Gene Taylor is an extraordinary blues piano-player and
singer, born in Los Angeles, California, in 1952. At the age of
eight, he came under the influence of a family of blues and boogie-woogie
players who moved in next door to his house. After starting out with
the drums, he switched to the piano and the guitar at age ten. He
learned very quickly playing by ear and, at age 11, he began performing in
a 'family band' with his best friend Jim Payne and Jim's parents. They
worked occasional neighborhood functions, giving Gene his first experience
as a 'paid musician'---playing and singing country music.
Having lost both his parents and brother by
the age of 15, Gene was firmly committed to the life of a musician.
After obtaining his driver's license at age 16---and looking much older,
thanks to an already-receding hairline---he started finding local work
with such L.A.-based blues legends as Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker,
Lowell Fulson, and Pee-Wee Crayton. In his own words, "Well, I was
playing good boogie-woogie and pretty fair blues at this point, and going
to blues jams with my fake ID (identification). The word got out
that I wanted to work! Since I was young and would work cheap, I was
hired by these guys sometimes as a 'fill-in' on local gigs for the older
piano players who weren't available or wanted too much money!" ( laughter)
"But I was a quick learner and I had a car---all the better to drive the
older guys around!" (more laughter) This experience was invaluable
to Gene's musical
foundation. And during this period, he met both James Harman and
Phil and Dave Alvin---who later formed The Blasters.
After working for James Harman during most of
1974, Gene was asked to join Canned Heat. He was a member of this
legendary band from November, 1974 until May, 1976---giving him his first
After leaving Canned Heat, Gene worked as a
solo performer around Long Beach, California. He had a 2-year
'house-gig' at a notorious Long Beach bar called the Falcon's Nest, owned
by a now-deceased gangster. At this lively spot, Gene's audience
occasionally included various Los Angeles-area celebrities---most notably,
actor Robert Blake and poet Charles Bukowski.
In 1978, Gene immigrated to Toronto, Canada,
to play music with his friend Morgan Davis, a well-known Canadian
bluesman. He was based in Canada from 1978-1993---though he
continued to perform with other artists world-wide. During his years
in Canada, Gene found time to play and record with the Downchild Blues
Band, Chris and Ken Whitely, and the one-and-only Ronnie Hawkins (founder
of The Band). During this period he also was a member of The Amos
Garrett, Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor Band---releasing a Juno Award- winning album,
"The Return Of The Formerly Brothers" (1987) and another recording, "Live
In Japan" (I990).
While working with his good friend James
Harman again, in 1981, Gene was asked to join the Blasters---a band
comprised of 4 friends from his teenage years (Phil and Dave Alvin, John
Bazz, and Bill Bateman). He played with The Blasters for 4 1/2
years, recording 4 critically-acclaimed albums for Warner Brothers records
and appearing on every important music television show of the period.
In 1984 The Blasters were also featured in Walter Hill's major
motion-picture, "Streets Of Fire", for Universal Films. Gene also
released his first solo record, 'Handmade', in 1986. If this wasn't
enough, he also toured with the late Rick Nelson, between Blasters
After leaving the Blasters at the end of
1985, and recording 'Handmade', Gene worked around Canada as a solo artist
and with the Downchild Blues Band---a band that, years before, had
inspired their fellow-Canadian Dan Akroyd to create the "Blues Brothers".
In 1992 Gene played on the live Red Devils recording, "King King"
(produced by Rick Rubin for Def American records)---since this band was
founded by his old friend Bill Bateman, the drummer with the original
Blasters. He also did 2 more Blasters tours in 1991 and 1992.
In 1993, Gene relocated to Austin, Texas, and
joined The Fabulous Thunderbirds, remaining with this
internationally-acclaimed band until September of 2006. During his
almost-14 years with the T- Birds, he toured the world constantly and recorded
two studio albums and one live album with the band---plus, a live DVD!
He also played on 2 of T-Bird leader Kim Wilson's solo CD's. In
2003, Gene released a self-titled CD on the Pacific Blues label and
participated in all the tours and recordings of the Blasters 'reunion'
from 2002-2003. He has also appeared on a recording (2006) with his
dear friend, legendary L.A. bluesman, Carlos Guitarlos---and of course,
Gene continues to record and perform with his friend of over 35 years, 'Icepick
James' Harman (13 records and counting!).
BOEKINGEN: GENUINE MUSIC AGENCY Postbus 1577,
4700 BN Roosendaal, Holland Tel. 0165 - 553115