11 a.m., Oct. 17
RIYL: Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, the Yellowjackets, Neon
- Jam Session: "Fattburger Was a Garage Band Once" · Jan. 27, 2012
Inception: San Diego, 1984
Influences: Larry Carlton, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Fusion Orchestra, the Yellowjackets, Larry Coryell, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Cannonball Adderly, Dave Valentin, Clark Terry, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Luis Miguel
Hollis Gentry had a formidable rep as a sax player during his high school years at Crawford High, where his classmates included bassist Gunnar Biggs and drummer Hartwell “Skipper” Raggsdale, the undertaker’s son who wore a different suit and tie to class every day of the week. For their jazz band, Nathan East (he would eventually join the bands of both Eric Clapton and Phil Collins) also played bass, and a young Carl Evans joined on piano.
In 1969, Gentry helped found the local funk band Power -- alongside Nathan East, Carl Evans, Jr., and Skipper Ragsdale -- going on to tour with Barry White, Nancy Wilson, Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, David Benoit, and Larry Carlton, among others.
Fattburger was founded in 1984 by Hollis Gentry and Carl Evans, Jr., along with bassist Mark Hunter, guitarist Steve Laury, and drummer Kevin Koch. Gentry was replaced in 1986 by Tommy Aros (the Luis Miguel band), while Laury was replaced in 1990 by Evan Marks.
Although Gentry's full-time role with the group was relatively short, the connection remained strong. He appears on nearly all of the first fourteen band albums, including the 2004 release Work to Do.
It's a testament to the band's affection for Gentry that even though he had long ceased to be a full-time band member, his picture still appeared on the bio page of the band website. By the end of the decade, he was helming his own band, Neon, which would release a self-titled album on the Nova label in 1989, as well as touring as a hired gun behind Al Jarreau, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Joe Sample, and more.
Hollis Gentry died in the fall of 2006. After Evans died in April 2008 from complications related to diabetes, he was replaced by keyboardist Allan Philips, who made his live debut with Fattburger in late June, 2009.