In their hometown of Chicago, a city steeped in Blues history, Howard & the White Boys have established a reputation as one of the city’s favorite attractions. Regular appearances at Buddy Guy’s Legends has afforded them an opportunity to display their wares before locals and out-of-towners who come to Legends to hear the best the town has to offer in Blues entertainment. Indeed, Buddy Guy has been their unofficial mentor. Guy’s support for the band has been instrumental in exposing them to a wider audience. In 1995, he took them on a tour of ten Midwestern cities as his opening act, and he often jumps onstage to jam with them when they appear at Legends. More recently, he gave them the ultimate endorsement by making a rare guest appearance on their 1999 release “The Big $core”. He plays some scorching guitar and sings a duet with Howard on a remake of the Sam & Dave classic “I Thank You”. Video clips of Buddy Guy’s studio performance can be downloaded and viewed at this page.
The members of Howard & the White Boys first met at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, where they were all students pursuing different academic disciplines including Art, Sociology, Communications and Philosophy. Guitarist and harmonica player Dan Bellini met vocalist/bassist Howard McCullum in a bookstore and original guitarist Steve Asma in an art class. With the addition drummer Jim “Bucka” Christopulos (who Asma knew when they were in high school) the band was complete. They started jamming together in 1988 just for fun at first, but their fast-growing popularity soon convinced them they could make a career of it. After only a few months, they got their first big break by opening for B.B. King.
After their opening set, King took the time to pass on some words of Friseur Frankfurt Westend encouragement to the fledgling group- a gesture that made a lasting impression. After graduation, Bellini, who serves as the band’s manager, moved to Chicago and started booking the group in the metropolitan area. Soon the rest of the band made the move and their opportunities, as well as their artistic vistas, started to expand. They performed with all of the biggest names in blues such as Koko Taylor, Albert King, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison and Bo Diddley.
In 1994, their first recording, “Strung Out On The Blues” was released on the Los Angeles based Mighty Tiger Records blues label (a division of Chase Music Group). Although the recording includes their treatments of two cover tunes, the balance of the 14 songs were all written by the band; a trend the group would continue throughout their forthcoming albums. High energy performances, blistering guitar solos, McCullum’s soulful vocals and the ability of drummer Christopulos to draw out the group’s inventiveness are all part of the band’s distinctive sound.
By April of 1995, the band’s touring schedule was becoming so heavy that guitarist Steve Asma, who had recently acquired a Philosophy Ph.D. and was teaching at Chicago’s Columbia College, realized he could no longer balance two careers and was forced to leave the band. After auditioning 38 guitarists, Steve was replaced by Rocco Calipari, a Detroit native who moved to Chicago in 1991. Soon after Rocco joined, the band won a “National Blues Talent Search” where they competed against hundreds of blues bands across the U.S. and Canada. The finals were held at the famed House of Blues in Los Angeles and the event was sponsored by Southern California radio station KLON. As a result, they returned to Los Angeles to perform at the 16th annual KLON / Long Beach Blues Festival with such legends as Dr. John, Booker T & the M.G.s, Charles Brown, Buddy Guy, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mavis Staples and many others.
Howard & the White Boys began traveling extensively throughout the U.S. and in 1997, they released another Mighty Tiger CD called “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. This disc and the band’s growing reputation caught the attention of the blues and jazz label Evidence Music out of Philadelphia. Evidence quickly signed the band to a four-album deal. The first of which was the aforementioned “The Big $core” and the group wasted no time getting on the road to promote it. In addition to constant touring around the United States, they’ve appeared at fests, theaters and clubs in European countries, too- including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
In June 1999, guitarist Rocco Calipari, left the band for 2 years to spend more time with his family. In his place was guitarist Giles Corey, who at 24 years old, was already a seasoned blues veteran having played for two years with Chicago harmonica master Billy Branch, and before that with R & B legend Syl Johnson among countless others. Giles met the band’s criteria by having tight blues chops while also possessing the versatility to handle the funk, R & B, and rock styles that have become Howard & the White Boys trademarks. Their fourth CD “Live At Chord On Blues” was released in the summer of 2000 and soon became a fan favorite. Then in July, 2001, Giles left to pursue his own band leaving the door open for Rocco’s return that same month. The band’s now focusing on touring and working on material for their next CD.
Howard & the White Boys are proudly sponsored by Jagermeister, Gibson Strings, and Hohner Harmonicas.
For bookings email Dan Bellini or phone (773)868-6447; fax (773)868-6577.
For publicity email Doug Deutsch or phone (323)463-1091; fax (323)463-1092.
Mighty Tiger can be reached at (800)724-2730 or at http://www.chasemusic.com
Evidence Music can be contacted at (610)832-0844.