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Mike Kowalski

Big Beat Man

I love playing with extraordinary people, and from my earliest years I've had a wonderful opportunity to do so. Below are some of the people and bands I've had the pleasure of playing with.

History With A Beat


Who I played with
The year I started playing with them--My comments about playing with them
1959-1967
1968-1975
1976-Present
Mike Ley img source
1959--Guitarist and bassist. We attended Chaminade High School and Pierce College in LA County together. We formed a band called "The Shufflers" in 1963. We met Ed Carter and Bruce Johnston during that time, and started playing clubs with them on the West Side and at the beach. Rod Armstrong
1960--Pianist from Detroit who played just like Jerry Lee Lewis. He lived next door to my parents' home in Hollywood. Bruce Johnston img source
1963--Keyboardist, vocalist, writer, arranger and producer. Bruce is a long time friend. He introduced me to the Beach Boys in 1968. Don Peake img source
1963--Guitarist. I met Don through Ed Carter and Bruce Johnston. We played together on Sonny Bono's single, "Laugh at Me." Elliot Ingber img source
1963--Guitarist. When I heard "Albert's Alley" by Albert Collins for the first time, at Elliot's house in West Hollywood, I was floored. Elliot later became one of the Mothers of Invention and he also played with Captain Beefheart. James O'Keefe
1963--Saxophonist and bassist. We played many gigs together during the early years. Jim has produced many hit TV shows. Jeff Kaplan
1963--Guitarist, pianist, bassist. Jeff was a one-of-a-kind player. I got him the gig with the Beach Boys in the early 70's. Jeff was one of the most gifted players I have ever had the pleasure to play with. He was playing guitar for Peggy Lee at age 16. Lance Carson img source
1963--Drummer, singer. Lance is also a renowned surfer from Malibu. Mike Adams
1963--Guitarist, singer. I played with Mike Adams and the Red Jackets at a club called Cow Town in downtown LA. It was my first steady, 6-nights-a-week gig. I loved it. Scott Walker (Engel) img source
1963--Bassist, singer. We played gigs together in LA. He traveled to England, and became famous as one of the Walker Brothers, with partner John Moss. He had a great touch on his orange precision bass. Steve O'Riley
1963--Guitarist, singer. Steve could sing like Etta James, Elvis, and Ray Charles. He was a fine guitarist. We played many gigs together. Steve was an original member of "The Sunrays." Stuart Hoffman aka Barbecue Bob
1963--Harmonica, singer. Stu plays blues harp. Charlie Musselwhite was his mentor. To me, Stu and Charlie were the real Blues Brothers. The Dragons img source
1963--Daryl - keyboardist, bass, arranger; Dennis - drums, singer, producer, engineer; Doug - keyboardist, composer. The brothers' father was Carmen Dragon, the famous conductor. I was introduced to them by Johnston and Carter. Bobbie Gentry img source
1964--Singer. Bobbie sang on songs written by Jim Ford and Pat & Lolly Vegas at demo sessions where I drummed, before she became famous for her hit, "Ode to Billy Joe." Carl Radle img source
1964--Bassist. He lived a block away from my folks' house in Hollywood. We jammed and played club gigs. He was one of those fine players from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Henry Vestine img source
1964--Guitarist. Henry played for Canned Heat. We played gigs together in Santa Monica and West LA. Mike Adams and the Red Jackets img source
1964--Los Angeles Pat and Lolly Vegas img source
1964 to 1966--Hollywood,CA Ernie Knapp img source
1965--Guitarist, bassist, writer, architect. We played many gigs and sessions together Ernie played bass for the Beach Boys, and he was responsible for my being hired back by the Beach Boys in the fall of 1981, after a 3-year absence from the band. Jimmy Karstein
1965--Drums. I met Jimmy during the time I was playing with the Vegas Brothers. He was playing with Andy Carey and the Castaways. Jimmy is one of the best drummers on the planet. Leon Russell img source
1965--Pianist, writer, producer. Leon produced the LP, "Pat & Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House." I was the drummer on the album. Nino Tempo img source
1965--Saxophonist, singer. He sat in with the Vegas Bros and I at the Haunted House in Hollywood. We played "Handclappin' It was the first time I played the song, the same song that landed Joel Peskin and I a record deal on A&M Records nineteen years later. George Whitsell img source
1966--Guitarist, singer, writer. George was formerly with The Rockets, which later became the band Crazy Horse. I played with George in a band that was signed to Playboy Records. Joe Angelo
1966--Bassist. Joe and I played in the same band with George Whitsell. The George Whitsell Band
1967--Los Angeles The California Memorial Band
1967--Sausalito Ca
Brian Wilson img source
1968--Composer, singer, bassist, pianist, arranger. Brian is the genius of the Beach Boys. I have played many gigs and sessions through the years with Brian. To me, he is a present-day Mozart! Darrol Schexnayder img source
1968--Guitarist, singer, writer. Darrol played guitar for Little Richard. Darrol and I have played many gigs and sessions together. Dave Pegg img source
1968--Bassist. Dave and I played on the Nick Drake LP, "Bryter Later," in London. Dean Torrence img source
1968--Singer, guitarist. A legend in surf music. I have played many gigs and sessions with Dean. Joe Boyd img source
1968--Producer Record Executive Joe Boyd produced Ed Carter, Gary Thain and I when The New Nadir was signed to his production company Witchseason Productions. We recorded three original songs. The New Nadir img source
1968--London England The Beach Boys img source
1968--2007, I played with the Beach Boys through '68-73, '77-78 and '81-07,Los Angeles and around the world. Jerry Gonzalez img source
1969--Composer, Congas, Flugelhorn came to England to record with Ed Carter and I on the New Nadir album with Joel Peskin and Freddie Munar. for Witchseason productions.. Albert Collins img source
1968-1969--San Francisco and Los Angeles Bumps Blackwell img source
1970--Writer, producer. Bumps is a rock & roll legend. I played on many of his sessions. John & Beverley Martin img source
1970--Guitarists, singers, writers. I played with John and Beverly in London. I also played drums on their album, "Stormbringer." Mike Heron img source
1970--Singer, writer. Mike was a member of The Incredible String Band. I played on his solo album, "Smiling Men with Bad Reputations," in London. Nick Drake img source
1970--Writer, guitarist, singer. I played with Nick on his LP, "Bryter Later," recorded in London. Billy Hinsche img source
1971--Guitar, keyboardist, singer. Billy and I toured together with the Beach Boys for decades. Carli Munoz img source
1971--Keyboardist. Carli is from Puerto Rico. A fine Jazz pianist. Carli and I played with the Beach Boys. Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson img source
1971--Alto saxophonist, singer. Eddie is a jazz legend. We played together many times on the Johnny Otis Show. Gene Vincent img source
1971--Singer. Gene is another rock & roll legend. Daryl Dragon and I performed live with him in Hollywood. Mark Andes img source
1971--Bassist, singer. Mark played with Spirit, Firefall, and Heart. We played sessions together with Darrol Schexnayder. Shuggie Otis img source
1971--Guitarist, singer, writer. I played with him on the Johnny Otis Show. I also played drums, along with Aynsley Dunbar, on Shuggie's album, "Freedom Flight." Soupe Bradshaw
1971--Bassist, guitarist. Soupe and I played together on the Johnny Otis Show. The Johnny Otis Show img source
1971--1974, Los Angeles Blondie Chaplin img source
1972--Guitarist, singer. Blondie and I recorded and toured with the Beach Boys. Jack Riley
1972--Writer, manager, producer. Jack managed the Beach Boys. Jitter Webb
1972--Guitarist. Jitter is a jazz/blues player. We played together on The Johnny Otis Show. Ricky Fataar img source
1972--Drummer, singer, producer. Ricky and I recorded and played with the Beach Boys. Charlie Musselwhite img source
1972--1973, San Francisco and Bay Area Ca Jeff Peters
1973--Record engineer, producer. Jeff and I toured with the Beach Boys. Jeff did the front house sound for the band for many years Marie Adams img source
1973--Singer. One of the Three Tons of Joy - an R&B singing trio. Marie and I rehearsed together for an upcoming Johnny Otis Show. Chris Mancini
1974--Guitarist, singer, writer. Chris's dad was Henry Mancini. Chris and I played and recorded together in the hopes of getting a record deal. Shuggie Otis Band img source
1974--Los Angeles Michael Knight
1975--Singer, writer, guitarist, author. Michael and I played in a group called "Morning, Nunes and Knight." Chris Mancini Band
1975--Los Angeles
Captain & Tennille img source
1976--Daryl Dragon, keyboardist; Toni Tennille, singer. I played drums for them at the Smokehouse in 1976, and we toured together with the Beach Boys in the early 1970's. Morning Nunes and Knight
1976--Los Angeles Crazy Horse img source
1977--Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot asked me to play drums on their LP, "Crazy Moon." Gary Griffin img source
1977--Pianist, singer, arranger, producer, writer, engineer. We played together in many bands, including the Beach Boys. Ron Altbach
1977--Pianist, producer. Ron and I played with the Beach Boys in the late 70's. He was one of the producers and players on the Beach Boys' album, "M.I.U." Ron and Mike Love introduced me to Transcendental Meditation. Steve Douglas img source
1977--Saxophonist. Steve was part of the Wrecking Crew. We recorded on Beach Boys and Celebration sessions. Celebration
1977--1978, Santa Barbara Ca. Yellow Moon
1977--1979, Los Angeles Barry Mann
1978--Singer, writer. I played timbales on his album, "Survivor." Tay Uhler aka Eddie Sapien img source
1978--Guitarist, singer, writer. I played in Tay's punk band, Eddie Sapien. I loved playing It was "Balls to the wall. Wells Kelly img source
1978--Drummer, bassist. Wells was one of the members of the group called Orleans. We played together on Charles Lloyd's album "Weavings." We also toured together with the Beach Boys. Eddie Sapien Band
1979--1981, Los Angeles Clark Garman img source
1980--Guitarist. Clark and I played together in the Eddie Sapien band and the Chris Mancini band. Gary Chang img source
1980--Composer, keyboardist. Gary and I played together in the Eddie Sapien band. Gary Introduced me to the first Fairlight CMI series. Adrian Baker img source
1981--Singer, guitarist, writer, producer. Adrian and I played and toured with the Beach Boys in the 80's, 90's and 2000's. Jeffrey Foskett img source
1981--Singer, guitarist. Jeff and I played and toured together with the Beach Boys. Mike Meros img source
1981--Keyboardist. Mike was from Baltimore. We played and toured with the Beach Boys for over twenty years. Chris Farmer img source
1982--Bassist, singer, arranger. Chris and I played hundreds of gigs with both Dean Torrence and the Beach Boys. Andy Simpkins img source
1984--Bassist. Joel Peskin and I hired Andy to play on The Backsters A&M album, "Get on Your Back." Hank Marr img source
1984--Played Hamond B-3. I had the opportunity to play with him at the Anchor Bar Inn in Columbus Ohio. Leroy Vinnegar img source
1984--Bassist. Joel Peskin and I hired Leroy to play sessions with The Backsters. Roger McGuinn img source
1985--Guitarist, singer. Roger is an original member of The Byrds. I had the pleasure, along with other Beach Boys band members, to back him when he opened for us on tour. Domenic Genova img source
1995--Bassist. Joel Peskin and I hired Domenic to play with The Backsters live, and on our "The Backsters Live and Jumpin'"CD. Jon Lawton img source
1995--Guitarist. Jon, of Little Jonny and the Giants, is a fine country, delta blues player. Jon and I have played several gigs together, and we played together with The Backsters. John Markowski aka John Marx img source
1997--Guitarist, singer. John is a jazz/blues player. I hired him to play with The Backsters. He also recorded "The Backsters Live and Jumpin'"CD. Philip Bardowell img source
1997--Guitarist, singer, producer. Phil and I played with the Beach Boys from 1997-2001. Joe Huston img source
1998--Saxophonist. One of my rock & roll idols. Joe sat in with The Backsters when we were playing at a club on the West Side in LA. Dean Torrence, Chris Farmer
2007-- Blues Deluxe
2010--Present, Los Angeles
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