MVBS Presents Jim Suhler, George Thorogood’s Guitarist, on Sunday Jan. 31
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitarist Jim Suhler and his band, Monkey Beat, on Sunday Jan. 31 at Creekside Bar and Grill, 3303 Brady Street in Davenport. The show starts at 5 p.m. and admission is $8, $6 for Blues Society members. Since 1999, Jim Suhler has been George Thorogood’s guitar player live and on recordings. He tours with Monkey Beat when Thorogood is on break. Suhler and Monkey Beat’s latest CD, Tijuana Bible, has been nominated for a Blues Music Award in the category of best blues-rock recording. The Atlanta Constitution has noted that “Suhler is a monster guitarist, tossing out slide riffs and power chords with the exuberance of a Page or Hendrix.” Noted producer Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Miller) says of Suhler that he’s “a wonderful songwriter and an electrifying performer.” Suhler was born in Dallas, Texas, December 30, 1960, where his first exposure to music was by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and British Invasion bands. He began playing guitar at age 14 and was influenced at that time by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, Led Zeppelin and others. Suhler was also influenced by Rory Gallagher, AC/DC and the Ramones. During these formative years, Suhler was exposed to Texas guitar talent like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Anson Funderburgh, and Jimmie Vaughan. He played in an array of cover and original bands during these years, initially backing other vocalists or guitarists. At this time, Suhler was playing traditional blues in the style of T-Bone Walker, Magic Sam and B.B. King. During this period Suhler was a DJ at Dallas’ KNON radio station, hosting a three-hour weekly blues show called “Radio Mojo”, every Tuesday night. Suhler was playing a gig at Huey’s in Memphis when George Thorogood dropped by the club during a break from a recording session. He was impressed with Suhler’s playing, arranging and songwriting skills, so the two struck up a friendship. In mid-1991, Suhler formed power trio Monkey Beat, with drummer Paul Hollis and bassist/vocalist Carlton Powell. At that time, Suhler sent a four song demo to Thorogood producer/engineer Terry Manning, after Thorogood told Suhler, “Terry would love you guys.” Radio Mojo was released in February 1993. Several tours opening for Thorogood & the Destroyers across North America in 1993-95 followed. In early 1994, Suhler & fellow Dallas blues guitarist Mike Morgan convened to record Let The Dogs Run, a collection of originals and songs by blues greats Magic Sam, Lazy Lester, and Howlin’ Wolf, for Black Top records. For the next few years, Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat toured throughout the United States and Europe, playing clubs, theaters and festivals for a burgeoning fan base. Bad JuJu, which was produced by Jim Gaines, was released on Lucky Seven records in 2001. Texas rock ‘n roll, zydeco, Tex-Mex, hip hop and blues influences were evident on the songs on Bad JuJu. The acoustic Dirt Road was released in 2002, coming on the heels of the death of Suhler’s daughter Brittany in a tragic accident. Suhler started the Brittany Suhler Memorial Foundation in her honor, a charity which continues to this day. The newest CD, Tijuana Bible, was recorded in Nashville, and includes guest artists Elvin Bishop, Jimmy Hall and Joe Bonamassa. Tijuana Bible has covers by Rory Gallagher, AC/DC, and Elvin Bishop, as well as 13 Suhler originals. Suhler has also played on and contributed songs to George Thorogood DVD and CD releases since 1999. Also on Suhler’s resume is having his compositions used in major motion picture releases and television worldwide. He has played onstage with Les Paul, James Cotton, Duke Robillard, Peter Wolf, Willie Nelson, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Pinetop Perkins, Lazy Lester, Steve Miller, Elvin Bishop, Son Seals, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Rivers, Joe Bonamassa, and others.