The Tangiers Blues Band was formed in 1998 after guitarist Chris Scianni (Dangerman, Echobrain with Jason Newsted) and drummer Dave Borla (Dangerman, Echobrain) met photographer/harmonica player Danny Clinch and discovered their mutual love for blues music. The first Tangiers Blues Band jam session took place on Thanksgiving night that year with other musicians and friends, including Huey from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, King from Cooley High, Mick Jones from Foreigner and tennis player/guitarist John McEnroe. The original line-up was formed after that with Chris (guitar), Dave Borla (drums), Danny (harmonica), Huey (lap steel), King (vox and guitar) adding their long time friends Dave Sellar (bass) from Darla Hood and Peter Levin (keys) who had played in various bands in New York City and currently tours with The Blind Boys of Alabama.
The TBB line-up changes from show to show, with a deep rotation of musicians they have known and jammed with for many years, and in many different configurations. In addition, they have many “special guests” who will sit in with them for a night when they are around including G-Love, Phil Lesh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen) and Chris’ father, Joseph Scianni. The line-up on the TBB studio recordings consists of Chris, Danny, Pete, King and Dave Sellars with Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals) on lap and pedal steel guitars and Mo Roberts (Shemeka Copeland) on drums. The recording was done in one day at Moon Palace Studios, mixed and produced by Tim Latham (Lou Reed, Tribe Called Quest) a long time friend of all the guys.
In the early days, The TBB had a weekly slot at Lot 61 (Amy Sacco’s club in N.Y.C) where they started experimenting with their set list. They soon realized that by “down-dating” current hits and reworking non-traditional blues songs, they could appeal to an audience that was not familiar with the blues, while throwing in “up-dated” versions of blues standards and originals to appeal to blues enthusiasts. On any given night, the TBB can play a set including music by Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello and the Clash that morph into blues classics performed by Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Albert King. The band has performed their eclectic set of blues from clubs in NYC like Joe’s Pub and The McKittrick Hotel to the stages at Bonnaroo (2009), opening for Gregg Allman (2011) and playing at Presevation Hall during Jazz Fest in New Orleans (2011) (2012) and Voodoo Fest (2012). Some of the musicians that have joined the band on stage have included Phil Lesh, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), members of the Dave Matthews Band and My Morning Jacket, Nicole Atkins, Citizen Cope, Donald Fagen and Cage The Elephant to name a few.