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Hollywood Fats Band

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Biography

Hollywood Fats (born Michael Leonard Mann in Los Angeles, May 17, 1954- December 8, 1986) was a blues guitarist active in Los Angeles.

Fats started playing guitar at the age of 10. While in his teens, his mother would drive him to various clubs in South Central Los Angeles to jam with well-known blues musicians when they came to town. Fats came from a successful upper-middle-class family living in Santa Monica. His father was a doctor and his siblings went on to become doctors and lawyers. Fats was considered the black sheep of the family due to his artist nature and was supported by his family for a number of years. Two of the more famous blues men he met included Buddy Guy and Junior Wells who gave him the nickname. Fats toured with James Harman, Jimmy Witherspoon, J.B. Hutto, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Albert King, among others. Although Fats’ “natural” style was more of a swingy T-Bone Walker type, by the age of 17 he was equally adept at all blues styles, playing behind each of these bandleaders as if he’d dedicated a lifetime to their style only.

During the 1970s and 1980s he worked with blues harmonica player and singer James Harman. He played on a number of his records including Extra Napkin’s, Mo’ Na’Kins, Please and Live in ‘85. It is on these recordings that one will find his most famous signature guitar licks. Other guitarists with whom he played included Junior Watson, Kid Ramos and Dave Alvin.

Fats was invited to be a sideman to Muddy Waters and later met harmonica player Al Blake. Blake had just moved to Los Angeles from Oklahoma. In 1974, Fats and Blake formed a band consisting of pianist Fred Kaplan, Richard Innes on drums and Canned Heat bassist Larry Taylor called the Hollywood Fats Band.

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