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  • Members

    • Kimmer Smith (1986 – 1986)

You may remember him as the leader of the All-Star Frogs (1970-1983) and the Power Trio (1983-present), doing humorous and raunchy blues originals such as “Tie You Up!” and “More Love, More Money”. You may remember the Tumatoe tours of local clubs and endless spins of his songs on college radio in the ’70s and ’80s. You may not know that he played in a FIJI house band (Lothar and the Hand People) at the University of Illinois, the band name created by Bill Geist, CBS Sunday Morning News Correspondent; recorded for Warner Bros. (I Like My Job, produced by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame); and was a member of REO Speedwagon — he left in 1969, evidently taking all rocking bluesy rootsy-ness with him — and he grew up on the South Side of Chicago, a blues-loving youth who hung with the legends.

Now he’s still at it, playing over 200 shows a year, covering over 60,000 miles. Tumatoe promises “A good time, a little mischief, a lot of great music.”

The man who couldn’t resist titling his 2001 holiday album “It’s Christmas (Let’s Have Sex)” would like people to know he’s not all about the joke. “There’s a great deal of musical ability in the band,” Tumatoe said. They focus on the music, “just as much as on the twists in the lyrical content.” Tumatoe learned drums at 10, moved to guitar as a teen, and became active playing in the Chicago area in the ’60s.

He grew up on the South Side, in the exact time and space of the golden era of electric blues. He knew, and played with, the greats, and now can’t believe that he took that for granted as a kid, Tumatoe said. “Those guys were kinda like available, just as a natural course of daily activity. … You never thought it was such an earth-shaking experience to have grown up in the crux of all that but it really, really is.” Tumatoe knew all the “old guys,” he said, ran into them every day. “Played with a lot of them,” Tumatoe said. “Muddy (Waters), Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley — who’s still with us — Buddy Guy — who’s still with us … Albert King, J.B. Hutto. … Having grown up in that city, you just experience that stuff.”

Duke’s fans consider him one of music’s best-kept secrets and they selfishly admit they want to keep it that way. They know his show will be one of those sweaty, anything can happen things and they look forward to the freely dispensed and practical advice from the Doctor (”When you’re in a basement you should drink whiskey”).

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