The “Arrogant Bastards” is a Blues, Funk, and Rock-n-Roll band based in Portland Oregon.
Founded in early 2017 from a desire to create and perform music that is raw, exciting, and entertaining, the Bastards’ music is primarily blues based intertwined with elements of Funk and Rock-n-Roll. But they’re not your typical local Blues band — they like their music heavy and dynamic! They write their original songs with plenty of catchy hooks and a splash of innuendo. They also perform renditions of various songs from artists such as Tab Benoit, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins, Albert King, Hound Dog Taylor, Govt. Mule, and Jimi Hendrix. The self-proclaimed “Bad Boys of Portland Blues” are an aggressive group of musicians with backgrounds as diverse as the songs they play.
It started with Paul moving to Portland a few years ago and wanting to start performing live again. James had been playing a couple of years with a group after a long hiatus and had come across Paul’s contact info. The first collaboration was a bit too removed from the blues than Paul wanted. A year later though, Paul contacted a bass player whom James had giving his info to, and she gave Paul James’s contact info. They soon started rehearsals. Two lead guitar players and three bass players later, they connected with John and Mike and everything clicked. They played at a local showcase two weeks later. The audience response was outstanding! They recently added Brad’s keyboard talents to the mix. It’s been full steam ahead ever since.
Paul (Rhythm Guitar and Lead Vocals) is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. He has lived in all four corners of the U.S. While living in North Carolina and working at radio station WCOM, Paul interviewed the great blues player Tab Benoit. Tab told him “It is a blessing to be an artist, performances are for the people. It’s their show, they paid for it, and I want to give them a way to connect.” Paul shares and understand that vision and gives everything he has in his performances. He brings that gritty, swampy, soulful sound of the Gulf Coast to the band.
Mike (Lead Guitar) is a lifelong guitar aficionado. He developed his talents in the hardened music scene of New York’s Long Island. After moving to Portland, he made his mark and name known locally. He’s recorded several albums and performed with various groups. A tenacious player and savvy genius who plays every song like it was his last. He doesn’t hold back, but rips it in a precise and fitting manner. He perfectly combines the hard driving blues of Texas with New York styled Rock-n-Roll.
John (Bass Guitar) developed his silky style in Detroit. His passion was the underground sounds of Hendrix, Zappa, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Zeppelin on FM radio WABX. This path led him to San Francisco. He cut his teeth on countless jams, no-name bands, open-mics, and music festivals. After moving to Portland, he returned to his roots of Blues, Funk, and Soul. He holds down the bottom end with a flash of Motown Rhythm and Blues and a splash of West Coast free spirit.
Brad (Keyboards) long ago discovered the simple fact that he was happiest when he is creative. His creativity has expressed itself in many styles and media, but music has always been at its core. Founded in Blues and Rock, his musical expressions have traveled deep in Jazz exploration and finally to a return to Blues. He believes that true inspiration is rare; it requires consistent creative and experimental practice to make its appearance. The talent-filled Arrogant Bastards is a perfect vehicle for his creativity and an easy target for inspiration to find.
James (Drums) was born on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River (not kidding!) and grew up where that famous river first crosses Hwy. 61. He had a front row seat to the Minneapolis sound explosion during the 80’s. He was involved in several Blues, Rock, and Funk projects that never fully materialized. He stepped away from music performance for almost two decades. Eventually he moved to Portland. He started playing with a few local projects, which led to him and Paul forming Arrogant Bastards. He brings that no-frills solid driving beat forward with funkiness and soul.
The Arrogant Bastards are huge supporters of the great work done by the Cascade Blues Association. Most gigs are set up so All CBA Members are on the Guest List. They are always adding new performances to the schedule. Please check out the event calendar on the CBA website or visit the Arrogant Bastard Facebook page to see where you can catch them gettin’ down and dirty with the Blues. You’ll have a blast!