Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in 1970, at the height of Vietnam, with a simple goal of reviving the American roots music which they felt was being lost amid politics. They were initially too country for the rock folks and too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing.
The band’s big break came when Van Morrison mentioned them a Rolling Stone interview. Since then, they’ve spent 49 years making country swing over 25 albums, made more than a dozen Austin City Limits appearances and won nine Grammy awards.
Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured with anywhere from 7 - 15 of the finest players six-foot seven Texan (from uh, Philadelphia) bandleader and founder Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. Hence the alumni roster is well over 80.
It’s difficult to tally the number of couples whose first dance was a flirtatious boogie to The Wheels in concert or on the jukebox, or how many children have been born to those pairs. Indeed, untold concert halls might be filled with grandchildren who owe their existence to the way this Texas combo's twang got two people just a little bit closer. If you don't already love them or owe your existence on earth to them, you're in for a treat.
Biography by Jason Markusoff