Catfish Willie is the gifted singer and guitarist who has shared stages with many of the music business elite including the Allman Bros. Band, Buddy Guy, Sheryl Crow and ZZ Top to name just a few.
As a vocalist, his voice is a soulful mix of southern rock and Chicago Blues. As a guitarist, he controls the dynamics of the band – from gentle grooves that you strain to hear to full-on “old School” inferno… and every sweet spot in between.
He learned his lessons well throughout the‘90’s playing on bills with countless musical legends. He honed his craft to perfection then put together a musically diverse group of players that push and challenge him and each other to go further into a zone that few musical acts reach!
Who are some of the acts that Catfish has opened for
or played on musical bills with?
Check them out HERE.
Catfish got his first guitar on Christmas day in 1978. It was a Les Paul Jr. copy out of a catalogue. Mr. Ralph, Catfish’s childhood neighbor, got a bass on his birthday in October of the following year. They actually took lessons from two brothers. Their other neighborhood buddy, Mike, got some drums the next Christmas and that night was the first rehearsal. Noises were made that would clear any room in seconds. By the summer of 1981 a new kid with a set of drums moved to the hood named Joe Fox and the world got a preview of ¾ of the Catfish Willie Band 22 years early! This lasted until the spring of ’82 when Ralph and Joe separated from Catfish. Shortly after that Catfish played his first live gigs at the end of his freshman year in high school with a different band. Lots of parties were played over the next 3 years and bar gigs started at 19 years old. The 3 got together again in 1985 along with Joe’s brother Jim and another guy to form “Jon Do”. Catfish left them in 1986 and they continued for years on their own eventually changing names to “Simple Simon” which lasted until the early ‘90’s. Catfish, in the mean time, traveled the drag racing circuit all over the country as a Pro Mod crewman through 1990. Back to music in ’91, Catfish played mostly in Northern Missouri, Illinois and Iowa .
In 1992 Catfish met Devon Allman and after becoming friends they started writing songs together. By the end of the year they formed “The Dark Horses”. Playing with Devon (him being the son of a musical legend) was a mixed experience. The band got many opportunities that were hard to get but, on the other hand, they were judged much more harshly than most bands. This was tough early on but the band grew into it and it molded excellent musicianship. This was when Catfish played his first HUGE shows. The first big one being the opening slot for the Scorpions at Riverport Amphitheatre in St. Louis in front of nearly 20,000! This same time period is when Catfish met his future wife and band mate Sweet T. Also Mr. Ralph played with The Dark Horses for a few months in ’93 and Joe Fox was a band tech for many years and travels. That band broke up in May of ’98 and Catfish formed a cover band with Ralph and Joe’s old band mate, Johnny Fox and played through January of 2000. In the meantime, Catfish and Sweet T got married in May of ’99.
In January of 2000, Catfish decided to leave the music biz. He sold 90% of his gear and found a “regular job”. This lasted 3 years and by spring of ’03 he had formed an early version of the current band. It started out acoustic with just Catfish and Sweet T. Mr. Ralph was added next and it was acoustic guitar and bass with maracas and 3-part harmonies. Joe Fox came in next on drums with Catfish switching to electric guitar. Then by ’05, Sweet T brought her years of playing acoustic piano into the band with the addition of a stage piano. At that point the “Catfish Willie Band” was truly born. The band played constantly and by ’07 released the “Cash Money” C.D.
Now Catfish Willie is ready to take on a new year with a whole arsenal of fresh Southern Rock-n-Blues and a "Let's Party" attitude!