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Grapevine Blues was formed in 1997 by Mike Chase. With Gus Gunney on Bass and Mick Miller on drums they were only lacking a guitarist. Unable to find one who was good enough and having their first gig booked at The Nags Head, High Wycombe for that night, a phone call brought their friend Bob Stout  to the rescue and the band was born!

Mike Chase

After this unpromising start things got better until Gus went to live in France and about the same time Mick Miller was offered an opportunity to tour with a professional band.

Bob Stout

 
They were replaced by Ronnie Fenn on drums and Richard Banks on Bass. Bob was still on guitar but his many other commitments made it difficult for him to play regularly with the band so the search was on for a permanent guitarist .

 

At a blues jam in February 1998, Mike was introduced to Dr.Ika and the rest, as they say, was history. 

Dr Ika

 
Dr.Ika (pronounced Eeka) comes from Georgia in the former Soviet Union and was twice voted top guitarist in the U.S.S.R. before coming to the West. He has played with top jazz and blues musicians such as Jimmy Smith, Vagif Mustapha Zade, Richard Roberts, Tom Levin and has twice (once in Georgia and again in Sweden) performed with the legendary B.B.King - an unusual claim to fame from an ex- neurosurgeon.
 


 Mid Life Crisis Blues Band

Mickey 'The Bear' Chase, after many years as a solo performer, was the lead singer with the Mid Life Crisis Blues Band and has performed throughout the U.K., France, Spain, Belgium as well as Zimbabwe and South Africa, where he lived for several years, performing with artists such as Dollar Brand (better known now as Abdullah Ibrahim)
  
In November 1998 the first album ‘Neo Blues’ was born. This album contains not only original material, such as the darkly humorous and semi autobiographical ‘Immigration Blues’, but also an outrageous arrangement of ‘Cross Roads Blues’ that would make Robert Johnson spin in his grave. Also included are other favourite Blues standards done in Grapevine's unique style.
 

 

In July 1999 the band played the Chelsea Blues Festival and was such a success that they were asked back the following year. Moved up the play list they were on stage immediately before Gary Moore. "Gary was an awesome guitarist, we'll miss him."
 
Between these two performances there were more changes of personnel with Andy Jones replacing Richard Banks on Bass and South African Ivan Hoe replacing Ronnie on drums. 

 

Andy Jones

 


Dr Ika & Andy Thompson

Mike and Ika were doing a duo gig in the Hammersmith Ram one night when a wandering musician came in with a saxophone slung over his shoulder. The stranger joined in a couple of numbers and they had found Andy Thompson! (or had he found them?) It turned out that Andy has played with, amongst others, Dire Straits, Sting & Elton John. 

  

 
More changes came about when, due to ill health, Andy Jones was replaced by Hollander Henk Boudeling on Bass. This gave the band a truly international feel with Mike being the only Englishman and it was with this line up that the band played until 2003 when Andy Thompson had to return to his native Australia and Henk was tempted away by his first love, Soul music. 
 

 Henk Boudeling

Ivan Hoe

 
It was about this time that Ivan decided he needed a break from the pressures of both gigging and at the same time holding down a full time job and was replaced by Dave Ashcroft. Fortunately, before this all happened they managed to get a live recording of the band whilst they were performing at the New Crawdaddy Club in Essex and it provided the material for a stunning CD. This was imaginatively called "Live at the New Crawdaddy Club"
 
After playing with the band for 2 years, Dave decided it was time to leave and we were pleased to welcome Ivan Hoe back to the band.

 

Dave Ashcroft

 
 
Dave Rogers on bass has previously played with, amongst others, the great 'Bernie Devine Band' and the band are pleased to have him on board.

 

Dave Rogers

 

The wonderful Caz Devine played Tenor Sax with the band from 2004 to 2008. Sadly, she had to leave the band due to the pressures of bringing up a young family. We wish them all the very best and hope it’s not too long until she’s back playing.

 Caz Devine

 
Caz has been replaced by Dave Lennox on keyboards. This is a new sound for the band and it is proving very popular. Dave played with Mick Abraham’s Blodwyn Pig for 5 years and has also played with many, many others including - Al Green, Herbie Hancock, The Equals, The Stylistics, The Foundations, Thin Lizzy, Chris Montez, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, Dave Berry and Geoff Achison & the Soul Diggers to name but a few.

Dave Lennox

 

 

"Neo Blues" was just the tip of the iceberg. Dr Ika has just completed an album of entirely original material called "Dr Ika's Blues..." featuring not only Mike Chase but the superb Helen MacDougall and the great ‘Papa’ George. This album has just been released on the new ‘Blues Matters’ record label.

Papa George

 

The Band has always enjoyed playing and recording with other artists such as Danny Bryant, Oli Brown, Ritchie Milton, Tenor Sax player Andy Thompson (Dire Straits, Sting & Elton John Bands) & Bass player Pete Stroud (Peter Green Splinter Group) 

 
  Recent highlights include a meeting with the legendary Peter Green (Mike is especially proud of his beloved Telecaster since Peter signed it for him), playing several major festivals and alongside people such as Wilko Johnson, Stan Webb, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne, The Yardbirds, Buddy Guy and twice with the fantastic Gary Moore.
 

In the meantime, Grapevine continue to gig, either as a band, or more frequently as a duo, up to six times a week. They have been repeatedly featured on radio programmes such as Paul Jones' ‘Jazz me Blues’ on Jazz F.M. & ‘The Voice of America’ plus many other radio stations in countries around the world including Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, U.S.A., and on both national radio and television in Ika’s native Georgia.


"Ika on the cover of Music Maker magazine, February 2009"

  

Grapevine Blues has now performed over 1,900+ gigs - always being rebooked at every venue. Not surprising when they sound this good!