"This was a very special project for me. I lived in Chuck’s hometown of St. Louis for thirty-two years, and I worked at a small musical instrument store where his drummer also happened to be employed. Chuck’s son would drop by on occasion as well. He was an icon, and rightfully so. I’ve been playing his songs since I was a kid. Needless to say, he was a tremendous influence on my career, and, of course, on many other musicians’ as well.”
01. ST. LOUIS BLUES feat. CHARLIE BERRY III 02. ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC feat. JOANNA CONNOR 03. JOHNNY B GOODE feat. WALTER TROUT 04. WEE WEE HOURS feat. JOE BONAMASSA 05. MEMPHIS feat. ANDERS OSBORNE 06. I WANT TO BE YOUR DRIVER feat. RYAN PERRY 07. YOU NEVER CAN TELL feat. ROBBEN FORD 08. BACK IN THE USA feat. ERIC GALES 09. NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO feat. JEREMIAH JOHNSON 10. TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS feat. LUTHER DICKINSON 11. HAVANA MOON feat. SONNY LANDRETH 12. PROMISED LAND feat. TINSLEY ELLIS 13. DOWN BOUND TRAIN feat. ALEX SKOLNICK 14. MAYBELLENE feat. RICHARD FORTUS 15. SCHOOL DAYS feat. ALLY VENABLE 16. BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN feat. KIRK FLETCHER and JOSH SMITH 17. REELIN’ AND ROCKIN’ feat. TOMMY CASTRO 18. LET IT ROCK feat. JIMMY VIVINO 19. THIRTY DAYS feat. ALBERT CASTIGLIA 20. MY DING A LING feat. KID ANDERSEN
Mike Zito – Vocals/Guitar on all tracks Matthew Johnson – Drums/Vocals/Percussion on all tracks Terry Dry – Bass Guitar/Vocals/Percussion on all tracks Lewis Stephens – Piano/Organ/Wurlitzer on all tracks
Guests: Joanna Connor, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Anders Osborne, Ryan Perry, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, Jeremiah Johnson, Luther Dickinson, Sonny Landreth, Tinsley Ellis, Alex Skolnick, Richard Fortus, Ally Venable, Kirk Fletcher, Josh Smith, Tommy Castro, Jimmy Vivino, Albert Castiglia, Kid Andersen.
Got to see Chuck Berry back in the 80's in Philadelphia at an annual Rock and Roll Festival that was held on the waterfront. Hell, it was Chuck Berry after all!! Backing band up on stage, playing, waiting, Chuck late, crowd restless, all those Chuck Berry stories flooding into my brain at once - would he even show up?? But when Chuck flew onto that stage and ripped into " Johnny B Goode '' all was forgiven and total hell broke loose! We all know the stories - Chuck getting paid cash after his performances in a paper bag, the endless one-nighters with backing bands so excited to be playing with the Rock and Roll icon - Chuck would jump on stage and tear into one hit after another with the band struggling to keep up with him - and the jail terms for one offense or another over those years - but Chuck Berry's unique talents were undeniable right to the end.
"Mike Zito and Friends: A Tribute To Chuck Berry " on RUF Records is an award-winning collection that pays tribute to the original guitar-slinger. Chuck Berry's bridge between blues and rock n' roll broke down barriers and changed musical history. Without Chuck guitar-slinging as we know it today just wouldn't exist. Chuck Berry's sound was unmistakable. His guitar work was always front and center - you knew without question that those licks were Chuck Berry playing his ass off. Here we have an album consisting of 20 Chuck Berry classics performed by Mike Zito and a truly impressive guest list.
Mixed and mastered by David Farrell - " We recorded the basic tracks and then sent them to each guest musician, " Mike recalls. " They added their contributions and then sent files back to us. The process took a year to complete".
Many fans have reacted to the project with mixed reactions. However, each artist brings a unique approach to Berry’s musical history that adds flavor without taking away that distinctive taste of Chucks owns unique contributions to each track. Joanna Connor brings her brilliant slide guitar and backing vocals to " Rock and Roll Music " ; "Too Much Monkey Business " is given a more blusier treatment in the vocals of Luther Dickinson ; Walter Trout tears into " Johnny B. Goode" ; Joe Bonamassa brings on the blues during those " Wee Wee Hours " ; Eric Gales is impressive on "Back in the U.S.A." ; "Downbound Train" features striking guitar work from Alex Skolnick , best known for his work with the thrash-metal band " Testament" but is also an accomplished jazz guitarist ; Who else but the multi-talented, Jester of the Blues , Kid Andersen , could provide such a good time with his own spin on " My Ding-A-Ling" ; and a remake of W.C. Handy's " St . Louis Blues " kicks things off by featuring Chuck Berry's grandson, Charlie Berry III on six string. Supporting musicians include the solid backing of Matthew Johnson, drums; Terry Dry, bass; Lewis Stephens, keys.
"Mike Zito and Friends: A Tribute to Chuck Berry and Rock N' Roll World Tour " continues to roll across the United States and world-wide throughout 2022 with a few friends from the project along for the ride.
Mike Zito and Friends pay tribute to a music pioneer who changed the world of music with a few kick ass notes and a bad ass attitude. This project brings a spotlight to many artists deserving of greater recognition while showcasing a sincere and heart-felt tribute to an incredible master musician. You might not like everything you hear but there is no denying that every listener out there will have one hell of a good time -and isn't that what Chuck Berry's music is really all about?