In the 1980s, Leroy Airmaster was the dominant blues band in a vibrant live blues music scene in southeastern Wisconsin. They performed constantly, and released 4 well received recordings. They received numerous WAMI awards for best blues group. The members of the most popular version of the group reformed in 2010, and continue to perform their unique blend of blues jazz and rock music. Not content to rehash classic blues licks, Steve Cohen (harmonica) and Bill Stone’s (guitar) solo styles rely heavily on a jazz approach, but never lose the gutsy blues framework that made the band so popular. With powerhouse drummer Marc Wilson and original bassist Dave Kasik, Leroy continues to satisfy audiences with their musical prowess, tasteful song selections, and dynamic delivery.
The bands origins grew from Whitefish Bay high school class mates Bill Stone, Dave Kasik, Marc Wilson & Steve Cohen then known as the Stone-Cohen Blues Band. They were inspired by blues/rock bands like Cream and Jimi Hendrix, and later by seminal Chess artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Little Walter, as well as local bands The Ox, The New Blues, and later Short Stuff.
A chance jam in Cedarburg in1978 with Kasik, Cohen and Wilson’s brother, Tom, set things in motion. The name Leroy Airmaster refers to a West Allis manufactured air compressor jackhammer. No one in the band was ever named Leroy. Within six months of playing local gigs at places like Dr.Feelgood’s Bluenote, Stone once again joined the band. In 1982, drummer Vodie Rhinehart replaced Wilson, and was with the band until his sudden death in June of 2014. Bassist Dave Kasik left the group from 1980-83. His replacements were Jamie Sheldon and Jack McKenty. Kurt Koenig was his substitute from 2009-2012. Dave returned in 2013.
The band was constantly active throughout the 1980’s. Most memorable were the weekly jam sessions that the band hosted at the Up & Under Pub on Brady Street from 1983-89.
When Short Stuff broke up in the mid-1980’s, keyboardist and vocalist Junior Brantley joined the ensemble for 3 years, before he was hired to play with The Fabulous Thunderbirds and eventually Roomful of Blues. Junior continues to fly into Milwaukee from his home in Las Vegas to play reunion gigs with Leroy every summer. Denny Geyer, Greg Koch and Jim Liban also occasionally perform with the group.
Leroy Airmaster recordings:
- The Up & Under Presents Leroy Airmaster & Friends
- Leroy Airmaster: Live at Turner Hall
Partial Song List...
Something You Got
Keep A Lovin Me
Wee Wee Baby
Givin It Up
Love me Or Leave me
I Got A Letter
Talk To Your Daughter
You belong To me
Up The Line
Just Your Fool
Baby Just To Be w/You
Howlin For My Darling
* These songs are just a sampling of material performed by Leroy Airmaster. The band’s repertoire includes hundreds of blues, jazz, pop and rock songs.
Check the calendar on the home page for performance schedule.
Contact Steve for booking information.