May 23, 2011

Perry and the Pumpers

Perry and the PumpersThe Pumpers are a blues band based out of Eastern Iowa and includes multiple members of the Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. Collectively the Pumpers have over 170 years of professional experience, most of that playing the blues the right way – classic Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans blues and rock n roll.

Perry Welsch – harp/vocals

Perry’s love of the blues started at an early age in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he was born. As a young man working at Iowa Steel and Iron Works in the daytime and played the blues joints at night. His earliest influences include Jimmy Reed, Bobby Blue Bland, Freddie King, Fats Domino and most importantly Ray Charles. After a few years of this, Perry moved to San Francisco with fellow blues man Stephen Miller of Linn County fame. After moving to San Francisco, he met Elvin Bishop and became his road manager. He eventually worked his way into the group as a background vocalist and harp player. Perry recorded with Elvin on several albums and a single called “So Fine” with The Pointer Sisters. They played the Fillmore Auditorium many times and were on the bill for the Last Days of Fillmore, later made into a 3 disc album and film. After a few years with Elvin, he and Stephen Miller went back to the midwest to form the new Linn County Band. Miller eventually left for Florida and was replaced on keyboards by Tom T-bone Giblin. Linn County attracted quite a following for years in the midwest. Eventually Perry moved back to San Francisco and started his own group, Perry and the Pumpers who played the SF club scene for years. Perry and the Pumpers was like a blues school for Bay Area musicians including Phil Aaberg, Michael “Fly” Brooks, Johnny “V” Vernazza and many others. Perry played with or shared the stage with every blues and rock’ n roll musician in the Bay Area including Boz Scaggs, Big Joe Turner, Albert Collins, Mary Wells and the list goes on. Perry moved to Nashville in 1994 and assembled piece by piece, the right blend of musicians to back his soulful vocals and tough harmonic style where he brought his rendering of blues classics and originals to the forefront of the Nashville music scene. His band, “The Mighty Johnsons” were nominated for Nashville’s best blues band after the release of the CD “She’s Got that Stuff” (Super 88 record label). Perry eventually semi-retired from the music scene until coaxed back to the Iowa for a reunion concert of the Linn County Band. At the point, he reunited with his “blues son”, T-Bone Giblin and together with Dave Bader, Bryce Janey and the Chief (Steve Hayes), formed this new version of the Pumpers. Perry was inducted in the Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Tom Giblin – keyboards

Tom’s early musical influences came from the two local AM stations in Cedar Rapids, IA. He was into the Pop scene, but was also influenced by his older sister’s musical taste. She passed on the sounds of Motown and R&B such as The Supremes and The Box Tops. TBone formed his first band with neighborhood and school friends in his freshman year of high school. One night, he was approached by two “older guys.” They liked his style of playing organ so much they invited him to sit in with them on their weekend show at The Mirror Lounge. “I think it paid $35 a night. Pretty good bucks for back then,” adds Gibby. Those two “older guys” were local favorites Dennis “Daddy-O” McMurrin and Ron DeWitte and their group was called Mercy. He stayed with that for about a year and a half. Shortly after high school, Iowa’s own favorite son of the Blues, keyboardist Steve Miller, left the very successful and popular blues band, The Linn County Band to join the Southern-rock group Grinderswitch. Creating a vacancy on the keys, Tom was invited to fill it. “That was the first Blues band I played with,” Tom says and it was where he also met Perry Welsh. He stayed with that band close to two and a half years. Tom was getting antsy and was ready for a change. January of ’78 found Tom moving to San Francisco. “I heard that was a real cool place so I thought I’d give it a try,” Tom says. “While out there, I hitched up with a couple bands, did the coffee house circuit and such. While out there, I got a call from Milwaukee Bluesman Bryan Lee. He got my number somehow through the grapevine and invited me to play with him. I said, ‘Sure!’ It would bring me closer to home for one thing.” Playing with the likes of Freddie King and other rockin’ Blues bands, this was something Tom could identify with for awhile. Then one day, he got a phone call from Blues legend Mighty Joe Young of Chicago. “He got my number from the old sax player with The Linn County Band and asked me if I wanted to move to Chicago and play the Blues. I said, ‘Sure,’ and off I went,” says Gibby. “I played with Joe for about a year and a half, and boy, did I do a lot! I took my first trip to Europe, had a cameo shot in the movie Thief starring James Caan and Tuesday Weld [also Willie Nelson and James Belushi]. The Mighty Joe Young band played in a bar scene in the movie. I played with Joe at one of the very first Chicago Blues Music Fests. It was great!” Time ran its course with that gig and it was time once again to try something new. Tom looked up friend Bryan Lee from Milwaukee again, and played midwestern gigs for about 6 months, but kept his residence in Chicago. Gibby moved back to San Francisco when he got a call from his buddy Walter Shufflesworth, the old drummer for The Linn County Band. He’d been working with Charlie Musselwhite as his back-up band, The Dynatones. The band was going on their own and Walter wanted to know if Gibby wanted to join up. This was right up Tom’s alley, and during the period Tom played with the great Motown/R&B/Soul band, things were going their way. Tom remembers, “It was about a year and a half later when I got a call from one of my old Chicago buddies, Lonnie Brooks. Back when I lived in Chicago and played with Mighty Joe Young, Lonnie and I hit it off pretty well. We’d hang out and shoot pool together and we became pretty good friends. When Lon- nie had an opening come up for a keyboardist in his band, he offered me the gig and I couldn’t refuse. I played with Lonnie from January of ’84 till November of ’97, and what a ride it was!” Over a 35 year professional career, Tom has a long and storied career as side man to many blues men and women including Elvin Bishop, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks, Bo Diddely, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Allison, Big Joe Turner, AC Reed, The Dynatones, Bryan Lee, Kenny Neal, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Mary Wells, Koko Taylor and has done over 20 European Tours, played in Brazil, Japan, Australia and been on tours with BB King, Buddy Guy, George Thorougood and many others. He’s appeared in 5 films and recorded on over 20 CDs. T-Bone was inducted in the Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2005.

Bryce Janey – guitar/vocals

Bryce Janey began his career in his hometown of Marion, Iowa at the age of 13 in a blues-rock trio called The Janey’s. With his mother on drums and his father BillyLee on guitar, The Janey’s played regionally and nationally from Chicago to Los Angeles. They shared the stage with over 50 national acts, including Buddy Guy, Delbert McClinton, Blues Traveler, Johnny Winter and Koko Taylor. While still in The Janey’s, Bryce began a solo career and released his first CD, Practice What You Preach, in 1996 on an Indi label in Iowa called Hot Fudge Music. This release was later picked up by an independent label Cold Wind Records in Minneapolis, MN where Bryce began to showcase in local clubs like Whiskey Junction and BrewBakers in St. Paul. Two more CDs were released, Live at Checker’s Tavern and Sweet Baby Jane. These early CDs have gained national attention and five stars from Blues Access magazine (1998) and great reviews from Blues Revue and Living Blues, among others. In 1999, Bryce signed with San Diego music attorney, Rod Underhill and became the number one artist on later that year. In 2001, Bryce released his next CD, Bare Wire, and began touring again with his own band and with Iowa’s own The Blue Band. Bryce played festivals and successful venues like B.B. King’s in Memphis and Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. The Blue Band also played venues in Minneapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, Denver and Keystone. In early 2003, Bryce released Live At JM O’Malley’s. That same year, he also released The Janey’s with his father, Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, BillyLee Janey. He performed with The Janey’s father/son team-up, as well as with his own band. Bryce’s influences include many artists ranging from Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix, Cream and The Band, in addition to many blues artists—Chicago style to Old Delta Robert Johnson. He also has a great love for country and folk music and tries to combine these into a melting pot genre of his own version of rock ‘n’ roll, county, and blues with a touch of acoustic ballads and R&B. His voice likens Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and his guitar playing has been compared with Robert Cray and Buddy Guy. The last two years Bryce has been living, writing and performing in eastern Iowa. His new songs were recorded at Catamount Studios in Cedar Falls, Iowa with gold record producer of Stone Sour, Tom Tatman. Heal the Night is quite simply his best work. All the years of performing, traveling and hard times come out at you! With a soulful voice and passionate lyrics, this reveals the truth of Bryce Janey as a singer, songwriter and musician—An Artist! As they said in Blues Revue, “all the elements that could make Bryce Janey a major blues star are in place!” Bryce was inducted into the Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 for his work with the Blue Band.

Troy Harper – drums

The Marion, Iowa born professional percussionist-bassist, Troy has performed in various eastern Iowa blues and rock bands for the past twenty years. He first began his musical career as a part-time percussionist and bassist at the age of fifteen performing with the blues rock family trio, The Janeys, opening for various national blues artists such as Pat Travers, Blues Traveler, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, & Elvin Bishop. Troy drifted out of The Janeys after a few years while continuing to nurture his musical talents performing drums and bass with many of the most popular eastern Iowa rock artists including The Meerkats, Craig Erickson, Flat Cat, Nite Moves, Dennis McMurrin, and The O’Connell Brothers. In 1994, Troy formed the rock trio Sky Pilot (a direct homage to the Eric Burdon & The Animals hit) with guitarist, James Mercer and percussionist, Scott Waybill. Compiling their song selections from original material to blues and rock covers, Sky Pilot performed for various gigs around eastern Iowa for the next two years until in 1996 Sky Pilot wrote, recorded, and released their ambitious self-titled debut receiving enthusiastic critical reviews. In 2001, Sky Pilot released their aplytitled follow-up, Eleven Live excellently recorded live at Cocktails & Company in Cedar Rapids, capturing the collective trio in raw form performing their own expanded hydrid covers of heavier rock & roll including some originals as well. Later that year, Harper formed the side-project duo, Shakey Feet with local blues artist, Merrill J. Miller. 2003 saw Harper continuing his early classic rock aspirations when he formed the cover band, Triple Shot with guitarist-vocalist, Tom Bruner (Me & Rosie B). Summer 2006 Troy was recruited as the permanant bassist for the long-time Iowa rock band ensemble, Justin Case & also formed the Iowa jam band supergroup, The Flying Carp with Craig Erickson, Dave Bader, and Tom ‘T-Bone’ Giblin. With the added challenge of playing all the instruments himself, Troy wrote, produced, recorded, and distributed his first self-titled solo EP to various indie labels earlier this fall. In late 2006, Justin Case went on an indefinite hiatus and Troy formed a side project band, 24/7 with members from the group. In mid 2008, Troy was recruited as the permanent drummer for the band, Interfear concentrating on a variety of hard rock covers. Although recording as a solo artist and performing with a variety of Iowa’s finest rock groups may seem like quite the workload, Troy maintains that the decade-strong trio of Sky Pilot is still his permanant full time gig and will continue to deliver the best American classic rock & roll for years to come.

Dave Bader – bass/vocals

Dave grew up in a musical family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During his teen years, he did some roadie work with a local band that included T-Bone Giblin. Soon after high school and college he relocated to San Francisco where he joined his first band, The Spliff Kings which included his brother Robert “Hans” Bader. After several years in California, he returned home to Iowa to raise a family and after years of low activity he joined up with others in Iowa to form the Shed Heads which evolved into Flat Cat. Flat Cat had a good ten year run as a fun time party band with a wide repertoire including many originals written by Dave. It was during the Flat Cat years that Bader hooked back up with T-Bone Giblin which included the release of Flat Cat’s “Bring A Friend” and “The Original Flat Cat” CDs and the release of T-Bone’s solo CD “Choice Cuts”. Bader has also been part of several other bands including Flying Carp, Mid Wife Crises, Trailer Park Romeos, Pawned Scum and The Bader Brothers Band, which consists of brothers Dave, Mike, Tom and Robert “Hans” Bader. He recorded with and did several tours with his brother Mike. Over the years he has played behind and with a wide variety of local and national names including Ron DeWitte, Dennis McMurrin, Kevin BF Burt, Craig Erickson, Charlie Morgan, Merrill J Miller, Carole King, Bryce Janey, Michael Hill, Perry Welsh and many others. Dave has been deeply influenced by Howlin Wolf, Memphis Soul, New Orleans back beat, Old School Country and the San Francisco music scene.• Influences: Chicago Blues, Memphis Soul, New Orleans Rock n Roll, Iowa Country Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino, Bobby Bland, William Shatner, Allen Toussaint, Wilson Pickett.