In my travels throughout the Internet musical wilderness, I have discovered some disinformation associated with my old band, the Bluestars. I dunno why this sticks in my craw, but I'm going to take a minute to set the record straight...
The Bluestars were a rockin' little blues band that played a lot in the Seattle area in the late '80s. The band was a four piece, and consisted of Leslie Milton or Kirk Tuttle on drums, Mark Dalton on bass, Jeff Ziontz on guitar, and yours truly on harp and vocals. Occasionally, other players such as Jack Cook (guitar), John Lee (bass), or Jim Mesi (guitar) would also play with the band.
Jeff Ziontz and Mark Dalton - Bluestars gig at the Old Timer's Cafe (Seattle)
Leslie "Star Drums" Milton
So, the other day I was looking at Kate (formerly Kathy) Hart's web page, and in her bio, she informs us that, shortly after arriving in Seattle from Detroit, she "...put together a band called the Bluestars." Then, on the site's Photo page, there appears this photograph of the "Original Bluestars."
Back: Kathy Hart
Front, left to right: John Lee (bass), Jim Mesi (guitar), Dave Freeblen (keyboards), Leslie Milton (drums), Robbie Jordan (sax), and Doug Canning (trumpet). Photo created by Mike Lynch
I took this photograph with my trusty Yashica after I finished playing this date (at a Bellevue, WA office plaza) with the band. I don't know why it's so out of focus - a screwed up scan, maybe? Anyway, below is another photograph from my vault created at this same gig, this time by an innocent bystander using my camera again. Hey, there's the missing band member! This was a pick-up gig, and I believe that this might have been the only time that this particular configuration of musicians played with Kathy.
Back: Kathy Hart and Mike Lynch
Here's the 411 on Kathy Hart's relationship with the Bluestars. Kathy had decided that she wanted to focus on doing blues material, and we discussed having the Bluestars back her up on a few gigs. She was the bomb at booking gigs, and it seemed like a good idea at the time (to me, anyway), but immediately after our first gig with her, both Dalton and Ziontz quit the band. If I recall correctly, their spots were filled by Patty Mey and Jim Mesi respectively, and Leslie Milton hung in with us for a while. We played quite a few gigs with Kathy and various other keyboardists, horn players, and drummers, including opening for Roy Orbison at the Bumbershoot festival (he was really short), and the first Seattle Women in Blues show at the Backstage in Ballard. By the way, both of those gigs were total trainwrecks, but the crowds didn't seem to notice. Go figure.
I eventually decided to call it quits on the gig with Kathy, and we agreed that she could continue to use the Bluestars band name. Various versions of her "Bluestars" band soldiered on until she finally moved back to Detroit.
Unfortunately, I don't have any more photos of the real "original Bluestars" (all together, anyway), but I do have a few more of the AKH (After Kathy Hart) versions of the band, including this one that I took at the West Seattle Street Fair. That's my Fender amp next to Patty Mey.
Left to right: Dave Freeblen, Jim Mesi, Kathy Hart, Leslie Milton, and Patty Mey . July 1987
Speaking of Jim Mesi - the last time I cruised by his web site, I noticed this link on the News page to an article written about Jim by Greg Johnson for the Cascade Blues Association's Blues Notes. In this article, we're told that, during Jim's stay in Seattle in the late '80s, he fronted his own band called Little Jimmy & the Blues Stars.
Krikey!!! Jim played with the Bluestars many times, both with and without Kathy Hart, but I don't recall him ever fronting his own band in Seattle, by that or any other name. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this, please?
OK, I feel better now. Thanks, I needed that...