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The Chicago Kingsnakes are an internationally touring rhythm & blues band that have been performing since 1983.
The Chicago Kingsnakes were formed in 1983 by guitarist / vocalist James Anderson. He started playing guitar at the age of 8 on a homemade instrument crafted from a cigar box, rubber bands and thumb tacks. A lifelong resident of Chicago, he received his musical education on the city's infamous south side, where he played with the likes of guitar greats Buddy Guy, Albert King, Lefty Dizz and Son Seals, harmonica legends James Cotton and Junior Wells and the Queen of The Blues, Koko Taylor.
James has toured the nation with Sun, Chess, Bobbin, Stax and Malaco recording artist Little Milton. Anderson also played guitar with Johnny Twist's Rocka-Boogie Blues Band touring the midwest for three years.
In 1992 The Kingsnakes befriended Byther Smith. The band has become "Smitty's" road band and has accompanied him on tours of the United States, Finland, The Netherlands and Canada. In addition they played on Byther's "I'm A Mad Man" CD on the Bullseye record label. On June 5th 1994 Byther Smith andThe Kingsnakes performed on the Main Stage of the 11th Annual Chicago Bluesfest in Grant Park. This friendship is sustained by occasional tours with Byther.
In 1998 The Kingsnakes released a CD of original material entitled "Blues Island”. The disk was very well received by the press. Blues Revue, a national blues magazine, called Blues Island "Essential". Chicagoland's The Beat, said "Blues Island magnificently captures the live feel and heart of blues in a studio setting".
The Kingsnakes are poised to carry the blues torch into the 21st century by staying true to the music's traditions as well as writing new material to reflect the blues of today and tomorrow.
The trio averages over 100 dates a year, and here are some highlights from the past few years:
- 2002 The band is recording an all acoustic CD, tentatively titled, “The Coffee House Sessions”.
- 2001 The band adds harmonica player, Nelson Keaton to the group. Nelson’s talents contribute to a more traditional Chicago Blues sound.
- 2000 (June) The band performs at the 17th annual Chicago Blues Festival. This fest is the worlds largest free blues festival.
- 1999 (June) Walt Disney Entertainment Group selects the Kingsnakes for thier new product launch of the "Blues Mickey". The band performs at the grand opening of the new Disney store on Michigan avenue in Chicago. The show is covered by international media and gives the band worldwide exposure.
- 1998 (February)The Kingsnakes release their new CD "Blues Island" on MusicKing records. the disk features 10 original compostions by the band.
- 1997 (May) Debuted Merle Perkins as the band's new drummer. Merle is a seasoned professsional who bring over 30 years experience to the group.
- 1996 (October) Began recording their sixth release, due out on CD in Spring 1998.
- 1995 (February) Recorded a live album at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. Released in November '95 as "Live From The Southside".
- 1994 (June) Performed at The 11th Annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. This performance on the Main Stage with Byther Smith was witnessed by over 150,000 people as well as broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio.
- 1993 (May) "I'M A MAD MAN" released on the Bullseye Blues record label. This CD features Byther Smith and The Kingsnakes as well as the Memphis Horns..
- 1993 (February) Toured the Netherlands with Byther Smith.
- 1992 (June) Toured Finland with Byther Smith. This tour culminated at the 15th annual Puistoblues Festival in Jarvenpaa. Performing to a crowd of over 15,000 people,The Kingsnakes shared the stage with Byther, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Sugar Blue, Little Village and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
- 1991 (December) The Kingsnakes released "Ultrasound", a seven song cassette featuring all original songs, on their own MusicKing label.
- The 80's were filled with hundreds of club dates, festivals, and corporate events that helped form the Kingsnakes sound. Some describe the trio as tight, intense, powerful, hard-driving, honest and real. As far as the band is concerned, they call it fun. These three dedicated musicians love to perform and always deliver 110%.
James "Ang" Anderson.....Guitar / Vocals
Ron Berry.....Bass / Vocals
Nelson Keaton.....Harmonica / Vocals
Blues Island..... 1998 MusicKing Records
Blues Guitar Masters*.....1998 EasyDisc Records
Live From The Southside.....1995 MusicKing Records
I'm A Mad Man*.....1993 Bullseye Blues Records
Ultrasound.....1991 MusicKing Records
6 X 3.....1988 MusicKing Records
86 Mix.....1986 MusicKing Records
The Kingsnakes.....1984 MusicKing Records