Frank Bang and his all star band (Lee Delray, guitar; Jimmy Pritchard, bass; and Mike Rodbard, drums) closed out the Sparta Summer Concert Series on Friday, August 26th at Dykstra Park with a greasy set of Chicago blues. Opening act was a fabulous acoustic set by Don Elliker. Big shout out to Stewart Lieberman and the Sparta Arts Council for supporting NJBS. Awareness of NJBS has increased as a result of our presence at these events.
A little background on Frank from his webpage: Born with the Bohemian Irish name of Frank Blinkal into two generations of Chicago police officers and a mother that often worked three jobs, Frank learned at an early age about the grit and sometimes stark reality of the world he was born into and turned that into his own brand of the blues – weaned from years of trying to learn everything he could by putting himself into the middle of everything that the Chicago music scene had to offer. And it paid off.
In his twenties, Frank found himself working at Buddy Guy’s Legends club, while making a name for himself fronting bands of his own. He was soaking up invaluable knowledge from the clientele and getting an education that not many have a chance to experience. Numerous touring bands came through the club, but amongst the club’s regulars were Junior Wells, Otis Rush, and Lonnie Brooks. And then he became Buddy Guy’s touring guitar player for five years. No late night conversations with your heroes will prepare you for that, if you don’t have the chops to pull off the gig. You have to work your ass off, which Frank did as an employee of Legends, while working through the ranks. As Buddy’s guitar player, his work ethic paid off. Hard work is a big part of what makes up Frank Bang, He never stops playing. He never stops honing his craft. And he never takes any bullshit. Some of that was learned from his environment at Legends, but most of it has been ingrained in him since he was born. With Buddy, he toured the world and shared the stage with the likes of Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton, but that’s only semantics that make up pieces of a scene.
As a solo artist, Frank has released four critically acclaimed albums under the names Frank Bang and the Secret Stash and Frank Bang and the Cook County Kings. If you missed this show, Frank will be performing on September 8th at Hillside Tavern in Lodi, NJ.
Photos courtesy of Kirk Hansen aka Black Kat Blues and Cristy Benvenutti; Videos courtesy of Greg Lewis.