THUMBKNUCKLE — mixing rock, blues, funk, country and its own genre-defying originals — made its debut on the Chicago music scene in April of 2011 at Lilly’s. THUMBKNUCKLE was born of a handful of musicians who had played together in other bands over the years and were ready to start fresh spreading good times and good music around Chicagoland: Toe-tapping, finger-snapping, head-bopping, danceable music.
Band members (in alphabetical order) are:
Tim Alesi: drums, backup vocals
Dean Bolz: bass, backup vocals
Paul Stephani: lead guitar
Mark Stumpf: keyboards, lead vocals
Dennis Voges: drums, lead vocals
Tim “T Bone’s on the skins!” started playing drums when he was only 10 and was already performing in clubs by age 15. He’s been in more than one local band, most notably The Bad Boys. Tim cites the rock music of the 60’s and 70’s as his inspiration.
Dean “the Machine” who has been playing the bass for decades says he didn’t originally know what a bass was. He was at a party where some musicians were playing but they were missing a bass player. Dean volunteered and someone handed him a bass and showed him the ropes. Since then he’s played bass in many local area bands throughout the years such as Pump-N Ethel, Eddie and the Pizzalas, The Bootleggers and Soulified to name just a few.
Paulie a/k/a the “Blue Dragon” has been in several bands over the past 25 years. He says, “I love making sounds with my guitar,” and those of us lucky enough to have heard him know exactly what he’s talking about; he’s a phenomenal guitarist who can play any genre of music.
Mark a/k/a/ “88” got familiar with the family piano as he grew up and started jamming with his Indiana friends, The Shelby Brothers. In Chicago’s Old Town, he was a member of the house band Fish and the Blue Fins at John Beluschi’s U.S. Blues for five years. Since then, Mark has been a part of several bands including the LaSalle Band and Tango Ridge.
Dennis “Denny Deluxe” is from small town Indiana where he encountered his first drum set around age 10; he got a strong feeling about the drums at that time, but shrugged it off. Many years later, he felt the irresistible urge to finally give in and buy some drums. Subsequently he discovered, at a Baptist church, that he could also sing. Throughout the years, he’s been in many bands and is a regular at open mic sessions all over Chicagoland.
These guys’ lives have intertwined since they were young. Tim was only 13 when he met teenage Dean, already a musician. They played together in a band called Blucifer. Dean and Mark were both in the Bob Goode Blues Band. Dean, Paulie and Mark were also together in Best Kept Secret and Well Hung Jury. And everyone has played with Denny here and there. So this is much like a band of brothers.
Where can you catch THUMBKNUCKLE in action? At Smilin’ Jim’s Saloon where they kick off and host an open mic jam the first Friday night of each month. Mark your calendars: The next one is coming right up Friday, May 5. Musicians are welcome along with music lovers. This is a rockin’ good time guaranteed to start your weekend off on a high note. THUMBKNUCKLE also has an upcoming show June 17 at At Work Sports Bar.
Make it a point to catch THUMBKNUCKLE in person. THUMBKNUCKLE seriously rocks!