Founding members of 1980s blues staples the Rhumboogies include Earl Thomas (lead vocals), Jonny Viau (saxophone), and Eric Lieberman (guitar), with its classic lineup also featuring bassist Greg Willis, drummer Brad Karow, and pianist Tom Mahon.
Frontman Earl Thomas started singing professionally in 1987 with the Rhumboogies, blending 1950s Chicago, Texas and West Coast blues styles. After playing their first show at Winstons and soon landing a full-fledged residency there, they went on to play up to twenty nights a month to packed crowds all over southern California.
After parting ways in 1989 to allow each musician to pursue other opportunities, the group remained on good terms, coming together for occasional reunion concerts. An Autumn 2013 appearance at the Belly Up inspired the group to plan a special anniversary mini-tour.
2014 included a May 6 show at Winstons, House of Blues Voodoo Lounge on May 8, opening for Gregg Allman at Humphreys on May 18, the 17th annual Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point on May 17, and a September slot at the San Diego Blues Festival. The lineup for these shows included original members Earl Thomas (lead vocals), Jonny Viau (saxophone), and founder Eric Lieberman (guitar), alongside bassist Scot Smart in place of Greg Willis, drummer Marcus Bashore standing in for Brad Karow, and pianist Taryn Donath playing for Tom Mahon.
Greg Willis, who suffered a stroke in April 2012, reportedly passed away November 11, 2016. Scott Corey (also of blues combos the Five Careless Lovers) died in Autumn 2019.