OUT OF THE DARK
John Lee Hooker, Jr. was born in Detroit Motor City with Delta blues-filled blood running through his Motown veins. Although it seems inconceivable, the masterful, critically acclaimed music of John Lee Hooker, Jr. might have never seen the light of day, as a dark period in his life threatened to consume the very art and soul of his music.
INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
His current album Blues with a Vengeance (Kent Records) is what he calls his "celebratory redemption." After struggling through years of extreme hardship and nearly losing himself to the streets, the remarkable John Lee Hooker Jr. overcame the adversity to begin a rapid emergence into the blues spotlight. Released in April 2004, Blues with a Vengeance certainly lives up to its name by wrapping up 2004 with a Grammy nomination in the Traditional Blues Album category and recently won the distinguished W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist Debut! The California Music Awards (formerly the BAMMYS) named Blues with a Vengeance 2004's Outstanding Blues Album of the Year, and the Bay Area Blues Society presented John Lee Hooker Jr. with the 2004 Comeback Artist of the Year award.
FROM BURDENS TO BLESSINGS
With the release of Blues with a Vengeance, Hooker Jr. finally made peace with his destiny, which was sealed by 'The Fates' when he was only eight years old and performed on Detroit's WJBK radio. Regardless that his father was the legendary blues pioneer, John Lee Hooker, he knew at that moment, he wanted to be a world-class musician. Touring with his father while in his teens, by the time he was 16 he had already performed in prestigious venues such as Detroit's Fox Theatre with acclaimed musicians such as Jimmy Reed. In 1972, an eighteen year-old John Jr. was singing vocals alongside his father for the recording of Hooker, Sr.'s album Live at Soledad Prison (ABC Records).
Unfortunately, while living the "life of a blues man" he succumbed to the demons that surround it, derailing his musical career for the next 25 years. Drugs, alcohol, divorce, incarceration, and death may have brought his once promising career to a screeching halt, but it was living the blues and his faith in the Almighty that returned Hooker Jr. to the limelight. With the support of his family and friends, and a crew of talented musicians who never ceased to believe in him, Hooker Jr. finally found his own inner muse making music that expresses the depth of emotion he has experienced in his personal life.
CIRCLING THE GLOBE
Touring relentlessly in support of his debut album, Hooker Jr. is joined by keyboardist Stephan Ortiz, bassist George Lacson, drummer Michael Rogers, and features the young blues prodigy Jeff Horan on lead guitar. John Lee and his band have shared the stage with legends such as BB King, Bo Diddley, Charlie Musselwhite, Koko Taylor, Johnny Johnson, Elvin Bishop, Ron Thompson, and Canned Heat to name a few. Their non-stop touring across the country, and internationally has included countries like Poland, The Netherlands, Austria, Montenegro, Holland and Czechoslovakia as well as Canada, Norway, Germany, Australia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium and more recently, Africa.
WITH A UNIQUE SOUND
A style, he calls "2 parts R&B, 1 part jazz and "down home blues," Hooker Jr. is carrying on a century-old family musical heritage - that he learned from his father John, Sr. - who in turn learned from his stepfather, Will Moore, a blues singer/guitarist who most influenced his guitar style. The CD pays homage to his dad, with remakes of his blues classics like, "Boom, Boom" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," along with eight songs penned by Hooker Jr. that extol the trials and woes of the everyday working class. Stand out selections include "Suspicious" a gut-wrenching tale of heartbreak and deceit and the modern "Goin' Down to Baghdad (Lookin' for Saddam Hussein), as well as "The Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Pimp." A marriage of old school blues funk mixed with hip-hop sensibility, that song was inspired by John Lee Hooker Sr. who said, "The Blues is a pimp because every time you have 'em, you go do something or get something to get rid of 'em."