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Gary Kendall Band Bio
knows Gary Kendall as oft-elected Maple Blues’ Bassist of the Year, blues
man about town and keeper of the bottom end for Downchild. But Gary’s alter
ego is found in his much beloved Gary Kendall Band – a band in which
each carefully selected player is equal and accountable. Formed in 2005, Gary
reached out to some of Toronto’s best musicians to create a turn-on-a-dime
squad of blues marauders to build a loyal following for their own brand of
music –and for doing exactly what they like to on any given night – play
chemistry found between Gary Kendall (bass/lead vocals/songwriter), Tyler
Burgess (drums), Darran Poole (guitar/vocals) and Wayne “Shakey” Dagenais
(piano/organ/percussion/vocals) is beyond formidable. This spirited foursome
plays together relentlessly and have so much fun at it, one’s never entirely
sure what to expect – and that live spontaneity is exactly what the
blues has been needing for a long time.
a two CD catalogue (Dusty & Pearl,
Feels Real Strong) and new, downloadable single (“This Sacred Ground”)
to draw from, Kendall & Co. mix it up and dish it out with every
performance, playing to blues-savvy crowds drawn to a groove they already know
about it – with this talent pool– the possibilities are endless, and
all of them good.
quality of the music on any given night with the Gary
Kendall Band is a given. It’s not Downchild.
It’s not The Kendall Wall Blues Band
or any variation of Kendall’s Maple
Blues Revue. It’s a fresh, impassioned outlet for four talented
musicians clearly inspired by their collective love of the music business.
This is a true band who conspire to write their own music, arrange, play and
sing it they way they like it – and it’s a guaranteed “Real Good
Night” in any live setting. Experience counts for something. The Gary
Kendall Band counts for more than that.
all started in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the northern end of Highway 61. Elvis
Presley on The Ed Sullivan show in 1956 and Muddy Waters,
Dixon and Sunnyland Slim on the CBC documentary “The Blues”
in 1962. Scanning the dial of an old radio, late at night in a basement
bedroom, looking for exotic music from the south. This is how Gary
Kendall's journey into the world of the Blues began. When other
teenage boys his age went to weekend dances to meet girls, he stood off
to the side watching the musicians on the bandstand. At age sixteen,
six months after acquiring his first pawn shop electric guitar; he jumped
at the chance to join a band called The Countdowns and play bass.
None of the other young musicians wanted the bass players job, Gary just
wanted to be in a band. After making $20 at a Saturday night dance
playing rock n roll, his future occupation was secured. When the
mid-sixties brought the British Invasion, it was The Rolling Stones
that caught his ear and their music encouraged him to dig a little deeper
and buy records by artists who were considered to be the first generation
of the Blues. He joined a band called The Shameful Minority
with long time friend, guitarist David Smyth. The record collection
now included Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James,
Dixon, B.B. King, Little Walter,
The Paul Butterfield
Blues Band and many more.
In 1968, Gary Kendall moved to Toronto, the city he calls home.
By 1971, with The James Hartley Band, he was playing Grossman's
Tavern and other blues bars in the Spadina/College neighborhood where
he lived. The Downchild Blues Band was at the top of the local
scene and he quickly became friends with all the band members, brought
together by a mutual respect for the music. In 1974, playing in a
basement bar beneath the legendary Colonial Tavern with his own
band, Dollars, a friendship was struck with Muddy Waters guitarist,
Bob Margolin. Bob arranged for him to sit in with Muddy and the
The privilege to play with one of his heroes is something that has stayed
with him to this very day. A few months later the basement bar brought
in Sunnyland Slim, an artist first seen on television with Muddy Waters
back in 1962. He was thrilled when his band was asked to back up
Sunnyland and Bonnie Bombshell for a week.
In late 1979 the opportunity to join The Downchild Blues
Band became a reality. The chance to play with old friends in
one of his favorite bands seemed like a dream come true. He stayed
until 1983, recording four albums, “We Deliver”, “Road Fever”,
Run Hot” and “But, I’m On The Guest List”. From the mid-80`s
to the early 90`s, Gary stayed off the road, holding down a house gig at
Toronto’s, Black Swan Tavern with The Kendall Wall Blues Band.
A group he formed with ex-Downchild drummer
Cash Wall and harmonica
ace Jeff Baker. Teddy Leonard, who later became part
of the multi-talented, award-winning band Fathead, was one of KWBB’s
guitarists. They released two independent, cassette only recordings,
Kendall Wall Blues Band” and the live “One Take”. Their
Afternoon Blues Matinee’s at the Swan became legendary.
those days most touring acts came to Toronto for a week to play at Albert’s
Hall and most of the artists came over to the Swan to do a guest spot
on Saturday afternoon. That gave KWBB the opportunity to play with
C. Reed, Pinetop Perkins, Eddy Clearwater, Tinsley
Ellis, Little Willie Littlefield, Chubby Carrier, Bernard
Allison, Eddie C. Campbell, Lefty Dizz, Eddie "Clean
Head" Vinson, Eddie Shaw, Carey Bell, Fenton Robinson
and many more. This also led to KWBB being used by venues like Albert’s
Hall and The Bermuda Onion as a back up band for Luther “Guitar
Junior” Johnson, Snooky Pryor, Big Jay McNealey, Honkin'
Joe Houston, Phil Guy and Cash McCall.
In 1995, Gary Kendall returned to his position as bassist with Canadian
music institution, The Downchild Blues Band. Since then, they've
released “Lucky 13”, “Come On In” and the newest, “Live
at The Palais Royale”. When not on the road with Downchild, he
fills his insatiable need to play the blues by working under his own name
as The Gary Kendall Band.
The Gary Kendall Band features Darran Poole on guitar, Shakey
Dagenais on piano/organ and Mike Fitzpatrick or Tyler Burgess
on drums. Fitzpatrick is Downchild's current drummer, Burgess is
alumni of both Downchild and Stompin' Tom Conners.
Gary Kendall received The Toronto Blues Society's “Blues With A Feeling
Award” in 1993 and has nine nominations for The Maple Blues Award's
Of The Year”. He won the MBA “Bassist Of The Year” in 1997, 1999,
2000. 2002 and 2005. In 2002 his hometown of Thunder Bay honored
him with the “Thunder Blues Award” and The Thunder Bay Blues
“Keeping The Blues Alive Award”.
In recent years Gary has worked on recordings by Chris Murphy
(Blowin' The Horn and I’m A Happy Guy), Little Bobby & The Jumpstarts
In The Glove Box), Maria Aurigema (Take Me),
Schmidt & Shane Scott(Blues Approved),
Brian Blain (Overqualified
For The Blues) and Ray Edge (Soul Connection). Since
1999 he has held down the prestigious position as Musical Director/Band
Leader at the annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony. In November 2004,
Gary Kendall released his first long awaited solo recording
Pearl” on his own 47 Records label, followed by "Feels Real
Strong" in 2008. Whenever and wherever you
find him, G.K. will be “layin’ down a solid groove and playin’ the blues”.
Official "Dusty & Pearl"
"47 RECORDS PROUDLY ANNOUNCES" DUSTY & PEARL A solo recording by Downchild bassist & multiple
Maple Blues Award winner! GARY KENDALL
Recording a solo CD is something I've wanted to do for quite awhile,
it's been in my head for a long time. Early this year with the help
and encouragement of Iridescent Music I was able to go into the studio
and begin recording in mid-May. I had nine of my own tunes, a few
obscure blues covers and lots of ideas. I've always had a good phone
book and lots of friends in the biz so as the recording began to take it`s
own life, the calls started going out. By the time it wrapped
in mid-August , thirty-three of this country's "Blues Elite"
had joined me and made contributions. Donnie Walsh and all the members
of Downchild play on various tracks Fathead`s, Al Lerman, Teddy Leonard
and John Mays, along with horn players Chris Murphy, Larry Bodner, Chris
Whiteley, Howie Moore, Steve Donald, Rich Howse are featured. Singers,
Suzie Vinnick, Judy Brown, John Dickie and Johnny Wright are heard through
out. Richard Bell brought in his accordion and
keyboardists Rod Philips and Martin Aucoin added some organ.
My good friend and bass confidant Terry Wilkins
did a great job on acoustic bass on one track and Little Bobby and Pete
Schmidt played some great harmonica and blues guitar. The drummer's
chair was occupied by my favourites, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Casson, Tyler
Burgess and Tom Bona. Steve Grisbrook sat behind the board as engineer
and did double duty adding some guitar and back up vocals. When not touring
with Downchild I plan to promote "Dusty & Pearl" by performing with
The Gary Kendall Band which features Darran Poole on guitar, Tyler Burgess
on drums and Shakey Dagenais on piano.
musician's do their bit for a bass
man who steps out with a fine CD" Maple Blues
(Vinyl & Cassette) Grossman's Live 1987 LP
Ray Edge - Don't Worry About Tomorrow/Point It Out 1983
Morgan Davis & The Catfish - Satisfaction Guaranteed/Bar-B-Que
Records 1979 45rpm
Dollars - Look Into Your Own Eyes: Sudbury Shinerama 1975 45rpm
Matt Lucas - I've Paid My Dues Kanata1971
Dusty & Pearl-Gary Kendall
Feels Real Strong-The Gary Kendall Band
Four On The Floor-David Owen
Blowin The Horn-Chris Murphy
East Meets Vest-David Vest
Soul Connection-Ray Edge