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Blues Streak Band

Blue Streak BandThe members of Blue Streak spent a few minutes with STLBlues...here's thier story!

STLBlues - Are you all from St. Louis?

Rich - All of us are native St. Louisans except Larry. I was born in Rosiclare, IL.

Larry - I moved to Missouri in 1984, but lived in Southern Illinois for most of my life, so I still considered St. Louis the closest "city".

STLBlues - What are your favorite musical instruments?

Rich - I'm formally trained in several valve instruments ... trumpet, coronet, baritone ... that sort of stuff, but I have settled into vocals, harmonica and congas, since it's hard to play trumpet and sing at the same time! (laughter from all).

Al - guitar, man. It's what I've always played and always wanted to play. It just allows so much expression.

Tom - Yea, I have to agree with Al. I'm a guitarist. I started much later in life than Al did, but I got so involved in it that I build my own now.

Larry - I've really gotten into bass guitar, but I like keyboards, too. I write on guitar and keyboard.

Rex - Drums, naturally. I really like keeping the beat going and laying down a solid thump.

STLBlues - Who influenced you musically?

Rich - Oh, wow! Lot's of folks. If it's good music, I like it.

Al - I really like listening to the Britich blues guys like Clapton, but I like Warren Haynes and Stevie Ray Vaughan, too. Locally, I would have to say that Chuck Berry had a big influence on all of us, man, directly or indirectly.

Larry - Exactly. There is so much history here in St. Louis in Blues, R&B, and Rock and Roll. But, I'd have to say that my first influence was my family. My Mom plays piano and her brother had a Stratacaster and an Oahu amp .. with 2 6X9 speakers and tremelo!! ... in 1962!! Man, I wanted that rig. But February 9th, 1964, I watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and decided I wanted to be Paul McCartney.

(Lots of laughs around the room)

Tom - How about some blues guys like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, or Led Belly?

Rex - or Robert Johnson and T Bone Walker. They were all great and, as far as St. Louis influences, I'd have to add Ike and Tina Turner.

STLBlues - Was there a lot of music around the house when you were growing up?

Larry - My Mom, as I said before. She doesn't read music, but she sure can play piano. And I had several uncles who played guitar.

Tom - My father-in-law was a great guitar player and he was a huge influence on me.

Al - Influences growing up were huge, man. Those were the guys I mentioned earlier. John Mayall's band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Jimi Hendrix ...

Larry - Oh, yea! Hendrix was huge, along with Clapton, and Carlos Santana.

Rex - I like a lot of the jazz/blues artists like KoKo Taylor and Billy Holiday.

Rich - It's interesting that the big "blues" influence in my life was Stan Reynaud. He introduced me to the blues when we were just pups in high school.

STLBlues - Who is Stan?

Rich - Stan was my best friend and our keyboard player. We lost Stan to a fatal disease last September and we sure do miss him.

All - That's for sure. No doubt about it.

STLBlues - Who do you like to listen to?

Tom - There are so many of them -- and I work on a lot of their guitars, so I have to be careful. (laughs) Rob Garland and the Blue Monks are a favorite ... Bennie Smith .... Soulard Blues Band.

Al - Wow, man. Oliver Sain was great. Too bad he's not here anymore. I like Johnnie Johnson and Bennie Smith, too.

Larry - Those are all great ones, but I'm kinda like Rich. If it's good, I like it.

Rex and Rich - Same here.

STLBlues - Have you done any recordings?

Rich - We have recorded a CD that was primarily for demo purposes ... you know ... to help us get gigs. But we are working on a CD now that will be about half blues covers and half original material.

Larry - Yea, we've put together some great tunes that run from old Robert Johnson styles to Bo Diddly riffs.

Al - There's gonna be something for everyone on this one, man.

Tom - The cool thing is, as we began to work on this CD .. you know, writing and developing ... we started coming up with so much material that we are actually already working on our NEXT CD!!

Rex - This new CD will be coming out in March or April ... I think ... if we can get it produced in time. The next one will probably be late fall or early winter. Maybe in time for your Christmas shopping.

STLBlues - Describe your favorite musical moment!

Rich - Anytime everything is clicking and people are jumping up to dance or showing their enjoyment. That just fires me up!

Tom - Absolutely! When the band is ticking and everything is right in the pocket .... there's nothing better.

STLBlues - What's your favorite gig?

Tom - So far, we've really made a home at Backstreet Jazz and Blues. It's a great room and they have a great sound system.

Rich - The crowds there are fantastic. it's a good location and the acoustics work really well for our sound.

Al - It's great, man, 'cause you can get your hair parted in the first few rows of tables, if that's what you're in to, or you can sit in the back and have a normal conversation.

Larry - Having said all that ... we are working on some very cool venues right now. There are several places we are talking to about multiple shows

Rex - I think ... as far as favorite gigs go .... I'd have to say anytime we get to play some music. We just enjoy playing together.

All - True. You got that right.

STLBlues - describe your musical path

Tom - Novice to semi-novice?


Tom - Really it's like anyone else, except that I started much later in life than these other guys. I've gone from getting interested in how to play the guitar to building and customizing guitars.

Larry - Well, I don't build my own guitars ... I have Tom for that ... but my musical path began at 5 years old when I sang "America the Beautiful" for the Regional Parent Teacher Conferene. I was nervous but the applause hooked me! Most of this stuff is on our website so I won't drag you through it.

Rex - and believe me, he can talk your legs off about it!

(All laugh)

Rich - I think we all came up in that magical age of the British Invasion and saw it as a road to fame and fortune. Kinda' like some kids today look to pro sports as their ticket.

Larry - Yea, we went into music seeking fame and fortune and found famine and misfortune!


Rex - It's that old joke about a medium Pepperoni pizza and a drummer. Neither one can feed a family of four.

(more laughter)

Al - I think, now, we have become really good, tight musicians. It's unusual for us to get together and have someone suggest a song that we can't play right out of the box. It's cool, man. We have such an internalized musical catalog.

All - That's true. That's where we are now.

STLBlues - What are your musical goals?

Rich - I don't see us doing any stadium tours in 2004!


What I DO see is us having some very successful regional shows and some decent selling CDs.

Larry - I agree. I'd love to get to where we can fill up the Pageant.

Tom - Not just to have that many people coming to hear us, but to know that there are that many blues fans in St. Louis who would be interested in coming to a show of that size.

Al - I don't think we are that far from being able to do a venue of that size, man. The main thing is that we do a mix of blues, R&B and Classic Rock, so we have a broader appeal. All our stuff has a blues base, but we do a lot of tunes that cross to other genres.

Rex - I've done "the road". It's tough out there, but if you have a good band ... and good sponsorship, and by that I mean the money to sleep in hotels instead of the back of the van ... then it can be a lot of fun. That's what I'd like to see.

STLBlues - What do you think of the state of St. Louis Blues?

Rich -
It's getting better and stronger. I think blues is having a re-birth.

Al - A lot of the growth and some great talent is coming out.

Tom - I love it. There's some great entertainers here in St. Louis. We could have as good a "blues" reputation as Memphis, if we promoted it more.

Larry - You know, what I've noticed is that there are so many really good bands and a snoot load of average bands. A lot of the club owners figure they can get the average band on the cheap and aren't willing to pay for a really good band. The value of really good has been diluted by the average.

Rex - Yea, that's Larry's business side coming out ... but he's right. The scene could be truly amazing if more of the really good bands could play more places ...

Rich - Larger places ...

Rex - .. right! Larger venues so more people can enjoy the show.

Tom - It's interesting that we've had SRO audiences for most of the night every time we've played at Backstreet Jazz and Blues, since last June! That place holds a couple hundred people and we pack it out for most of the show.

Al - Yea, man. Good bands draw good crowds. We've broken their attendance records AND their bar receipts. That's what's important to club owners. I would also say that it's great that it's happening in West County.

Rich - That's a good point. There seems to be this "assumption" that the blues scene is all in Soulard or on Broadway. Fact is, there's a lot of great blues happening in West County ...

Larry - ... which is kinda' funny when you think about it! "Singing the Blues in Chesterfield"

(All laugh)

Rich - Hey, man. Like B.B. King said, "The blues ain't nothin' but a good man feelin' bad". That can happen in Ladue! I mean, maybe the coussant is slightly burned on the bottom at the Frontenac jail?

(more laughter)

STLBlues - You do have a point there. I've been to many great shows in the county that were really poorly attended. And these were national artists, just passing through! So it's great to see you bringing the Blues fan out. Backstreet Jazz & Blues is doing well, and the trend of Blues spreading out, not just a Soulard or South Broadway event, well it's great to see. Thanks for your time, and keep on playing the Blues!

All - Thanks, we plan too!

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