by Mike Corrigan
The Bone Daddies, one of Spokane's premier original blues acts, is bursting these days with news. First of all, the group is changing its name to CANNON HILL in deference to the South Hill neighborhood where the electric blues/rock trio (guitarist Erich Munzner, bassist Eric Gholson and drummer Zach Cooper) first started playing music together. But that's only the first bean in the burrito. In less than a month, the Bone -- excuse me, Cannon Hill -- will be relocating to Los Angeles. They play their last two local gigs at T.W. Fisher's in Coeur d'Alene this Friday and in Spokane at Mootsy's on Saturday night.
The move to L.A. comes after a highly successful (and hectic) summer for the band. Aside from gracing stages all over Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, the Bone Daddies also wound up on the bill of the recent Cheap Trick/ Georgia Satellites show at Playfair, opened for the Fabulous Thunderbirds at Pig Out and got a chance to meet some blues and rock greats as part of a couple regional festivals.
"We did this three-day classic rock fest in Three Forks, Montana, with about 30 other bands," says Cooper. "The main headliner was Jimmy Vaughn and Stevie Ray Vaughn's old band, Double Trouble. Some of the other bands there were Steppenwolf, BTO and Blue Oyster Cult, Savoy Brown, Edgar Winter, Mick Taylor, the old guitar player from the Rolling Stones. We got to meet the guys in Double Trouble. It was just amazing, definitely the highlight of our musical career."
The trio also lent its formidable musical chops and smooth showmanship to the 2001 Ritzville Blues Festival headlined by Bo Diddley.
"It's been nice to step up to that caliber of show with the better bands in the area and the bigger stages and bigger productions," Cooper says of all the recent exposure. "You know, it's been great."
Emboldened by the success of these gigs and the band's five Inland Empire Blues Society Award nominations this year -- including best band, best album (Black Sun Rising), best vocalist (Munzner), best guitar (Munzner) and best drummer (Cooper) -- the trio decided to make a move that will almost certainly result not merely in more exposure, but more of the right kind of exposure.
"We're seeking management and we're seeking a record deal," explains Cooper. "And we just think it will probably be easier to do that down [in L.A.]. It's easier to be recognized. Obviously, it's gonna be tough. We know that. We're just thinking that going down as a group will work in our favor."
There are certainly more music industry people buzzing about. But there's also more than a few ways to get lost in the glare -- and in the crowd.
"Definitely. And we know that there's a certain lifestyle that goes along with professional music down there. It's just going to be exaggerated. There are going to be so many pitfalls that we're going to come across. But we've developed a pretty good bond, the three of us. We believe in what we do. And it's easy, convenient, having a power trio. We know each other, it's easy to work together and it's low-maintenance. I hope that's going to work in our favor. Also, Erich is from Anaheim and so hopefully, we'll have a built-in fan base."
Cannon Hill has something else going for it besides inter-band solidarity. In L.A., you need contacts. People who can open doors for you. Or at least help you get a foot in there. In L.A., it's definitely all about who you know.
"My first drum instructor was the drummer for Jay and the Americans back in the '50s and '60s. He's lived in L.A. for a long time, and he's offered to help us out with some contacts down there."
Cooper says the group is just looking for a chance to pay its dues and build an L.A.-based following the same way it did it in the Northwest: through determination, self-reliance and hard work.
"We're going to go down and talk with some friends, start working the club scene, get day jobs, most likely," he laughs. "Just go down and work."
Which brings us back to the name change. After acquiring so many accolades (both locally and regionally) since their formation, I couldn't help but think that now -- before the band takes off for the City of Angels -- was an odd time to spring a name change on local folks. But it seems the decision came with the move in mind -- as a way to affirm their Inland Northwest roots.
"We kind of wanted to take a little bit of Spokane with us," says Cooper. "I'm from here. I've lived here 23 years, and the other guys have been here for the past eight. This is where the Bone Daddies are from. And we're not going to forget that."
The Bone Daddies play at TW Fisher's in Coeur d'Alene on Friday, Sept. 28, at 9 pm. Cover: $2. Call: 208-664-6747. And at Mootsy's in Spokane on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9 pm. Cover: $4 Call: 838-1570.
It's Local Music Issue Time
Can you feel it -- the sights, the sounds, the smells of autumn? The inexorably diminishing daylight, signaling the death throes of summer and heralding the encroaching dark, cold season. The crispness in the air. The conspicuous lack of high school students in the shopping malls during the day.
It's harvest time. Time for bringing in the sheaves, reaping what we've sown and beating agrarian metaphors like dead horses.
It's also the season when this young man's fancy turns to the state of Spokane's live music scene. Is the scene thriving? Is it withering? Is live music appreciated here? Will I ever see a steady flow of decent musical acts here? Is my hometown finally poised to turn that corner, or will I continue to be forced to travel to Portland, Seattle and Missoula for "the good stuff'? Is there anything here worth reaping? Where might one do such reaping? Just what the hell is reaping?
Do you perform live music in the Inland Northwest? If so, I'd bloody well love to know about it. That's right, around here, autumn is INLANDER LOCAL MUSIC ISSUE time. To those of you who have participated and have been included in the past -- you know the drill. To those I missed last time and to those I haven't reached out to yet, it's time to get off that couch and get proactive on my admittedly lazy ass. Send me stuff, damn it. Flood me with your bios, contact numbers, pix, CDs -- anything. I want to list you. I want to include your dossier along with those from every other band/performer in the area (or as many as I can gather) so that our readership can pick up the issue and say to themselves, "Wow, I had no idea we had this much cool music in Spokane. I'm gonna go check it out." Dig?
I'm putting this thing together in the next few weeks, so don't wait. Send the crap to me today. Like now. Thanks.
Send your info to: Mike Corrigan, The Inlander, 1003 E. Trent, Suite 110, Spokane, WA, 99202. Or e-mail [email protected]