Up Jumped the Bluez
The greatest Blues Band you’ve never heard of!
Up Jumped the Bluez is Erwin Lui on lead guitar who is not your usual “rock star”. Starting in 1968, 15 year old Erwin was introduced to the Blues by some high school outcasts who had a Blues band by attending their nightly rehearsals. It was enough to influence him to teach himself to play guitar flavored by Mike Bloomfield, ffEric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, the British Blues invasion and mostly early to 70’s Jeff Beck. After playing around California in a number of “never famous” gig bands, Erwin lost his best friend and bass player. Frustrated and fed up with the music scene he sold all his gear, went to college and got himself a degree in automotive design. He designed cars for 30 years (maybe one of the ones you currently drive) and six years ago got the itch to play again. As his first love was the Blues, that’s where his journey took him. And here he is with a style all his own, laying down the licks in Up Jumped the Bluez.
Up Jumped the Bluez is John Arnaldo, one half of the rhythm section on bass and vocals. Following in the footsteps of John Entwistle he started out as a brass player on trumpet, bugle and French horn. It wasn’t until his early twenties that he got into stringed instruments. “My brother played guitar so I tried the bass cause I didn’t have to play chords!” After playing in a number of different bands and a variety of genres throughout the 80’s and 90’s John took some time off for school and work and got back into music in 2008 when he joined the Orange County Blues Players Meetup Group. John is currently playing in two bands and has opened for such notables as Rod Piazza, Ambrosia, Eric Sardinas and James Harmon. John favors his Fender Jazz and P basses but also rocks the standup bass.
Up Jumped the Bluez is Ray Moreno, the other half of the rhythm section on the drums. Ray’s first influence was Jimmy Carl Black from Frank Zappa’s band. Ray took up the drums because of Jimmy’s encouragement and actually recorded a demo in Zappa’s Topanga Canyon basement studio. Ray has subsequently been in bands that have opened for Tim Buckley, Rod Piazza, Eric Sardinas, Coco Montoya, Paul Thorn, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Iron Butterfly, Wishbone Ash, The Yardbirds and James Harmon.
And, of course Neal Oldham on harmonica and vocals, I grew up with all types of musical influences, from classical to Beatles, surf, funk, R&B, rock and heavy metal. My mom played french horn in the Oklahoma City Symphony. My dad was an amateur singer and played a little harp as well. My oldest brother, Jack, is a world class harp player. In addition to studio work, he has played in bands such as The Safaris, August Wind and The Stan West Band. My present day hero is my brother, Mark, "Master Bass Player." He pushed me along once I really got on a roll; he became a great support as well as a band member in my last couple of bands.
My life in the early 90s took several turns, many of which gave me an understanding what the blues really are. The death of my wife, mother and father within two years was devastating, to say the least. I found myself with my one and four year old baby girls. I was lost, without direction, trying to hold down my job, take care of my babies and work through the pain of my losses.
Out of everyone who tried to console me, the person I was most distant from, my childhood hero -- "all the kids came to our house to see him on Band Stand" -- my oldest brother, Jack, showed up at my door with a little brown case of harmonicas and a hand full of CDs. He asked, "Do you know how the blues got started?" He talked me through the history of the blues and simply ended it with "you can keep them in or you can blow them out."
For hours on end I stood in front of the stereo and listened and played to Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Magic Sam, Carey Bell, Charlie Musselwhite, and most of all, Little Walter. I learned tunes note for note. Well, as good as a white-boy could.
I went to a local club to see my brother's long time friend, Stan West, play the blues. Stan had this great harp player, Jay Loeffel. "Jay blows a mean harp." He was easy to talk to, too, and every question I asked he answered or would show me. He taught me that every harp player has his own style, and we need to respect each other. He said that when it comes to music, egos need be checked at the door. He told me of a pro blues jam night in Covina. That's were I got my first exposure years ago. Thanks to Jay, Notcho, Teddy, Lighting Boy, and all the harp players that let me go first so I could get home to my girls.
From there I feel very fortunate to have hooked up with some great local talent. I have performed with DOC Ryan and the Blue Falcons, Hit Men, The MoJoTones, Dan Perreault and West Coast Gumbo and The Delta 88s. I love to play and for me it's all about fun and letting go. I love to perform with Up Jumped the Bluez, we seem to have a groove on. I hope you all make the time to come out and have some fun with us.