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This is the story of the Bad News Blues Band.
It was written by the band's founder, and leader, Mr. Michael "Johnny
Guitar" Blommer. It contains the complete (as well as he can
remember it) history of the band.
If you are looking at this page then I assume you are interested
in how the band came to be. I started the band in 1992 after seeing
Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds at a club called the Windy
Cities. The whole point of the band was to get together and have
fun playing music so, for the most part we just practiced a couple
times a week and drank a lot of beer.
MORE TO COME...
We would go see The Roadhouse Hounds every Sunday and that's where
I met Tony
Uribe (now playing with Tony
and the Torpedoes) and Phil Davis (Bloolyte, L.A.P.D.) who
let me sit in and play a few songs with them. After six or eight
months I decided that I wanted to start playing gigs but we needed
a singer. I figured it was a long shot but I asked Tony if he
would be interested in playing with us. To my surprise he said
he would. The first working version of the band was now being
We played our first gig on May 12th at the Cushing Street Bar
and had a great time. The band still needed some polishing but
we had a start. The line up of the band changed pretty quickly
because of conflicting schedules and other commitments. We hired
Dan Holowell to play the drums and we got our first steady gig
at a cool little dive called DoDeoo's so now we were ready to
I always wanted a big band so a little to Tony's dismay I added
a four piece horn section after I ran into an old friend from
High school named Craig Stern. He put together Don Kelly, Louie
Kelly, and Brett West and told me about this guy named Alex that
he worked with in the Air Force reserves who played the Sax. He
asked Alex if he wanted to come sit in sometime and after a few
weeks he did.
This guy could play! So now we have five horns. Luckily the guys
were willing to play for beer so it worked out pretty good for
everyone. We played every Tuesday at Dodeoo's. The people who
owned the Green Dolphin came to see us and asked if we wanted
to play their club on Wednesdays.
Two steady gigs! Right on! Now the only problem was that Tony
already played five nights a week with his regular band so two
nights was all we could do. I wanted to play more but it didn't
seem like it was going to be possible.
That is when we started playing with the Deacon.
He wanted to put together a new band to play at Berky's on Thursday
nights and he was thinking about two guitars, bass, drums, and
himself as a frontman. He asked me if I knew another guitar player
that could do it and I told him I knew a couple of horn players
that really wanted to play. I thought it would be cooler than
the standard two guitar bar band.
So Deacon's Three Ring Circus started. The lineup was myself on
guitar, Mike Orr on bass, Chip
Ritter on Drums, Alex Flores on Sax, Craig Stern on trumpet
and the Deacon as ringleader.
That band blew the roof off Berky's and changed my perception
of what live music should be.
After a few weeks Mike had to back out and concentrate on his
Master's thesis so we hired Jeff Masterson who was the current
bass player for George Howard and the Roadhouse hounds. This was
an early form of the Bad News Blues Band to come.
At this point I wanted to play every night and needed to find
a way to make it happen. We slimmed down the Bad News Blues Band
and added Mike Midel (vocals, harmonica) and Charly Wycott (bass)
to form a band called the Full Moon Blues Band. We started playing
at a place called McHughes Good Times Pub on Mondays and Saturdays
and started to get a pretty good reputation as the hot new blues
band in town.
We played with that lineup for a while until Mike Midell quit
because he didn't like the direction of the band.
That was when Alex, Craig and I stepped up and started singing.
By now Dodeoo's and the Green Dolphin had gone out of business
and Tony was playing full time with his band. Now we concentrated
on the Full Moon Blues Band and started working seven nights a
week between Berky's, the Chicago
Bar and Windy Cities. The only problem we had was that none
of us were very good singers. That's when Donnie from the Chicago
Bar suggested we hire Anna Warr.
What a great suggestion it was! Everything was going great and
then this guy named Ed Mooney came in and told me that we had
his band name. Since it was Mike Midel who came up with the Full
Moon Blues Band name and he was no longer in the band, we decided
to go back to the name Bad News Blues Band.
We played with that lineup for quite a while and during that time
Tony re-joined the band and left again to start Tony
and the Torpedoes with Anna.
Now we were back to a five piece band with myself, Alex and Craig
doing the vocals. We recorded our first CD, "Cruisin' for a Bluesin'"
in 1996, after Charly quit and we hired Steve
Grams on Bass.
Steve played with us for about three months and went back to playing
for Tony and the Torpedoes.
Things were getting tough and we were working pretty much exclusively
for Berky so the gigs sort of started drying up.