THE GARY KENDALL BAND
It all started in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the northern end of Highway 61. Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan show in 1956 and Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Sunnyland Slim on the CBC documentary "The Blues" in 1962. Scanning the dial of an old radio, late at night in a basement bedroom, looking for exotic music from the south. This is how Gary Kendall`s journey into the world of the Blues began. When other teenage boys his age went to weekend dances to meet girls, he stood off to the side watching the musicians on the bandstand. At age sixteen, six months after acquiring his first pawn shop electric guitar, he jumped at the chance to join a band called The Countdowns and play bass. None of the other young musicians wanted the bass players job, Gary just wanted to be in a band. After making $20 at a Saturday night dance playing rock n roll, his future occupation was secured. When the mid-sixties brought the British Invasion, it was The Rolling Stones that caught his ear and their music encouraged him to dig a little deeper and buy records by artists who were considered to be the first generation of the Blues. He joined a band called The Shameful Minority with long time friend, guitarist David Smyth. The record collection now included Muddy Waters, Howlin` Wolf, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Little Walter, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and many more.
In 1968, Gary Kendall moved to Toronto, the city he calls home. By 1971, with The James Hartley Band, he was playing Grossman`s Tavern and other blues bars in the Spadina/College neighborhood where he lived. The Downchild Blues Band was at the top of the local scene and he quickly became friends with all the band members, brought together by a mutual respect for the music. In 1974, playing in a basement bar beneath the legendary Colonial Tavern with his own band, Dollars, a friendship was struck with Muddy Waters guitarist, Bob Margolin. Bob arranged for him to sit in with Muddy and the band.
The privilege to play with one of his heros is something that has stayed with him to this very day. A few months later the basement bar brought in Sunnyland Slim, an artist first seen on television with Muddy Waters back in 1962. He was thrilled when his band was asked to back up Sunnyland and Bonnie Bombshell for a week.
In late 1979 the opportunity to join The Downchild Blues Band became a reality. The chance to play with old friends in one of his favorite bands seemed like a dream come true. He stayed until 1983, recording four albums, "We Deliver", "Road Fever", Blood Run Hot" and "But, I`m On The Guest List". From the mid-80`s to the early 90`s, Gary stayed off the road, holding down a house gig at Toronto`s, Black Swan Tavern with The Kendall Wall Blues Band. A group he formed with ex-Downchild drummer Cash Wall and harmonica ace Jeff Baker. Teddy Leonard, who later became part of the multi-talented, award winning band Fathead was one of KWBB`s guitarists. They released two independent, cassette only recordings, "The Kendall Wall Blues Band" and the live "One Take". Their Saturday Afternoon Blues Matinee`s at the Swan became legendary.
In those days most touring acts came to Toronto for a week to play at Albert`s Hall and most of the artists came over to the Swan to do a guest spot on Saturday afternoon. That gave KWBB the opportunity to play with A. C. Reed, Pinetop Perkins, Eddy Clearwater, Tinsley Ellis, Little Willie Littlefield, Chubby Carrier, Bernard Allison, Eddie C. Campbell, Lefty Dizz, Eddie "Clean Head" Vinson, Eddie Shaw, Carey Bell, Fenton Robinson and many more. This also led to KWBB being used by venues like Albert`s Hall and The Bermuda Onion as a back up band for Luther"Guitar Junior" Johnson, Snooky Pryor, Big Jay McNealey, Honkin` Joe Houston, Phil Guy and Cash McCall.
In 1995, Gary Kendall returned to his position as bass player with Canadian music institution, The Downchild Blues Band. Since then, they`ve released "Lucky 13", "Come On In" and the newest, "Live At The Palais Royale". When not on the road with Downchild, he fills his insatiable need to play the blues by working under his own name as The Gary Kendall Band.
The Gary Kendall Band features Shakey Dagenais piano/organ, guitarist Darran Poole and on drums, Mike Fitzpatrick or Tyler Burgess. Fitzpatrick is Downchild`s current drummer and Burgess is alumni of both Downchild and Stompin` Tom Conners.
Gary Kendall received The Toronto Blues Society`s "Blues With A Feeling Award" in 1993 and has seven nominations for The Maple Blues Award`s "Bassist Of The Year". He won the MBA`s "Bassist Of The Year" in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002. In 2002 his home town of Thunder Bay honored him with the "Thunder Blues Award" and The Thunder Bay Blues Society`s "Keeping The Blues Alive Award".
In recent years Gary has worked on recordings by Chris Murphy(Blowin` The Horn and I`m A Happy Guy), Little Bobby & The Jumpstarts(Tickets In The Glove Box), Maria Aurigema(Take Me) and Peter Schmidt and Shane Scott`s(Blues Approved). Since 1999 he has held down the prestigious position as Musical Director/Band Leader at the annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony. In November 2004, Gary Kendall released his first long awaited solo recording "Dusty & Pearl" on his own 47 Records label. Whenever and wherever you find him, G.K. will be "layin` down a solid groove and playin` the blues".
CONTACT: BLUESTIME PRODUCTIONS 416-467-1453
1 We`ll Be Allright
2 Worn In
3 Spread The Love
4 All Dressed Up
5 Don`t Be Sad
6 Sumkinda Sumthin
7 Bluesona Slonite
8 Savin` It Up For You
9 Lucky At Love
10 Night Creeper
11 You Can`t Be Lucky All the Time
12 Grindin` Bump
13 Thanks Alot