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Artist: Stoney Curtis

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There is no dearth of great guitar players in Los Angeles, everyone knows that. Go see Stoney Curtis. Guitar players, who can play a million notes per second, spew out wa-was, bend the strings and play long sorrowful soulful sounds abound in the Southern California blues pub scene. Go see Stoney Curtis. He is the best of the best, a virtuoso, a guitar man with a gift. And when you add Charlie Glover on the drums and Colby Smith on bass, you get the best sound anywhere. Ernie Isley, a good friend of mine, came to the Classroom in Northridge a year or so ago to check out Stoney Curtis. Jimi Hendrix had lived with the Isley Brothers for several months in the mid-1960s when Ernie was 17 so he should know something about great guitar players. Ernie told me that night that Curtis would give the major guitar players of our time a run for their money on the big stage – that’s a tribute. Stoney Curtis, was born on the south side of Chicago in an area known as Riverdale. His father worked in the steel mill but died when Curtis was four. His mother ran a credit union to support Curtis and his sister and two brothers. Curtis started playing the guitar at around 12 trying to copy his favourite band – KISS of all things. He took a few lessons in between White Sox baseball games and started playing in clubs in Chicago at around 15. Mostly though he taught himself, playing as he felt. The defining moment in his life he told me was the hot June afternoon as a teenager that he went to the Chicago Blues Festival and saw B.B. King. He decided at that moment that blues was in his bones. You will agree when you hear Curtis play the greatest version of Thrill Is Gone out today.

Curtis moved to Los Angeles after he finished at Thornton High School to get away and break away. He rented a room, found a job and just kept playing. His first love has always been to showcase the spirit of Robin Trower and Jimi Hendrix and although he does not seek the comparison, Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Curtis started the Stoney Curtis Band in 1994 with Charlie Glover on drums and Eric Mitchell. It is a blues-rock sound, big guitar with dazzling solos, ton of drums and driving bass. I guarantee that when you hear Foxy Lady and Voodoo Chile you will marvel at what it must have been like to hear those classics live. I have heard people say that Curtis and Charlie sound like they were born playing together. Sometimes their performance is so "on" you can see them smiling at each other on stage – the same smile, same thought – this is great, we are there now. Charlie was born and raised in South Central LA. I met his mother, Helene, at the Joint in West LA one night. She told me Charlie played the drums set up in the living room since he was ten. Bassist, Colby Smith has been with the band for about three years. He rightly brags about the rhythm section of the Stoney Curtis Band being the best in Southern California.

The name Stoney Curtis came from the cartoon character of the same name on the Flintstones. The early version of the band played mostly blues covers in the San Fernando Valley and West LA. For a while they had a singer with a big voice but soon cut it back to a "power trio" with Curtis doing the singing. After a couple of demo tapes, made in the garage sort of thing, the band finished its first studio CD. The CD has – Curtis originals including the pounding Last Train to Chicago and Evil Woman. "Evel woman, you’re messing with my head". The CD also has blues covers Straighten It Out by Latimore, Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues and the old blues standby favourite Sweet Home Chicago. It was recorded in part at Doghouse Recording Studios in Burbank owned by Alan Mirikatani aka B.B. Chung King. Check it out. 

Coco Montoya came to the Classroom on jam night last year at the suggestion of Alan Mirikatani to check out Curtis. Coco shared the stage with Curtis for a while to the unbelievable delight of the crowd. Certainly in my mind the performance showed that Curtis is the equal of the best. Curtis still lists that night as one of the highlights of his career so far.

You can see the Stoney Curtis Band all around. They are playing at the Sand Dollar in Las Vegas every month. They recorded their new double live CD "Alive & Unleashed" at the Classroom that is receiving rave reviews worldwide.  SCB has also been voted Best Blues Rock Band of the year in 1999 and 2001 along with Stoney receiving the award for Best Guitarist of the Year in 2000.  With incredible original music and jaw-dropping renditions of classics, you must see and hear and experience the Stoney Curtis Band.

Let me know what you think. Say hi if you see me out and about.