Audio Samples
Keep Rubbin' Me
I Apologize


About the Band
The story of the R&B Bombers starts long ago, in the 1980’s, at a time that music was starting to become unhinged. Electronics were being brought into the human produced order of sounds and many were tempted by the newness. Larry Nass, a guitar virtuoso from Ventura CA, along with another pair of Southern California natives Steve Nelson on
bass and Joe Wilson, a vocalist whose influences are almost forgotten (but revived by Wilson in a brand new way,) wanted to form a band with a raw, human emotional feeling that captured the essence of what music is, and what made all of us start to play music in the first place. And so players in the area were recruited one by one. The immensely talented keyboardist Ken Stange, the wonderful multi-i
nstrumentalist and writer arranger Jim Hochanadel on tenor saxophone. Craig Thomas switching on alto and tenor sax and providing added vocals, Dave Tolegian on his booming yet intricate baritone and alto saxes, Craig Woods on trombone extraordinaire, and local favorite on drums Tom Lackner were all recruited by Nelson, Wilson and Nass. After much planning, arranging and rehearsals, the band made it’s debut in Santa Barbara, CA. at the Head of the Wolf for a packed house, the first of many that the band and venue was treated to.

From there it was all up hill, as clubs, festivals, and concerts were queuing up in droves
to get the R&B Bombers to play for them, opening concerts for groups as diverse as Toto,
the Pointer Sisters, and the Count Basie Band with Cab Calloway. Sellout crowds, with
lines down the block waiting to get into see the group on WEEKDAY nights were
common in places like Sundays at Andy’s Barbecue Heaven in Ventura, Mondays at the
Central(now known as the Viper Room) in Hollywood sharing the bill with the renowned
Chuck E. Weiss, and the Tuesday night patio parties at the 1129 club in Santa Barbara.
The group even headlined at the Ventura Theater. This newfound fame was not lost on
promoter Michael Kaufer, who instituted the long running Bowlful of Blues in Ojai. CA.
with the R&B Bombers as the house band for the first three years of it’s existence,
playing their own sets and backing up such artists as Charlie Musselwhite, Eddie
Cleanhead Vinson, Pee Wee Crayton, Margie Evans, Cash McCall, Johnny Copeland,
and many others. These appearances, coupled with the release of the self-titled R&B
Bombers vinyl LP, described by the late legendary record producer Terry Melcher as a
“complete and well-produced work,” catapulted the band into one of the top acts in the
Southern California area.

Success for the R&B Bombers unfortunately was not, shall we say, handled as well as it
could have been, and the group had to replace members temporarily and in some cases
permanently, and this led to general disarray of the band. This coupled with the untimely
passing of guitarist Larry Nass ultimately caused the break-up of the group. One fan of
the band, Kenny "the Doorman" Borrell, was able to coax the band into re-uniting for his
birthday parties, and fans of the group would turn out in droves. In early 2008, the core
remaining members decided that the R&B Bombers music is timeless, and extremely
enjoyable to play. So, a serious reunion, with the release of a CD with unreleased tracks
included and a serious commitment to perform the music, and a second CD of all new
material, is now being implemented “as we speak.” (Update Nov. 2009, the CD “Bad
Behavior” was released in June ’09 and is receiving extensive airplay and critical
review.)

Not that the band members have been inactive. The present group of players includes
new members Don Roberts on baritone and alto saxes, Steve Wachsman on guitar, and
long time member Jim Christie returning on drums. These and the original members have
toured and performed in the back-up bands for such artists as Elvis Presley, Aretha
Franklin, Ray Charles, Brian Setzer, Joe Cocker, Freda Payne, The Temptations, Four
Tops, James Brown, Joe Walsh, Dwight Yokam, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Big Mama
Thornton, Manhattan Transfer, and Bobby Caldwell, just to name a few. The R&B
Bombers are back and ready to become a mighty force on the blues circuit!

Members:
Joe Wilson, lead vocals and harmonica
Joe is from Santa Barbara, CA and is the primary song writer for the group. He’s a
product of the rich blues heritage of that seaside town that spawned the likes of Kim
Wilson(no relation) and Mitch Kashmar
Ken Stange, keyboards
Ken is also one the main arrangers for the Bombers and has played with the likes of Joe
Cocker and Roger Miller among others
Steve Nelson, acoustic and electric bass
The rock solid bottom for the group and a Southern California native. he’s work with
among others Tony Tennille, having been the bass player for the Captain and Tennille
TV Show.
Craig Thomas, tenor sax and vocals
Born in Washington D.C. and moved to SoCal early on, he nonetheless retained a strong
R&B background from the Capitol City and has worked with the likes Aretha Franklin,
Les McCann, The Temptations, and Freda Payne.
Don Roberts, baritone and tenor saxes
Worked with Elvis Presley, Loggins and Messina, and was the musical director for
Manhattan Transfer
Dave Tolegian, alto and tenor saxes, flute
The versatile reedman and flautist has played with diverse acts as James Brown, Tony
Bennett and Joe Walsh
Craig Woods, trombone
One of the most sought after trombonists in the business, Craig has toured and recorded
with Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Bobby Caldwell, Brian Setzer, and Paul Anka
Steve Wachsman, guitars
A long time bluesman for Southern California, Steve’s resume includes Big Momma
Thornton and Muddy Waters.
Jim Christie, drums and percussion
Hailing originally from Detroit, Jim has provided the solid drumming for Dwight Yokum
and Lucinda Williams.


 


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