Hollywood Fats (March 17, 1954 – December 8, 1986) was an American blues guitarist, active in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Hollywood Fats was born Michael Leonard Mann in Los Angeles, and started playing guitar at the age of 10. While in his teens, his mother would drive him to various clubs in South Central Los Angeles to jam with well-known blues musicians when they came to town. Hollywood Fats' father was a doctor and his siblings went on to become doctors and lawyers. He met Buddy Guy and Junior Wells who gave him the nickname. Hollywood Fats toured with James Harman, Jimmy Witherspoon, J. B. Hutto, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Albert King.
During the 1970s and 1980s he worked with the blues harmonica player and singer James Harman. He played on a number of his records including Extra Napkin's, Mo' Na'Kins, Please, Those Dangerous Gentlemans and Live in '85. Other guitarists with whom he played included Junior Watson, Kid Ramos and Dave Alvin.
Hollywood Fats was invited to be a sideman to Muddy Waters and later met the harmonica player Al Blake. Blake had just moved to Los Angeles from Oklahoma. In 1974, Hollywood Fats and Blake formed a band consisting of pianist Fred Kaplan, Richard Innes on drums and Canned Heat bassist Larry Taylor called the Hollywood Fats Band.
For a King Biscuit Flower Hour concert on September 7, 1979, which was later to be released on record, Hollywood Fats played the lead guitar in Canned Heat.
The Hollywood Fats Band released a self-titled album in 1979, the only album under their name. The band broke up not long after and Hollywood Fats continued to play with Harman's band, and The Blasters in 1986 replacing Dave Alvin.
Hollywood Fats also played with a non-blues band called Dino's Revenge from 1985 through 1986. He recorded three songs with Dino's Revenge as well as playing several live performances. The band consisted of Marshall Rohner of T.S.O.L. as well as Kevan Hill, Butch Azevedo and Steven Ameche all of The Twisters.
Hollywood Fats died of a heroin overdose in 1986 in Los Angeles at the age of 32. At the time of his death, he was playing with the James Harman Band, the Blasters and Dino's Revenge.
VIDEOS By "Like" Al Blake on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/blakeisblues
Hollywood Fats Band with Roy Brown live at the Whitehouse Tavern, Laguna Beach, CA, 1980.
Roy Brown (" Good Rockin' Tonight", covered by and made a hit by " The King ", Elvis Presley) was one of the greatest and most influential blues singers of all time-a true pioneer and legend. He came out of retirement to perform with The Fats Band exclusively. He never rehearsed with the band, "Boogie Woogie Blues" was completely impromptu. He passed away not long after this extremely rare and exceptional live recording was made.
Fats was only twenty six years old at the time. He too tragically died six years later, cutting short a life that had he lived, was, destined for super stardom in the world of music.Upon Fat's death Guitar Player Magazine called him the greatest blues guitar player to come along in the last 25 years.In the Dec. 1992 Guitar Player, Dave Rubin wrote "... Hollywood Fats solos will drop your Jaw".In a tribute to Fats music, writer and critic Jim Washburn wrote "though a consummate backing musician,giving arrangements a spark without any ego flash to detract from a songs structure, Fats could always be counted on to step forward when it came time to solo and pour out chorus after chorus of incendiary playing.Along with a mastery of the breath of blues styles,he would also work into his solos modern jazz and Hendrix inspired touches.And through hundreds of gigs in unsung bars he was never repetitious,never uninspired,always pushing to make music that said something more.When Fats was"on" there wasn't a better blues player alive. Clearly no one has come along to take Fat's place since he left this world more than 25 years ago and blues music has never been the same since.
David Mac--Blues Junction Productions
DON'T MISS "Love For Sale" by Roy Brown w/ The Hollywood Fats Band- on The Tube-recorded the same night.It is a must hear!!!
Roy Brown -- Vocals
Hollywood Fats -- Guitar ( playing a Gibson L-4 through a Fender 3x10" Band Master )
Richard Innes -- Drums
Freddy Kaplan -- Piano
Larry Taylor - Bass
The Hollywood Fats Band live at the Whitehouse Tavern, Laguna Beach, 1980.
On this track Fats is heard playing his own high energy style of jump blues like no other. The band is also smokin to say the least!
The Hollywood Fats Band took 40's and 50's blues,boogie-woogie,swing, and jazz, combined these classic styles with an " in the moment ' exciting modern edge to create some of the best, most visionary, and lasting music of it's kind.Tragically Hollywood died at the young age of 32, cutting short a life that had he lived, was destined for super stardom.In a tribute to Fats music writer and critic Jim Washburn wrote "though a consummate backing musician,giving arrangements a spark without any ego flash to detract from a songs structure, Fats could always be counted on to step forward when it came time to solo and pour out chorus after chorus of incendiary playing.Along with a mastery of the breath of blues styles,he would also work into his solos modern jazz and Hendrix inspired touches.And through hundreds of gigs in unsung bars he was never repetitious,never uninspired,always pushing to make music that said something more.When Fats was"on" there wasn't a better blues player alive.Guitar player magazine wrote in their tribute that Hollywood fats was the greatest blues guitar player to come along in 25 years.Muddy Waters said".....there ain't nobody walkin the earth who can play better than him."
This track also features the legendary drummer Al Duncan. Willie Dixon said that Al Duncan, Freddy Below and Odie Payne were his "go to guys" for all of the recordings he produced for Chess, Checker and Argo Records that needed a drummer. He went on to say that Al was always his number one choice. Al was also a session drummer for Vee-Jay, Columbia, Capitol, Mercury, ABC Paramount Records and others. He was the drummer for Chuck Berry's first road band with Willie Dixon on bass and Lafeyette Leak on piano. He recorded and worked with the legendary likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Etta James,Jay Mcshann, B.B. King,Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Little Walter, Coco Taylor, Amos Milburn,Louis Jordan and Chuck Berry just to name a few. He was also a very good song writer who penned "Ain't No Need to Go No Further Brother" recorded by the legendary harmonica player Little Walter. Duncan also played drums on quite a few of the Sonny Boy Williamson classics recorded in the early 1960's like "Bring It On Home". This Chicago Blues classic was recorded some years later by Led Zeppelin.Al moved from Chicago to Los Angeles with Willie Dixon in the late 1970's. He joined the Fats Band in 1980 replacing Richard Innes.
Al Blake -- Vocals, Harmonica
Hollywood Fats -- Guitar
Al Duncan - Drums
Freddy Kaplan -- Piano
Larry Taylor -- Bass