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walter tore's spontobeat
walter tore's spontobeat
Location:
santa rosa, ca,
Artist Description:
this music is spontaneously created and recorded with no overdubs or editing. I just start playing and the band kicks in and the words come out. I record everything through a reactive technologies stereo spider mic into aSharp DR-7 minidisc recorder. I use Cool Edit 2000 to ad a little reverb and normalize the volume.

Band members:
Douglas Ian McKenzie - bass Douglas started playing guitar at age 13. Being the youngest of six, his older brothers had an influence on his musical exposure. The oldest of the six was Robert, AKA Fast Floyd. Floyd was a professional musician with many years experience playing coast to coast from New York to San Francisco with bands such as Mink Deville, the Spiders, and his band Fast Floyd and the Famous Firebirds. Floyd opened the door to new influential music such as blues, soul, R&B and reggae. Douglas played bass with Floyd's band as a teenager. Soon Chicago blues had a definite influence on Douglas'playing. Artist such as BB King, Otis Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Sonny Boy Williamson were a part of his musical diet. Of course there were other influences such as Pink Floyd, JethroTull, Allman Brothers, Bob Marley and Yes. In 1979 he joined his first club band with his sister Teresa on vocals. The band was short lived however because Douglas was off earning his Physics degree at Sonoma State University. The music couldn't wait and soon the Below Zero Blues Band was formed. The band played extensively in the north S.F. area backing local blues stars such as Sonny Rhodes and Mississippi Johnny Waters. Then in 1984 Below Zero disbanded and Teresa and the Brewers were formed. The Brewers developed a faithful following in the bay area. Doyle Bramhall Jr was a member of Teresa and the Brewers. During one of their recording projects they hooked up with drummer Johnny Campbell. The Brewers disbanded in late '86 and Doug went on to form his own band, Rock House Blues Band. This band was relatively short lived Doug being more of a support artist than a band leader. Shortly after Johnny Campbell gave him a call and the Pulsators were born. We have played shows with the Nevilles, Meters, Little Feat, Bob Dylan, BB King, the Radiators, Al Green, Joe Cocker at at the Shoreline, Concord Pavilion, Sacramento Amphitheater, House of Blues in Hollywood, Tipitinas, Luther Burbank Center... a link to the Pulsators site: http://www.pulsators.com/ Katherine Stevens drums. I studied drums with the same teacher Dave Brady for fifteen years, learned how to read music, played big band, country, and mixed bag of all styles. My dad was a drummer in college and in the army. I always wanted to play, but girls in my day didn't play the drums much so finally when I was an adult I started taking lessons when I was 26 and stuck with it. I was lucky to have such a good teacher who believed in me and also I got to play with really good country musicians for ten years. I also took Big Band classes at SRJC for a long time.

Instruments:
guitars, bass, drums

Influences:
SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE ENDORSED, JAMMED, OR BEEN IN WALTER TORE’S BAND OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS:

BOB DYLAN, CHARLIE SEXTON (GUITARIST FOR BOB DYLAN, DAVID BOWIE, AND ARC ANGELS), WILL SEXTON, ERIC JOHNSON, DAVID GRISSOM (GUITARIST JOHN MELLENCAMP), DAVID HOLT, EVAN JOHNS, MICHAEL BEEN (THE CALL), ROBBIE ROBERTSON (THE BAND), JIMMY CARL BLACK (ORIGINAL DRUMMER FOR FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION), BOBBY KEYS ( SAX PLAYER FOR ROLLING STONES), RONNIE LANE (SMALL FACES), TIMBUCK 3, UNCLE JOHN TURNER (DRUMMER JOHNNY WINTER), JOEY RAMONE, FAST FLOYD, LOU ANN BARTON, LOS LOBOS, DOUG SAHM (SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET), BOB GUCIONNI, JIM RISSMILLER

LIGHTNING HOPKINS, SONNY TERRY, LOUISIANA RED, CHAMPION JACK DUPREE, LONNIE BROOKS, ALBERT COLLINS, WILBERT HARRISON (KANSAS CITY), PEE WEE CRAYTON, JOHNNY LITTLEJOHN, JOHNNY COPELAND, KIM WILSON, HUBERT SUMLIN, FRANKIE LEE, COOL PAPA, JOHNNY B GOOD, TROYCE KEYS, MARK NAFTLIN, CLIFFORD ANTONE, IAN MOORE, CHRIS DUARTE, INDIANA SLIM, AUGGIE MYERS, ESTABAN JORDAN, DWIGHT YOAKAM, TOOTS THEILMAN, DAVID SANGER (DRUMMER ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL), TEX THOMAS, MONTE WARDEN, TEXICANA DAMES, RICH MINUS,

History:
I started playing music when I was a teenager, in the Newark, N.J. area. One day, Wilbert Harrison, of Kansas City fame, literally followed me down a sidewalk in his Cadillac, screaming at me to get in his car as I walked and played my harmonica. He had girls in the car, champagne glasses on the dash, and almost crushed me into a building. He wanted me to play in his "comeback" band.

I didn't know who he was, and was worried for my life. He kept holding up empty album covers from the 50's, screaming "boy get your ass in this car. My name is Wilbert Harrison, and I want your ass in my band." I got in and my life changed forever.

I spent time with him playing from the elite Tramps Blues Club in NYC, to pot bellied stove dives that had no restrooms. You peed on the sawdust floor and the local hardcore wino would sweep it up twice a day and spread new dust for a free drink. I learned that beat he had and tuned it my own way. I also learned the one man band concept (bass drum, high hat cymbal, guitar, and harmonica, played simultaneously) from him in those places.

During this time I played with local blues bands and was often fired for making songs up on the spot. I would spend my free time playing at the local train station to the local winos. They taught me more than anyone else about singing and performing. I would make up songs on the spot, which were usually about them, and the energy level would hit the ceiling. From that point on, I pushed this concept into my professional concerts.

During this transition time I kept close to the old blues men, including living with Louisiana Red on Long Island. I played around the NYC area with him a lot. He turned me on to many great blues men like Lightning Hopkins, Sonny Terry, Champion Jack Dupree, Bo Diddley, Lonnie Brooks, Eric Burdon, and others. Red moved to Europe and I continued to play the NYC/NJ scene.

I soon left too, for Arizona, and then Ca. In Ca I played with many blues men including Sonny Rhodes, Cool Papa, Mississippi Johnny Waters, Frankie Lee, Mark Naftalin, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny B. Good, Troyce Keys and J.J. Malone, and began a long friendship with Albert Collins. I lived in Sonoma County, Ca. during these years and also had my own band called Walter H.K. Tore and Below Zero.

A famous guitar player from Norway heard me playing in Oakland and brought us over for a tour. We ended up living in Brussels for two years. I played throughout Europe and Scandinavia with my band, and a lot of festivals with Louisiana Red. He is a great blues man, and a great man. He still lives in Germany. He and Champion jack Dupree lived together there. I then moved back to the NYC area, and then on to Austin for 11 years.

The Austin music scene is the best in the USA. I met hundreds of great musicians there, and the ego trips were minimal compared to the other 20 or so cities I had tried to break into. We all shared food, equipment, and housing. I had dozens of drummers through those years, and many were quite well known.

Among them were Jimmy Carl Black, the drummer for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Uncle John Turner of Johnny Winter, and Dave Sanger of Asleep at the Wheel. I also had the good fortune of being the house band at the famous Black Cat Lounge in Austin for eight years. This club was a hangout for the best musicians in town. We would often start at 9pm and play until 5am.

The owner Paul Sessoms, who is now dead, inspired me to follow my dreams. He was the most determined visionary I have ever met. Those nights in that club are legendary. He let us audition drummers on Friday and Saturday nights while we played. Jamie and I would put an ad in the local music paper for drummers to show up at 10pm. If they sounded good they got the job, if not they were asked to leave. It was kind of like the Gong Show, in front of sold out crowds. What other club owner would allow this on their most profitable nights?

I had complete freedom there. I could play solo, loud, quiet, long sets, short sets, have anyone up to jam I liked, take no breaks, or two-hour breaks, sing, talk, cry, or preach. Listen to The Story of the Mojo Guitar on my first cd, and you will learn all about Paul and my dream.

Through the Black Cat Lounge I met and became friends with many musicians including Dwight Yokum, Joey Rammone, Ronnie Lane, Joe Ely, Doug Sahm, Bobby Keys (sax player for Rolling Stones), Charlie Sexton (guitarist for Bob Dylan), Will Sexton, Evan Johns, Timbuck 3, The Call, and countless others.

Major touring bands would stop in the club to get the famous Black Cat t-shirts, and while their busses were idling in front, they would often sit in with us. I even met Badfinger during one of these episodes!

I have spontaneously composed and performed over 1 million songs, which is probably a world record. I refuse to compromise my musical concept, Spontobeat, where all my songs are spontaneously made up. I also believe I am the only person out there who makes it all up as I go along. I never rehearse, or sing the same song twice. My bass player, for over 10 years, was Jamie Greenan. We met in Sonoma County, Ca. in 1980.

We came up with the name Spontobeat- spontaneously created music around 1985. Together we turned this concept into a reality. He traveled with me until the early 90's, and acted as band director, and conceived many promotional ideas to get our concept better known. These included a Spontobeat documentary, which was shot on a playschool video camera, complete with narration and soundtrack.

Many major record labels have approached me through the years, telling me if I would follow the traditional approach of writing, rehearsing, recording, performing, the same songs over and over, I would be as famous as my friends. I am glad I didn't, because I may never have become a teacher! You can view my alternative teaching approach to special eduacation at this link. I have gotten back into music to promote my foundation. http://www.smiling-with-hope.org/


   
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