||Walter Hand began his love for music at the age of ten when he won the
elementary school talent show impersonating Jerry Lee Lewis with Great Balls of Fire. He bought his first Hohner harmonica at thirteen,
and around the same time played saxophone with the school
band. In school Walter learned the technical fundamentals of
music theory, but at home with his harmonica is where he learned to express
himself and really feel the music. In 1970, after two years in the army,
Walter joined the choir at Contra Costa College, while taking voice training and
singing with a barbershop quartet. Still playing his sax,
Walter hooked up with good friend John Doukas, lead singer for the rock group Earthquake. They played local clubs, like Keystone, Long Branch Saloon, and Bimbos, along with local colleges like UC
Berkeley's Sproul Plaza and Contra Costa College.
Walter got a real job as a Merchant Marine from 1975 to 1985 but would still practice his harmonica when at sea. From 1985 to 1990 he pursued his music playing the jazz on tenor sax, performing with the Jazz Band for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. From 1990 to 1995 Walter went out on his own to play the blues, bringing his vocal and harmonica stylings to the open mics at the many Bay Area blues clubs, singing and playing with such Bay Area notables as Larry James, Stave Gannon, Tommy Castro, Freddie Hughes, Rick Kellogg, Raymond Victor, Lucky Strikes Richard Milam, J. J. Woods and the Blues Commandos, and many other great musicians. In 1995, Walter formed his own band, Walter Hand and The Blue Hand Band, playing many local venues, and hosting the Open Mic at Fantasy's Lounge.
Walter was frontman/lead vocalist for local band Wall of Blues.
While continuing to play with local artists like Freddie Roulette
and the legendary Harvey Mandel, Walter
resurrected The Blue Hand Band in 2004, continuing to the present
local venues and beyond, including benefit concerts for the
United Servicemens Organization (USO) and the annual Homeless
Veterans Benefit in
Sacramento. All the while Walter has been working hard
The Blue Hand Band on the map alongside those other Bad Ass
Blues Men .
Bass guitar and vocals
Around 6 years of age I took some piano lessons and later learned to play saxophone in school band starting in 5th grade. Fell in love with Boogie Woogie Piano as a child and am still an unrepentant Boogie Woogieist. Became serious about music while playing in rock bands in high school after renting a Farfisa Organ at Leo's Music in Oakland. Began learning guitar but was a organist and sax player in High School bands performing at high school dances, parties and youth dances at many venues including Maple Hall. Attended UCSB but took a year off in 1973 to play music professionally including playing with Lucky Strike. Performed in SF, the South Bay, Marin and the East Bay including the Keystone Berkeley. Finished school at UCSB and put music on the back burner while concentrating on my non-musicial work career. Continued playing on my own and seeing as many shows as possible.
In 1967 Scott Yoshida bought his first guitar for $15, an acoustic with strings an inch off the fret board. Eventually he moved on to a beat up electric which he rebuilt and used to jam with anybody and anything. With the help of Mel Bay, the Internet and lessons from local guitar great, George Cole, he joined a trio with bassist Greg Harriman. Greg mentioned a friend of his was a lead singer and could use him for their next gig. That’s when Scott first met Walter Hand. Over the next 10 years he jammed with and was a substitute guitar player for Walter’s band. A few years after his retirement Scott joined the Blue Hand Band full time and hasn’t looked back.
MICHAEL GAY – Drums, Vocals
MP3s on Music page feature Walter and Paul with past members of The Blue Hand Band.
Walter Hand - Vocals, Sax, Harmonica, Flute
Bill Grimason - Keys, Vocals, Sax, Guitar
Scott Yoshida - Guitar, Vocals
Michael Gay - Drums, Vocals
Daryl Edward Chang - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Key guest players (featured in videos on Music page):
Tony Archimedes - Keyboards, Sax
Paul Staubus - Keyboards