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.
In 2018, sax player Jonny Viau - who has also played with Sue Palmer, Orbis Max 2.0, and Rhumboogies - was diagnosed with cancer, eventually undergoing seven surgeries plus radiation to fight very aggressive squamous cell carcinoma that spread to his lymph nodes and lungs. He was was still battling the disease in 2021.