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Ike's Kings

After living in Northern California for four years, blues singer Earl Thomas is moving back to San Diego to join Ike Turner’s band, the Kings of Rhythm. (Turner died in San Marcos on December 12, 2007.)

Guitarist Seth Blumberg, bassist Armando Cepeda, keyboardist Leo Dombecki, sax player Ryan Montana, and drummer Bill Ray are the Kings of Rhythm. The band played with Turner on Risin’ with the Blues, which won the Best Traditional Blues album at last year’s Grammys.

“Ike would want us to continue on,” says Bill Ray. “We’re like a fraternity. We all went through the ringer that was Ike.”

“He was a pariah,” says Thomas. “He was like O.J. Simpson. Most people think he’s only the character in the movie [What’s Love Got to Do with It]. But he was so much more. He was a genius musician.”

Ray says Europeans were a lot kinder to Ike.

“We were never looked down on in Europe, that’s why Ike always liked to play there. The crowds there never judged him. They looked at him as the man who created rock and changed our culture.” In the U.S., “People would always sneer at him, but he’d always smile back.… People wouldn’t let him live down his worst mistake, his worst moment in life.”

Ray was in Turner’s house when he died.

“[H]e was surrounded by his closest friends. That screwed me up for a couple months.… Ike said he was tired and he just wanted to go.”

The Kings of Rhythm with Earl Thomas debut April 6 at Winstons.

– Ken Leighton

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After living in Northern California for four years, blues singer Earl Thomas is moving back to San Diego to join Ike Turner’s band, the Kings of Rhythm. (Turner died in San Marcos on December 12, 2007.)

Guitarist Seth Blumberg, bassist Armando Cepeda, keyboardist Leo Dombecki, sax player Ryan Montana, and drummer Bill Ray are the Kings of Rhythm. The band played with Turner on Risin’ with the Blues, which won the Best Traditional Blues album at last year’s Grammys.

“Ike would want us to continue on,” says Bill Ray. “We’re like a fraternity. We all went through the ringer that was Ike.”

“He was a pariah,” says Thomas. “He was like O.J. Simpson. Most people think he’s only the character in the movie [What’s Love Got to Do with It]. But he was so much more. He was a genius musician.”

Ray says Europeans were a lot kinder to Ike.

“We were never looked down on in Europe, that’s why Ike always liked to play there. The crowds there never judged him. They looked at him as the man who created rock and changed our culture.” In the U.S., “People would always sneer at him, but he’d always smile back.… People wouldn’t let him live down his worst mistake, his worst moment in life.”

Ray was in Turner’s house when he died.

“[H]e was surrounded by his closest friends. That screwed me up for a couple months.… Ike said he was tired and he just wanted to go.”

The Kings of Rhythm with Earl Thomas debut April 6 at Winstons.

– Ken Leighton

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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