Gary was playing the banjo for over 50 years. He got started playing the banjo because of the Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and the Glen Campbell Show (they all had banjos in them) and, at the time, he perceived the sound as “very intriguing.” He played the guitar and found learning to play the banjo “enlightening.”
Gary tried to transition on his own, “of course that’s what people do, then you start from the beginning . It’s exciting to learn the right way.” Gary noted that it was difficult going from guitar to banjo because “you couldn’t just take your guitar skills and carry them over to the banjo. It’s a completely new instrument.”
Gary used to give banjo lessons but didn’t at the time of this interview. Gary also played the ukulele which he picked up in the same way that he picked up the banjo, that is, by seeing it on television and finding it intriguing.
Gary’s banjo was a Gibson and made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. His previous banjo was made in Georgia and his banjo prior to that was made in Long Beach, California, USA.
Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.
Sam played the ukulele for about a year, primarily as a meditative tool; he decided to play the ukulele because he needed a hobby. He played guitar prior to that, so he knew he could learn ukulele easily. He started playing guitar in seventh grade, played for two years, stopped and recently taught himself how to play ukulele.
Sam was born in Tucson, Arizona, USA. He graduated from Del Campo High School in Sacramento, California, USA area. He liked to play video games with friends, participated in track/cross country events.and once ran as far as 13 miles.
At the time that I met Sam, he was twenty-one years old, but he was eighteen years old when he attended American River College. He stayed there, in the Sacramento area, for two years, but after moving to Antelope Valley, when he was twenty, he started studies at Antelope Valley College.
Sam studied and aspired to be a firefighter and a paramedic. He was inspired by his uncle who told him fascinating stories of his exploits as a heroic firefighter.
Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.
I was fortunate enough to see and hear Harold playing guitar at the Martin Luther King Day event with his band Blue Breeze Band. They were professional, inspirational, lyrical as well as entertaining. They played blues and soul music that was phenomenal and spot on, especially, Earth Wind & Fire, which was executed flawlessly. On the other hand, they also played more contemporary pieces, such as Blackstreet’s No Diggity
When they played No Diggity, young women got in front of the band, danced and waved their fists with the “Hey yo” part. It was cool to see to see 20 year old women get excited as 50 and 60 year old men played beautiful music.
Harold was born in Texas, USA but he was raised in Los Angeles, California, USA. Harold first wanted to be a guitar player when he heard Chuck Berry play on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. He had jobs outside of music, such as, working for corporate America for 23 years. When he got laid off, he went full swing putting together a band and has been at it professionally for 15 years now.
Harold was glad to be doing what he was doing and could not see himself doing anything else.”The thing with the music business is you have to be dedicated. This is my life. I work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. pretty much every day. I’ve been doing that for the last 14 years solid.”
If you are in Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, San Bernadino, Riverside, Santa Barbara or any other county close to Los Angles, and have need of a band for an event, be it private or public, I highly recommend you book The Blue Breeze Band.
You can see more about Harold and his band on Instagram bluebreezeband.