Ladies and Gentelmen

The B-52’s meets the Stones meets Jimmy Reed meets Link Wray meets a really cool episode of Get Smart. That’s my one liner to anyone I describe the StrangeTones to. They offer an inducing blend of soul- drenched blues, vintage rhythm, plenty of Rock-A-Billy(or should I say Crime-A-Billy). Bossa nova, country honk, and delta roots, delivered with some funk inspired overtones. Although they write most of the songs they perform, they undoubtably have a knack for choosing great covers they successfully launch with a unique style and enthusiasm that becomes all their own.

The StrangeTones seem to method their style out of a time-honored cookbook from where they draw out rich traditional sounds, but mixed with a bit of mystery. Ice-pick sharp licks, cool groove, and burning hot with a whole lotta soul. A secret ingredient of their sound lies in their invention of “Crime A-Billy.” Sewing genres together into a superb and crafty style is what sets these super-sonic songcrafters apart…Mix and match the codes, rehearse the moves, plan the attack, voila — The perfect crime.

Julie playing her DiPinto.

A lot of people consider them to be euphonious Robin Hoods, a musical Mod Squad who are sworn on a melodic crime-fighting mission against the ‘Man’ and avenge music out of an empty conundrum. The Tones’ will have no part of that, for they have come to ‘Serve and protect our ears.’ They successfully combine all the elements so you don’t have to. In the process, they successfully reinvent something continually lost, and a rarely found originality.

At best, I’m offering a meager description of a phenomenon that’s been running strong for 5 years, and the discovery is just beginning. The best is yet to come for this four legged powerhouse of stellar and dedicated musicians. Comprised of Guitar Julie, Bassist Andy Strange, guitarist Suburban Slim, and drummer J.D Huge.

When Andy met Julie at a Cascade Blues Association meeting years ago, they hit it off immediately, got married and began planning their dream group together and sought out to pick the right recruits to fit the bill. In planning what material they’d cover, the idea was to bring Andy’s long time friend and band mate Jeff Strawbridge (a.k.a. J.D. Huge) from The Impostors to play drums, who is a dedicated powerhouse of percussion, and like minded about the direction. Sometime later, they ran into guitarist Whit Draper who had just left Backporch blues and was noted for his excellent guitar attack, and cool and quirky style. He and Julie swapped leads and rhythms into an excellent uniqueness out of a traditional ‘call and response’ style.

Starting with roots based obscure covers, they soon had no trouble coming up with some new and original tunes. From that came their stellar first effort “Stinkbomb (2002).” The CD was well received, and from this came some well attended shows with the word spreading that these cats (plus kitty) were coming from a direction that could reinvent the blues experience. Audiences were invigorated to hear this new rocking combo’s entirely unique sound, along with their exciting new take on the blues.

A couple years later, the sound was growing and propelling them forward into new ideas, Whit parted ways to seek other avenues. The group didn’t take long to decide on guitarist Suburban Slim who drummer J.D. had previously played next to in the Smokin’ Souls. The synthesis only added to the miracle. Slim brought some much needed mojo into the band. Not only could he burn a hole in the stratosphere with his axe leads, but also write well and play other instruments. This advantage could now afford Andy the ability to throw down some of his own slide guitar skills during live settings.

Rock solid chops, searing leads, and a tight rhythm section was now in place again, and operating with an even tougher style to push them further into a zone with a rare knack that few can tackle and hold. The ST’s also share an ability with artists like the Rolling Stones, Lyle Lovett, Patty Smith and Lucinda Williams who can easily take on almost any artist or genre and make it all their own, sometimes besting the original recording.

It seems like the last 20 years or so, we become bogged down by a sameness in the music world because there are so many artists covering so much ground so many times, it’s become a daunting task for any artist to be able to break the mould and come off original. Many are playing, but too few seem able to carry that ball across the court. The good news is that the ST’s are doing this on a continual basis and are distinctly standing apart from the ‘same ol’ same ol.’

From the first track on their debut album, “Comin’ after you” immediately indicated that they were intending to knock over the status-quo. And along with it, seven originals. Covers like “The Sneak”, and “Whatchya gonna’ Do?” seamlessly blend the original artists intentions but with an original flair. I remember being knocked over by the sound of two dueling guitars carving out a tone into territories not touched quite like that. Julie’s one of a kind belting voice was long overdo for this type of genre. The attraction of the cd and its stellar songs afforded them venue space to practice live material to a now very interested audience. In short – They were kicking over the stus-quo.

The follow up Crime-A-Billy was released in 2004 with it quite a few more original tunes. As with Stinkbomb, no songs were filler. A powerhouse collection of grit, grime, and fiery licks delivered with a burn. A few covers, and a handfull of songs featuring their now signature moniker Crime-A-Billy sound. The title track, along with “Actual Man” and “Wanted” solidly drive it home. Suburban Slim’s “Burning Heart” is like a hot poker being thrust into the heart of Maxwell Smart. The Avenger’s would’ve committed crimes to have music like this for their show. “Sweet Spot”, “Pinto Squire”, and “Poster Child” are intense rockers, while their renditions of the Frantics “Whip”, and Ike Turner’s “I Idolize You” are arresting. And by now the ‘Tones were starting to attract big talents like Paul Delay, Curtis Salgado, and Jim Wallace who gladly lent themselves to fill out a few numbers.

The Strangetones w/ Vixen
If it ain’t Crime-A-Billy, It ain’t Shit.

The new release We’re On Our Way is reporting very well, and well it should. Delivering expertly crafted numbers with great song writing, and professionally recorded in their secret volcano recording studio Meteor Sonic Records. “Mama Makes More” is a nod to traditional blues, but played at full throttle with a Stones-like open G slant. “Fool Me” carries an Esquivelian, space age bachelor pad quality to it. “Hooky”, “That’s How We Roll” and The title track complete the message that no StrangeTone cd will be devoid of that Crime-A-Billy sound. All three of the StrangeTones efforts have clearly shown true talent and professional hit-writing skill with superb packaging and original artwork.

But there is something more going on here. This band is taking most who see them live hostage. People can’t help but love them. Along with incredible talent, they are smart, friendly, and good looking. They love what they do, they love each other, and they treat all who come in contact with them as though they are part of their family. When you go out and see them( and you will), you’ll become so star struck that you might find yourself preparing a fight strategy to meet them. No need to bother. It’s almost for sure they’ll make their way around to you, The Fantastic Foursome. Warning! their friendly demeanor is overshadowed by some of the meanest licks this well -heeled concert reporter has ever seen and heard.

This group does not walk the stage lightly. From the first opening chords, audiences and venue staff can’t ignore them; Oomp! Pow! Whap! It’s like James Bond and Muddy Waters walk in the bar arm in arm ordering 2 beers, a pitcher of kool aid, and two double dirty Martinis, shaken, and stirred. Seeing them live is an experience that blows audiences away with well rehearsed and choreographed stage shows, It’s no wonder the ST’s have racked up their numerous awards (listed on the sidebar).
They recently played at a small club where I asked Julie, ‘What are you gonna do with no stage and a 12 foot ceiling?’ She said, “We’ll find a way to work with it.” In the middle of the second set they jumped up on top of their amps and hop-scotched back and forth on them, all while blistering us with “The Swangler.” The crowd went wild.

Larger shows include the lovely and talented Vivian and Violet a.k.a. the “Volcano Vixens.” Their self-styled choreography is an incredible addition of flavor to the act. Both girls are schooled dancers and expertly accent songs they perform on. When they twist and shimmy, shake rattle and roll, the crowds jump and cheer with delight.

While Julie inflicts her prowess, Andy parades around walking his signature Telecaster bass and making the stage throb. Slim visibly talks to his guitar as if he’s begging it not to catch fire while sings and admits his sweet, hot desire for a chick called ‘Kathryn.’ J.D. pounds so hard at times, sweat flecks the wall behind him while the band physically bows down to worship his progress. Julie may tell you the cold hard truth one minute, and then cradle you in her beautiful arms and plead with you to love her, and you will. Andy treads the stage nodding that every word is true, then tells his own stories of grooving around town “in an Astrovan that’s brown and tan”, delivering punch lines through a cop -megaphone he keeps nearby .

Burning leads in tandem, in unison, in opposition. Whether it’s live, in the studio, or in the can, doesn’t matter. The StrangeTones are the real deal, the complete package.

With it all, the StrangeTones’ keep a bigger foot planted in the blues. It is the seed that grew this juicy bean stalk up beyond the N.W. cloud cover. Portland has always contained a relevant blues scene with tons of local talent, and the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival being a major west coast attraction with its historical lineups every year. Yet it has unfortunately watched most venues cede to hip-hop, dance and martini-shiek bars over the last few years, leaving artists who live and love to play here scratching their heads. The ST’s are successfully jumping this hurdle while paving the way for a comeback of blues based clubs. They have been showing audiences that the blues prevails once again by showing solid relationships and a connectivity to all other genres, since it is the foundation of all music.

Delivering some cold hard truth mixed with tales of love and understanding. They can sting you like a hornet while soothing you with a smile. . Love may be lost, hearts get broken, good friends may turn on us, we lose the farm and are left with– “A whole Lotta Nothin’. ” I promise you, seeing the StrangeTones deliver the goods helps to make it all better.

They invited me to their volcano home at a secret location (I was blindfolded) where we sat down for an interview. Listen in:

Congrats on 3 successful releases. I trust that the new CD, ‘We’re on our way’ is a steady steamroller?
God yes, it’s been getting a lot of radio play, but steamroller isn’t a strong enough word, I think freight train may be it. We’re really excited.

Andy and Julie, tell us how you two met? Personally, and musically, it‘s obviously a match made in heaven.
Andy: We originally met at the Cascade Blues Society, and we both have a mutual appreciation of music, though we didn’t play until a while into our relationship.
Julie: Friends introduced us and we just kind of hit it right off and found out we had a lot in common. Both of us were destined for a life of crime-a-billy…

What exactly is Crime-A-Billy?
A: If we were to spell it out, it would betray it’s mystique.
J: It’s a way of life actually. We can’t actually define it, but we can use it in some sentences, like, “Do a little dance, make a little love, Crime-a-billy.” “If it ain’t Crime-a-Billy, it ain’t shit.” And of course, “Got C-A-B?”
Suburban Slim: The audacity of C-A-B! The excellence of C-A-B is how we define our life.
J.D. Huge: In C-A-B we trust. Don’t leave home without it. A Crime-A-Billy mind is a terrible thing to waste! Is that tangible enough?

Tell me about the song writing process for The Tones. Some of them seem like solo efforts.
A: Not really, most are actually everybody. “That’s how we Roll” was a total team effort.
J: Andy started the idea for “ Mama Makes More” , then we all collaborated.
A: We try to get as many people involved at the beginning as possible. If one person has a song, we try to go down there, we all have ideas.
J: Down there into the Volcano
A: Yes, the volcano, of course.
SS: Andy’s responsible for the instrumentals as well.
A: And there wouldn’t be crime-a-billy without Suburban Slim.

So it’s definitely a democratic collaborative process then?
A: And Jeff as well is huge. There’s some songs that come out of the groove as much the lyric idea.
JD: Yeah, like Kathryn’s Style. Phil had lyrics and we went down into the volcano and we mess around and find what feels good.
A: It’s primarily driven by the bass.
JD: And the drums.
A: It is totally collaborative on all songs, and that’s one thing we have tried to maintain since the beginning and not have it be just the “Julie” band or the “Andy” band, we work as a team which is surprisingly rare in bands. That’s our motto, everybody gets a say, and it’s not “ Well I don’t like that part” “Too bad, you have to play it anyway”.

I’ve seen you guys in many different venues lately and people tell me they just have to bring others back for the experience. What is it about you guys that you think is so satisfying and irresistible?
SS: It’s part of that energy I think, that teamwork that we strive for. We want the music to be dead serious, at the same time that we’re cutting it up and playing some good shit.
J: And we are having an absolute blast, we are having so much fun. I think it’s contagious, and other people want to be a part of that.
A: I suppose it’s core is our deeper mission: Crime-a-Billy. I think it’s also that we play what we want, when we want. We’re trying to do it on our own terms. With the internet and all the different musical businesses people say “why don’t you send it to this label or that label?” We decided that we have the advantage of our own studio, as well as great distribution through Burnside.

I think another big part of the StrangeTone’s appeal is choreography, where did you find Violet and Vivian ?
J: In a back ally.
SS: They were camped outside of our Volcano actually, and they were dancing to the flames. We started to play and they started to dance.
Andy & Julie: They say were part of a traveling circus, their mother died, and they were raised by wolves. It’s a good team, they have their style and steps and it works very well for certain numbers.
JD: And they fit right in as they share the love of the music. We are all having a good time egging each other on.

I love the telephone prop, I suppose you have a direct line to the City Commissioner when he needs you guys to solve Crime-a-billy at large.
A: Oh yes! We were the first to hear from Commissioner Sten about his departure. But we’ll keep fighting for this city!
You gracefully borrow from different musical genres. I hear some really cool descriptions of you from people. I have one of my own. Want to hear it? “Freddy King meets the B-52’s meets the Stones meets Link Wray meets Dick Tracy at the Crossroads.”
All: There you go… right on… we’ll take that.

Do you have some of your own band descriptions?
J: Well we started off originally, more traditional blues.
A: And then we got the Crime-A-Billy… it chose us. We wanted to have our own approach to blues and roots music and try not to change it too much, and not be a standard blues band or a standard rock band. To keep songs tight and well structured instead of long instrumental jams.
SS: The Audacity of Crime-a-Billy!

Do you hope your take on the Blues will influence younger players to pick it up and do something different with it as well?
J: I would just say that I hope younger people just remember to go out and enjoy live music, cause it seems like there’s too many sitting at home, they seem to go for Karaoke or something more cerebral.
A: Inspire some younger people to play and to have fun with it.
Julie and Slim, I’d like to find out how you 2 work together so well and swap solo’s. You can duel together with a dissonance, then turn around and blend into each other to where its indecipherable.
J: Wow… I don’t really know what to say about that, except that we don’t tread on each other. One of us finds a spot and the other fills what’s left. As a band we specifically sit down and work out the parts…so it’s tightly arranged but with room. Not just Slim and I, we all work out parts that complement each other. It’s definitely fun, isn’t it Slim?
SS: I get through it (laughter) I think we’re more like Hunter and Wagner from Lou Reed’s band. We complement each other.
J: He loves it!
A: I think more like Hall and Oates…(laughter from all).
SS: Well, you know, any two guitar players, is fun ‘cause you hear what they’re doing, so you know where the bar it set. And sometimes you’re playfully competing. It’s definitely a conversation.

Even with different musical influences, you clearly keep one foot firmly in the blues.
SS: There’s not a music in America that’s not set one foot in the freakin’ blues ! The type of music that we like is borrowed from blues or I suppose some country… American Roots music.
J: It seems that other musicians I know grew up with rock and then discovered the Blues later. For me it was the first thing grabbed my heart and I was passionate about, more so than rock or anything other genre.
JD: And I suppose that’s one thing that Eagle Park Slim, our friend, said that if you start with the blues, it becomes easier to learn other stuff. But it’s harder to go back if you learn the sophisticated type stuff first. When people get into rock, then discover blues they say, “oh that’s what I liked about rock”.

I suppose part of our twist is that we’re rooted in blues, but not confined by it. Like how Screamin’ Jay (Hawkins) is known for successfully twisting and forging away from tradition.
A: But if it ain’t Crime-A-Billy, it ain’t shit.
Since it’s election season, are there any secret messages contained in songs like ‘Poster child’, or ‘Red State’?
J: Yes Ty, and they’re a secret.
A: You have to listen to them and come to your own conclusions.

What exactly is a Pinto Squire?
SS: You’ve never seen a Pinto Squire?
A: It’s a specific model of Ford Pinto that has the stylish wood paneling on the side. It’s kind of the mini-van of Pintos, and some think it’s a pretty hideous.

I thought maybe a cross between a DiPinto and Fender Squire.
J: No, it was just a coincidence that I ended up buying a DiPinto guitar years later.

Have you guys had a chance to do any touring out of the country?
A: Yeah, it was backing up Screamin’ Jay Hawkins closing festivals, rather than playing second to last. But it wasn’t this band. But yeah, we have very appreciative audiences here as well. There’s a great festival scene here in the N.W. that’s as strong as anywhere else.
J: And we’re heading to Mexico soon, which is exciting.

Are you bringing along the Volcano Vixens?
J: If somehow they can come along and it were financially feasible, we’d do it in a minute.

You have your own recording studio called Meteor Sonic Records. Do you let others record there too?
J: For right now it’s exclusively ours because we really don’t have time for anything else, and when we do record it takes a lot of hours
A: We haven’t yet. We could, I mean there are times when we’ve thought about it, little side projects involving others, or demo ideas. But we put plenty of time into the band and don’t really try to attract other peoples projects.

Andy, you’ve brought a lot musical background to this group. Playing with the Terraplanes, the Falcons, Screamin’ Jay among others.
A: Well, I suppose over the years we saw a lot of how to run a band as well as how not to run a band, We’ve tried to approach this as a democracy since the beginning, as silly as that sounds. Jay was a guy who was in some ways totally wacked with the way he’d twist the blues. He was in his 50’s back then, kind of whacked and bluesy and had some sense of humor. We learned a lot from those days .

He wrote “I put a Spell on You” didn’t he?
A: Yes he did. Hanging out with him and listening to him rap and talk about the old days in his life was a special time for me. Playing with any of the old blues guys was a great experience. I just feel fortunate, cause there’s so many players, but I was in the right place at the right time. So it was mostly long hours, with Terraplanes help. When you play all the time you tighten up your chops too with those experiences. But in all honesty I can say that this is most fun I’ve ever had. So that’s what’ll make it stay important for me.

You’re a bottom tight bass player, you also play harmonica and a pretty mean slide player as well. Which do you identify the most with?
A: I suppose I’m an instrumental supremacist. I really enjoy it(we joke about that with Julie). Anymore on my iPod, if you looked at it, it’s mostly non-vocal music and I really do enjoy the C-A-B instrumentals, quite a bit.
J: He writes pretty much all of our instrumentals. He brings them to the table.
A: No, it’s everyone, it’s everyone’s sound. Generally, instrumental music is my favorite, Volcano dance party music.

You also seem to be the cheerleader / comedian of the group? Julie, you’ve got some history as well. Tell us about your pre-StrangeTone musical life.
J: Well, really I would just say that I was fully seeped in lots and lots of blues because I grew up in a household with a huge blues record collection. But it wasn’t until many years later that I started playing. Like my early 30’s!

Wow, you’ve come a long way baby! How about your affinity for Jimmy Reed, The Turners, and Betty Lavette?
J: Betty Lavette is a new one. But Jimmy Reed and Ike and Tina I just grew up on. When I was a teenager I had several records and tapes that I listened to and carried with me everywhere I went. I couldn’t live without them and heard them 10 billion trillion times. Jimmy Reed was my original idol, and started playing guitar along with him.

What kind of elements from those influences do you try to bring into what you do?
J: I don’t know if I try, but just a real raw, directness. Um, straight-shot approach.
A: I’ll tell you one thing Julie pulls through, like Jimmy Reed, the story goes he went to Chess Records and they said “we wanna have you play. You can sing, Muddy Waters can play guitar and Little Walter’ll play harp.” He was like screw you, I’ll go back to the steel factory, ‘cause I can play harp and guitar.’ And he had his own style to boot. Well, Julie also has her own style and identity. Like Phil and Jeff, she doesn’t copy. Where some others outright copy I think Julie has a real strong flavor of her own.

You are the “Riff Mistress”. What color do you see when you’re on fire?
J: I believe blinded at those moments. Blinded. I am not seeing.

I watch you play and think, What goes on in that pretty head of yours to produce such a grit?
J: Uh..
SS: Are you going to bring up my pretty head?
J: Again, I think it’s just my nature and my natural style to be very raw, and I don’t make a point to try to imitate somebody, all polished and sounding exactly like someone else. I know a lot of musicians sit and try to learn a lick exactly and I just don’t ever do that kind of thing. I’ll play along with something, but I never try to imitate licks.

What’s on your family Victrola now?
J: Dance Hall String Busters, Jungle Rock, Exotica, Las Vegas Crime, and Crime Jazz, Mavis Staples- And I just got this killer, Sharon Jones and some R&B.

Suburban Slim, it seems like I’ve seen you play with so many people in the past I can’t sort it all out. Can you help me?
SS: I have a lot of friends that I’ve played music with, but they get tired of me.

You’re well respected and sought by many in the musical foray.
SS: Well, that’s nice, that’s some of the stuff that I really enjoy.

Your phrasing is intense, your soloing can sting like a hornet, and you have an execution that is spotless.
SS: I don’t know…. A misspent youth. A lot of time, NOT getting laid and in my bedroom, and I listened to everything. I mean, my first records were the Beatles and Johnny Cash. When I started playing at 10. I started singing to the Big Bopper, Elvis, that kind of stuff. Then when I got to be a teenager, I guess the band I was playing with, we did a lot of Creedence, southern rock and that kind of stuff, it’s what was popular.

You’re quite varied. Some of your live solo’s can range from Chet Atkins to Jimmy Page. Everyone was doing the “we’re not worthy” bow to you on New Years Eve. You were on fire.
SS: Well, it’s nice to get acknowledgment from the people that aren’t quite worthy. (laughter from all)

J.D. Huge, can you tell me about some important experiences you’ve gleaned from your years as a studio musician, your history?
JD: How I started playing music was through my older brother Pete. He was a guitar player back in Eugene, and he was friends with Andy. So, my brother was a huge influence. So we used to just jam out and play at home to Zeppelin, Cream, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, stuff like that. So from there, we went and played with a surf band, the Electric Flys, played with Eagle Park Slim, down in Eugene, a blues guy. Recorded for those guys. Played with the Hamhocks, Jim Wallace. Mark Schneider (recorded with them.) Did some gospel recording as well.

And you’ve done some studio work too?
JD: Yeah, live in studios.

How has the StrangeTones influenced your approach to playing?
JD: I think because it’s so much fun and so comfortable, it sort of opens up your live performance, when you begin to playing off each other. And you can really build songs up live and really solidify the sound.
J: Can I say, I think he’s just a really good parts player too. When there’s changes in the songs, which we do a lot, Jeff really helps make those changes a distinct part of the songs with what he’s doing on the drums. I don’t know if he was always like that, but there’s less of that happening in say a straight blues band.
JD: For me, I try to think of the whole song, and how it sounds, rather than filling up space with lots of fills and punches and breaks. You try to think of the whole song and how it builds.

Watching you, I can really tell your heart’s into it full throttle. You take a bare-bones drum kit and pull a Bonham- like intensity out of it.
JD: A little shaker now and then, a little tambourine now and again, so a little percussion, adds a little flavor to some of the songs. I’m using a Gretsch. They won’t let me add any more drums (laughter) it’s just the right amount of sounds.

When you were a kid, which drummer did you want to grow up to be?
JD: John Bonham, you mentioned his name. I mean, he’s every drummer’s idol. Keith Moon, from The Who, big Keith Moon influence. And I did listen to a lot of blues stuff, a lot of Freddy King and Buddy Guy . Those drummers were really very minimal, groove based. So I’m kind of an incarnation of those extremes.

You obviously enjoy yourselves to death onstage. You smile and laugh. It really shows.
A: It’s friendship, we like each other. We hang out together.
J: We hate to admit it, but we like each other. We are very musically like minded. We like the same kinds of grooves and similar music. It’s a family affair.
SS: We usually try to go in the same vehicle.
A: That’s right the brown and tan Astro Van. We laugh and joke. When we get on stage it’s another extension.
JD: Yeah, what could be better? We’ve always played music and loved music and then being great friends at the same time.

You’ve got your public personas and then your secret crime-a-billy lives. Can you give us a hint as to what’s next. Any new musical crusades you’re planning?
SS: There’s our hunt for Bin Laden.
A: We’re starting to write more songs. We have some other theme albums in the works. Slim has talked about Son of Crime-a-Billy, Return of C-A-B. We have some ideas. We are going to continue to work with the Vixens and do some big stage gigs. We have a lot of great summer stuff coming.
J: And we already have quite a few festivals booked. Just continuing the promo development and getting the video made with the Vixens.

Hey, now that I’m in with you guys, any chance that I can take a tour of the secret Volcano Hideout Cave sometime, or get a date with one of the beautiful Volcano Vixens?
Uh, No (from all).

Check out the Tones’ gear!

Andy Strange grooves on:
1968 Fender Telecaster Bass
DiPinto Belvedere Deluxe Bass
Fender Bassman 100 Amp

Guitar Julie knocks it out using:
Custom made Conrad amp ‘Blues Jammer’
‘64 Blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb amp
Dipinto Belvedere Deluxe Guitar
1964 Epiphone Sorrento

J.D. Huge gets his kicks with:
Drums: 1972 Ludwig Maple Marine Pearl 5 piece
2005 Gretsch Renown Maple Granite Sparkle 4 piece
Zildjian cymbals

Suburban Slim tears it up using:
Custom made Conrad Amp ‘Blues Jammer’
Gibson Les Paul
Custom built archtop Jim Wallace designed guitar w/ 50’s Gibson pickups
‘71 Fender Telecaster Slimline
Slim uses D’Addarro EXL 115 Nickel Blues/Jazz strings

2007- Inducted into Muddy Hall of Fame
And Best Contemporary Blues act (CBA).
2006- Best Contemporary Blues act, and Best Electric Guitar (CBA).
2005- Best Contemporary Blues Act
Best Electric Guitar
Best of the N.W. Award for “Live at the Waterfront Blues Festival” video.
Crime-A-Billy- is on the top 100 cd’s recommended by Real Blues Magazine.

The StrangeTones record themselves at:
a secure and secret location
deep inside the volcano.

Crime-A-Billy definition: Listen to all 3 CD’s, then you’ll know

For play dates please check their websites:





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