Big Blues Band Experience comes to Rifle’s Ute Theater Thursday night
IF YOU GO…
WHAT: Big Blues Band Experience, featuring Mike Zito’s Big Blues Band and the B. B. King Horns
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, June, 27 (doors open 7 p.m.)
WHERE: Ute Theater, 132 E. Fourth St., Rifle
The ultimate blues big band is coming to Rifle to play the Ute Theater at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The band is led by blues man Mike Zito, who originally hails from St. Louis, Mo. but has been living in Texas for the last 16 years.
This show features a seven-piece big band sound — drums, organ/piano, bass, rhythm guitar, sax, trumpet and Zito on lead guitar.
Zito said the big band is a culmination of years of trying to do something different.
“I always loved BB King, and I always liked that he had a big band sound but still played the guitar,” Zito said.
“It’s really special. We are only doing like 15 shows this year with the whole band. It’s a really great show, and it’s a very much a blues-oriented type show,”
The band will play songs from BB King and Albert King, to name a few.
“I’m excited were able to do four shows in Colorado, and coming to different parts of the state,” said Zito, who has been playing Colorado for a long time.
“It’s such a great place for live music.”
This will be Zito’s first time at the Ute Theater. He said he has heard nothing but great things about the venue.
He added the show will bring a big sound and high energy to the Ute stage.
“It’s not a sit back and relax, quiet evening. It’s definitely a very lively show to get people up and dancing,” Zito said.
BIRTH OF THE BLUES MAN
Growing up in St. Louis, Zito’s family wasn’t musically inclined, and they were stunned when a young 8-year-old Zito came home asking for a guitar.
“I heard ‘Eruption’ by Van Halen, and I had never heard anything like it. I ran home and said I had to have a guitar,” Zito said. “My mom and dad bought me one from the J.C. Penny’s catalog.”
He has been playing guitar and writing music ever since.
“Can’t say I knew what I was doing, and I don’t know what I’m doing now. I’ve developed my own style over the years, learning to play my songs and my music,” Zito said.
He penned his own songs and gravitated to the blues, because of the improvisational characteristic to it, where he said he could be free.
Zito has been making records for over 20 years, and got his first big recording contract 12 years ago.
“That kind of changed everything, and got me on the national scene, got me touring,” Zito said. “I’ve been really fortunate in that respect.”
For a time, Zito was a member of the Royal Southern Brotherhood, a successful band with Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and more.
“That was a big boost for my career,” Zito said.
He admits it wasn’t all easy. Along the way there was drugs and alcohol — screwing up and all kinds of stuff, he said.
“Things are better these days,” Zito said.
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