words he said:

The time frame between 1984-1998 was a story for me of pulling out of major depression, drug addiction and extreme negativity, which I was able to do, thanks to a. the LA Sheriff’s Dept (busted), b. Cedars Sinai hospital (in a coma 2 weeks), and, especially, c. a lovely lady named Wendy Armistead, who helped me stop beating my head against a brick wall ! During this time Wendy helped me to get back into reading music again, to want to do a band again, (the Touch, Ave. M), and to regain my musical and personal identity, which had gotten pretty trashed.

In 1999,  after three years  clean of drugs he released Bob Welch Looks At Bop. Between 2003 and 2004 he released His Fleetwood Mac Years & Beyond I and II, and Live at Roxy in 2004.

After having spinal surgery and been told he would not get better, Bob pulled the trigger on himself in his Nashville home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest on June 7, 2012. He was 66.

Wendy found her husband with wound shot to the chest at their home around noon. Media later quoted Wendy talking about the spinal surgery Bob had, the doctor telling him he would not get better and adding that he did not want her to have to take care of an invalid. He left a suicide note, but its content were not  revealed.

Fleetwood Mac and its former and some current members were inducted in  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, however Bob was not.

“My era was the bridge era,” Welch told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1998, after he was excluded from the Fleetwood Mac line-up inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group.”

• Mick Fleetwood, who hired Welch in 1971 after the departure of Peter Green, said Welch was a key part of the band’s evolution. “He was a huge part of our history which sometimes gets forgotten. Mostly his legacy would be his songwriting abilities that he brought to Fleetwood Mac, which will survive all of us,” said Fleetwood. “If you look into our musical history, you’ll see a huge period that was completely ensconced in Bob’s work.”

 although Stevie Nicks and Welch weren’t in Fleetwood Mac at the same time, she released a statement expressing her admiration and regrets: “The death of Bob Welch is devastating …. I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player — he was funny, sweet — and he was smart — I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac — so, so sad …”

• David Adelstein, who served as Welch’s keyboard player from 1977 through 1982 said: “For me, they were very exciting times back then. We were the opening act for Dave Mason back around February 12, 1978, our first show at Rocklyn College, NY. A short time later, Bob was leading us up the stairs to what was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, Cal-Jam II. We opened the show with a 10:00 AM call! That was a rush — 250,000 people in the crowd at the old Ontario Motor Speedway. During that tour, Bob opened shows for not only Dave Mason, but for Jefferson Starship, Heart, Beach Boys, Styx, Allman Bros. and of course [Fleetwood] Mac (a great billing — the best of both worlds)”When it came to the follow up album, Bob and his producer, John Carter, gave me my first opportunity to play on that album. When it came around to the third album, Bob gave myself and guitarist Todd Sharp the opportunity to include an original song on the album. This launched my songwriting career. All in all, I have awesome memories from my time playing with Welch, sharing dinners at some wonderful restaurants (he appreciated great food), along with his love of music and that included all kinds of music! The circle of friends here in the LA area … are already missing him much.”

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Gary Moore 2/2011

Gary Moore 500February 6, 2011 – Gary Moore, who wrote and played “Still Got the Blues for You” and “Parisienne Walkways” into a daily highlight in my musical playlist, passed away on February 6, 2011 at age 58, while on vacation in Spain, reportedly after a night of excessive drinking and partying.

Gary Moore was a guitar talent that only comes around a couple of times in a generation. Jimi, Eric, Gary, Duane and Hughie Thomasson are the five that fill my High Five, as I’m witnessing our generation extending a welcome to those who learned from the great ones, like Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Sheppard and now show their talent to a new generation.

Robert William Gary Moore was born on 4 April 1952 and grew up on Castleview Road opposite Stormont Parliament Buildings, off the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast, Northern Ireland as one of five children of Bobby, a promoter, and Winnie, a housewife. He left the city as a teenager, because of troubles in his family – his parents parted a year later – just as The Troubles – political violence, were starting in Northern Ireland.

Continue reading Gary Moore 2/2011

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Mel Brown 3/2009

Mel BrowenMarch 20, 2009 – Mel Brown was born in Jackson, Mississippi on October 7th 1939; he started guitar in his early teens while battling meningitis, studying the music of idols like B. B. King and T-Bone Walker. In 1960, he toured with The Olympics, followed by a two years stint with Etta James.

By 1963, tired of life on the road, Mel returns to L.A. where he once again rejoins Johnny Otis. This time in the house band at the hot spot Club Sands. Here Mel gets a chance to back artists such as Pee Wee Crayton, Johnny Guitar Watson, Billy Preston and Sam Cooke. At this juncture of his career Mel begins to work steadily in the highly competitive L.A. studio scene appearing on sessions with everyone from Bobby Darin to Doris Day, Bill Cosby to Jerry Lewis. Meanwhile back in the blues world, after impressing T-Bone Walker with his playing one night at the Sands Club, Walker invited Mel to appear on an album , “Funky Town”, that he was preparing to record for the ABC/Impulse label.

Continue reading Mel Brown 3/2009

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Bo Diddley 6/2008

bo-diddleyJune 2, 2008 – Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates, later becoming Ellas McDaniel on December 30, 1928 in McComb, Mississippi. He was adopted and raised by his mother’s cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he assumed. In 1934, the McDaniel family moved to the South Side of Chicago, where he dropped the Otha and became Ellas McDaniel.

As he grew into a teenager he became an active member of his local Ebenezer Baptist Church, studying the trombone and the violin, becoming proficient enough for the musical director to invite him to join the orchestra playing violin, in which he performed until the age of 18. Around that age he became more interested in the pulsating, rhythmic music he heard at a local Pentecostal church and took up the guitar. Continue reading Bo Diddley 6/2008

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Micky Waller 5/2008

micky-wallerMay 6, 2008 – Micky Waller was born in Hammersmith, London on September 6th 1941.

The son of a council clerk of works, Waller was evacuated as a war baby to his Aunt Nora’s home in Belper, Derbyshire. After he returned to his parents’ home in Greenford, Middlesex, his father encouraged his interest in drumming by taking him to see the 1955 film The Benny Goodman Story; Gene Krupa’s big-band drumming virtually hypnotised the teenager. Waller took lessons with Jim Marshall, maker of the world-famous Marshall amplifiers, and later partly credited his unusual style to the fact that as a lefthander he had learned on a righthanded set of drums, which may have been the reason why he was notoriously known for not having a complete kit with him when showing up for gigs or sessions.

Continue reading Micky Waller 5/2008

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Jeff Healey 3/2008

Jeff HealeyMarch 2, 2008 – Jeff Healey was one of the finest, most underrated, blues rock guitarists/vocalist of his generation. Due to cancer his eyes were surgically removed when he was one year old, which was probably a major reason for starting to play guitar at age 3 in a very unconventional way- flat on his lap. That way he could use 4 fingers plus his thumb to create amazing solos. Even though he broke into the public limelight as a result of being the “house band” in Patrick Swayze’s 1989 movie Roadhouse, it really was Stevie Ray Vaughn and fellow blues guitarist Albert Collins, who discovered Healey in a spontaneous Toronto Canada jam session.

Continue reading Jeff Healey 3/2008

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Long John Baldry 7/2005

July 21, 2005 – Long John Baldry  was born on January 12th 1941 in London*, England. (*Conflicting evidence exists about Baldry’s birthplace. Some say he was born in the village of Haddon. VH1’s profile of Baldry states he was born in the village of East Maddon, while Allmusic.com states he was born in London. The documentary Long John Baldry: In the Shadow of the Blues states that his mother escaped London during The Blitz to give birth in Northampton, making East Haddon his most likely birthplace.)

Long John begun his career playing folk and jazz in the late 50s, he toured with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott before moving into R&B.

Continue reading Long John Baldry 7/2005

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Cornelius Bumpus 2/2004

Cornelius BumpusFebruary 3, 2004 – Cornelius Bumpus was born on May 7, 1945 in Santa Cruz, California. Bumpus began his career at the age of ten, playing alto saxophone in his school band in Santa Cruz, California. He put his love of music down to his parents’ record collection – it included early Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Domino and James Brown. By the time Bumpus was 12, he was already landing gigs, playing at Portuguese dances in central California.

In 1966, he spent six months performing with the Bobby Freeman band, then embarked on a series of ventures as he honed his talent. In 1977, he joined Moby Grape, writing one tune for their Live Grape album. He also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band.

Continue reading Cornelius Bumpus 2/2004

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Soko Richardson 1/2004

Soko RichardsonJanuary 29, 2004 – Soko Richardson was born on December 8, 1939 in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Richardson began his musical career at the age of 16, when he left home to tour the South with local bands. Shortly thereafter Ike Turner, upon hearing Richardson play in Texas, hired him to play with his band, Kings of Rhythm, and then later with The Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

Richardson worked with Turner for the next ten years. In March 1971 Richardson’s arrangement of the John Fogerty song, “Proud Mary” reached number four on the pop charts, and number five on the R&B charts. The song became a signature song for Tina Turner, and won the band a Grammy for “Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group.”

Continue reading Soko Richardson 1/2004

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Bobby
Sheehan
8/1999

bobby sheehan, bass for blues travelerAugust 20, 1999 – Robert Vaughan Bobby Sheehan (Blues Traveler) was born on June 12th 1968 in Summit, New Jersey. After high school in Princeton where he met the the other 3 members of what became later Blues Traveler.

The hallways of that same Princeton, New Jersey,  high school served as the meeting place for all of the future members of Blues Traveler. Popper and drummer Brendan Hill first hooked up in 1983; they were joined by guitarist Chan Kinchla in 1986, and bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1987. Out of their shared fascination with the Blues Brothers was born a worthy name by which to call themselves – the Blues Band.

Following graduation, Sheehan briefly attended the Berklee College of Music, but soon joined Popper and Hill, who had enrolled in the jazz program at New York’s New School for Social Research and would co-found Blues Traveler in 1987. Kinchla briefly attended N.Y.U.) . The New School was just what Popper et al. needed to get their act together: not only did they have the use of free rehearsal space, but the curriculum taught them how to get gigs. As it turned out, they learned a little too well, as before long, they had lined up so many gigs that there wasn’t any time left for school, so they all dropped out of the program.

Newly baptized as Blues Traveler, the band signed a record deal with A&M in 1989, and released their self-titled debut album later that same year. Travelers & Thieves followed in 1991. Their next album, Save His Soul (1993), was marred by a near-tragedy. Twelve days into recording sessions on the album, Popper was riding his motorcycle in the remote area of Louisiana where the studio was located when a turning car plowed into him. He sustained a broken arm, leg, and hip and had to
endure months of rehabilitation in a wheelchair.
Injuries aside, the band resumed recording after only a single month’s break; and not even the fact that he was confined to a wheelchair could keep Popper off the road after Save His Soul was released.

Throughout their early years, Blues Traveler built its reputation and its fan base by touring constantly, averaging more than 250 shows a year. Despite a lack of any radio or MTV coverage, the band secured a devoted following by word of mouth alone. The grapevine method worked well: the band managed to sell hundreds of thousands of copies of each of its first three releases, although none of the albums quite achieved gold status (sales of 500,000). That all changed with the release of
1994’s four; the album spawned two Top 10 singles, “Run-around” and “Hook,” and went on to sell over six million copies. Apart from the healthy boost in record sales, the band’s profile was also rising due to the ever-growing popularity of the
HORDE (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) Tour, which Popper had organized in 1992 after the band failed to get a support slot on a major tour.

HORDE has become a summertime staple for concertgoers–it was the fourth-biggest grossing tour of summer of 1996–and as it grew, so did its ability to attract some of the biggest names in rock; over the years, Phish, Spin Doctors, the
Black Crowes, Neil Young, Beck, Sheryl Crow and Dave Matthews Band have all played the traveling summer fest. (Note: The last one was held in 2015 after a 17 year hiatus, as  the result of Bobby Sheehan’s death and John Popper’s heart problems in 1999.)

In 1994/95 on their rise to the lofty ranks of the multi-platinum, the members of Blues Traveler achieved some significant career milestones:

• they reached their goal of having played in all fifty states in December 1995;

• they guest-starred on an episode of Roseanne in 1995;

• they have appeared on Late Night With David Letterman more than any other band in the history of the show;

• and they sold out Madison Square Garden for their annual New Year’s Eve show in December 1996.

Somehow, during all that excitement, they also managed to compile tracks for a two-CD live set called Live From the Fall, which was released in 1996.

Sheehan moved to New Orleans in 1996. The upbeat pop single “Run-Around” became a smash hit and was followed by the catchy “Hook”. “Run-Around” won a Grammy Award and broke a record for most weeks on the chart. The group recorded the Johnny Rivers song “Secret Agent Man” for the film Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and the Bob Seger song “Get Out of Denver” for the film Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, as well as Fats Domino’s “I’m Walkin'” for Rebel Highway: Cool and the Crazy. Several previously-recorded Blues Traveler songs were included on film soundtracks, including The Last Seduction, Speed, Very Bad Things, White Man’s Burden, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs. The band also appeared in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000 and on its soundtrack, playing “Maybe I’m Wrong”.

Sheehan pleaded guilty in January 1998 to possession of less than a gram of cocaine. He had been arrested at an airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in September 1997, where Blues Traveler were opening for the Rolling Stones. He was placed on two years’ unsupervised probation. He almost completed the probation time, but almost is not completely.

Bobby was find unresponsive in his house in New Orleans on August 20, 1999, and tragically died of an accidental drug overdose. He was 31.

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Rory Gallagher 6/1995

rory-gallagher-stadium-1981-ch-018June 14, 1995 – William Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal on March 2, 1948 and raised in Cork. His father was employed constructing a hydro electric power plant on the nearby Erne river.

Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. He was a very talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft. Gallagher’s albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London, UK at the age of 47. Continue reading Rory Gallagher 6/1995

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Randy Jo
Hobbs
8/1993

August 4, 1993 – Randy Jo Hobbs was born on March 22nd 1948 in Winchester, Indiana.

Already fronting his own band the Coachmen at age 17, he soon joined brothers Rick (later known as Rick Derringer and Randy Zehringer, a Union City Indiana garage band called The McCoys (originally Rick and the Raiders) from 1965 to 1969 during which time their hit “Hang On Sloopy” became a global hit. The song sold some 6 million copies and was the McCoys entry in the big league, opening up for giant acts of the era like the Rolling Stones. When the song’s popularity ran out of steam, they became the house band for a popular New York hotspot called Steve Paul’s The Scene where they were introduced to Texas guitar God in the making Johnny Winter.  Lacking more hits the band soon turned into backing guitar phenomenon Johnny Winter in the seventies.

As a band the McCoys called it quits in 1973 and Hobbs stayed a while longer with Johnny Winter but later played in brother Edgar Winter’s White Trash from until around 1976. White Trash was comprised of Southern musicians, one of which was another guitar giant, Ronnie Montrose. This led to Randy playing with a later version of Montrose,  on the ‘Jump on It’ album, released in 1976.

Earlier Randy had played bass with Jimi Hendrix on some 1968 live sessions which were later released unofficially as Woke Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead in 1980 and New York Sessions in 1998, and officially as Bleeding Heart in 1994. At this time he unfortunately developed a huge heroin dependency that ultimately would cause his demise in 1993

In 1978 he also played bass on Rick Derringer’s album with Dick Glass, “Glass Derringer”.

Drug abuse took a toll on Randy Hobbs, and ultimately consumed his career as a musician.  A front man can stumble out onto the stage and sleepwalk through the set, but an out-of-control side player is done for.  Randy Hobbs was fired from Johnny Winter’s band and returned to Randolph County where he lived out his life.

Randy Jo Hobbs was found dead in a Dayton hotel room on August 5, 1993 – Rick Derringer’s birthday. The cause was heart failure. He was 45.

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Roy
Buchanan
8/1988

Roy Buchanan Guitar virtuosoAugust 14, 1988 – Leroy “Roy” Buchanan was born on September 23rd 1939 in Ozark, Arkansas and was raised there and in Pixley, California, a farming area near Bakersfield. His father was a sharecropper in Arkansas and a farm laborer in California.

His first musical memories were of racially mixed revival meetings he attended with his mother Minnie. “Gospel,” he recalled, “that’s how I first got into black music.” He in fact drew upon many disparate influences while learning to play his instrument (though he later claimed his aptitude derived from being “half-wolf”). He initially showed talent on steel guitar before switching to guitar in the early 50s, and started his professional career at age 15, in Johnny Otis’s rhythm and blues revue.

In 1958, Buchanan made his recording debut with Dale Hawkins, including playing the solo on “My Babe” for Chicago’s Chess Records. Two years later, during a tour through Toronto, Buchanan left Dale Hawkins to play for his cousin Ronnie Hawkins and tutor Ronnie’s guitar player, Robbie Robertson. Buchanan plays bass on the Ronnie Hawkins single, “Who Do You Love?”. Buchanan soon returned to the U.S. and Ronnie Hawkins’ group later gained fame as The Band.

By the dawn of the ’60s, Buchanan had relocated once more, this time to Canada, where he signed on with rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. The bass player of Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, the Hawks, studied guitar with Buchanan during his tenure with the band. Upon Buchanan’s exit, the bassist-turned-guitarist would become the leader of the group, which would eventually become popular roots rockers the Band: Robbie Robertson.

In 1961 he released “Mule Train Stomp”, his first single for Swan, featuring rich guitar tones. Buchanan’s 1962 recording with drummer Bobby Gregg, nicknamed “Potato Peeler,” first introduced the trademark Buchanan “pinch” harmonic. An effort to cash in on the British Invasion caught Buchanan with the British Walkers. Buchanan spent the ’60s as a sideman with obscure acts, as well as working as a session guitarist for such varied artists as pop idol Freddy Cannon, country artist Merle Kilgore, and drummer Bobby Gregg, among others, before Buchanan settled down in the Washington, D.C., area in the mid- to late ’60s and founded his own outfit, the Snakestretchers. Despite not having appeared on any recordings of his own, word of Buchanan’s exceptional playing skills began to spread among musicians as he received accolades from the likes of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Merle Haggard, as well as supposedly being invited to join the Rolling Stones at one point (which he turned down).In the mid-1960s, Buchanan settled down in the Washington, D.C. area, playing for Danny Denver’s band for many years while acquiring a reputation as “...one of the very finest rock guitarists around”.

Reputedly Jimi Hendrix would not take up the challenge of a ‘pick-off’ with Roy. The facts behind that claim are that in March 1968 a photographer friend, John Gossage gave Buchanan tickets to a concert by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Washington Hilton. Buchanan reportedly was dismayed to find his own trademark sounds, like the wah-wah that he’d painstakingly produced with his hands and his Telecaster, was created by electronic pedals. He could never attempt Hendrix’s stage show, and this realization refocused him on his own quintessentially American roots-style guitar picking.

Gossage recalls how Roy was very impressed by the Hendrix 1967 debut album Are You Experienced?, which was why he made sure to give Roy a ticket to the early show at the Hilton. Gossage went backstage to take photos and tried to convince Jimi to go and see Roy at the Silver Dollar that night after the show, but Jimi seemed more interested in hanging out with the young lady who was backstage with him. Gossage confirms Hendrix never showed up at the Silver Dollar, but he did talk to Roy about seeing the Hilton show. That same night at the Silver Dollar, Roy did several Hendrix numbers and “from that point on, had nothing but good things to say about Hendrix”. He later released recordings of the Hendrix composition “If 6 Was 9” and the Hendrix hit “Hey Joe” (written by Billy Roberts).

At the end of the 1960s, with a growing family, Buchanan left the professional music industry for a while to learn a trade and trained as a hairdresser. In the early ’70s, Roy Buchanan performed extensively in the Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area with the Danny Denver Band, which had a large following in the area. He became widely appreciated as a solo act in the DC area at this time.

Buchanan’s life changed in 1971, when he gained national notice as the result of an hour-long PBS television documentary. Entitled Introducing Roy Buchanan, and sometimes mistakenly called The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World, it earned a record deal with Polydor Records and praise from John Lennon and Merle Haggard, besides an alleged invitation to join the Rolling Stones which he turned down and which gave him the nickname “the man who tumbled the stones down”. In 1977 he appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 2. Buchanan spent the remainder of the decade issuing solo albums, including such guitar classics as his 1972 self-titled debut (which contained one of Buchanan’s best-known tracks, “The Messiah Will Come Again”), 1974’s That’s What I Am Here For, and 1975’s Live Stock, before switching to Atlantic for several releases. But by the ’80s, Buchanan had grown disillusioned by the music business due to the record company’s attempts to mold him into a more mainstream artist, which led to a four-year exile from music between 1981 and 1985.

Buchanan vowed never to enter a studio again unless he could record his own music his own way. Four years later, Alligator Records coaxed Buchanan back into the studio.

His first album for Alligator, When a Guitar Plays the Blues, was released in the spring of 1985. It was the first time he had total artistic freedom in the studio. The album entered Billboard’s pop charts and remained on the charts for 13 weeks.  His second Alligator LP, Dancing on the Edge (with vocals on three tracks by Delbert McClinton), was released in the fall of 1986. The album also charted, on the Billboard album chart for 8 weeks. He released the twelfth and last album of his career, Hot Wires, in 1987.

Although playing a number of guitars, he was most often associated with a 1953 Fender Telecaster guitar nicknamed “Nancy”, the one he used to produce his trebly signature tone

But just as his career seemed to be on the upswing once more, tragedy struck on August 14, 1988, when Buchanan was picked up by police in Fairfax, VA, for public intoxication. Shortly after being arrested and placed in a holding cell, a policeman performed a routine check on Buchanan and was shocked to discover that he had hung himself in his cell. Buchanan’s stature as one of blues-rock’s all-time great guitarists grew even greater after his tragic death, resulting in such posthumous collections as Sweet Dreams: The Anthology, Guitar on Fire: The Atlantic Sessions, Deluxe Edition, and 20th Century Masters and the live When a Telecaster Plays the Blues, which appeared in 2009. He was 48 at the time of his death.

Buchanan has influenced many guitarists, including Gary Moore, Danny Gatton, Arlen Roth, and Jeff Beck. Beck dedicated his version of “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” from Blow by Blow to him. His work is said to “stretch the limits of the electric guitar,” and he is praised for “his subtlety of tone and the breadth of his knowledge, from the blackest of blues to moaning R&B and clean, concise, bone-deep rock ‘n’ roll.” Danny Gatton, who was also features as “the World’s Greatest Unknown Guitar Player”, committed suicide in 1994.

In 2004, Guitar Player listed his version of “Sweet Dreams,” from his debut album on Polydor, Roy Buchanan, as having one of the “50 Greatest Tones of All Time.” In the same year, the readers of Guitar Player voted Buchanan #46 in a top 50 readers’ poll. Roy is the subject of Freddy Blohm’s song “King of a Small Room.”

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Mike Bloomfield 2/1981

Michael BloomfieldFeb 15, 1981 – Michael Bernard ‘Mike’ Bloomfield was born on July 28th, 1943, in Chicago, on the wrong side of the blues. His father, Harold, ran Bloomfield Industries, a successful restaurant-supply firm. The older of two sons, Michael rebelled against school, discipline and his family’s wealth, seeking solace and purpose in the music coming from the city’s black neighborhoods on the South and West sides.
A grandfather, Max, owned a pawnshop, and Bloomfield got his first guitar there. Born left-handed, he forced himself to play the other way around. “That’s how strong-willed he was,” says Goldberg. “When he loved something so much, he just did it.”
Hanging out at the pawnshop, Bloomfield also “got a certain empathy, for people on the skids, on the down and out, looking for $5,” Gravenites says. “He got to know that kind of life.Continue reading Mike Bloomfield 2/1981

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Bobby
Ramirez
7/1972

July 24, 1972 – Bobby Ramirez (White Trash, Rick Derringer) was born late in 1949 in Mexico. At first in his early twenties, he worked as drummer with Rick Derringer, then LaCroix and finally Edgar Winter’s White Trash.

He appeared on two of the band’s album, their self titled debut album in 1971 and Roadwork in 1972.

On July 24, 1972 23-year old Bobby Ramirez had every reason in the world to celebrate. He and his buddy Jerry LaCroix were playing in one of the hottest bands in America: Edgar Winter’s White Trash. They were touring the country with the Top 20 UK prog rockers Uriah Heep, their double live album Roadwork was on its way to gold and they’d just put on a stellar show that night in Chicago.

Ramirez, LaCroix and the band manager stopped at the wrong bar to celebrate. The story is that Ramirez went to the bathroom where a man, looking at Bobby’s long hair, suggested maybe he’d missed the sign on the door. The ladies room was next door. When Ramirez shot back something with attitude the man punched him, drawing blood. The bar owner tried to intervene but when he refused to call the police, Ramirez followed his attacker out of the bar. LaCroix followed too. The next thing LaCroix remembers is waking up to see Bobby bloodied up and dying in the band manager’s arms. His assailant had steel tipped boots and kicked Ramirez to death.

LaCroix says when Bobby died so did the band’s spirit. White Trash broke up that summer.

Of Ramirez’s drumming skills, Derringer told Modern Drummer “When I hear the recordings of our rhythm section-Bobby, me, and bassist Randy Jo Hobbs-on Edgar’s Roadwork album, it blows my mind how tight we are. I miss him even now. He was also a good human being. In the future, I know we’ll be grooving together for the Lord in heaven.

• “Bobby had the best groove of any drummer I’ve ever played with.” — Rick Derringer

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Janis Joplin 10/1970

Janis Joplin in SanFranOctober 4, 1970 – Janis Lyn Joplin was truly one of the most remarkable rock and blues performers of the 1960s and the decades following. Born in Port Arthur Texas, on January 19, 1943, she escaped the small town prejudices and took off for the San Francisco counter culture, dominated by Love and Peace and Alcohol and Drugs. Janis unfortunately became a member of the infamous forever 27 Club as she passed on October 4, 1970, just a short 3 weeks after her brief former love interest and famous 27 Club member Jimi Hendrix. She was no. 4 to join the club after Robert Johnson, Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix.

Her Texas upbringing put Joplin under the sway of Leadbelly, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton in her teens, and the authenticity of these voices strongly influenced her decision to become a singer. A self-described “misfit” in high school, she suffered virtual ostracism, but dabbled in folk music with her friends and painted. She briefly attended college in Beaumont and Austin but was more drawn to blues legends and beat poetry than her studies; soon she dropped out and, in 1963, headed for San Francisco, eventually finding herself in the hippie filled Haight Ashbury neighborhood. She met up with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (later of the legendary San Francisco rock outfit Jefferson Airplane) and the pair recorded a suite of songs with Jorma’s wife, Margareta, providing the beat on her typewriter. These tracks – including blues standards like “Trouble in Mind” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” – would later surface as the infamous “Typewriter Tapes” bootleg. Continue reading Janis Joplin 10/1970

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Jimi Hendrix 9/1970

jimi-hendrix-1September 18, 1970 – James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix, was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942 and became without discussion one of the top electric guitarists Rock and Roll has produced.

As his mainstream career spanned roughly only 4 years, something can be said for the fact that he was the right man at the right time and in the right place in the socio-cultural explosion of the late 1960s.
His early sixties performing career consisted mostly of the chitlin’ circuit between Clarksville and Nashville in Eastern Tennessee, backing start-ups like Little Richard, Curtis Knight, Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke and even an occasional gig with Roy Orbison. Early 1964 he found himself in the New York Village scene, where his girlfriend Faye got him a number of introductions, one of which got him to play with the Isley Brothers Band. His big break however came in a round about way, when he made it over to London, where he bedazzled the blues rock scene led by the then Superstars likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and became an overnight success. Continue reading Jimi Hendrix 9/1970

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Brian Jones 7/1969

brian-jones-with-mick-jaggerJuly 3, 1969 – Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones (Rolling Stones) was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England on 28 February 1942. An attack of croup at the age of four left him with asthma, which lasted for the rest of his life. His middle-class parents, Lewis Blount Jones and Louisa Beatrice Jones (née Simmonds) were of Welsh descent. Brian had two sisters: Pamela, who was born on 3 October 1943 and died on 14 October 1945 of leukemia; and Barbara, born on 22 August 1946.

Both Jones’s parents were interested in music: his mother Louisa was a piano teacher, and in addition to his job as an aeronautical engineer, Lewis Jones played piano and organ and led the choir at the local church.

In 1957 Jones first heard Cannonball Adderley’s music, which inspired his interest in jazz. Jones persuaded his parents to buy him a saxophone, and two years later his parents gave him his first acoustic guitar as a 17th birthday present. Continue reading Brian Jones 7/1969