The road to success is paved with many tests and trials, and Diddley Squat seems to be not only passing them, but excelling at every level. In 2003, the band placed 2nd in the annual Sonny Boy Blues Society Battle of the Bands, in Helena, Arkansas. In 2004, Diddley Squat placed 1st in the Sonny Boy Blues Society Battle of the Bands, and in turn, had the honor of opening the 2004 King Biscuit Blues Festival- also an annual event in Helena, Arkansas, and one of the most famous and respected blues festivals in the world. In February 2005, the Sonny Boy Blues Society sponsored Diddley Squat in the IBC in Memphis. This is the International Blues Challenge, where the crème de la crème in the world’s unsigned blues artists compete for prizes that include international recognition, musical equipment, and choice gigs in the future. In Jan. 2006 the band returned to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, this time sponsored by the Shagbark Blues Society of Paris Texas. As the crowd at the ’04 King Biscuit Blues Festival recently discovered, there’s a lot of talent assembled when these boys are on stage, and while it seems to be more and more difficult these days to find a band with class and style, Diddley Squat serves up all these tasty pleasures on a silver platter. What’s more, they truly love their jobs, having so much fun themselves that the audience gladly jumps onto the running boards for a joyous ride with them. Several of their original songs are already becoming area hits, like the title tune from their CD, “Caught Ya’ With Your Pants Down”, slow blues scorcher “O.C.D. Blues”, and the highly danceable “Ain’t In A Hurry”. The group’s front man is guitarist/vocalist Jim Blind Lemon Pie Cobb, whose influences range from the blues styling of Duke Robillard, Gatemouth Brown, T-Bone Walker, and Ronnie Earl, to classic rock aces like Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, and Mark Knopfler. His vocals embrace it all- from suave and sexy soul ballads to growling, strutting blues, to energetic interpretations of such greats as Van Morrison and Delbert McClinton, to jazzy scatting you might expect from George Benson. Jim is known to surprise the crowd with some subdued solo resonator slide, and then take right off with the full band into a rollicking Ray Charles number- with equal love for the entire spectrum illuminating his performance. On the horn is resident live-wire Rick Saxman Sims. Rick exudes enthusiasm as he honks and blows up magical leads, working his way through the crowd, leaving jaws dropping and heads spinning. His multiple saxes, all displaying an array of custom-designed feline patterns, conjure up such influences as Boots Randolph, King Curtis, Ace Cannon, and Doug James. Squeals and screams are heard nightly as the crowd is captivated by his face-to-face solos. Lately, Rick has added some ethereal, jazzy flute work and an old-time classic- a jug- not something often heard in the average club setting- both unique additions to the band’s repertoire. Turn the sax man loose, and watch what happens. Rodney Gizmo Beal is the steady-driving man on bass (who also happens to be a great drummer when the occasion arises). At times this multi-instrumentalist is found walking the bass line like a younger, thinner Willie Dixon- and this walk comes with a definite swagger. Sometimes you’ll find him holding a funky tapped groove like he’s channeling Jaco Pastorious, and other times he may be alternating between soothing soul bottom lines and hard-hitting rock n’ roll panache. He’s got the fire, the groove and the charisma- meaning he looks so darn cool doing it. Val "Valeron" Nail, the bands "shot in the arm" hell of a drummer, is the "groove king" when performing. Val started his music career at an unheard of young age; at four years old he was playing the piano, at five he got his first set of drums, and he's been mastering his craft ever since. Between school band programs and performing at christian events and just self determination, Val has emerged into a spectacular musician and composer. Vals previous bands have varied from R&B to progressive trance-hop. His enfluences are The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, and Steve Gadd, to name a few. He went on tour with Little Milton on his last road gig in Texas before his death. Roll over Beatovan, here comes Val! Club owners, event organizers- These are full-time professional musicians who conduct business in a timely, organized, and knowledgeable fashion, and who can also provide sound and light for almost any size event. A copy of their typical contract is located on the www.dsquat.com website.
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