2018 Inductees

SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD

TOGETHER

BIRTH

SUBMYTION

THE ELDERS

JIM REARDON

MICHAEL WAGGONER

WHITTEN PELL

CHRIS FRITZ


SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD- Lawrence/Wichita, KS
SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD

 


Split Lip Rayfield - Lawrence/Wichita, KS
Acoustic power-trio Split Lip Rayfield (SLR) is a force to be reckoned with after 22 years of national touring and recording. The group is credited with helping to shape a new genre by blending elements of bluegrass, punk rock, hard rock, and country music into a unique and powerful sound. The band's iconic homemade gas tank bass, respectfully referred to as “The Stitchgiver”, is crafted from an automotive gas tank and fitted with a single weed eater line for the string. The band was formed after the Wichita and Lawrence musicians met in the Pecan Grove campground at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. SLR consists of Jeff Eaton (gas tank bass), Wayne Gottstine (mandolin, guitar), and Eric Mardis (banjo, guitar). They lost their charismatic guitarist and co-founder Kirk Rundstrom to cancer in 2007. The seemingly sparse combo is capable of producing a massive amount of sound. Audiences are amazed by the instrumental prowess and strong vocal harmonies on display at an SLR performance - their shows appeal to a diverse crowd, from blue-haired grandmas to blue-haired punk rock kids. While the band is known for its aggressive and speedy acoustic stylings, their performances are always a thoughtful mix of moods, tempos, and textures. Over years, SLR has shared stages and festivals with such greats as Reverend Horton Heat, Del McCoury, Primus, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams III, Roy Clark, and many, many more. The band has been through many trials and tribulations over the past 20+ years, but has always risen to rock the next crowd, leaving jaws agape, and bringin' the party!

TOGETHER - Lawrence, KS

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Together – Lawrence, KS
The band lineup was John O'Reagan - drums, Rod Mikinski - bass, Tom Rejba - vocals, percussion, Bill Lynch - vocals, guitar, keyboards, Bob Garrett - vocals, keyboards, and Terry Gerkovich - vocals, guitar, keyboards, and arranger. Together originated as a cover band in the mid 60's known as The Renegades. Literally practicing in basements and garages, they honed their sound and built their audiences playing clubs and parties in Kansas and Missouri. Starting with R&B and Surf music, through the Beatles and Rolling Stones, they became a popular attraction, developing a solid, loyal following. It was a golden era for music, but a tough time for bands, with few gigs available if you didn’t do the right cover songs. In the late 60's after adding Bill Lynch and John O'Reagan, they changed their name to Together. They also changed their sound. With the addition of Bill and John, the band grew artistically, developing a unique identity that included original music. Together soon developed into a very powerful live band. They were savvy in finding crowd pleasing offerings, while also exploring lesser known material and bringing their audience along with them. It all happened during a musical era rich in variety and experimentation. Opening for Vanilla Fudge at Memorial Hall in KC, KS Together was quickly off to the races. Being part of the bill at Municipal Auditorium in June of ‘69 with the Steve Miller Band and Strawberry Alarm Clock was another major step forward for the new band. Coming back to Memorial Hall in late '69 to open for Johnny Winter topped off an amazing first year. Throughout the early 70's, Together continued playing major gigs at venues in Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita, Tulsa, and Omaha. Opening act spots with Canned Heat and The Tokens were highlights, plus playing for 8,000 people at an anti-war rally in front of Allen Field house in 1970, and for 5,000 people at Veishea Day in Ames, Iowa. Memorable shows at colleges, clubs, schools and concerts over a five-state area proved their commitment to a mission of quality live performance.

BIRTH - Dodge City, KS

BIRTH


Birth - Dodge City, KS
Birth was formed in 1967. A name suggesting the creation of something was decided on in the midst of the psychedelic era by four friends who had grown up together almost from the cradle in Dodge City KS, and have continued to play together for over 50 years. Once they'd seen The Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” they were never the same. Putting a band together was the next step and with time, determination and help from parents and friends, they began playing school dances, VFW, Elks Clubs, Church dances, proms, parties, picnics, school lyceums, and later on in local clubs as well as hosting their own dances by renting local venues. In Fifth grade, their early teens, when they started performing together, the same four friends, now, have all reached their sixties and still continue playing for their fans, friends and family. They are: Bill Warshaw, Dodge City KS, Drums and Percussion, Chris Cave, Dallas TX, Keyboards, Harmonica & Vocals, Jonathan Jambor, Colorado Springs, CO, Fender Bass & Vocals, and Lewis Mock, Colorado Springs CO, Lead Guitar & Vocals. Playing together for a lifetime, this little garage band from Dodge City still brings people together for great times and great memories.

Lewis Mock's Induction Speech on 04/14/2018:

"Hello, I'm Lewis Mock, the lead guitarist for "Birth".  Wow!  The KMHOF Induction ceremony 2018!
Who would have thought that more than 50 years after we played our first 'real' gig in front of a bunch of sleepy World War 1 veterans at the Fort Dodge Veteran's Home that we would be standing on this historical stage playing some of the same songs we played at that gig?!!

I'm honestly not sure how this happened but we are extremely grateful to our friends and fans for putting us here!

Birth, The Band, was just four precocious kids trying to keep themselves amused in a small town in southwest Kansas where the 'smell of money' was a part of daily life.  Always together, we played the music that we loved.  That's it.  No dreams of stardom.  Just the music.  Unlike other rock musicians, we were not 'raised by wolves'.  We were raised by the "Cleavers".

I'm proud of the music we played.  I'm glad it made a lot of kids happy and annoyed a lot of adults.  But, I am most proud of these three wonderful men, my brothers from different mothers, Jonathan Jambor, Christopher Cave, and Bill Warshaw.

Now Bill Warshaw has kept this band together all of these years.  Musicians know that the only way to get musicians to do anything is to have a gig lined up.  Bill would always find us a gig to play.  Bill, you have truly outdone yourself this time!!

Thank you, Bill, thank you friends and fans, and thanks to the Kansas Music Hall of Fame for this incredible honor!"


SUBMYTION - Hays, KS

SUBMYTION

Submytion – Hays, KS
Formed in Dorrance, KS when they were still in high school, Submytion relocated to Hays KS, where they studied at Ft. Hays State University. Submytion was known for high energy 80's covers, with powerful vocals, electrifying musicianship, catchy originals, and a riveting stage presence. Developing a large fan base over their 15 years together, they played shows as far west as Coronado Island CA, and as far east as Pisa, Italy. Submytion appeared with bands such as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Kansas, Night Ranger, The Romantics, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Extreme, LA Guns, and Dream Theater, plus many more. They were honored to be selected by the Department of Defense to perform for American troops stationed in Germany and Italy in 1989. Their first original 10 song CD “Finally” was released in 1992, when the band relocated to Kansas City. Rodell Records stated: “The tunes are hook-laden, full of infectious riffs, and the band never seems to run out of concentrated grooves”. The second CD “Heart of Darkness” followed in 1993, which included the song “Circles”, also featured on a nationally released compilation CD “Raw Cuts Encore”.

BILL LEE AWARD

THE ELDERS - Kansas City, KS

The Elders


The Elders - Kansas City, MO (Bill Lee Award)
This year's Bill Lee Award goes to The Elders. A Celtic Rock band, The Elders were formed by bass player Norm Dahlor and fiddler Brent Hoad after moving back to Kansas City from Los Angeles. Both had played with many other bands, but decided they wanted to play their own version of original Irish music. The band formed in 1998, but ramped up touring all over the country and Europe after lead singer Ian Byrne joined the band in 2002. Byrne, who is from Ireland, initiated taking hundreds of fans on tour to his homeland every year for the last 16 years. Norm Dahlor, Brent Hoad, and guitarist Steve Phillips have been with the band from the start. Kian Byrne on drums, guitar, bass and mandolin joined next, followed by fiddler Diana Ladio. (Kian Byrne is Ian's son, and was also born in Ireland). The band prides itself on original, from-the-heart, foot-stomping Celtic Rock songs. The band believes their eighth and latest CD “True” is one of their best.

BOB HAPGOOD AWARD

Jim Reardon - Topeka

JIM REARDON
Jim Reardon – Topeka, KS (Bob Hapgood Award)
In 1964, Jim became the first of several business associates linked with KMHoF inductee John Brown’s Mid-Continent Entertainment. Others include Mike Murfin, Gary “Igor” Crawford, and Steve Dahl (as a member of the Red Dogs) all KMHoF inductees. As college students, Brown booked the Fabulous Flippers and Reardon booked the Bluethings under the Mid-Continent Entertainment banner from their nearby home towns of Downs and Beloit, as well as from their school venues in Lawrence (KU) and Manhattan (KSU). The Mid-Continent bands benefited from Brown’s promotional genius, flooding the nighttime airwaves with appearance schedules over KOMA, a 50,000-watt radio station in Oklahoma City. For a time, KOMA was the ONLY nighttime rock station available to a vast portion of Middle America. Mid-Continent’s summer tours kept bands appearing nightly throughout KOMA’s 13 state listening area and the stable of Mid-Continent bands grew. In 1965, Brown, with assistance from Reardon, began booking some of the best known regional bands from the Red Dog Inn in Lawrence, including The Blue Things, The Fabulous Flippers, The Roaring Red Dogs, Spider, and the Crabs; The Rising Suns and The Young Raiders. Reardon moved to Hays in December of 1965, and soon opened The Dark Horse Inn, a renovated plumbing shop located near Ft. Hays State College. The Dark Horse drew some of the best regional bands of the era. In 1967, Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine called it “one of the Top 50 entertainment venues in America.” Some of the more memorable appearances at the Dark Horse included the Shangri-Las, Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts, and Mike Finnigan & The Serfs. From the Dark Horse, Jim and his booking partner, Dick Doll, launched a new agency: James N. Reardon and Associates. Soon a new series of KOMA advertised bands were touring the Mid-West: The Jerms, King Midas and the Muflers, The Fabulous Apostles, The Playmate Blues Band, The Showmen, and The Soul Express. All have all been inducted into the KMHoF. The Dark Horse Inn was sold in 1968. For a year, Reardon and Doll opened a second office in Denver where they represented a wider array of bands. They promoted a series of concerts and tours which included The Shangri-Las, The Turtles, Steppenwolf, The Cowsills, Sugarloaf, and Vanilla Fudge among others. While at Washburn University Law School from 1970-73, Jim continued to dabble in concert promotions with Denver promoter Joel Brandeis. Those included The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Vogues, Steely Dan, The Pot County Pork and Bean Band, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, and Flash Cadillac. His last promotion was the 1974 closed-circuit telecast of Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon Jump at Century Two in Wichita. Reardon went on to a career in law, politics, and investments. He's served on the KMHoF board, and is currently senior investment advisor at Legacy Financial Strategies LLC, a registered investment advisory firm in Topeka.

2018 DIRECTORS' AWARD

Michael Waggoner
Kansas City, MO

Whitten Pel
Kansas City, MO

Chris Fritz
Kansas City, MO

M_W
Michael Waggoner - Kansas City, MO (Directors' Award)
Michael moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis, MN in 1963. As a musician, he quickly established himself locally, playing in such notable bands as The Galaxies, The Outcasts, The Chontels, 19th Century Sound Affair, London Wood & Morningstar. During this time, he also worked in retail music for Jenkins, Corinth Baldwin Music, and Music World. In 1968, he formed the booking agency New Sound Projections. Still playing with Morningstar, they released a single on Lion Records in 1969 which reached the top 40 charts on stations in Kansas City and Columbia. Morningstar became the first band from KC invited to perform at Fillmore East, New York City in January of 1970. Michael produced his first concert November 7, 1969, with Led Zeppelin at Memorial Hall, selling out two shows. Other historic shows Michael produced at Memorial Hall during that time include the Joe Cocker, Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac concert in December of 1969, Delaney & Bonnie w/ Eric Clapton in February of 1970, and Black Sabbath in the spring of 1970. Michael went to work at Good Karma Productions in 1972, taking over management and booking for the legendary Cowtown Ballroom that fall, producing hundreds of shows there until the facility closed in 1974. After that, he continued producing concerts at Memorial Hall, the Midland Theatre, Municipal Auditorium, and Kemper Arena. From 1973 thru 1977, Michael produced major concerts at Arrowhead Stadium, starting with Elton John in 1973 and ending with Peter Frampton in 1977. These concerts featured the likes of Black Oak Arkansas, Foghat, Kansas, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Rufus, Todd Rundgren, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, Chicago, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Firefall, Jethro Tull, Styx, Rick Derringer, Steve Miller, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, and many more. In 1977, Michael left the concert business to concentrate on managing Morningstar, who had just signed with Columbia Records, putting out two albums. When Columbia didn’t resign them, Michael decided to leave the music business and start a career in radio, beginning in 1980 at KY-102, and then KKCI in 1983. Moving to Maine in the fall of 1985, Michael continued working in the radio business as an advertising salesperson, sales manager, and general manager and ended up in ownership of two stations in Maine. When those stations were sold in 2007, he moved to Vermont, continuing in the radio business through 2016. While being in radio station ownership in Maine, they released 3 CD's of local original music with the proceeds going to a different charity each year. These were titled ‘Homegrown’ #1, #2 and #3. Michael continued this practice in Vermont with two CD’s titled the Best of Area Code 802, the proceeds going to help an organization called Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. Michael continued playing music when he moved to New England in 1985. He still owns and plays a 1974 Mossman acoustic guitar, made and purchased in the state of Kansas. Note: Michael received an award certificate from Lamar Hunt, owner of the Chiefs, for Superstar Sunday in 1977 that drew 57,547 people, which he understands is the still record for the largest concert crowd ever at Arrowhead, and probably in the KC area.

WHITTEN PELL

Whitten Pell - Kansas City, MO (Directors' Award)
In 1969, Whitten started out his career promoting the single “Circles”, which was the first record by 2005 KMHoF inductee Chesmann Square. The 45, with its iconic picture sleeve, is now an international collector's item. Chesmann Square then backed him in opening a talent agency, North Country Fair, which also included as clients KMHoF inductees Stone Wall and Beth Scalet, plus The Factory. About that time, Whit was left with 9½ digits, something fellow inductee Chris Fritz can expand upon. In 1976, Whit sold NCF to fellow agents Dave Maygers and Tim Nass. Whit recalls the sale price was something like $100 and lunch! That same year, Whit managed the band Hotfoot, led by KMHoF inductee Steve Werner, and helped transform a closed movie theater into a major concert venue upon becoming chief talent booker and entertainment director for The Uptown. Notable shows included Muddy Waters, Firesign Theater, Roberta Flack and Bill Withers, Herbie Mann, Peter Gabriel during his first solo tour, Iggy Pop, who recorded much of his live album at the theater, George Benson, and in a co-promoted date with fellow KMHoF inductee Michael Waggoner, a stop on The Farewell Loggins and Messina Tour (ask Mike about the visit that night from the KC fire marshal!). One of the last shows he produced at The Uptown was during the Joe's Garage Tour for Frank Zappa. Somehow, Whitten convinced Zappa to do a cabaret-style show, surely for the first and last time! By 1979, he'd joined Chris Fritz Presents as special projects coordinator, and later when the company became New West - Contemporary Productions, he handled media and some bookings from the New West office. By the mid-80's, Whitten had moved to the St. Louis Contemporary Productions office, helping form their marketing business, Contemporary Marketing and helped developed and oversaw the sales of “Ticket to Rock” a groundbreaking international radio promotion before moving on to NY to help found MEGA, where he helped oversee and develop “Transylvania Mania” another groundbreaking international radio promotion. He was involved in continuing the Schlitz Rocks America concert tours, starting with The Who, and then with ZZ Top and Night Ranger. Further, MEGA represented Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, The Doobie Brothers, Thompson Twins, Tony Bennett, and MTV Networks for sponsorship and promotions. A particular highlight for Whit before leaving MEGA was overseeing the assignment to market and promote the in-store merchandising line and radio promotions for The Rolling Stones “Steel Wheels” tour of North America. By the late 80’s, he'd moved to Los Angeles to become west coast VP for Spectacor Management Group (now Global Spectrum), at the time the largest owner/operator of arenas, convention facilities and ballparks in the US. After short stints at Billboard Magazine in a newly formed promotional unit and Premiere Radio Networks, he'd moved to Dallas and opened Wink at The Media LLC, taking on clients ranging from The Great Race, Linda Ronstadt, The Dallas Symphony, SC Johnson Wax, Kellogg, The San Jose Mariachi Festival, The Doobie Brothers for song licensing, and producing the annual BR Cohn Winery Fall charity concerts. In 2006 Whit married and came home to KC, briefly taking a left turn in the restaurant business (losing a ton of his pal's money in the process) before moving back to what he does best. Whit negotiated sponsorship for the N. American portion of Tina Turner's Worldwide Farewell Tour which, as a result, kicked off in Kansas City. Currently, he manages The Ronstadt Brothers, represents and consults Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriter Paul Williams for live performance, and handles major sponsorship for New West Presentations and The Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, operated by fellow inductee Chris Fritz. Additionally, he continues working on special projects for Linda Ronstadt.

Chris Fritz


Chris Fritz - Kansas City, MO (Directors' Award)
The name Chris Fritz is truly legendary in the Kansas City and Midwestern entertainment industry. Since the 1970's, if you've seen a major concert in this area, chances are Chris Fritz was involved in its production. Chris’ promotional career started in Chicago and has evolved over the past several decades from music, club and record label owner and manager to concert and sports promoter. His promotions have attracted millions of music and sports fans nationally and internationally. In 1968, Chris moved from Chicago to L.A. to expand his promotional career. Highlights of his time in L.A. include his involvement with Company of Artists (who managed the Smothers Brothers and the Everly Brothers) and producing shows at Hollywood Palladium, the Wiltern Theatre and the Fox Theatre in Long Beach. In 1972, Chris moved to Kansas City and formed Enigma Productions, then later Chris Fritz and Company, and lastly New West Presentations, which is still in operation today. Chris produced numerous shows throughout the 1970s at Municipal Auditorium, Memorial Hall, Arrowhead Stadium and Royals Stadium. In 1974, Chris produced Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia, Missouri, the largest three-day festival in the Midwest, attracting over 400,000 people. Throughout this time, Chris was involved with artist management as well, representing L.A.’s “Starbuck”, Kansas City’s “Missouri”, “Granmax”, “Racy Grace” and Austin’s “Meridian West”. Chris formed a label named Pacific Records (which later became Panama Records) that produced and released two Missouri and two Granmax albums. In 1983, Chris began producing shows at Starlight Theatre and five years later, in 1988, at Sandstone Amphitheater. In 1991, Chris joined long-time partner Contemporary Productions to take over operations of Sandstone Amphitheater, which included a major renovation and expansion of the property. In 1998, Live Nation took over management of Sandstone Amphitheater. Chris’ involvement remained, as he was under contract as a consultant from 1998-2007. In 2008, Chris took over management of the amphitheater (now known as Providence Medical Center Amphitheater) and made significant improvements to the facility in early 2016. As of 2018, Chris Fritz continues his stellar career in entertainment promotion and production with no signs of stopping.

 

 
 

 

Billy Bob & The Belaires

The Smart Brothers Band - Wichita

Smart's Palace, a night club owned by the Smart family, was the epicenter of the Wichita Kansas Soul scene between 1963 and 1975. The Smart Brothers (there were eight of them) formed The Smart Brothers Band, and held court there. Touring acts such as James Brown and Aretha Franklin would often sit in with the group. By all accounts, their shows were animated and wild affairs, featuring front men John and Leroy Smart. Popping handstands and jumping from table to table in the club while soloing were just a few of the acrobatics featured in a typical show. At the heart of the organization was Dick Smart. As  bassist, club and record store owner, DJ, Promoter, and all around businessman, he also formed Solo Records. Recordings for the label, featuring various Smart Brothers band lineups,  are featured on the 2009 Numero Records CD compilation “Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace”.

 

Charlie & The Stingrays

Stone Wall - Kansas City

Formed in the late summer of 1968, and lasting until 1976, Stone Wall was the premier "power trio" in KC music history. The first incarnation of the band included drummer Ken Mairs (The Chontels, 19th Century Sound Affair), bassist /vocalist Greg Whitfield, and guitarist/vocalist Allen Blasco. The Place in Westport was a recurring gig, but the band made their major league debut, Marshall stacks and all, at "The Fun Fair" in June of 1969, Municipal Auditorium, alongside Steve Miller, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Brewer and Shipley, The Cowsills, etc., all of whom were at the dawn of their careers. The next incarnation of the band had Roy “Leroy” Cline on drums and percussion, and Rick Bacus on bass and woodwinds (KMHoF 2012 inductee with Morningstar). This version of the band did the infamous Volker Park concert on Easter Sunday of 1971, which was filmed, and is immortalized on YouTube. They were also one of the first groups to do “unplugged” acoustic sets. The final and longest lasting version of Stone Wall (5 years) had Alan “Kid” Cohen on bass/vocals (later with Missouri) and Peter Jacobs on drums. That's the group that opened for, among others, Brownsville Station at Memorial Hall, and Ted Nugent at Pershing Auditorium (20,000 people) in Lincoln, NE. An unreleased Stone Wall recording from 1969 is currently available as part of the 2014 Numero Records CD compilation  “Local Customs: Cavern Sound”.

 

Samuel Ramey

Samuel Ramey - Colby

This opera singer from Colby, KS is considered one of the finest basso cant ante singers of our time. He’s admired for his range and versatility, with the bel canto technique to sing Handel, Mozart and Rossini, as well as the power to handle the dramatic roles of Verdi & Puccini. His career took off when he sang with the NY Metropolitan Opera. When he lived in Chicago, Ramey  was on the faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and gave over fifty performances a year. He now resides in Wichita, where he is a professor at Wichita State University, and still tours when his schedule permits.

 

Elk River Biscuit & Gravy Band

Elk River Biscuit & Gravy Band - Emporia

Formed in 1975, the band termed itself as Progressive Country, but with roots in a wide range of music including Classic Country, Bluegrass, Western Swing, and even a little Rock & Roll. Their emphasis was on music people liked to dance to, listen to, and just plain enjoy. Always a great band to see live, they toured the western, mid-western, and southern states, developing a large fan base wherever they played. They appeared with, or opened for, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Paycheck, Billie Spears, Leon Russell, and others. Their album “Eat It Up” is a fine blend of original music and stellar arrangements of cover songs. Lynn Whitney of The Great Plains Gazette wrote: “These Elk River guys are musical mechanics. They'll take an old beat up song that barely limps along, pull it apart, and put it back together with a new piece here and there. Suddenly, it's a real “trucker” of a tune- cruisin' down the highway sweet, strong, and better than new!” All members of the band continue playing to this day, in different groups and venues.

 

Caribe

Caribe - Lawrence

Originating in Lawrence in the early 1980's, the group's interesting take on a Salsa/Calypso sound got them notice in the greater KC/ Lawrence area and beyond. Caribe band members include musician/songwriters Bunny Rodina (Vocals, Percussion, Cuatro) Bob Augelli (Vocals, Drums, Timbales) Fernando Reynoso (Conga, Percussion) Eric Goolsby (Vocals, Bass) Willy Skate (Trumpet, Trombone, Saxophones) Michael Helton (Vocals, Saxophones, Flute, Guitar), and Vaughn Cowden(Vocals, Keyboards). Surviving members of Caribe continue to be active musicians, and still get together for occasional reunions. They have a self-titled CD from 1991, consisting entirely of original material composed by the band members..

 

Bill Bergman

Bill Bergman - Kansas City

Bill got his start in the 1970's with a KC group named Justus before moving to Los Angeles, where he continued his career in earnest. As a founding member of the popular Soul band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, and known for his legendary solo on Glenn Frey's “You Belong To The City” (1985), the KC-bred saxman became a fixture in the “Quiet Storm”/Contemporary Jazz format with both the CD “Midnight Sax” (which Jazziz Magazine later named one of the ten most influential Smooth Jazz albums) and its popular follow-up “Bill Bergman and the Metro Jets”. For further information, visit Bill's website at www.billbergmanmusic.com

 

Allan Bell

Allan Bell - Kansas City

In 1963, Allan Bell Founded America's Best Attractions (ABA), a state and union licensed theatrical and music agency headquartered in North Kansas City, MO.  A trained lawyer, Bell served as owner, operator and bookkeeper of ABA, personally booking gigs and managing artists through the agency. ABA handled a large variety of  local, regional and national talent: singers, bands, musicians, orchestras, dancers, burlesque performers, magicians, puppeteers, comedians, speakers, circus, and animal acts. Allan Bell Charters (the travel affiliate of  ABA) was established in 1970, and handled business and organization charters to worldwide destinations.

 

Trampled Under Foot

Trampled Under Foot

An American Soul/Blues and Blues/Rock band, TUF was formed in KC, MO in 2000. The original trio consisted of siblings Danielle, Nick, and Kris Schnebelen (bass, guitar, and drums respectively). Their father, Bob, played guitar with a KC band named Little Eva & The Works, and his children grew up on jam sessions his band would host. As a young teen, before she ever played an instrument, Danielle was an incredible vocalist. Her brothers sing as well, adding that “family sound” to their vocals. Once together, their self-titled debut album was released in 2006, followed by “The Philadelphia Sessions” in 2007. Trampled Under Foot won the International Blues Challenge in 2008, after which they released “ Live At Nottoden Blues Festival” in 2010 and “Wrong Side Of The Blues” in 2011.  Their 2013 album, “Badlands” reached number one on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart. That same album won 'Contemporary Blues Album of the Year” at the 2014 Blues Music Awards.  Danielle also won 'Best Instrumentalist- Bassist Category' at that ceremony, where the band additionally was nominated for  'Band of the Year'.

 

 

 

 
 
2016 Inductees


Directors Award:
Dick & Jay
Wayne Rouse

Bob Hapgood Award:
Orin Friesen

 
Billy Bob & The Belaires

Billy Bob & The Belaires, Beloit

Billy Bob and the Belaires began in the early 1970's in Beloit, KS. During the 20 plus years they were together they played in various venues in central Kansas, western Kansas, and southern Nebraska. The played a great variety of Rock and Roll, a little blues, and some country.

 

Charlie & The Stingrays

Charlie & The Stingrays, Kansas City

Charlie and the Stingrays were born in 1985 while lead singer Charlie Stendebach was working at United Entertainment as a booking agent and an assistant in the recording studio. After being out of a band and off the road for a year he had been listening to a couple of acts in town who performed 60s & 70s material and thought "what if a band did all dance songs from that era and as close to the original recordings as possible?" With original members, Chris Moore (drums), Greg Murphy (guitar), Chris Jones (keys and guitar), and John Talbot (bass) they found out. Playing consistently in many of the area top venues and events, Charlie and the Stingrays lasted 30 years and played nearly 2800 shows. The band had many wonderful years sharing the stage with acts like The Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, Edgar Winter, Eddie Money, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Guess Who, The Romantics, Mitch Ryder, Sweet, BadFinger and many others. On June 7, 1999 Charlie and the Stingrays were inducted to the Kansas City American Bandstand Walk of Fame by owner Dick Clark. During their final year in 2015 the band played their 30th Anniversary Party in May, a Farewell Show in St Joseph (where 3 original members were from) in July, and then the last show August 29, which was an outdoor party with 600 friends in attendance.

 

King Alex & The Untouchables

King Alex & The Untouchables, Kansas City

King Alex Littlejohn was one of the greatest pure blues singers ever to perform. Born in 1934 he was raised in Faraday, Louisiana where he was childhood friends with Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggert. As a teenager, he moved to Kansas City where he lived in the 18th and Vine district,. Inspired by that thriving music scene, he learned to play bass and sing the blues, in the process recorded a number of singles for regional labels. He also worked with numerous famous bluesmen, including B.B. King. King Alex had been recording his original songs since 1959. In 1996 he played the Blues Estafette in Utrecht, The Netherlands. There, he signed with Black Magic Records and released the CD "Hot As A Coffeepot". King Alex returned to Europe for a three week tour in 2002. After this tour, King Alex decided to cut a greatest hits CD, "The Cream Of King Alex", covering over forty years of his song writing. Alex's rich vocals are complimented by his powerful band, The Untouchables, featuring Robert Locke on drums and vocals, Bart Colliver on organ and piano, Tony Shaffer on guitar, Dana Smith on tenor saxophone and Steve Shoemaker on trombone and harmonica. For more information on King Alex, check out the feature article on him in Living Blues Magazine issue 157 volume 32 no.3 May-June 2001.

 

Mark Selby & The Sluggers

Mark Selby & The Sluggers, Salina

Mark Selby & the Sluggers was a band known for rock, ragtime, r&b, classical, some country, and an assortment of other music styles. The 3-piece band consisting of Mark on guitar/vocals, Craig Balderston bass/vocals and Mike Ward drums. The group started in 1988, and played together for four years. Branching out, they always called Salina, KS their home, but enjoyed many Midwest tours over several states while together. Mark Selby received degrees in music composition and classical guitar from Fort Hays State University. Eventually moving to Nashville, he played guitar on recording sessions for artists such as Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, Johnny Reid, Keni Thomas, and Jimmy Hall. However, Selby is perhaps best known for the number of songs that he co-wrote with the blues-rock artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, which includes the #1 single "Blue on Black". Selby also collaborated with his wife Tia Sillers on the #1 song "There's Your Trouble", which was recorded by the Dixie Chicks, and won the band their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1999.

 

Marva Whitney

Marva Whitney, Kansas City

This KC funk singer is considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the rawest and brassiest music divas. Her performing career began at the age of three with her family's gospel group. After singing with the KC band Tommy & the Derbys, Marva began singing with James Brown in the late 1960s. Her recording of "It's My Thing" reached the R&B top 20. Her recordings have been "sampled" many times since 1990. In December 2009 Whitney collapsed onstage in front of thousands of fans in Australia. She was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke. The rest of her tour was cancelled, and she had been recovering at home In Kansas City. After making a partial recovery and performing again in 2010, Whitney succumbed from complications due to pneumonia in 2012. She was 68.

 

Roger Walls

Roger Walls, Rose Hill

"Rocket" Walls played in Kansas bands such as The Fabulous Apostles and Central Standard Time before moving on to a career that has included 52 world tours, numerous Broadway shows, TV appearances and teaching. Roger Walls now makes his home in Montreal, where he plays, teaches and records.

 

Sawdust Charley

Sawdust Charley, Wichita

A Wichita based Country Rock band formed in 1976, the group worked with KFDI- FM Radio on many special promotions, as well as self-booking, and working with the Great Plains Booking Agency in Lawrence, Ks. Maintaining a strong local fan base while simultaneously developing a regional following, the band spent many years logging countless miles playing roadhouses, bars and ballrooms all around Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. It was not uncommon for many die-hard Wichita fans to travel several hundred miles to attend the band's out-of-town gigs. In addition to the regular road work, Sawdust Charley opened for such luminaries as Asleep At The Wheel, The Earl Scruggs Review, and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1978, the band played many high profile performances, including The Troubadour, before disbanding in 1979.

 

South of the Tracks

South of the Tracks, Manhattan

The core of the band, then called Hickory Wind, was formed in 1973 by Clay Center lads Otto Marten (keyboards), Craig 'Stranger' Terry (guitar), Arn Christensen (drums), John Briggs (pedal steel), and sound engineer/manager, Robert 'Duck' Fordyce. The band later added a Kansas City native, singer/songwriter Charlie Robie, and ended up moving to K.C. to play local venues for a year or so. In 1975 the band returned to Central Kansas and reorganized under the name 'South of the Tracks' (SOTT). Otto, Stranger, and John remained from the old group; and they brought in drummer Tom Bolton of Manhattan, who played with Pott County Pork and Bean Band, and bassist Kent Howard of Osawatomie, formerly with Green River Ordinance and Friar Tuck and the Monks. The band operated out of their base in Manattan and, over time, became one of the most sought after 'Country Rock' groups in Kansas. Over the years, SOTT played with Charlie Daniels Band, The Outlaws, Dr. Hook, Kansas, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and many others while averaging around 250 performances per year. South of the Tracks played its last job together in 1979. All of the former players of SOTT remain professional or semi-professional musicians.

 

The Fabulous  Apostles

The Fabulous Apostles, Wichita

The Fabulous Apostles started out like most 60's bands, as 4-pc. Beatles imitators. Jay Leach, Greg Fuson, and two others got together in the summer of 1964 as The Apostles. The Apostles were just one of the many bands from the early 60's that added the word "fabulous" to their names, patterning after The Fabulous Flippers, especially bands who had added horns and taken on an R&B sound. The bands lineup was leader Jay Leach on lead gtr. and vocals, Greg Fuson on drums, Randy Loveland on trumpet, Vern Harris on bass, Gregg Harris on Hammond organ and Chris Leason on sax. Jim Reardon & Associates of Hays, who had the band playing a wide circuit of dates from Canada to Mexico managed the Apostles. In 1968, a record with the Fab. Apostles name on it was released on the Shana label, featuring a catchy horn band sound with "You Don't Know Like I Know" and the flipside a heavy fuzz guitar-laden rocker called "Dark Horse Blues", after The Dark Horse Inn in Hays, KS, a frequent venue for the band.

 

Thumbs

Thumbs, Lawrence

Bored with what was happening musically in the mid-Seventies, Thumbs got together to play cool songs no one else was playing. Almost immediately, they also began writing songs that united influences as disparate as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and the Velvet Underground, combining them with garage-rock and the emerging energy of punk. Building an audience of the cool and disaffected, the band released its debut album in 1980, garnering reviews from Rolling Stone and winning over critics from Berkeley to London. The house band of a Kansas rock revolution, Thumbs opened shows for the likes of the Police, XTC, Iggy Pop, and the Sir Douglas Quintet. Their second album, "No Price on Earth" added fans from Musician Magazine to Mikal Gilmore. Thumbs continued to rock audiences in Kansas and Kansas City through 1985, closing their story with "Jericho," a beautiful addition to "Fresh Sounds From The Midwest, Vol. 3". Thumbs music and attitude were seminal to the independent rock scene that developed in Kansas during the 1980s. Their independent do it yourself spirit inspired a generation of young rockers.

 

Dick & Jay

Dick & Jay, Kansas City

From 1974 through 1984, Dick Wilson and Jay Cooper became the most famous DJ tandem in Kansas City radio history. Their unique interplay, dialogue, sense of humor, and antics both on and off the air helped to insure a loyal fan base throughout the greater Kansas City listening area and beyond. Being the first DJ duo to be inducted into The Kansas Music Hall of Fame will only add further to their legendary status.

 

Wayne Rouse

Wayne Rouse, Manhattan

Starting as a promoter in Hayes, KS during the late 70's, Rouse has produced hundreds of shows, both in KS and nationally as well, working with major name acts in both Country and Pop music. Wayne founded Country Stampede, a 3 day Manhattan music fest which is celebrating its 21st year. Wayne Rouse was inducted into the KS Fairs & Festivals Hall of Fame in the 1990's.

 

Orin Friesen

Orin Friesen, Benton

This year's Bob Hapgood Award winner, Orin Friesen grew up on a farm near York, NE. Starting in jr. high, he began making his own ham radio sets. Listening to The Grand Old Opry in particular helped him develop an early fascination with both radio programs and cowboys. In 1966, Friesen moved to Kansas, where he attended Wichita State University. In 2015, Friesen was inducted into The Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, celebrating a 50 year career as a cowboy entertainer, musician, and radio personality. As leader of the Prairie Rose Rangers, he's had his own radio program since 1973. "Bluegrass From The Rockin' Banjo Ranch" can still be heard on radio station KFDI.

 

 

 

 

 
2015 Inductees
 
GaryWinstonApple TheBenders PriscillaBowman DanCrary
DanFalley LiverpoolATributeToTheBeatles LonnieRayBand ProtoKaw
CraigTreinen VicDamon


Directors Award:
Vic Damon


Directors Award:
Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra

Bob Hapgood Award:
Kenny Starr

 
GaryWinstonApple

Gary Winston Apple, Kansas City

Throughout the late sixties and early to mid-seventies, Gary Apple performed as the lead vocalist, drummer and song-writer for a number of bands including Appletree and Speakeasy. After releasing his debut solo album, "A Musical Tribute to the Last of the Great Toadstool Madonnas" in 1974, the group name was changed to "The Gary Apple Band." By now, Gary was fronting the band on vocals, guitar, and keyboards. His song "Shoot 'em Up, Cowboy" garnered a record deal with Monument Records, and spent 9 weeks on Record World's singles chart, despite the fact that Monument's distribution deal with Phonogram ended the week after it was released. This single was from his Monument album, "The First One's Free". He recorded an album, "Sessions" for Mad Dog Records in 1980-81, but the label went bankrupt before mixing was completed. It was finished and released in 2000. After a lengthy hiatus from music between 1985 and 1999, he returned to music, and switched to his middle name of Winston. Since returning to music, Winston Apple has released 11 more albums (for a total of 14). He is in the process of recording album number 15 at this time.

 

TheBenders

The Benders, Wichita

The Benders first brought their very unique brand of 50's and 60's music, humor and pompadour hairstyles to midwestern stages in 1985, and have toured constantly ever since. At one point, the board members of the Kansas Fairs and Festivals Association declared them the "Number One Fair and Festival Band" in the state, due to the band's overwhelming popularity in this market. The band continues to perform 100-plus dates a year at events and casinos all over the midwest.

 

PriscillaBowman

Priscilla Bowman, Kansas City

Priscilla Bowman was an American Jazz and R&B singer who had a #1 single on Billboard's R&B chart in 1955 as the lead singer with Jay McShann's band. The song, "Hands Off" was co-written by McShann and Bowman, and has since become a classic. She was born in Kansas City, and was called the city's "Original Rock' n Roll Mama". She joined "Jay McShann's Orchestra" in the early 1950's. In 1955, the band signed to Vee-Jay records, and Bowman recorded two sessions with them. One of the songs, "Hands Off' became a hit, staying at #1 for three weeks in December of 1955. The single was notable as the last to hit #1 on the R&B charts without making the Billboard Hot 100. She recorded a number of follow-ups as a solo. In 1958, she was the first to record the song "A Rockin' Good Way" (with uncredited vocal group The Spaniels). The song was co-written by Brook Benton, who subsequently recorded it with Dina Washington, and had a major Pop hit in 1960. Bowman continued to record and make personal appearances, some with Jay McShann, through the late 1970's. A compilation of her recordings, "An Original Rock & Roll Mama" was released in 1986. Priscilla Bowman died from lung cancer in 1988. She was 60 years old.

 

DanCrary

Dan Crary, Kansas City

Dan was born in Kansas City, KS and has been performing since 1960. He is considered an innovator in the Bluegrass flat picking guitar style, and wrote a popular column in Frets Magazine in the 1980's. He has performed with Bluegrass Alliance, BCH (Berline, Crary & Hickman), Sundance, and California. He tours occasionally with Beppe Gametta, as well as with his band Thunderation (Steve Spurgin and Martin Stevens).

 

DanFalley

Dan Falley, Topeka

Along with his diverse musical tastes, friends and fellow musicians describe Falley as someone who could play his guitar with anyone, leading many of the Sunday night jam sessions at the Celtic Fox for the past three years. Dan died in a car accident north of Topeka on January 6, 2008. The mood of the day was somber, given the passing of a man many had called friend and who had influenced the Topeka music scene since the late 60s. As folks poured in and the musical intensity swelled, it became apparent there was good to be drawn from misfortune. Why couldn't the Topeka music community come together annually to create inspirational music and provide for an opportunity for local players to get to enjoy each other's company? When planning started for Jam4Dan II, it was decided scholarships would be the best way to memorialise Dan's immense influence on hundreds of guitar students over four decades. To date, dozens of bands have offered their talents; hundreds and hundreds of fans have enjoyed the scene that only a special event can offer; and over $15,000 has been given away to deserving young musicians in the form of free lessons that stretched from two to six months.

 

LiverpoolATributeToTheBeatles

Liverpool - A Tribute To The Beatles, Lenexa

Liverpool, A tribute to The Beatles, has performed for literally tens of thousands of Beatles fans sacross the nation since their inception in 1990. Rolling Stone Magazine has recognized them as one of the top tribute acts in the nation for their attention to detail, costuming, authentic vintage stage gear, and most importantly, their sound. The band holds attendance records at dozens of major festivals, especially in their home town of Kansas City, and throughout the the midwest. 2010 KMHoF inductee Jimmy Bond (with Plain Jane) was a founding member of Liverpool.

 

LonnieRayBand

Lonnie Ray Band, Lawrence

Lonnie Ray and Debbie Fugett met in 1965 in Lawrence, KS. They will be celebrating their forty third wedding anniversary in March of 2015. In the early 70's they attended the University of Pacific in Stockton, CA. Both majoring in music. At night they would be playing gigs, doing Jazz and Top 40. They played with KMHoF inductee Billy Spears for 2 years during the early 70's. They spent 15 years playing in 46 states with a music agency out of Miami, FL. Coming off the road in 1986, they started jams at the Jazzhaus in Lawrence, and The Point in Kansas City. They've held a jam at various regional venues virtually every week since. They continue to play upwards of 200 dates a year in KC and the surrounding area, focusing on the blues, and crowd favorites. The couple has spent virtually their whole lives together making beautiful music, and encouraging others to do the same.

 

ProtoKaw

Proto Kaw, Topeka

First formed in 1970, the band eventually called Kansas went through three transformations. The sound of the band changed over time, along with group members. The band the world knows as Kansas is transformation number three. Proto Kaw is the reformed and re-named second version. Beginning in 1971, "Kansas II" as they were called then, played mostly original material by composer/guitarist Kerry Livgren. When this group failed to get a recording deal, they disbanded. Kerry went with a group out of St. Joe, MO called White Clover, which together with him, became the Kansas that got a record deal, and set the world on fire. During the ensuing 30 years, the members of "Kansas II" assumed various non-musical careers. Around 2004, they reunited with Livgren, becoming Proto Kaw. Four CD's and over 15 years later, they're still going strong.

 

CraigTreinen

Craig Treinen, Topeka

Dr. Craig Treinen is the Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies/Music Education at Washburn University. He received his PhD in Curriculum Studies and Instruction with an emphasis in Jazz Studies (2011) and his Masters degree in Music Education (2000) from Kansas State University, and his Bachelor's degrees in Music Education and Saxophone Performance from Washburn University (1990). Currently Dr. Treinen is the jazz chair for the state of Kansas, Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA). Entering the US Air Force in 1990 as a Saxophone Specialist with the Strategic Air Command Band, he was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska. While serving, he became the principal Alto Saxophonist in the symphonic band, and served as the Musical Director, Staff Arranger, and Lead Alto Saxophonist with the Heartland of America Band and "Noteables" Jazz Ensemble. Since 2004, Dr.Treinen has served as the education director and scholarship director for the Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc. Over the years, Dr. Treinen has had the privilege to perform with Lee Greenwood, Shirley Jones, Crystal Gayle, John Denver, Chip Davis (Manheim Steamroller), Grant Stewart, Harry Allen, Frank Mantooth, Karin Allison, Kevin Mahogony, George Duke, Carl Fontana, Bobby Watson, Wycliff Gordon, Byron Strippling, Terrell Stafford, Eric Marienthal, The Temptations, The Shirelles, and Todd Strait. He continues to be an active performer and clinician, providing workshops and lectures on jazz education throughout the United States.

 

VicDamon

VicDamon, Kansas City

A pioneer in recording science, in 1933 Vic founded Damon Transcription Laboratoty in KC, Mo, operating out of the Midland Building at 1221 Baltimore. Later, as Damon Recording Studios, he moved to 117 W 14th St. where he continued doing busineess until his retirement in 1973. He was also and engineer for KC radio station WHB. During his long career, Damon recorded many notable acts, including Tommy Douglas, Julia Lee, The Scamps, Jay McShann, Marilyn Maye and The Blue Things. Damon's greatest commercial success was "My Happiness", recorded by Jon and Sondra Steele at his Midland Building studio on 12/10/47. The record was produced by 2008 KMHoF inductee Lou Blasco, with lyrics by his wife Betty Peterson Blasco, also a 2008 inductee. The melody to the song was by another KC native, Borney Bergantime. Released in 1948 on his self named Damon label, the reord went multi-platinum, and five years later became the first song ever recoreded by Elvis Presley. Major labels CApitol anfd Decca frequesntly used Damon as a recording engineer, and he also provided recording services for advertising agnecies, church groups, and civic organizations. Vic Damon died 2/20/74 at age 73.

 

Coon-SandersOriginalNighthawkOrchestra

Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra

Founded in 1919 as the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra by drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders, this was the first Kansas City jazz band to achieve national recognition, which it acquired through national radio broadacasts. The Orchestra began braodcasting in 1922 on clear channel WDAF, which could be received throughout the country. Performing out of the Muhelebach Hotel, they took the name Nighthawks because they broadcast late at night. Fans were encouraged to send in requests by letter, telephone, or telegram. They were so popular that Western Union set up a ticker tape on the bandstand so that telegrams could be acknowledged during the broadacast. By 1925, they were having hits on RCA Records with songs like "Flamin' Mamie" and "Nighthawk Blues", and toured outside KC with extended stays in both Chicago and New York. In 1932, at the height of their popularity, Carleton Coon died from a jaw infection, effectively ending the band's long and successful run.

 

Kenny Starr

Kenny Starr

Recording for MCA Records between 1973-78, Starr charted thirteen singles and one studio album. His recording of "The Blind Man in the Bleachers" reached #2 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, and #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop charts. The album from which it was taken charted #12 on Billboard's Country album charts. The single went to #1 on the country charts in Canada. For many years, Starr was a guitarist in Loretta Lynn's touring band, The Coal Miners. He had a great career as a Nashville session guitarist, playing for famous names and on many hit records. He was alao co-host of the morning edition fo Nashville Now during the 90's.

 

 

 

 

 
2014 Inductees
 
Beast BonTonSoulAccordionBand ClifMajor Glow
JimmyDee&FabulousDestinations JuniorBrown Sanctuary WichitaLinemen
EdDown DonnieAndDiane


Directors Award:
Ed Down (Audio House)

Bob Hapgood Award:
Donnie And Diane

 
 
Beast

Beast, Hays

The Hays version of the "Dinks" was looking for a new direction and a chance to get into the recording studio. Dick Dole (promoter / agent) contacted Michael Kerns (flute/sax) from Colorado to move to Hays and join the Dinks. Michaels band from Colorado " Beast" had dissolved so The Dinks decided to pick the name up and became Beast of Hays in 1970. The band consisted of Michael Kerns (flute / sax), Dean Dietz (lead vocals), Bruce Brown (bass / vocals), Donnie Wierman (guitar / vocals), Mike Schmidt (drums), Dana Messing (keyboards / vocals). They played over a 12-state area in the Midwest for a period of four years. The Beast had three recording sessions: two in Clovis, NM under Norman Petty (in the same studio used by Buddy Holly) plus a later recording session in Boulder, Co.

 

BonTonSoulAccordionBand

BonTon Soul Accordion Band, Kansas City

Inspired by Zydeco accordion legends Clifton Chenier and Rockin' Dopsie, Richard Lucente rediscovered his long-abandoned childhood instrument on extensive travels in Creole Louisiana. Soon after, he was afforded the opportunity (at age 40) to start his first band. Lucente's prolific songwriting skills enabled the ever-evolving band to present an adults-only, dance-friendly original blend of Zydeco, Blues and R&B to their considerable and rabid fan base. It also supported the release of five successful albums comprised totally of original songs. Their annual Crawfish Fiestas routinely drew 10,000 fans. The band's proud induction into The 2014 Kansas Music Hall of Fame is dedicated to the late, great Ed Toler, bassist for 17 years of the bands existence.

 

ClifMajor

Clif Major, Wichita

Clif Major began a lifetime of soulful and stylistic guitar mastery in the 1950's as a young child. Among Clif's bands, discography, and achievements are:"The Outcasts", Southwind (1983 winner of the Telluride Bluegrass Competition), "The Del Reys" (5 star endorsement in Guitar Player Magazine), and "The Jukes", his current show band. He owned "C Major Guitars & Banjo's" from 1978, and opened "C Major's Rockin' Daddy's" cabaret in 2004, with Kathy Roush Major. In 2013, a Wichita State University Special Collection was established, as the "Clif Major and Kathy Roush Music Collection," consisting of their collective music history and memorabilia, intended for regional music history research.

 

Glow

Glow, Kansas City

Formed in 1977 by John Kessler, (keys and vocals), and Philip Lincoln Smith, (drums and vocals), Glow, (originally named Checkmate), created a powerful blend of original Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion and Pop Music. Guitaris Brian Milam joined in 1978, and propelled the band into the public consciousness with his incendiary chops. Bassist Paul Davis joined in 1981. All of the members contributed to the band's compositions, but it was the songcraft and compositional daring of Kessler and Milam that proved most succesful. Various other great musicians were part of Glow, but the four-piece group of Kessler, Milam, Smith and Davis is remembered as a "musician's band": uncompromising, fearless, and unique. Glow took first place in the KY-102 "Best of Home Tape" competition in 1983, were finalists in the Miller High Life "Rock-to-Riches" contest, and were also on KKCI's "Moonshine II" LP. Their original music attracted the organizers of the 1984 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and that summer, Glow performed in front of enthusiastic audiences on two of the festival's stages.

 

JimmyDee&FabulousDestinations

Jimmy Dee & Fabulous Destinations, Hays

When film maker George Lucus directed the movie, American Graffiti, during the 1970s, he could not have predicted the wave of nostaglia that swept the United States as a result of the smash movie hit. It was during this time that a group of musicians from Victoria, Kansas formed the group, Jimmy Dee & the Fabulous Destinations in 1975. Little did they know that their high energy show, featuring major hits from early 1960s, would propel the band into one of the most popular groups to ever perform in western Kansas. Forty years later, the band is still going strong, playing selected dates throughout the year with tremendous fan support.

 

JuniorBrown

Junior Brown, Lawrence

With his unique voice, more unique songwriting craft, and even more unique invention, the double necked "Guit-Steel", there has absolutely never been anyone like Junior Brown. He's had a major label signing (Curb), a Country Music Association Award (CMA), three Grammy nods, a Bluegrass Music Association Award (IBMA) with legend, Ralph Stanley, duets on record and video appearances with everyone from Hank Thompson and George Jones to The Beach Boys and Stone Temple Pilots. Then came movies, TV shows, commercials, and multiple appearances on late night TV ...even a cameo appearance in SpongeBob Squarepants! He was born in Cottonwood, Arizona, and had his first major musical employment with fellow Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductee Billy Spears in Lawrence, KS.

 

Sanctuary

Sanctuary, Lawrence

Sanctuary was formed in 1971 in Lawrence, KS. by Dennis Loewen, lead singer and mastermind of the Fabulous Flippers. In association with Mike Murfin, Dennis along with Minneapolis singer-songwriter phenom Roger Bruner teamed up largely to do original material. Both Dennis and Roger were already accomplished performers. At this point, Norman Weinberg (drums) and Eric Bikales (flute and keyboards) joined the team, and Sanctuary was born. One of the most compelling things about Sanctuary was the message in their music. Both lyrics and music were always heartfelt and honest. This was a time and a generation that stood for ideals and making a better world, which is in part why Sanctuary had such a large and devoted following. With incredibly captivating performances- charismatic, powerful and distinctive- Sanctuary was one of a kind.

 

WichitaLinemen

Wichita Linemen, Wichita

The Wichita Linemen formed in October 1969, and played their first dance in November 1969 at the NCO Club, McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas. During their 30 year career of playing dances and shows (mostly in Kansas), they averaged over 200 performances per year, playing from Wichita, north to Nebraska, south thru Oklahoma, east to Kentucky and Tennessee, and as far west as Los Angeles. In the beginning, there were two Disc Jockeys in the band from KFDI Radio Station in Wichita: Don Powell, (steel guitar) and Don Walton, (vocals). In addition Greg Stevens (bass guitar, banjo, saxophone, keyboards, harmonica, and fiddle), Carl Hendricks (lead guitar), and Robin Harris(drums) rounded out the band. All members were vocalists. This was the original group that played night clubs in the Wichita area. In the ensuing years, keyboards and fiddles would be added, and various other great musicians would pass through their ranks . Their last dance and show was New Year's Eve, 2000 in Ruidoso, New Mexico with the Charley Daniels Band.

 

Ed Down

Ed Down, Lawrence

Ed Down started the Audio House Recording Studio in 1951. The company was originally located in his house, hence the name Audio House. His specialty was on-location recording. He recorded concerts for colleges, public schools and music camps, selling records of the concerts as souvenirs for the students. Ed invented a way to imprint album covers so he could do small batches of records at a reasonable price. In 1962, Audio House recorded the soundtrack for the movie, "Carnival of Souls," produced by Herk Harvey, which has since become a "cult" classic. Ed was an accomplished disk mastering engineer, adding stereo mastering capability by 1969. He made a point of hiring women that were trying to get back into the work force after raising a family, and by 1977, had ten full or part time employees. In January of 1978, Ed had a heart attack, dying peacefully in his sleep.

 

DonnieAndDiane

DonnieAndDiane, Arkansas City

This brother and sister act from southern Kansas sang together because of their mothers insistence, and encouragement. They honestly couldn't understand why people responded to them. But respond, they did. When songwriter Bill Post returned from California, he took an interest in the two youngsters, producing a record entitled "Hotrod Weekend", which climbed into the regional top 10, and received national airplay. A few years later, Donnie and Diane won Wichita radio station KFDI'S talent contest. First place was a recording session, and they recorded "Little Bitty Mini Skirt", which reached #11 on KFDI'S music charts. Donnie and Diane set attendance records at local fairs and shows, and were very well known in the southern Kansas- northern Oklahoma regions. An album was released in 1972, and was re-released on CD in 2013. Bonus tracks include all of their singles, plus many unreleased gems by the duo, including six songs with Conway Twitty and the Blue Boys.

 

 

 

 

 
2013 Inductees
 
DevastatingDinks Exceptions Ray Kerry
Chuck Mystic Playmate Tempests
Steve Wizards    


Directors Award:
Clyde Bysom and The Junkyard Jazz


Directors Award:
Sherman Halsey

Bob Hapgood Award:
Larry Emmett & The Sliders

 
Devastating Dinks

Devastating Dinks, Salina

This successor to the original Dinks was based out of The Lamplighter in Salina and initially included a member of the first Dinks, but the new band was soon very much its own band and took the name to new heights, playing all over the western half of the state surrounding states between 1968-70.

 

BandName

Exceptions, Topeka

The Exceptions are one of the longest standing, most successful, popular, pop-variety band in the Midwest performing all styles of music. With an unprecedented variety of music, stunning lead vocals, and four-part vocal harmonies, the Exceptions always promise a successful event.

 

Ray Hildebrand

Ray Hildebrand, Prairie Village

Ray Hildebrand smashed onto the music scene in '63 with the #1 hit "Hey Paula." Ray wrote the song that he & Jill Crawford recorded in Ft. Worth. Paul & Paula followed up with "Young lovers" and 5 other songs in the Hot 100. Ray became one of the founders of Contemporary Christian Music. He traveled for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a speaker and performer and later became a youth director for a church in Prairie Village. Ray was a frequent guest as a singer for the Billy Graham Crusades. In '83 he hooked up w/CCM artist Paul land. Land & Hildebrand have played together all over the US and have recorded 16 albums. Ray still does about 25 dates a year.

 

Kerry Livgren

Kerry Livgren, Topeka

Kerry Livgren was a long time member of the rock group, KANSAS, whose big hits were "Dust In The Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son", both of which Kerry wrote. In 1980, Kerry became a born again Christian and left KANSAS to form the CCM band AD. He later became a solo artist. Kerry lives on a farm near Berryton and records in his home studio.

 

Chuck Mead

Chuck Mead, Lawrence

After leading the Blinkies and Homestead Grays in his hometown of Lawrence back in the early 80s, Chuck Mead landed in Nashville, where he co-founded BR549. The band's seven albums, three Grammy nominations and the CMA award for Best Overseas Touring Act built a strong reputation. In 2009 Chuck released an acclaimed solo album and continues to tour with his band The Grassy Knoll Boys. He's also the Music Director of the Broadway smash show Million Dollar Quartet.

 

Mystic Number National Bank

Mystic Number National Bank, Kansas City

The Bank played so many free concerts and anti-war demonstrations back in the late 60s that they were thrown out of the Musician's Union. Lead singer and drummer Glenn Walters later sang and played with California's Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. He's still playing for crowds in San Francisco in addition to a career singing on TV commercials and film soundtracks .

 

Playmate Blues Band

Playmate Blues Band, Hays

This group was made up of some of the area's best musicians, two of whom (Mike Kelley and Rich Bisterfelt) went on to join the last lineup of the original Blue Things. These hard rockers toured extensively on the Midwest ballroom circuit of the 1960s.

 

Tempests

Tempests, Hays

This 9-member R&B show band played the Midwest from 1965-68. When the band was playing in the 1960s, the age of the members ranged from 12 to 15. They were so young they had to hire college students to haul their trailer and equipment to gigs. After more than a 40-year hiatus, the band decided to reunite to play some shows during Hays High's homecoming weekend. The Tempests practiced for a week and played shows at the VFW for family and friends Friday and for the class of 1971 reunion.

 

Steve Werner

Steve Werner,

Werner was a popular musician in Kansas City, where he led a popular band called Hot Foot. He is still revered there. He moved to L.A., where he had a great pop band called Snap Shots. He was the stage manager for the Hollywood Bowl for a time. Unfortunately, Steve died way too young.

 

BandName

Wizards From Kansas, Lawrence

Originally called Pig Newton & The Wizards, they changed the band's name at the insistence of Mercury Records. Their sound was so similar to that of some of the bands coming out of San Francisco that many collectors and fans still think believe they were from California. Their one Mercury album regularly sells on eBay for more than $200 a copy. A reunion a few years ago resulted in a second album.

Junkyard Jazz

Junkyard Jazz, Lawrence

Junkyard Jazz has been playing traditional jazz of the 1930s and 40s since 1981. The group plays every Thursday evening at the Lawrence American legion, attracting musicians from northeast Kansas to join them onstage. The dance floor is always full. They've lost a few long-time members but the tradition of Junkyard Jazz will never die. 95-year-old co-founder Clyde Bysom continues to play with the group.

 

Sherman Halsey

Sherman Halsey, Independence, KS

Sherman Halsey is an American music video and television director, producer, and artist manager. Sherman Halsey has produced and directed hundreds of television shows and music videos for artists such as Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, BB King, Michael Bolton, Dwight Yoakam, and many more. Halsey began his career in the country music business at the age of 13, putting up posters and show bills for his father Jim Halsey's Management and Concert promotion company in the family's home town of Independence, Kansas. This would be the start of a father and son collaboration that continues in business today as an important part of the country music industry. While studying film at the University of Kansas, Halsey promoted concerts with artists from the Jim Halsey Company's roster such as The Oak Ridge Boys, Freddy Fender, Hank Thompson, Don Williams and many others. While at the university, Halsey worked for Dick Clark Productions in Beverly Hills one summer on the NBC Special "The Wild, Sensational, and Shocking 70's". As a result of this experience with Dick Clark, he built relationships with several veterans, network directors who taught him the art of directing and producing.

 

BandName

Larry Emmett & The Sliders, DeSoto

The KC area's first homegrown rock band of note was Larry Emmett and the Sliders. Larry was a Native American, born on the Prairie Band Pottawatomie Reservation near Mayetta. His parents moved to DeSoto where Larry attended high school and began playing the guitar. In the late '50s and early '60s, the band played gigs from Kansas City to Omaha and many points in between.

 

 

 

 

 
2012 Inductees
 
Bloodstone Burlington_Express Max_Carl clocks
coletuckey finniganandwood johnnyisom krazykats
morningstar stanleysheldon tommystephenson craigtwistersteward
whiteclover      


Directors Award:
Stephen Barncard

Bob Hapgood Award:
Jack Wesley Routh

 
 
Bloodstone

Bloodstone , Kansas City

The sweet soul sounds of this r&b group took us on a "Natural High" to Billboard's Top 10 in 1973. The group was influential in the "black rock" and funk movements of the 1970s with their many hits, charting 13 songs between 1973 and 1984. Since leaving the charts, they have returned to make their base in KC, where they started out in 1962 as the Sinceres.

Burlington Express

Burlington Express , Topeka

The Burlington Express was one of Topeka's top bands in the mid to late sixties. Members of the band were Greg Gucker, Blair Honeyman, Eric Larson and Mike West. They left behind some excellent recordings, but they sounded even better live. Lead guitarist Greg Gucker, now known as Greg Hartline, wrote most of their material, but they also covered other songs of the day.

 

 
Max Carl

Max Carl, Lawrence

Max Carl Gronenthal is an American rock singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter. His is the current lead singer of the classic rock band Grand Funk Railroad. In addition, he spent several years as the keyboardist and lead singer with 38 Special, for whom he co-wrote and sang the the hit song "Second Chance." Among his earlier bands was Lawrence's Fabulous Flippers.

 

Clocks

Clocks, Wichita

The Wichita based Clocks arrived on the pop rock scene in 1982, and they almost immediately made an impact on the local music scene. They left us one of the most identifiable songs from that era. The band flourished a bit with the launch of MTV, as their video for "She Looks a Lot Like You" received some decent airplay. It showcased the band's signature keyboards with a hint of New Wave vibe. Their CBS/Boulevard single and self-titled album both charted nationally.

 

Cole Tuckey

Cole Tuckey, Lawrence

This band was put together to open Lawrence's Off The Wall Hall in the fall of 1975. Led by guitarist Allen Weiss and featuring singer/violinist Janet Jameson, the band was soon known for its original songs and exciting live performances. There were a few personnel changes over the years, but whatever the lineup, they never disappointed the crowds that came to their shows. Eventually they broke up with Weiss relocating to California. Jameson, already a 2009 KMHOF inductee with Shooting Star, continues to play with that band, Rock Paper Scissors and Nation in Kansas City.

 

Finnigan & Wood

Finnigan & Wood, Wichita

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jerry Wood teamed up in this band back in the seventies. Their 1972 album "Crazed Hipsters" is considered a Midwest R&B/Rock cult classic. In 1973-74 another album was recorded but was ultimately shelved when Blue Thumb Records was sold to Paramount. They rocked like few bands of that era did

 

Johnny Isom

Johnny Isom, Kansas City

Johnny Isom, or Johnny I, as he’s known since the mid-eighties, is a true version of the Midwestern Music scene. Johnny did a couple of years in the KC Chiefs band. In the sixties, Johnny put together the Stoned Circus. His current band, the Receders, is a regional favorite.

 

Krazy Kats

Krazy Kats, Kansas City (Moberly, Mo)

The legendary Krazy Kats were formed on Valentine’s Day1957, when guitarist Lee Dresser, piano man Willie Craig and drummer Freddy Fletcher, three Moberly, MO, high-schoolers, decided they wanted to rock and roll like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and the rest of their favorites. Now based in Kansas City, the trio has logged in over 4000 gigs together. They were voted the “Best Band in Kansas City” in 1991, inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1999, and their original songs are included on many US & European compilation albums. Over fifty years of rock and roll!

 

Morningstar

Morningstar, Kansas City

Morningstar first formed in 1969. Their line-went through many changes over the years. Their recording contract with Columbia/CBS in 1978 produced two albums. The band seemed willing to play for anyone, anywhere. They opened for other bands and headlined some venues. In the late 70s disco was going strong and punk rock had just started to change the musical landscape. Record companies were dropping acts, so after two albums Morningstar and Columbia/CBS parted ways. Without funds to go any further, Morningstar disbanded.

 

Stanley Sheldon

Stanley Sheldon, Ottawa

Stan is a bass guitar player best known for his work with Peter Frampton. He played on Frampton Comes Alive, the biggest selling live album of all time. His most recent collaboration was contributing as co-writer and bass player on Frampton’s 2007 Grammy winning album Fingerprints. He’s also played with Tommy Bolin, Ronin, Warren Zevon and Delbert McClinton. Stan was a part of the 2011 Peter Frampton tour.

 

Tommy Stephenson

Tommy Stephenson, Ottawa

Tommy Stephenson, a veteran of versions of inducted bands The Blue Things and The Young Raiders, is a keyboardist with 15 Gold & Multi-Platinum CD's to his credit. A part of Tommy Bolin's Energy and Joe Walsh's Barnstorm, he's also recorded or toured with such artists as The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Albert King, The Band, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Paul Butterfield, Gary Wright, Poco, Chuck Berry & many more!

 

Craig Twister Steward

Craig "Twister" Steward, Wichita

Harmonica player Steward played on a couple of Frank Zappa albums and performed live with Zappa's band as well. Now living back in Wichita, he plays at local clubs and works as the arborist for the city. Hohner Harmonica Company says, "Twister is the Hendrix of the Harp!"

 

Whie Clover

White Clover, Topeka

When Phil Ehart's father retired from the Air Force the family settled in Topeka, where Phil started playing in bands. In 1969 me moved to New Orleans for three months, then he spent three months in England. After his visa expired, he returned to Topeka and formed White Clover. Later, Phil added Sarasota's guitarist/songwriter Kerry Livgren to the fold, and White Clover became the third, and final, version of Kansas.

 

 

 

 
 

 

2011 Inductees
 
Count Basie Central Standard Time Garth Fundis  
James Gadson   Rudy Love Pat McJimsey
Charlie Parker The Rainmakers Riverrock Jesse Stone
Bobby Watson Jimmy Wilson   Chely Wright


Directors Award:
Garth Fundis

Bob Hapgood Award:
Jesse Stone

 
Count Basie 

Count Basie      Wikipedia

William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 -- April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years. Many notable musicians came to prominence under his direction, including tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie's theme songs were "One O'Clock Jump" and "April In Paris".

Kansas City Years --- The following year, Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten's ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington's or Fletcher Henderson's. Where the Blue Devils were "snappier" and more "bluesy," the Moten band was classier and more respected, and played in the "Kansas City stomp" style. In addition to playing piano, Basie was co-arranger with Eddie Durham, who actually did the notating. During a stay in Chicago, Basie recorded with the band. He occasionally played four-hand piano and dual pianos with Moten, who also conducted. The band improved with several personnel changes, including the addition of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster.

 

 

Central Standard Time

Central Standard Time      website

Central Standard Time evolved out of the last of the original Red Dogs in January of 1970. Kent Leopold, Evan Johnson, Randy Shaw, Bob Meyerhoeffer, Roger Walls and Richard Tade were all members of the last original Roarin' Red Dogs Band when they decided to leave the mid-west on their quest to make it big in the music business. Since not all of the Red Dogs wanted to make this move, Mitch Bible, Mike Redd and Larry Church were added to the band that would soon become Central Standard Time. Kent Leopold and Evan Johnson were the leadership behind the band that landed the band it's first gig in Boston in February of 1970. Before leaving Kansas, the band changed it's name to Central Standard Time.
Below are the original members of Central Standard Time, instruments played and home town.

Kent Leopold - Sax and Flute (Coffeeville, Kansas)
Evan Johnson - Drums (Topeka, Kansas)
Bob Meyerhoeffer - Vocals & Guitar (Hastings, Nebraska)
Randy Shaw - Drums and Vocals (Council Grove, Kansas)
Mike Redd - Bass Guitar and Vocals (Wichita, Kansas)
Richard Tade - Hammond B-3 & Piano (Wichita, Kansas)
Mitch Bible - Lead Guitar and Vocals (Mulvane, Kansas)
Roger Walls - Trumpet & Vocals (Rose Hill, Kansas)
Larry Church - Trumpet (Wichita, Kansas)

Below are CST band members that played in later editions of the band.
Bob Eckhoff (trumpet)
Greg Ayers (trombone)
Doug Owen (vocals)
Jim Doherty (drums)
Dave Ferguson (lead guitar)
Moose (drums)
Robbie Barker (organ)

 

 
James Gadson 

James Gadson      myspace

Drummer, producer, singer, and songwriter -- James was born in Kansas City, MO, in 1939. As a teen he naturally took to the drums with the influence of his father Harold, who was a drummer in the legendary Kansas City scene. James eventually found his way to L.A. and joined the legendary 60's funky soul group, Dyke & the Blazers, where he laid down drums on "let a woman be a woman" which later would be sampled by the Bomb Squad for Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrodome." After Dyke's tragic murder and still in L.A., he and other members of the Blazers would end up forming The Watts 103rd Street Band and with the help of Bill Cosby hooked a record deal with Warner Bros. He wrote and sang on some songs like the soulful "dance a kiss & a song". He played on the best known 103rd Street cuts like "Express yourself," which was sampled by Dre for NWA's "Express Yourself". This was just the beginning for Gadson's prolific career, which next found him in the mix with Bill Withers producing, writing, and playing on the soulcessful Still Bill LP, which featured "Use Me," "Lean on Me," and the funky "Kissing my Love," which has been sampled to no end. The Jungle Brothers cut up his drums live for "Straight out the Jungle." From there he became one the most sought out studio drummers, playing on 300 gold records at last count, though you would never suspect it from his ever-humble disposition. He played on Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on," the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Herbie Hancock's Manchild, and most recently Beck, Paul McCartney, and Ray Charles discs. Currently he is doing more sessions and is a founding drummer of the Keepintime project with photographer B+.

 

 
Rudy Love

Rudy Love      biography

Rudy Love & the Love Family were a sibling group headed by older brother Rudy. Over the years, non-siblings performed under the name, but Rudy remained the driving force; Love Family blood members are Bob, Gerald, Peggy, Denise, and Shirley. Rudy was born September 15, 1948, in Oklahoma and the family moved to Wichita, KS; it was a large brood as Rudy has 14 brothers and sisters.

He developed a love for singing and performing from his gospel singing/musician father, Robert, and went from there. A touring singer, Robert crisscrossed the country as a performing musician with gospel and R&B artists. Rudy, the eldest son, became the man of the house while dad was away playing. Through his father, Rudy met many of the top names in music when they passed through Wichita. He formed his first group in grade school and went through many others before settling on Rudy Love & the Love Family in college. The group performed locally, but didn't record since Wichita wasn't and isn't exactly a music mecca.

 

 
Pat McJimsey

Pat McJimsey      website

Wichita's Pat McJimsey began heading up bands at the age of 17 with Velvet Honey. Later he formed the Bear Valley Blues, the Entire British Navy and Four Brothers. Pat toured with John Manning, Finnegan & Wood, Leon Russell and Freddy King. Upon his death the PAT (Performers Assistance Trust) was established by the Wichita Blues Society to offer financial help to musicians who can' t play due to major illness, accident or medical emergency or to their survivors to help with final expenses.


Shortly before his death and due to many requests from his fans, Pat McJimsey digitally re-mastered the "I Dig Girls" Album originally released in the 80's.

He was very excited about this re-release and had plans to come out with a new, "all blues album", later in the year. Thanks to the magic of the internet,
and the devotion of his family and friends, Pat's extrordinary talent lives on to be experienced here by old and new fans alike.

 

 
Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker      wikipedia

Childhood -- Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, the only child of Charles and Addie Parker. Charles, an alcoholic, was often absent. Parker attended Lincoln High School. He enrolled in September 1934 and withdrew in December 1935 about the time he joined the local Musicians Union.

Parker displayed no sign of musical talent as a child. His father presumably provided some musical influence; he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit, although he later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. His mother worked nights at the local Western Union. His biggest influence however was a young trombone player who taught him the basics of improvisation.

Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11 and at age 14 joined his school's band using a rented school instrument. One story holds that, without formal training, he was terrible, and thrown out of the band. Experiencing periodic setbacks of this sort, at one point he broke off from his constant practicing.

Early career -- It has been said that, in early 1936, Parker participated in a 'cutting contest' that included Jo Jones on drums, who tossed a cymbal at Parker's feet in impatience with his playing. However, in the numerous interviews throughout his life, Jones made no mention of this incident. At this time Parker began to practice with great diligence and rigor, learning the blues, "Cherokee" and "rhythm changes" in all twelve keys. In this woodshedding period, Parker mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas of be-bop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said he spent 3--4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day. It has been said that he used to play many other tunes in all twelve keys. The story, though undocumented, would help to explain the fact that he often played in unconventional concert pitch key signatures, like E (which transposes to C# for the alto sax).

Groups led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten were the leading Kansas City ensembles, and undoubtedly influenced Parker. He continued to play with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time certainly influenced Parker's developing style.

In 1938, Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band. The band toured nightclubs and other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City. Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann's band. It was said at one point in McShann's band that he "sounded like a machine", owing to his highly virtuosic yet nonetheless musical playing.

As a teenager, Parker developed a morphine addiction while in hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. Heroin would haunt him throughout his life and ultimately contribute to his death.

 

 
The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers      website

Missouri has long boasted of being the home of two of America's greatest artists, Mark Twain and Chuck Berry. However, it wasn't until The Rainmakers thundered into the national music spotlight in 1986, had anyone combined the guitar power of Berry with the social wit of Twain into a unique brand of Missouri rock n' roll.

Originally formed in 1983 as a 3-piece bar band known as "Steve, Bob, & Rich," these Kansas City rockers became an instant favorite throughout the Midwest. Soon, fans were standing in line to see this trio they described as "energetic," "intense," but most importantly "fun." Within months of finishing their first independent release, "Steve, Bob, and Rich" had signed a multi-album contract with Polygram Records, added a fourth member, and had changed their name to The Rainmakers.

Heralded as "America's Great Next Band" by Newsday, The Rainmakers were soon drenched in critical acclaim. Feature articles in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, CMJ, USA Today and others poured in singing the praises of this hard working Midwest band who provided new life to a traditional rock format.

Critics particularly enjoyed the unique writing style of Bob Walkenhorst, whose talent for choosing unusual and sometimes controversial subjects provided an eye-opening perspective of life, sprinkled with sarcastic humor. The Rainmakers received notoriety for their songs' lyrical content, including Music Connection's award for Lyric Line of the Year: "The generation that would change the world is still looking for its car keys," and in the unlikely source of author Stephen King, who twice quoted lyrics from Rainmakers songs in his best seller "The Tommyknockers," and again in his 1991 novel "Gerald's Game."

But success did not stop at the U.S. borders, as European countries supported the band increasingly with each new release. The song "Let My People Go-Go" gave the Rainmakers their first Top-20 single on the British charts. Critics abroad sang the band's praises, with feature articles in New Musical Express, Kerrang, Rock Power, etc. Frequently, The Rainmakers could be spotted on European television with live appearances on "Top Of The Pops," and "The Tube," and video play on MTV Europe.

European concert dates grew in number each year, with The Rainmakers often enjoying headline status on festival bills. Their reputation as an electrifying concert act eventually led to the recording of a live album at a sold-out show in Oslo, Norway for release solely in Scandinavian markets.

In 1990, after 4 albums, 5 videos, 500,000+ records sold, and concert dates too numerous to count, The Rainmakers put band business on hold to allow time for their personal lives and agendas. In 1994, the band returned to the studio to record a new album, entitled "Flirting With The Universe" - an album which achieved GOLD certification in Norway within 2 months of release.

Overwhelmed by the response to "Flirting...," The Rainmakers reemerged from the studio in 1996 with "Skin." With this effort, Bob Walkenhorst has again proved that no subject matter is too controversial by taking aim at pornography and its societal impact, via his unique perspectives - a Rainmakers trademark. A release, which in true Rainmaker form, is designed to provoke.

The Rainmakers are: Bob Walkenhorst (Vocals, Guitar); Steve Phillips (Lead Guitar, Vocals); Michael Bliss (Bass, Vocals); Pat Tomek (Drums)

 

 
Riverrock

Riverrock      website

Riverrock is "one of the most popular bands in Kansas City History," says the Kansas City Star/Times. Since 1974, Riverrock has been a name country music fans could count on for an exciting show of hot pickin', tight harmonies and spontaneous fun. They have shared the stage with dozens of recording stars, the likes of Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Hank Williams, Jr., Alabama, Suzy Bogguss, The Oak Ridge Boys, Minnie Pearl, Charlie Daniels, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tanya Tucker, Tracy Byrd and Emmylou Harris. Many of these performances were at state and county fairs, concert halls, music festivals, rodeos, college campuses and popular night clubs.

 

 
Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson      website

Best known for his work in the Jazz Messengers and Horizon, this post-bop alto saxophonist has recorded 26 albums as a bandleader and plays on nearly 100 others. He moved home to Kansas City in 2000 and currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at UMKC. He still manages to balance live engagements around the world with teaching.

 

 
Jimmy Wilson

Jimmy Wilson

Saxophonist Jimmy Wilson has been part of the NE Kansas music scene for many years, beginning with Larry Emmett & The Sliders in the late Fifties. In the Seventies, he was part Lawrence's Used Parts and other groups. More recently he has spent several years playing in Johnny I & The Receders.

 

 

Chely Wright

Chely Wright      website

Lifted off the Ground may be Chely Wright's seventh album, but on a number of levels it feels and sounds like her first, revealing an artist who has undergone a dramatic artistic transformation, emerging as a singer/songwriter of the first order. But the new album would never have come to be were it not for an equally dramatic personal transformation, which she has candidly and painstakingly documented. Lifted Off the Ground will be released on Vanguard Records May 4, the same day Random House publishes Wright's autobiography, Like Me.

 

 
Garth Fundis

Garth Fundis, 2011 Directors Award      biography

An independent record producer, Fundis' credits include some of country music's cream of the crop; Trisha Yearwood, Keith Whitley, Don Williams, Sugarland, Terri Clark, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris as well as New Grass Revival, Doc and Merle Watson, Sheryl Crow and Townes Van Zandt. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for NARAS (01-03), past Trustee and President of the Nashville Chapter, serves on the boards of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, Alumnus of Leadership Music. Fundis owns the renowned Sound Emporium Recording Studios. His latest project with Trisha Yearwood, "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" is scheduled for release on November 13, 2007 on Big Machine Records.

 

 
Jesse Stone

Jesse Stone, 2011 Bob Hapgood Award

 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)

Born in Kansas, Jesse Stone began performing in his family's minstrel show at the age of four. By the Twenties he was leading a jazz band that included saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, a future jazz legend. Jesse Stone and His Blue Serenaders became a fixture on the Kansas City jazz scene.

Jesse Stone was one of the greatest songwriters of the rhythm & blues and rock and roll era. Much of his best-known work was done at Atlantic Records, where he wrote, arranged and played on some key sessions. For the Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, he came up with "Money Honey," which topped the R&B and pop charts for 11 weeks in 1953 and was covered by Elvis Presley early in his career. Another of Stone's songs - "Sh-Boom," by the Chords -- was a doo-wop classic from 1954. "Shake, Rattle and Roll" - recorded by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and His Comets, and many others - became a turning point in early rock and roll history. The song served as a bridge to R&B for white teenagers, who accepted it as rock and roll.

Another standout from the era, "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash," was a hit for the Clovers. As a musician, Stone led the house band on Chuck Wills' rocking update of blues singer Ma Rainey's "C.C. Rider." On the jazz side, he wrote "Idaho," which became a standard. Benny Goodman's version topped the charts and Guy Lombardo's version reportedly sold more than 3 million copies. Stone penned "Smack Dab in the Middle," which became the signature song of Joe Williams,