martes, 27 de abril de 2010


The Stratoblasters

One sultry July day in 1986 during the mandatory sound check that preceded every evening's performance, two members of the band that backed stellar guitarist Bugs Henderson started what would prove to be a very significant conversation. As they stood alone, on stage, they mused about the idea of playing selected old tunes, in venues close to home, both elements chosen for the sheer comfort and "fun" factor involved - as opposed to usual monetary or business motivations. Unforeseen by all, the stage of Mississippi Nights in St. Louis had become the scene of birth of the spark that would eventually ignite the band named the Stratoblasters.
The whole idea seemed a little impractical at the time, but the notion would never completely fade.
Later in '86, when opening for Delbert McClinton at Redux in Dallas, the back-stage banter again turned to this artistic fantasy. At the very moment that it dawned on guitarist Jimmy Wallace and bassist Bobby Chitwood that they would indeed require a lead vocalist if this ethereal concept was ever to actually take shape. An old friend (and vocalist extraordinaire) named John O'Daniel bounded back-stage and approached the two. After the usual greeting rituals, Jimmy and Bobby looked at each other, nodded, and the nucleus of the Stratoblasters was solid.
Jimmy's old friends and guitarists Jerry Don Branch and Matt Tapp were offered the opportunity to join the party, and without hesitation signed on. The idea was a three guitar band that anteed up the energy necessary to blast out vintage R&B, soul and any other genre of interest - to the point of extreme personal satisfaction of the band members. This, as it worked out, was very easy to achieve. The question was, would anyone else care?
In September of 1986, the Stratoblasters performed their very first set at Redux in Dallas, Texas. It should be mentioned that as the namesake goes, this was not absolutely correct. Bugs Henderson had actually coined the moniker by naming his band "Bugs Henderson and the Stratoblasters" some time previously. After guitarists Jimmy Wallace and Mike (Junior Clark) left, he renamed the group "Bugs Henderson And The Shuffle Kings", the very name they are internationally known by today. Bugs, very graciously, consented to allow Jimmy and company to retain the Stratoblasters name as they would be carrying on the tradition of the three guitar entity.
Well then back to the ultimate question. Who would care? On September 6th, 1986 the new Stratoblasters played to a small audience of friends and family. For the band members it was simply electrifying. The audience was small but contagiously receptive. Through that September and October the band played at Redux sharing with Bugs his bass player Bobby Chitwood and drummer, Mike Gage.
The group had an absolute blast (no pun intended) being allowed to perform on stage in the very manner that they had dreamed of for so long. Working for the door on a weeknight, they consistently made enough nightly proceeds to cover the cost of Mexican food for all, at the close-by Guadalajara restaurant after the gig.
Then a puzzling thing happened. The fun and excitement that each and every band member felt, each and every song - leapt off the stage and permeated the audience thus beginning a reciprocal relationship that honestly exists to this very day.
Through the years a small fellowship of Stratoblaster members have evolved fulfilling the needs of the band, as other members must take their temporary leave. Very soon Bugs became more internationally recognized and the travel requirements of Bobby Chitwood and Mike Gage would not allow them to participate. Again, history came to the rescue. Admired drummer and old friend Mike Arnold had actually been the manager of Redux in Dallas (hiring the band for their first gig) and naturally moved into the position of percussionist for the band. Randy Cates, an accomplished bass player and old friend, came on-board to aptly complete the Stratoblaster rhythm section. Mike (Junior) Clark, an original member of the Bugs Henderson band, replaced Jerry Don Branch in 1990. Joe Lee, Shawn Ferris and James Anderson all played with the band and made their very special contributions. Many of the members of this finite fellowship eventually left the band at certain points through the years, only to return - as the band's needs and their own needs again fell into sync. The natural artistic evolution continued.
On June 8th, 1993, the Stratoblasters made this, their second recording. As before, the album was recorded live - as it was felt by all that this was the only way to begin to capture the energy and excitement of the band. The recording was made at Fatso's in Arlington, Texas, a popular nightclub and one of the band's favorite spots. It was a night to remember. Enjoy!

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario