Paying Homage to His Mentor (05.01.06)
Since taking the name "Teddy Lee Hooker", the blues guitarist formerly known as Ted Grimes has come full circle, back to his roots. At the tender age of five, when other boys were playing with Tonka toys, Teddy was being schooled on the guitar by the late John Lee Hooker, who was then married to Teddy’s older sister Freda. Teddy recalls how John Lee baby-sat him while living with his family in Cleveland. "Unbeknownst to him, I would watch him practicing playing guitar in the living room. One day, he got up to use the phone and left his guitar plugged in and I went over and strummed it; it amazed me when these sounds came out of the amp. The next day, John Lee bought me a real acoustic guitar and said, "This is yours; now leave mine along!"
After that, Teddy watched John Lee’s hands when he played out on a chair in the front yard of their home. Says teddy. "That’s when he showed me a few chords to play from his hit, "Boom, Boom, Boom".
With the seeds planted for a musical future, Teddy pursued learning different guitar playing styles: His influences included the sounds of James Brown, B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Shuggie Otis, and Jimi Hendrix for starters. In fact, it was Hendrix’s "Red House" that turned his world around. "I didn’t just want to play his music," says Teddy, "I wanted to be in his band!"
Later on, it was John Coltrane, George Benson, and Miles Davis who influenced him. In fact, at the age of 16, he joined George Benson’s band and a short time later, was offered the opportunity to tour with Miles Davis. "He wanted a younger guitar player who he could mold," notes Teddy. Unfortunately, Teddy’s father fell ill at the time and he chose to stay with his family, rather than quit high school and tour with Miles.
Years later, when his family moved to L.A., Teddy met and was inspired by some of the best funk and R&B artists and again, began experimenting with a new sound. A fatal car accident took him away from his music, at age 23, when a drunk driver slammed into Teddy’s car killing his 5-year old daughter. In a coma for a month and in intensive care for a long while, Teddy recalls, that it was the blues that pulled him through.
When he regained the spirit to play again, Teddy formed the band, "Monkey Meat" and over the next ten years backed headliners Fishbone, Smokey Robinson, Albert King, and Was (Not Was) through the U.S., Canada and England. A career in the recording industry followed, which was successful but left Teddy feeling disconnected from his own musical path.
Another near fatal experience brought him to the point he’s at today when, at age 46, he found out he needed open heart surgery. When he came out of surgery, he began thinking about the musical gifts he had been given. While watching TV, a Robert Johnson tribute come on followed by a special on John Lee Hooker entitled, "My Story", Says Teddy.
"I realized that if it wasn’t for him putting the guitar in my hands, I wouldn’t be here today. I never forgot those first, few chords he showed me; I’ve built my style around him."
In 2005, after a year of recovery from his surgery, Ted Grimes took the name "Teddy Lee Hooker" to pay homage to the man who first inspired him. That year, his band placed second in the International Blues Talent Show by SCBS and won "Best Blues Artist of the Year, 20015' in the South Bay Music Awards.
In 2006, he produced his debut release, Electrik Rain, (TLH Music) in which he showcases his talents as a writer, vocalist and guitarist. Included is John Lee Hookers’s "Boom, Boom, Boom".
With club dates booked at Southland blues clubs Cozy’s, Yesteryears, and the Arcadia Blues Club, Teddy says it’s a dream come true to be alive and playing the blues. He credits his 84-year old mother, Thelma, for encouraging him through the years and helping him keep the dream alive through hard times.
The Band (04.25.06)
|Would like to say thanks to Bill McFadden (drummer) for helping out at ABC 4-1-06. Would like to let everyone know that Bobby Jones(drums) and Gary Cox(bass) are the new line up for the band.|
C.D. ELECTRIK RAIN finished (01.24.06)
|To all my fans,old and new, I just finished my long awaited C.D. It\'s called Electrik Rain and will be for sale at my shows next week. I will post more info in the future. Thanks for all your support and love.|
|Teddy Lee Hooker would like to thank Ken Andrews and The South Bay Music Awards for honoring and recognizing him as Best Blues Artist of the Year 2005. To all his friends and fans who came to Cozy\'s in Sherman Oaks and attended the International Blues Challenge, which was sponsored by The Southern California Blues Society a special thanks for your support and energy at the show.|