KIRK WALL (front man on guitar)
Kirk Wall is a multi-talented singer, musician, comedian and actor in the Southern California area. Originally from Texas and New Mexico, he grew up in a musical family and started out playing the violin. In college, he began studying music and opera.
After doing his first play, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”, he performed in numerous stage musicals throughout his career including “Sweet Charity”, “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat” and “Grease”.
He did television; filming an episode of “The Fall Guy” and appearing on General Hospital” as Dr. Spence Andrews.
Kirk started at Disneyland in the mid-1980’s as a sub for Dick Hardwick in the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland when he replaced his friend, Mike Norris in the position. He played the part of Pecos Bill and the Traveling Salesman made popular by Wally Boag. Big shoes to fill indeed. He performed in the 1986 & 1987 Blast to the Past Celebration doing Elvis and performing doo-wop with a 50’s band at Tomorrowland Terrace called The Streamliners.
In 1987 and 1988, he performed with the Barley Boys in Pigmania during the run of Disneyland's State Fair event. As well as playing in the Rainbow Diner Show in Tomorrowland during Blast to the Past.
Kirk has performed as lounge singer, Tony Fabulous with The Big Shots [doing 40's Big Band music], and with The Knights [doing doo-wop and 50's music.] Kirk has also performed around the west coast as an Elvis impersonator and did symphony performances around the country doing combination bluegrass and classical music concerts. He has hosted the Orange County's Elvis Fest since 2000.
He is also featured on various CD's including "Nobody's Business" with Tony Fabulous and the Big Shots, "The Knights" and "Billy Hill and the Hillbillies". He is currently featured on the CD "The Billys Live".
Kirk currently resides in Southern California, with his wife, Tracy Lynn where he performs as Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies with fellow hillbillies; Eric Brenton, Anders Swanson, Rick Storey and Brad Conyers at Knott's Berry Farm.
RICK STOREY (on banjo and guitar)
Rick Storey was born at a very early age, something his mother was very thankful for. He chose the vast wasteland that we call Southern California, because he thought it would be better to be near his mother.
He was 10 years old when he became fascinated with the unusual whistling skills of a fellow classmate in Manhattan Beach, California. When he inquired as to where his friend had learned those skills, he was informed “…from your dad.” Rick had always wondered what that annoying noise around the house was.
Rick’s dad, a full-time T.W.A. employee and part time whistling virtuoso soon passed the talent onto his son.
Proud of his newly acquired skill and its ability to annoy teachers, Rick began to entertain his fellow classmates by whistling the only music he knew at the time….the melodies he heard on TV. Among his favorite songs were the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, the theme from the “Old Spice” commercial, the famous whistling theme from “The Andy Griffith Show”, and his personal favorite, the theme from “The Lone Ranger Show”. It wasn’t until later in life that he learned that it was a classical composition entitled “The William Tell Overture”.
Realizing that their son was musically inclined, Rick began playing trombone in school because “…instruments you can spit into seemed the easiest to play.” He later moved on to the ukulele, a passion he shares with the late Beatle, George Harrison [whom he credits as one of his musical inspirations]. A baseball player, his favorite sport began to play second fiddle to his passion for music and whistling in particular.
As he progressed musically through his teen years, Rick, a shy teenager, began to search for an instrument that would “attract the chicks” and at the age of 16, he became convinced that the 5 string banjo was just the thing.
"I didn't want to surf, I wanted to pick," says Rick about his teenage years.
”Still there was something missing in his life and it was then that he realized that “Whistling is his true passion.” [A direct quote] At the time, Rick attended Aviation High School in Redondo Beach, where his “grades were so high they had to raise the ceilings."
Eventually, the high school had to be closed entirely because later students failed to meet the academic standards he had set. He became so proficient at the banjo that he even won some local banjo contests.
Following graduation in the late 1970’s, he and his brothers decided to follow parental advice and “go somewhere else.” As a T.W.A. employee, airfare was not an issue for Mr. and Mrs. Storey, so the boys choose to go to Europe.
Rick spent 15 years in Sweden traveling with his two brothers, who both played guitar. Being a backpacking banjo picking Californian, and trying to make a living playing on the streets of Stockholm and Hamburg was his 'school of hard knocks'.
Teaming up with his brothers, he helped form 'The Dirty Storey Band', and they became a big part of the Northern European folk music scene. In Germany, they became popular as the only bluegrass band on the Reeperbahnen. [a nightclub and bar area in Hamburg that was frequented by the Beatles in the early 1960’s]. While in Hamburg, he even met singer, Tony Sheridan, who performed on the very first Beatle record; a recording of “My Bonnie”.
He started writing songs in 1986, "It seems like there's always a song in my head" says Rick, "It's almost like a curse!." He started playing guitar shortly thereafter, and during the 90's, toured Germany for 'Jack Daniel's.' He even released a couple of pop banjo singles with his brothers. "I love mixing different types of music. It's all about fusion."
In the late 1990’s, he returned to Southern California , where he found work as a gardener, a music teacher [giving private lessons], and a courier, but mostly spent his time playing the banjo and guitar professionally and writing songs.
He met former Billy Hill performer, Dennis Fetchet six years ago when he and his brothers required a fiddler for a CD they were working on and found Dennis by accident while looking in a phone book. [What Dennis was doing hiding in a phone book is another story]. After the CD, they lost contact with each other.
Rick and Dennis met again after a 6 year absence at a mutual friend’s jam session. They had both chosen strawberry. Rick expressed an interest in Disneyland, but Dennis thought he should try playing there before doing the rides, and he began rehearsing with both Kirk and Dennis before actually seeing his first Billy Hill Show at Disneyland on the Saturday of Memorial Week-end, 2003. It was during these rehearsals that Rick blew the guys away with his unique whistling skill. What song did he accidentally perform for Kirk and Dennis? The William Tell Overture.
Rick had been at Disneyland since 2003 before beginning his job at Knott's Berry Farm and says he enjoyed working at Disneyland and performing with the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Show. “I can’t believe I get paid to have this much fun.” He beams a wide smile as he tells me that he looks forward to keeping the show fresh and hopefully contributing to the Billys’ new sound. As a member of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, he enjoys where the next adventure will take him.
Anders Swanson (on fiddle and bass)
Anders Swanson is the youngest member of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. He began playing piano at the age of 9, violin at age 10 and bass at age 14, so it isn’t any wonder that this talented man is the fine musician you see today. He toured Europe in 1981 with the Aptos High Jazz Band, He was musically educated at the California State University in Long Beach with Jennifer Ruben, John Clayton, Chris Kollgaard and Paul Ellison.
While attending CSULB, he was awarded the Woody Haerman Music Scholarship, the Bank of America Achievement Award and the Music Achievement Award from the CSULB Music Department.
From 1997 to 1998, he was a co-arranger of their movie music for the Taiwanese Minster of Culture. He appeared as a guest soloist at the Monterey Jazz Fest and was voted the Monterey Jazz Festival’s “Best Soloist”.
His musical credits include tours with the Long Beach Symphony, The Pacific Symphony, Ray Charles’ tour of the US, Europe and Middle East in 1987, Michael Vlatkovach’s US and Canada tours in 1992-1993 and again in 1999, Jerry Lewis’ your of the US, Puerto Rico and Canada in 1993-1994, and the Bill Elliot Swing Band tour of the Eastern US in 1999. He played with the Hoagy Carmichael Centennial Celebration Tour of the US in 2000.
He has also played with Ross Tompkins, Ritchie Cole, Ernie Andrews, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, Bill Watrous, Dave Frishberg, Bill Berry, Don Menza, Eddie Henderson, Sam & Abe Most, Billy Mitchell, and Vinny Golia.
His theme park resume is equally impressive. During the 1980's while the Queen Mary was still a Disney operated attraction, he played with the Stowaways and the Seasicks. He has also played with Swing Soufflé and Red and the Red Hots. He has subbed as a jazz bassist with the Royal Street Bachelors, the Side Street Strutters, The Bootstrappers and The River Rascals in New Orleans Square, Disneyland. He also performs with the Ellis Island Boys and Five and Dime at Disney California Adventure.
He has played and recorded with The Colin Mandell Group on “Strange and Savage Tales”, Bill Plake on “South”, The Michael Vlatkovick Trio on “Live in Toronto” in 2000 and “No Zee Two E’s”. He arranged music for the Ellla Fitzgerald tour “All That Jazz” in 1990. He arranged “Superbass” for Ray Brown in 1990.
He also appeared on “Trilogy” with A to Zink in 1996, Karen Gallinger on “My Foolish Heart” in 1998 and did the music for the Minolta commercial in 1989. He performed with the Jeanette Wrate and the Northern Lights Ensemble on “Echoes of a Northern Sky”, Soraya Shaw on “Day Dreams”, with Koonse, Swanson and Wabich on “Secret Tea” on Seabreeze Jazz in 2001, Mark Weber on “Beautemous Everlasting” and “Time Zone Differential” and with Glenn Horiuchi on “Calling is it and Now”.
Turning to the bluegrass sound over the last few years, he had subbed with the Miner 49ers at Disney’s California Adventure and joined the cast of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies when the show went to 7 days a week.
With the opening of Disney California Adventure's relaunch, Anders joined the performing group, Five and Dime.
He has taught privately and with the Musician Trust Fund Series since 1985. He taught with the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra from 1990-1993 and the Los Alamitos Youth String Program from 1995-1999. He also taught bass guitar at Sam Ash Music in Cerritos in 1998-1999. Trained in classical and jazz traditions, he has specialized on string bass, electric bass and violin and has taken up the mandolin in his spare time. He applies a bow technique to the Hillbillies’ shows very few musicians would dare think of... but add to this the wonderful sound, the comical expressions and he is a joy to behold.
Eric's biography will be coming soon!
Brad's biography coming soon!
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