Music is Life's Blood🩸
Welcome to big bad cat Guitarist, Byron Crews
On the banks
Where your Soul
Is your Best Friend
Music is Life's Blood🩸
On the banks
Where your Soul
Is your Best Friend
"Last Light" is dedicated to the memory of my dear brother, John Eric "Bingo" Bingham. Joyful dreamer. Badass drummer. Divine human being and inspiration. I love you with all that I am.
Rest easy, Rock Star. ⭐️
Music and Recording Gear
Big Bad Cat:
* Byron records and mixes all tracks on Logic Pro X; Logic Pro X is a digital audio workstation that rivals any other out there
* Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, Fernando Salazar, whips the kit, and Byron also programs drum tracks using SUPERIOR-DRUM-3.0
* Byron performs vocals and plays all guitars, all bass guitars; all tracks: Fender Lonestar Stratocaster [Texas Special Pickups], G & L Comanche [Z-Coil Pickups], Ibanez Artist AS-200 semi-hollow [Super 58 Custom humbucking pickups], Custom Dayton by Dennis Rotterman [Lindy Fralin and Razor Pickups], Gibson Les Paul Light [Two BurstBucker Pro pickups with Alnico V magnets], Yamaha & Epiphone acoustics [Fishman onboard pickup/eq], 1935 National Steel "Dobro" Duolian
* Byron plays all bass tracks: Fender Jazz & Precision basses
* Byron uses amps by Marshall, 50 Watt JCM 2000 Dual Super Lead, 2 x 1936 cabs w/ 4 x black back 12” Celestions;
Fender 60 Watt Bassman ‘59 Reissue Combo w/ 10” Jensons;
Fender 100 watt Evil Twin Combo w/ 2 x 12” Blue Marvels;
Supro S6420+ Thunderbolt PLUS 1 x 15” Blue Devil speaker + 6L6 Tube Combo w/ 35-45-60 Watt [rectifier switch; 15 Watt Yamaha THR10 w/ 3" speakers: cool Marshall JCM800 and Mesa/Boogie-style amp modeling;
& Fender Bronco-Amp, 2-Channel, 15-Watt 1 x 8" speaker
* Byron uses digital and analog pedal effects from The Best: Jesse Davey/KingTone, Catlinbread, Pedal Pawn, Wampler, TC Electronic, Xotic, Analog Alien, Fulltone, Electro Harmonix, MXR, Voodoo Lab, Game Changer Audio, Crybaby & Vertex
* Byron uses Shure SM57-LCE Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphones, AEA R88A Active Ribbon Microphones, Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Front-Address Studio Microphones
Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and raised on Rattlesnake Creek in Gainesville, Florida, Byron J. Crews was steeped in the hardscrabble art of Blues and Blues-based rock music from the time he could hold a guitar. As a young boy, Byron traveled backwoods shotgun bars with his whiskey-drinking and punch-throwing novelist-father, Harry Crews, and along the way, Byron was exposed to brilliant original blues artists including Muddy Waters in Newberry and Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins in Chicago.
At just fourteen years old, Byron learned guitar from legendary musical artists based just north and south of Gainesville, Florida, including Rickey Medlocke, Charlie Hargrett, and Axe band's singer/guitarist Bobby Barth, guitar slingers who all performed in the legendary southern hard rock band, Blackfoot. Medlocke has gone on to perform with the contemporary iteration of famed southern rock legends, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackberry Smoke.
Byron‘s luck turned when he learned guitar under the tutelage of Hughie Thomasson Jr., an American guitarist and singer, best known as a founding member of The Outlaws, based in Tampa, Florida. In Gainesville, Byron also studied guitar with Dave Hlubek, American lead guitarist and founding member of the Southern rock band Molly Hatchet.
At 23, Byron caught the Greydog express to Hollywood, California, where he enrolled at MI. Musicians Institute is a private for-profit music school in Los Angeles. Hollywood aka "Highly Weird."
Eat Guitar. Sleep Guitar. Breathe Guitar. Be the Guitar.
Byron tried not to get mugged on the way home to his USC compound surrounded by razor wire to keep the vampires from drinking his blood and stealing his guitar.
At MI, Byron's biggest influence was Blues Badass, Keith Wyatt, director of MI's world-famous guitar program (GIT: Guitar Institute of Technology), and served as the college’s Vice President of Programs.
Wyatt also made first-class grilled cheese sandwiches.
Byron's Guitarist and Teacher at GIT: Keith Wyatt:
Byron's musical inspirations come from the earthy cultural DNA of North Delta blues, Mississippi Hill Country blues, Chicago "City" Blues. Primary influences include esteemed blues artists from Sam Hopkins, Muddy Waters, and Son House, Buddy Guy . . . to blues-rockers, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Philip Sayce . . . to progressive rock shred heads, Phil X, Joe Satrani and Steve Vai . . . to psychedelic guitar Titan, Jimi Hendrix.
With 25 years of experience performing and entertaining audiences in dynamic bands, Byron powers on with his own instrumental Big Bad Cat compositions, demos of which are featured herein.
Plan B: Teaching English and Dramatic Writing:
If you're going to practice art, have a job or a career to support your art. Byron‘s dynamic doppelgänger holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Wright State University, Ohio and has been teaching English composition, rhetoric, argumentation, fiction, poetry, politics and the novel, and dramatic writing in the WSU Department of English since 1995.
Byron was appointed Professor Emeritus in February, 2022.
Byron served as editor for Wright State's journal of fine arts and literature, Nexus. He served as feature writer for The Yellow Springs Ohio News and served as assisting editor for short story anthologies Flash Fiction, Sudden Fiction, and Sudden Fiction International.
In academia, Byron brought his professional guitar playing experience to numerous creative contributions to the Wright State Community and beyond, especially his work creating sound and directing music in the University of Florida theatre and Wright State University’s nationally renowned theatre program.
Theatre, Fiction and Film:
As an actor, he appeared in Wright State’s theatrical production of John Sayles' Halfway Diner and has directed music for theatrical productions including the University of Florida’s Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class and Annie Proulx's The Bunchgrass Edge of the World at San Francisco’s legendary Magic Theatre.
Other professional musical soundtrack and production credits include film documentaries Guilty as Charged, The Dreamcatcher and Personal Belongings, filmed and directed by Steven Bognar, an Oscar-winning and award-winning documentary American-Hungarian filmmaker, whose films have been screened at SXSW, Sundance, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Byron’s original plays, Remote Control, Bone Machine, and Stillborn County Justice were staged at Wright State’s Herbst Experimental Theatre. Remote Control appeared off Broadway at New York’s Zipper Theater.
Populated by bizarre characters caught in unpredictable and violent circumstances, Byron’s short fiction has appeared in Mudrock Stories and Tales, Nexus and an anthology of fiction for apprentice writers, Gravity Fiction, nominated for an Eric Hoffer award.
Esteemed academic and artistic honors and awards include The Kennedy Center Award for Merit in Theatrical Music Production and Wright State University's Outstanding Alumnus 2004.
Incidentally, Byron's father, nemesis, Hero and inspiration, Harry, is one of the greatest novelists to fall out of the womb in the 20th century.
“Flannery O’Connor on steroids.”
—John Williams, GQ
“I don’t know where [Harry Crews’s] narrative magic comes from, but it is firmly there.”
author of novels, short stories, plays, and screenplays. His best-known work is the 1961 novel Catch-22, a satire on war and bureaucracy, whose title has become a synonym for an absurd or contradictory choice
HARRY CREWS @ PENGUIN CLASSICS
“A bona fide Southern writer in the vein of Flannery O’Connor, whose unvarnished language and absurdist take on life among the lower rungs of the region’s social ladder [is] shot through with a rough-and-tumble kind of empathy; it was with great pleasure that I spent last weekend reading The Gospel Singer; a darkly funny tragedy. The world he writes about is violent and ruthless. But there’s a point to Crews’ madness, and always present is a throughline of empathy.”
—Atlanta Journal Constitution
The brilliant phantasmagorical debut from Crews (Feast of Snakes), originally published in 1968, established Crews as an original new American voice, the novel hailed as a masterwork by Erskine Caldwell. Crews’ poetic and bitterly humorous prose and a minutely observed dialect show how he earned his reputation as The Godfather of “Dirty South” writers, the King of Grit Lit. This dark searing satire stands as spiritual heir of Dickens, Voltaire and Swift.
— Publishers Weekly
An inductee of the Georgia writer's Hall of Fame and recipient of numerous literary honors, Harry Crews was named Georgia Author of the Year for fiction in 1969 for The Gospel Singer.
🎬 VIEW 🎬
HARRY CREWS FILM DOCUMENTARY
The Rough South of Harry Crews
Special | 53m 54s |
Rough South - Episode 102:
Author Harry Crews discusses his heartrending childhood in Bacon County Georgia, the nature of violence, and what it means to be a writer in this Emmy-winning documentary.
Aired: 09/06/92 Rating: NR
“Reading Crews, I found the courage to tell the stories I’d been amassing my whole life.”
— Mary Karr,
author of the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling memoirs The Liars' Club, Cherry, and Lit, as well as the Art of Memoir, and five poetry collections, most recently Tropic of Squalor
“This [Crews'] memoir is for everyone. It’s agile, honest and built as if to last. Like its author, it’s a resilient American original.”
— Dwight Garner, The New York Times
HARRY CREWS @ PENGUIN CLASSICS https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/623366/a-childhood-by-harry-crews-foreword-by-tobias-wolff/9780143135333/
"The memoir is flawless, one of the finest ever written by an American; [it] answers some specific questions, namely where its author came from and how he became a writer, but it asks broader ones, too: why anyone becomes anything, how we square our pasts with our futures, and why certain things—a book, its author—are rescued from oblivion.”
— Casey Cep, The New Yorker
“Critics and awards anoint some authors as legends. Others depend on word-of-mouth and prose that stands the test of time. There is nothing folksy, never mind pastoral or genteel, about Crews. With caustic and fabulist writing, he exhumed the ghosts of America’s original sin. Crews captured the raw essence of humanity in both fiction and nonfiction. Side by side, these [Penguin] reissues form the complete picture of an imperfect man who charged hard into extremes to confront his cultural inheritance.”
— Lauren Leblanc, Los Angeles Times
“Of all of Crews’ magnificent output, it is A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, first published in 1978 that is the most memorable and is written in a language that will sear the mind and memory. There are startlingly wild scenes written with hair-raising power.
This review cannot begin to capture the power of the writing of Harry Crews nor the essence of this portrait of the life of a sharecropping family in the Great Depression.
All that can be said is, read it.
The power of the written word will never be made more clear.”
— New York Journal of Books