RJ "Mr Bluz" Knapp
RJ Knapp was born and raised in Chicago and settled in the Seattle area in 1972. RJ comes from a somewhat musical family with his mother having been an accomplished organist, his Grandfather had a 15 piece Swing Band during the Prohibition era in Chicago, and is not too distantly related to Fritz Kreisler, a world renowned concert violinist. It was Christmas 1962 that was a life changing event for RJ when he received his first guitar. It was love at first strum and the start of a journey that would last a lifetime. He would lock himself up for hours and play literally until his fingers bled. Within a few short months he bought his first electric guitar and immediately learned Walk Don’t Run, Pipeline, and Penetration, met a drummer and another guitar player and played his first paying gig at a birthday party. Performing in several bands throughout high school, RJ entered the military in 1970 and was spared from going to Viet Nam by being stationed in Germany for 2 years.
During that time he met up with two other guitarists and they would lock themselves up every available moment and jam for hours on end trading licks back and forth which led to the formation of the band ‘Hungry Horse’ that played throughout the Southern Bavarian district of Germany service clubs and earned him a Letter of Commendation from the base Commanding Officer.
In 1973 RJ met his first wife, Claire, and continued practicing and playing in several ‘garage bands’ until disaster struck. In July of 1980 Claire died of cancer and, except for his truck and musical equipment, he lost everything. At that time he decided that being jobless and unhappy with his current career choice as an electronics technician, that it was time to step out and face his destiny as a musician. From 1981 until 2003 with few exceptions and multiple part time jobs whenever necessary, RJ played as full time as possible in many various bands ranging from Classic Rock, to Heavy Metal, to Top 40, to Soul / Funk and from Seattle into Canada and south to California. While playing in the Pioneer Square circuit in the 80’s RJ was given the moniker of Mr. Blues by a group of locals which he immediately changed to, and has been known by many since then, as Mr. Bluz.
Having had no formal training and being totally self taught and ear trained it was always the Blues that caught his heart and his soul. During his ‘formative’ years instead of listening to a lot of music and trying to copy other musicians verbatim, he would sit with his guitar for hours and try to remember a lick or phrase from a song he heard in the past and work to play what he was hearing in his head from memory until he got it right, which would inevitably lead to another lick/phrase and so on and so on. By doing this he has created his own unique style and characteristics of playing that will surely please and entertain.
Finally, focused on his lifelong “Blues Vision” and with the his soul mate Robin (Honey Robin) Mahaffey at his side, RJ’s new band, "RJ Knapp & Honey Robin" is emerging as one of the premier, high energy, hard hitting, original, as well as classic , rocking blues bands in the area. Without a doubt, RJ Knapp’s commanding stage presence, soaring guitar work, and obvious love of the instrument will always keep you thrilled and wanting more!
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