Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 9
King Biscuit Blues Band
Ken Schoppmeyer: Harmonica, Vocals | Paul Cowie: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Jonny Viau: Saxophone | Greg Halmay: Drums | Mike Halls: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Pat Kelley: Keyboards
Genre: Blues & Soul
RIYL: Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
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- Blurt: "King Biscuit Founder Found Dead in an Oceanside Hotel" · Sept. 8, 2010
Inception: San Diego, 1965
Influences: B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Robert Cray, Bobby Blue Bland
King Biscuit was an important San Diego blues band founded by teens Paul Cowie and Ken Schoppmeyer. Their big break came in 1966, when they opened for B.B. King at the Palace.
The band played blues all over southern California until splitting around 1986, having enjoyed dozens of members. A later revival of sorts was launched around 2000, The King Biscuit Revue.
Bandleader Ken Schoppmeyer went on to perform with local blues pushers Delta Heat, whose 2009 CD was recorded by Scottie Blinn of the Mississippi Mudsharks. Schoppmeyer had been living in Ecuador with his latest wife. “He’d sold everything to move to South America,” says Blinn.
“His new wife took him to a remote village that barely had electricity somewhere in the foothills,” says journalist Michael Kinsman. “He tried to teach Ecuadorians the blues.” For whatever reasons, Schoppmeyer returned to the U.S. and lived for a while in central Washington with guitarist and King Biscuit cofounder Paul Cowie.
After returning to San Diego in 2010, Schoppmeyer died August 31, reportedly taking his own life at the Motel 6 on the Coast Highway in Oceanside. He was 62.