Bill Harnden has been a fixture on the Chicago music scene for over 20 years with a career spanning
the genres of blues, punk, rockabilly, rock, country and gospel. He has created a personal style
that fuses these influences into whirlwind presentation that calls to mind the hypnotic solos of Jimi
Hendrix with driving guitar rhythms of the Memphis Blues greats forming an individual style that
blends Lightnin' Hopkins, Elvis, Black Sabbath and Johnny Cash. Long respected in the Rockabilly
scene he has reached a culmination of creativity that has only just begun to break through as an
individual voice in an altogether new style of music.
He began playing blues with Lefty Diz at the Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago's South Side, as well as
the original Maxwell Street Market in the early '80's. His first band, Sponge, whose album was
released on "Under Dog" records in 1985, was a well received punk band with audiences as far away as
Memphis and London. His first solo album "Rockin' Pharoh", released in 1995, was produced by Steve
Albini was well received by Chicago music critics and was his first foray into rockabilly. His next
album "Viva La Rock & Roll" brought the fat sounds of Vegas style horns and received much airplay on
Chicago's Q101 and WXRT. His next album "Betty's Blue Star Lounge" contained classic '50's Rock &
Roll influences and was a tribute to the bar of the same name, one of many Chicago bars like Mad Bar
and The Bop Shop were he spent time as a house band and built a loyal following that continues to
Throughout his career he has continued to play in gospel churches and blues clubs and has been known
to evangelize on street corners through his guitar thus keeping in touch with the roots of Chicago
that have carried him on through his anointed music these many years. These roots are what differentiate
him from the average "blues or rock" musicians in Chicago and are the reason his fans continue to
seek him out, waiting to see what his latest musical incarnation will be or what unexpected solo
tangent will emerge from his guitar.
He has recorded on the legendary Sun Records with many of the greats, including Sonny Burgess,
Ray Campi and Hayden Thompson and his upcoming album, set for release this year, contains heavy
country influences but still provides the impressive solos he is known for, this time in the form of
intricate finger picking. Although the country style is evident, the urban backdrop seems to weave
through the architecture of the songs, calling to mind an afternoon spent sitting by the open door of
his Wicker Park guitar shop where he likely composed many of the songs on this album.
Rockin' Billy and the Wild Coyotes have played at nearly every well known and not-so-well known venue
in Chicago, including headlining at the Metro and the Double Door as well as Buddy Guy's Legends, the
Elbo Room, The California Clipper, Smoke Daddy, Mad Bar and more. He has also played at Al Green's
Church in Memphis, BlueGrass Inn in Nashville and the Blues Festival in Utrecht, Holland.
As his career continues it's upward climb, digressing on tangents at times, fusing styles at others,
he continues to make a major and truly individual impact on Chicago music.
Contact: (773) 252-6754/ (773) 972-1100
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