“I don’t think he can stand Beatles fans,” says Blizzard singer-guitarist Chris Leyva of the man whose name was on the first Beatles recording and who in turn named the Blizzards, Tony Sheridan. “We met him at a BeatleFair in 2001...we got the gig by sending them three songs from the movie Backbeat that we claimed was us! We were surprised that such big-time Beatles fans didn’t recognize the soundtrack, but then we had to learn some Beatles covers for the gig.”
Leyva says it was a thrill meeting Sheridan -- for whom the Beatles sang backup on “My Bonnie” in 1961 -- but notes, “He had just gotten off the plane or something and he wasn’t too happy.” According to Leyva, after Sheridan watched his group (temporarily named the Backbeat Band) perform cuts like"‘Long Tall Sally," “he came over and said, ‘That sounded like a blizzard,’ and our new name was born.”
The band has appeared on the locally shot TV show Veronica Mars. “We’re playing a Clash song in a garage in one scene…for the shoot, they replaced our drummer with one of the cast members. He was a little pissed at first, but we got paid $1500 and got treated like royalty for a day, so he got over it.” Leyva has also appeared on the MTV dating show MTV Score. “It was songwriters who compete to write a song and play it in a single day and win a date…I didn’t get the girl, but that’s okay. She was really funky and the prize was a trip to Mexico, which is where I’m from already.”
Founded in 2002, in its brief existence the band has covered a lot of ground. They were mentored by Danny Wilde of the Rembrandts and roadied for indie rockers Convoy. They have appeared on the show Fox Rox and performed live on both 91XFM and FM94.9. Solo accomplishments include Leyvas's appearance on an MTV show alongside Ryan Cabrera and Byron's endorsement by Chop Shop Drum Company. Perhaps even more impressive, the band appeared in the 2006 film Surrender Dorothy alongside Diane Keaton.
Blizzard has released six albums. In 2006 they played 175 concerts.