1992 – Escaping from the smoking wreck of the widely and critically acclaimed Dude Ranch, Lucky Oceans (world renowned steel guitarist, and by now button accordionist) approached Bill Rogers (vocals, sax and harmonica) about starting a band to play some Zydeco. With ex-Dude Ranch guitarist/vocalist & Rock and Roll encyclopedia Kent Hughes involved, this trio began to rehearse while they searched for both repertoire and rhythm section.
From the start, the idea was to combine Zydeco with ‘Cat’ music – swing, jump blues and rockabilly, plus any other style that suited the line-up, including rock and roll, country blues, soul, R&B, Cajun and New Orleans R&B, plus a handful of Lucky’s and Kent’s own songs from the Dude Ranch song book.
Gary France (ex-Dude Ranch) was on-board during the formative stages and first few gigs but was soon replaced by the recent graduate of the Edith Cowan University jazz course, Evan Jenkins. Evan and fellow graduate, Paul Binns were the Zydecats’ rhythm section for the first year, but were eventually replaced.
The drummer’s stool was soon taken over by lovable giant, Konrad Park – a powerhouse funkster, whose enthusiasm for the band made a huge difference. Six months later, Paul was replaced by Ben Franz, who despite his age (early 20’s) already had knowledge and experience of most of the styles encompassed in the Zydecats’ repertoire; particularly blues, R&B, rockabilly and rock and roll.
By the end of the first year, the band had a healthy batch of good songs written by the three singers (Lucky, Kent and Bill), an ever-increasing repertoire in the various styles previously mentioned, and with a young and committed rhythm section willing to push the boundaries – with all members involved in arrangements.
Perth – Western Australia, Australia
Bill Rogers – vocals, sax, harmonica
Lucky Oceans – guitar, accordion
Ric Eastman – drums
Graeme Bell – bass, double bass, vocals
Kent Hughes – guitar, vocals