Roger "Hurricane" Wilson - Covers THE BOSS!
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Biography
Contact: Roger Wilson
Email: roger@hurricanewilson.com[/email]
Website: http://www.hurricanewilson.com
http://www.bluestormrecords.com
Phone: 678-296-9850

"This guy plays some great Blues".... Les Paul

"Roger "Hurricane" Wilson is a force to be reckoned with"... Francine Reed (Lyle Lovett/ Willie Nelson)

"Roger is the "Real Deal"... Walter Trout

"Roger "Hurricane" Wilson is of tomorrow's Blues generation"... Bobby Rush

Click Here for Roger's Record Company Link at Bluestorm Records

Coming of age on the Jersey Shore, I ran across Bruce Springsteen playing the local joints in 1971, realizing then that he would leave a great mark.These are ten of the songs that hit home. The following is from the chapter on Bruce in my book, HURRICANE, published in 2015.It's the story of a 9 year old kid taking guitar lessons in the early 60’s, and the life long journey that the music made possible.

Click Here for Information on The Book, HURRICANE

THE BOSS

The first time I saw Bruce Springsteen was in March of 1971 in Asbury Park, NJ. I was home from boarding school in Atlanta for vacation and just happened to catch the first ever Allman Brothers Band show in NJ. My Dad and I were walking around a local college that I was thinking about attending, and would do so from 1972 until 1973. When I happened upon one of those gazebo type bulletin boards, I grabbed this familiar looking flier that had the a picture of the Allman Brothers Band on it, advertising a Saturday night show a couple of days later. The name at the bottom of the flier indicating the opening act was Bruce Springsteen. When I called the venue to reserve tickets, the guy answering the phone said I would have no problem getting tickets, because no one knew who they were. I told him I knew who they were, and would be there to see them, since I was already a fan and had already witnessed sold out shows in Atlanta. He finally gave in and reserved 2 tickets for me when I wouldn’t take no for an answer. Later I found out they were on the way back to Atlanta a week after they had just cut the legendary Live at the Fillmore East album.
I remember observing this long-haired guy moving guitars around and basically overseeing the set-up of the whole stage. When they finally were in position to play, one of the band members pulled a rope, causing a wooden sign over the stage to flip down on hinges. The sign read, “Dr. Zoom and The Sonic Boom”. There was this other funny hippie guy in a pin stripe suit and a string tie playing harmonica. I found out later that this was Southside Johnny. I also recognized the bass player as being a guy that I was in Boy Scouts with as a kid. That was only about 5 years previously because I was still just a kid at 17 on this night. The guy playing guitar was Bruce Springsteen. He announced that they had just thrown this show together to open for the Allmans.
The thing I noticed about this Springsteen guy was that he was playing a gold top Gibson Les Paul, and he was really wailing. This long-haired guy was really serious about what he was doing. I couldn’t get the show out of my mind. Later, when the Brothers came out, that’s who I was here to see.
When I flew back to Atlanta the next day, then, and forever after that, I couldn’t get this guitar player out of my mind. He seemed like the epitome of a local guy set on playing music his way, and I liked that. That’s what the Allmans were all about too. Real music is what I loved from the start, so my musical obsession was really taking root, if it hadn’t already.
After heading back to New Jersey for the summer, I was really bearing down on my guitar playing. I was buying concert tickets for shows every week. I went to see shows by Jethro Tull, Yes, Black Sabbath, Mountain, and Alice Cooper, just to name a few. I remember paying 5 bucks for a ticket to a show by Bruce Springsteen at the Sunshine In Music Hall, the same place I had seen him open for the ABB.
By this time, he had put his own band together. He had Southside Johnny in the band, and had some black chick backup singers, and really pulled out the stops. Bruce played guitar and sang the whole night. He would stop the band and play these occasional smoking free form solos between each song. He was the only guitar player. To me, this guy was great, but by being local, he was also approachable. The crowd was a local cult following… people that knew who Bruce was. Friends and local fans.I was now one of the hip ones there that was in on this secret. Even at 17, I knew I was witnessing history in the making. He had this song that had the words “roll over, roll over, roll over,” in the chorus with the chords E, B, A, B accompanying them. I knew that was one of his own songs, I remembered from the show 3 months earlier, but after hearing again this night, I never heard it again.
Later that summer I turned 18, and I was heading into my senior year. I returned to Atlanta at the end of August for my final year in high school. By this time, I was so eaten up by the music bug, it was all I could think about. Somehow, I made good grades, and was the drum major of the school band, along with a few
other civic activities. As I was getting ready to bear down on my guitar, Duane Allman was killed in late October, 1971, and the impact on me was similar to the JFK assassination in 1963 when I was 10.
When I graduated in May of 1972, I then returned to New Jersey. I got a job at a performing arts center working backstage, which got me close to the stage, but not quite where I wanted to be. I went to a James Gang show that year. Bruce’s band, Steel Mill was the opener on that show. Another time, there was a free outdoor show at the college I was planning to attend, and I remember seeing both Springsteen and Southside Johnny off to the side of the stage. It just seemed like if there was music going on somewhere in the county, Bruce Springsteen was involved in it.
Later that winter, I heard a song on WNEW-FM in New York playing a song I had never heard. It was from Bruce’s new album, “Greetings From Asbury Park.” It didn’t sound anything like the guitar driven stuff I had heard this crazy hippie guitar player do before. It was loaded with crazy rhyming lyrics, and it seemed like the music was overshadowed. Not that it wasn’t good, but it was just different from what I was accustomed to by Bruce Springsteen. He was being compared to Bob Dylan, and other folk artists. I couldn’t figure out where these analogies were coming from. It was bizarre.
Around that same time, the band I was with grabbed a gig at a little joint in Asbury Park called “The Student Prince”. I remember standing on the stage in view of the schedule and reading that Bruce would be in the next week. I thought that was pretty cool. As it turns out, Bruce had the house gig there for a good clip. That next spring, I saw Bruce playing at a concert that was taking place at the college I was attending, and he was also playing for a junior- senior prom at a private school just up the road that I had been calling on for a gig. I left New Jersey in June of 73 to head back south to Atlanta. At that time, the music scene was strong, and it was then slated to become a “music mecca” according to the press. With all that transpired musically from Atlanta, I wanted to be immersed whatever it was that was causing all of this great talent to blossom from the South. A position with the radio station at Georgia State University enabled me to be around the music scene, as well as obtain radio experience which would benefit me later in my broadcasting career. One day, while I was working in the production room, I came across a copy of Bruce's "Greetings From Asbury Park" album stashed in among a stack of practically discarded production records. I asked everyone around if they had heard of Bruce Springsteen, and everybody shook their heads "no". After also landing a far-fetched opportunity of teaching guitar lessons, I eventually opened my own teaching studio. Sometime in 1974, I remember Bruce performing at a club called Richard’s. Unfortunately, I found out about the show after the fact, by seeing Bruce’s name on the marquis a day late.
Sometime in mid-1975, Bruce had just released "Born to Run". I managed to get a local paper to give me permission to interview Bruce and to catch the show. The music editor of the paper caught the first night’s show, and called me the next day. He said he had never been moved by a show as much as he had been just knocked out by Springsteen. He said my name was at the door and that I should really enjoy the show, but to try to get some good material, including some time to talk to Bruce. When I showed up at Atlanta's Electric Ballroom, I was greeted very rudely by Bruce's road manager at the dressing room door. After I explained to him why I was there, he just maintained his dirty look, but he reluctantly let me head down the stairs to Bruce's dressing room.
When I got there, Bruce was sitting down tuning a Fender electric twelve-string guitar. He was pretty focused on concentrating on that, so I knew I may not have his full attention. I mentioned to him that I wanted to talk to him for a printed piece, but he just said that he had to continue tuning. When I did tell him I was a Jersey boy and mentioned some familiar places, he was very cordial. I mentioned the Student Prince, a little Asbury Park club I had played once, and then he played a week later. He was very soft spoken and polite, but I could tell he was preoccupied with this show. When I figured I got all I was going to get, I politely said goodbye, wished him good luck, and went back upstairs to watch the show. Even though I wasn't there long, I realized on the way back up the stairs from the dressing room that I had just gone one on one with "The Boss". There were no photos or witnesses, but I knew this would be something I would remember for a long time. I knew this guy would be big, but I don't think I really thought how big he would become. Soon after that, he was on the covers of Time & Newsweek, being touted as the “Future of Rock & Roll”. That future has come to pass.

"As noted on Wikipedia,
'Roger "Hurricane" Wilson is an American electric blues guitarist, singer/ songwriter. He has also worked as a music educator, radio DJ, music journalist, and broadcaster. In addition, he is an International Blues Challenge judge, as well as a 2015 Inductee into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame, as a result of his 14 year association with the Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival, and his work with Blues in the Schools in that state. He has released twenty albums. This one is special, since it is being released in 2018, coinciding with the 20th Anniversary of Roger, bassist Marvin Mahanay, and drummer, Billy Jeansonne’s first teaming up as a unit in 1998. If you like guitar driven blues/ rock, fluid and intricate finger style guitar picking, fiery performances, and emotional songwriting, you are at the right place. With over 45 years of teaching guitar lessons to beginners and advanced players alike, and over a million miles under his belt, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson has made his own mark on the music world. The legendary Les Paul once said about Roger, “This guy plays some great blues.” Atlanta treasure Francine Reed stated that, “Roger “Hurricane” Wilson is a force to be reckoned with.”, having shared the stage with such notable artists as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Dickey Betts, Jorma Kaukonen, Charlie Musselwhite, and many more. Roger “Hurricane” Wilson is just getting started.

BIOGRAPHY

Guitarist and songwriter, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, was born on July 27, 1953 in Newark, New Jersey. When he was a year old, his parents moved to a little town on the Jersey shore, in search of a life other than in the city. Life there was typical for a young family in the early 50’s. There are memories of Elvis singing “Love Me Tender”, and Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “Sixteen Tons” ringing from radios and turntables everywhere-melodies that would haunt him forever. In September of 1960, the peaceful existence was turned upside down when the town was virtually destroyed by the still legendary hurricane “Donna”. The town was never the same from that day on.

One day, Roger discovered that one of his friends was taking guitar lessons. Immediately, as kids typically do, he wanted to do the same. His mother took him to his first lesson on January 7, 1963, at the age of 9, and rented a plastic beginner guitar. As his teacher taught him individual notes week after week, Roger was still inclined to find cool sounds coming out when the strings were struck together as chords. This music thing sure appeared to come quite easily, and naturally. Although the teacher would have preferred Roger give priority to his assigned lessons, they tended to take a back seat. The teacher, a mild-mannered white gentleman with horned rimmed glasses and winged tipped shoes, just did not understand. Later on, Roger started taking trumpet lessons in order to join the elementary school marching band, and tolerated them while in reality, all he wanted to do was play the drums. He later saved up to buy his own drum paraphernalia, and started wood shedding that too. On one special parade day in Red Bank, NJ, while in the eighth grade, the school band drummers didn’t show up. The band director handed a snare drum to Roger, and said “this is your shot”! He received a special award on the last day of school in front of the whole student body for saving the day.

The next year, in February of 1964, Roger was in front of the TV on Sunday night when the Beatles made their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. Being an only child, he was unaware of the curve ball being thrown at American kids everywhere. All he noticed, other than the screaming girls, was that there were THREE guitars on the stage, and one was being played BACKWARDS! The next day, all of the kids were acting crazy! They were combing their hair down in front, and some had these wild looking pointed boots; and they were all playing air guitar! Roger had already been playing guitar, and making his teacher mad for well over a year. Next to the Kennedy assassination during the previous November, this was pretty traumatic. Next, Roger got his first electric guitar, and the next couple of years were spent playing, or attempting to play music in various garage bands by The Kinks, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Paul Revere & The Raiders, while of course trying to match the lead licks of “Louie, Louie” and “Hang On Sloopy”. Ironically, most of that music was remakes of old blues tunes.

In 1967, upon graduating from grammar school, the little Jersey shore town didn’t have their own high school. The surrounding townships were bussing kids wherever they could fit them in. Roger’s parents thought it best to place him in a more positive environment. They sent him to a private prep school in Atlanta. The “bubble-gum” music era was in full swing, and after being subjected to “Monkees” TV show for the last year or two, Roger found it quite nauseating. While there, the 14 year old became addicted and taken in by the music of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Floyd, and Booker T. & The MG’s. The Memphis sound and feel started unknowingly planting its obsession. Roger, of course was immediately drafted by the school band to play trumpet, but the band director would occasionally let him replace undependable drummers. 1968 showed up when Hendrix, The Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Janis Joplin, and “psychedelic” music, referred to then as “underground” music, raised its sleeping head. B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone” hit the airwaves, and according to Roger, “there was something going on”. The single lead, vibrato notes pioneered by B.B. were essentially drawing him in. He bore down on the guitar, and learned as much as he could about the music, and the artists that made it. When meeting B.B. King in later years, he explained to the blues master what had happened.

1970 had Roger making weekly pilgrimages to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park to hear bands, mainly The Allman Brothers Band. Not much was remembered in detail until the night of June 16, 1971, when The Brothers played their first sold out show in Atlanta’s Municipal Auditorium. The 17 year old stood 6 feet away from Duane Allman, and was completely swept off of his feet. After years of guitar lessons, a knee-high stack of guitar books and sheet music, the boy was never the same! The slide guitar playing that night in itself was another force to be reckoned with. In the days that followed, he was haunted by what he had seen, and heard. Roger began wearing out Allman Brothers Band albums trying to capture that sound. His next reaction was, “the hell with everything else”! All he wanted to do now was play as well as he could.

During his senior year in high school, he was bestowed the title of drum major in the high school marching band. On October 29, 1971, Roger was conducting the school band through the national anthem on the field at a football game. After the game, he heard the radio report of Duane Allman’s death in a motorcycle accident in Macon – another traumatic moment in addition to JFK’s assassination, The Beatles, and the death of his grandfather in ’67. He immediately started bearing down on the music even harder. When the Duane Allan “Anthology” came out in late 1972, the enclosed literature spoke of how Duane’s eyes used to light up at the mention of Robert Johnson. Who was that? Thus began the search for the origins of the music that made all of this happen. Robert Johnson, Willie McTell, and Elmore James albums were only the scratching of the surface for this musically consumed 19 year old.RW SR 2

After a year back in New Jersey following high school, Roger headed back to Georgia in 1973, determined to play guitar. He got a job teaching in a private studio, and eventually took it over as his own business. Success came about by teaching people what THEY wanted to learn. He named his business “The Roger Wilson Guitar Studio”, and he soon had an extensive waiting list of students wanting to learn how to have fun with the instrument, as opposed to suffering with it. With the business up and running, and fed up with playing with mediocre bands, he started the “Roger Wilson Band” in 1978. If the name worked for the studio, why not a band? It did! He went from the garage to opening shows for people like Albert Collins, 38 Special, and various Skynyrd spin-off bands. Roger says he mostly enjoyed working with a very young Johnny van Zant, now lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, on numerous occasions. A jam with Stevie Ray Vaughn at a now defunct club in 1980, along with a two and a half hour jam with Albert Collins in 1979 at Atlanta’s Agora Ballroom are 2 of Roger’s highlighted memories. These along with a close friendship formed with guitarist Roy Buchanan make for book material alone. The RWB lasted until 1983. Still not quite at home with the other band members’ visions, he made some personal changes in 1983, and formed a 3 piece unit called “Roger Wilson & The Low Overhead Band.” This act was simple, cheap, and easy to move. With this act up and running, Roger did shows with Dickey Betts, Little Feat, Three Dog Night, Leon Russell & Edgar Winter, Marshall Tucker Band, Roomful of Blues, and was starting to regain momentum. While on a northeast tour in 1993, it came to the attention of Roger’s soon to be producer that people were screwing up his name. After a disc jockey virtually butchered it during a North Carolina radio interview, with the name in BOLD LETTERS in front of him that was it! Hottrax record producer, Aleck Janoulis, said you need a “moniker”, something for people to remember you by. He also noted that Roger had a habit of going into a town, virtually making a mess with the music, and then leaving early in the morning to go back to work. This along with the childhood hurricane experience led to the stage name, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. It became official at the next show in Washington, DC. It was determined that you could forget his name, but no one would forget “Hurricane”. Since then, there have been shows and festivals with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Little Milton, John Mayall, and Savoy Brown, to name just a few.

The most recent highlight was in New York City while attending the regular Monday night gig of guitar and recording pioneer, Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club at 51st and Broadway. After the first show, Roger introduced himself to and spoke briefly with Les’ son, Rusty Paul, and was invited to get onstage for a few tunes with the master in September of 2003. Since then, no visit to New York City is complete without stopping by on Monday night to hang out and jam with Les Paul.

The first CD, “Hurricane Blues”, released in 1994 on Hottrax Records, has received airplay on well over 100 stations across the U.S., and is being distributed nationally. The second Hottrax project, “Live From The Eye Of The Storm”, was released in 1996, and enjoyed the same, if not better response than “Hurricane Blues”. In addition to playing between 250 and 300 nights a year, Roger also produced and hosted his own syndicated radio show on nearly 10 stations around the country.

In 1997, Roger decided that it was time to step to the next level. At the advice of his distributor, he decided to form his own record company, Bluestorm Records. This venture gave rise to the third CD, “The Business of The Blues”. The title track was written about the daily challenges of daily life on the road. Also featured on this CD are 5 acoustic tunes, which started to establish Roger’s acoustic work, which has become a separate entity, and occasional combination with his electric sound. The fourth CD is called “Live At The Stanhope House”, recorded at that legendary blues club in New Jersey. A fifth effort in 2002, all solo acoustic, “Pastime” has received critical acclaim, and the sixth CD called “The Ohio Connection” was released in late April, 2004. The Way I Am was released in 2006, followed by Exodus in 2008. An Americana CD, The Rainbow Up Ahead, consisting of all original material was recorded in Nashville in 2010.

Wilson also had a parallel career in broadcasting, undertaking weekend work at the local AM radio station, WGUN, a job which lasted for 12 years. Wilson married in 1981. In 1986, he obtained full-time employment with CNN that lasted a decade. His stage work led to confusion over his name and, by 1993, had become Roger "Hurricane" Wilson, partly in recognition of the devastation caused to his home back in 1960.

In September 2003, Wilson joined Les Paul on stage to play what became a regular guest spot for the former at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York. In 2012, a collaborative live album was released featuring Wilson and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, which was recorded during one of the four tours that the pair did throughout the U.S. from 2008 through 2010.] Over the past decade, Wilson has been involved with the nationwide Blues in the Schools program. At the 2006 Springing the Blues festival in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Wilson was presented with the 'Key to the City' for his participation in Blues in the Schools in Jacksonville. Wilson performed at the 2015 Dusk Til Dawn Blues Festival accompanied by the Checotah High School Jazz Band. A CD was issued based on the live recording. As a result of his work with the Rentiesville festival and his work with the local high school, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2015.

Wilson's autobiography, HURRICANE, was released in 2016, the story of a nine year old kid taking guitar lessons, and where the journey has taken him.
http://hurricanewilson.com/products/the-book-hurricane/

Since that time, several other CD's including the critically acclaimed LIVE AT MADLIFE – WOODSTOCK, GA, has been released. He currently resides in Kennesaw, Georgia.



TESTIMONIAL:
It was just about 50 years ago in 1963 when Roger, barely 10 years old at the time, took his first guitar lesson and since then there’s been no looking back. Over the last 40 years, Roger’s involvement has reached into pretty much every aspect of the music business. Being a musician, a singer, a songwriter, a record label owner/operator, an advisory board member of the Georgia Music Industry Association, an International Blues Competition judge, and having 40 years of broadcasting experience on TV, radio and the Internet, finding something in the industry he’s not familiar with would equal finding the needle in the haystack. On top of all of that, for the last 10 years, Roger has been involved with one of the strongest tools that exist in the efforts of keeping the blues alive and that’s educating young people about the genre. Through his involvement with the Blues in the Schools Program, he does just that. If I may, I would like to tell you about two personal experiences I have had with Roger and his educational endeavors.

In 2006 while attending the “Springing The Blues” festival in Jacksonville Beach, FL, I was one of the thousands of people witnessing Roger being given the Key To The City for his participation in Blues In The Schools in Jacksonville area schools during the week of the event.

Additionally, while emceeing the 2012 Amelia Island Blues Festival at Fernandina Beach, FL, it was my honor to introduce Roger Hurricane Wilson and the Fernandina Beach High School Blues In The Schools Band and then watch them put on one heck of a performance. The look on these kids’ faces, while playing in front of a large festival crowd with Roger, was priceless. Again, during the week of the event Roger had been not only rehearsing with the boys and girls but educating them about the genre as well.

Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
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  • Members:
    Roger "Hurricane" Wilson
  • Sounds Like:
    Duane Alman, Roy Buchanan, Johnny Cash
  • Influences:
    Duane Alman, Roy Buchanan, Johnny Cash
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
    03/03/19
  • Profile Last Updated:
    05/01/19 04:38:53

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