The Buzz Clifford Group
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The Buzz Clifford Group

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Bio

Buzz Clifford Band
Biography

A legendary producer/musician recently asked Buzz Clifford, “How’s it goin’, man?” Clifford’s response was direct, clear and delivered with a broad smile. “Life is good,” he said simply. “Life is good.” With the release of his band’s new CD, Bright Lights Shine, it’s about to get a whole lot better.

In a parallel universe somewhere, Buzz Clifford is graciously acknowledging the praise and rewards that come from being a rock’n’roll icon like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin or Gene Vincent. In the real world, Buzz is the leader of his own gritty roots rock band whose music embraces elements of these “founding fathers” as well as blues, jazz and modern rock. Because he was groomed to become a “can’t miss” heartthrob by Columbia Records in the wake of his 1961 Top Ten smash hit, “Baby Sittin’ Boogie,” Buzz has tasted the elixir of pop stardom, but unlike so many before (and after) him he didn’t become intoxicated or destroyed by it.

Without a follow up to his million seller, Buzz didn’t join the ranks of Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Dion DiMucci as a teen idol, but instead honed his talents as a prolific writer, adding that gift to his vocal, guitar playing and arranging skill set (he arranged all the songs on his new CD). While continuing to rely on his commanding voice (his 2007 50 Years of Golden Pipes CD was one of the year’s most critically acclaimed releases), he quickly proved that his talent was anything but one dimensional. Now, with the release of Bright Lights Shine, The Buzz Clifford Band has allowed him to come full circle.

Buzz has learned the value of successful musical relationships and his teaming with co-producer, Daniel Moore on Bright Lights Shine reunites him with a dear friend who understands what brings out the best not only in Buzz, but his talented band. Buzz and Moore’s friendship goes back to the 60s and they’ve worked closely together ever since. Among their numerous collaborations is a CD they recorded with former Beach Boy, David Marks, in the early 90s called Dave and the Marksmen. Moore, a prolific songwriter himself, has penned dozens of well known songs including Brooks & Dunn’s #1 smash, “My Maria” and Three Dog Night’s chart topping “Shambala.”

What makes this project tick is a powerful mixture of blood and guts, sprinkled with a heavy dose of veteran savvy. Buzz began collaborating with his two sons, Reese and John back in the 90s then again in a jam band that began playing blues in the L.A. bar circuit in 2009 and quickly built a loyal following that turned up no matter where they appeared. That support encouraged Buzz to expand the band and its ever growing repertoire of original material. Gradually the band’s set list has come to include as many Clifford signature songs as classic Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters covers. In addition to the Clifford rhythm section (Reese on drums, John on bass), Buzz is joined by fiery lead guitarist, Guido Bryant, versatile keyboardist, Jon Greathouse and maverick harp wizard, Zach Mathews.

Buzz holds the distinction of having his songs covered, sampled and charted in six consecutive decades, yet the prospect of future fulfillment is what excites him most. “Some people take awhile to hit stride,” he says. “I’m glad I’m still reaching my true potential. This band has helped me do that.” The Clifford brothers cut their professional teeth playing in a band with the aforementioned David Marks and have progressed far past simply sitting at their father’s knee watching him do his thing. In fact, Buzz and son Reese both appeared as guest vocalists on T-Bone Burnett’s 2006 DMZ/Columbia Records release, True False Identity. Shortly after their collaboration with Marks, the Clifford brothers met Bryant and Greathouse. Reese, who has developed into a formidable singer himself, began playing in Spam, an R&B/funk outfit whose lead vocalist, Robbie Wyckoff is now performing with Roger Waters on his “Wall” tour. John earned a reputation as a solid bassist with an innovative rhythmic imagination. He’s continually offered gigs by bands in need of his creative energy, but he enjoys BCB too much to leave.

When you’ve accomplished as much as Buzz has over a half century, it’s easy to focus primarily on him and his amazing track record. His recording career may have been eclipsed by his writing, but his music and voice have stood the test of time admirably. “Ain’t That I Don’t Love You,” a song Buzz wrote in 1972, was produced by T-Bone Burnett and Texacali Horns co-founder, Darrell Leonard for Freddy King on the last record he made before he died. In 1999, Buzz was delighted to discover that Beck had used his song, “I See I Am” (from the LP See Your Way Clear) on Midnight Vultures. Beck changed the titled to “Milk and Honey” on his record but split the writer’s credit as Vultures went Gold. Be