Blues Well Done!
Dennis Herrera I was born and raised in San Jose, CA. My love for music began at an early age and hit me pretty hard, I remember being home with mom one afternoon behaving in my usual over active mischievous way getting on her last nerves when she flicks on the kitchen transistor radio to keep from stringing me up, this was around 1961-62. Mom dials in her favorite top 40 AM station KLIV who played top 40 hits from artists like Elvis, Bobby Darin, the Four Seasons, Buddy Holly, Patty Page etc., well that did it, I soon begged & pleaded and got a tube radio for the 'boys' room, (4 boys and 3 sisters, your typical no-nonsense, no safe-sex family, but that's another story), well I systematically got real deep into music it was now my favorite pastime, groups like the Rolling Stones, Temptations, The Supremes, Wilson Picket, Jr. Walker, the Beatles, Otis Redding on & on were in my ears. My first live show, I was 15, David the 'older' very hip, low-riding crazy cool friend across the street took me to see James Brown! Needless to say I was blown away! From that point on I went to count-less outdoor, indoor, in the club, at the fairgrounds in the parks, on the streets blues influenced rock & roll, r&b, blues, hippie, soul live show/concerts as much as I could. Venues like the San Francisco Fillmore, Winterland, Avalon Ballroom, Berkeley Community Theater, college campus student unions became my second home away from home. My Grandfather on my mothers side played guitar, our family would sit around eating, drinking and singing Mexican folklore on Sunday's, he'd see me eyeballing his guitar and eventually bought me one, I was 12 and it was a nylon string beauty with cowboys on it, I think Roy Rodgers. He taught me to play Cielito Lindo and vigorous mariachi rhythms. My father eventually caught on and sent me to this music store for guitar lessons, I wanted to learn rock n roll but they wanted me to read charts and play Oh Susanna, I quit, pops then hired this old dude to come to the house to teach me classic finger picking, that was cool but he insisted on having me play standards and absolutely no rock, I soon became a rather rebellious student, which at the time was more or less the 'in' thing to do and quit. Hard pressed to rock I bought this Ventures "Learn how to play, Walk Don't Run and Pipe-Line" record album, the instructions were easy and together with my wanna be rock star school chums I put my first band together, loads of fun and the girls dug it...first performance of note was at high school, I was literally flunking my first period music class? probably because I had better things to do like run up to San Francisco's haight ashbury district and golden gate park, the hippie scene, music, free love-sex and rock & roll then go to school, anyway,..to pass my much needed music class for the credits to graduate my teacher suggested I play for the school's student talent show, kinda scary, I recall being very nervous after smoking a huge joint I went on stage covered the Richie Havens tune Freedom from Woodstock, I'll never forget what a major rush that was, we killed em! I passed with an A, the first A grade I ever got in high school! I kept playing rock n roll until one time I looked into a Savoy Brown song or Rolling Stone cover I really can't recall but I noticed all the selections I dug and wanted to play were songs written by blues legends like Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson, B.B. King, Freddie King, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Didley, John Lee Hooker or one of the many other blues greats, it's been blues ever since......For many years I've struggled in so far as consistently playing blues for a living.... my brother Hook, on the other hand did a tremendous job with being true to his career. As a teen he'd come around hang out watch and listen to the endless jams I'd have going on here and there, picked up a harmonica at one point and learned to play it along with the guitar. Brother Hook has been no less than an awesome and fearless inspiration to me. I found myself mis-directed a number of times for different reasons but always came back to playing blues, I play nothing else I'm afraid, now being the self-absorbed egotistical pin-head that I am I did not join any other established blues or rock bands to my chagrin, though I've had opportunity, instead I always chose to spearhead and lead various blues projects to date...I've tried a few band names but the ones I'd come up with thinking they were original would be taken, so I simply settled with..... Dennis Herrera Blues Band.