Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Bugs Henderson was born in Palm Springs, California in 1943 and grew up in Tyler, Texas. Bugs had a burning desire to pick up the 6 string at an early age. At the age of 6 he discovered his first love.
in the early 1960's he began working in a record store in Tyler. As a
teen he would sneak out of the house against his fathers wishes just to
catch live gigs in the local joints. Beginning his own band, the
Sensors, at age 16 he soon joined his friend, Ronnie Weiss, in a band
called Mouse and the Traps. Mouse and the traps charted its first song,
"Public Execution" in 1966. This is where he earned his name "Bugs" over
shadowing his real name Buddy.
Bugs' signature sound was beginning to define itself during the 1970s with the blues. Quoting Bugs, "Blues was all that mattered to me; no other music was worth a damn." During this time, Bugs moved from Tyler to Dallas in order to join the scene of a bar called The Cellar. "It's really hard to explain that place," Henderson remembers. "It was this big, black room. It had a red light that came on when the cops were coming in and another light for fights. The waitresses wore just bras and panties, but they ran three or four bands in a night and everybody played original music. We usually didn't leave until four in the morning, and there was no other place like it around. It was the best thing that happened to my music. I learned a lot."
Henderson went from small clubs to playing on stage opening for artists such as the Allman Brothers, B.B King, and Leon Russell. Henderson described it as "a big change."
Bugs and his love for blues got tired of the wide-open riff-oriented
rock, and friend Freddie King began pushing for Henderson to start his
own band. Bugs the assembled his first record "At Last" released on
succession of 14 albums spanning over four decades.
His mixture of searing blues, jazz ability, swing, funk, and just about everything else that can be played on six strings; Bugs has the ability to give his audience a sense of true musical art, applying enormous control over his tone and coloration.
Bugs has played with guitar icons such as B.B. King, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Ted Nugent, Roy Buchanan, and James Burton. To this day, Bugs' guitar hangs in Hard Rock Cafe' in Dallas along side instruments donated by Lee Ritenouer and Chet Atkins.
"I tell people all the time that I know you're supposed to stop and smell the roses as you go though life, but in my case I stopped and moved into the garden."