Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Born in the coalminer country of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, Todd “Strawback Slim” Hocherl was serenaded from birth by the rhythmic rural sounds that continually echoed from the landscape.

Realizing his early interest, Todd’s parents, who themselves were descendants of immigrant musicians, bought him his first drum set at the age of two. Attempts were made to generalize this interest, specifically with the purchase of a guitar at the age of four; but as Todd wore out his drum set, the guitar sat in a corner collecting dust… Todd was a drummer.

Formal musical education began at age 10 for Todd. With the help of both private and scholastic lessons, he mastered new techniques and quickly rose to first chair in his middle school band. Success followed him to the next level where he was honored with the role of Drum Captain during both his junior and senior years of high school. It was during this latter time that Todd formed his first professional rock band known to all in the tri-state area as Sex with Midgets. Experiencing his first taste of performing life on the road, Todd both exhilarated and animated East Coast followers while playing shows in New York, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Baltimore and a wide array of local venues. The punk rock juggernaut released two CDs during Todd’s stint with the band.

While working toward a music education degree Todd expressed a new found interest in jazz while collaborating with the Peabo Masala Jazz Ensemble. With great reverence for the technical precision that got him to this point, Todd transcended the rote, generalizable teachings of the past, affording him a new level of creativity and understanding moving forward. Eagerly, Todd was open to playing with, and learning from, anyone at anytime. Always approachable and receptive, Todd connected with his first blues band, Blue Rooster. Simultaneously, plans for an overseas adventure were in the beginning stages of composition. Touring Europe with a Latin House Band, Todd developed an unprecedented sense of cultural awareness regarding both the music he played and music in general. Todd played at some of the largest raves and festivals, including the Benicassim Festival, while traveling through Spain, Italy, Greece, and numerous Slavic countries.

Current Bands Todd is associated with are: The Tonehounds, David Moore and His Hillbilly Huxsters, Sean K Preston, And saving the best for last Bo Weevil and Rottin Cottin