The Boneshakers
The Boneshakers

The Boneshakers

About The Boneshakers

Centered on the talents of Was (Not Was) bandmates guitarist Randy Jacobs and singer Hillard "Sweet Pea" Atkinson, the Boneshakers are known for their effusive blend of blues, funk, contemporary rock, and R&B. They first showcased their sound on 1997's Book of Spells and have continued to reunite between work with Was (Not Was), pairing with saxophonist Mindy Abair for 2015's Live in Seattle and 2017's Eastwest Sessions.

Jacobs and Atkinson initially met in 1980 in Detroit while working with Donald "Don Was" Fagenson and David "David Was" Weiss on their debut album as Was (Not Was). Over the next decade, they toured and recorded with the group, a period that culminated in the band's breakthrough 1988 album, What Up, Dog?, and Top Ten hit "Walk Like a Dinosaur," which was co-written by Jacobs. Also during these years, Atkinson released his 1982 solo album Don't Walk Away, and both he and Jacobs became increasingly in-demand session and sidemen, separately backing artists like B.B. King, Tears For Fears, Seal, Paul Abdul, Keb' Mo', Bob Seger, and others.

The Boneshakers came together in Los Angeles in the early '90s after Was (Not Was) went on hiatus following a European tour with Dire Straits. Jacobs had begun work on a solo album and was looking for a singer when he got a call from Atkinson saying he'd be interested in working on the project. The two joined forces and further solidified their partnership while working together on Bonnie Raitt's 1994 album Longing in Their Hearts; it was purportedly Raitt who dubbed them the Boneshakers. They signed to Point Blank/Virgin Records and in 1997 released their debut album, Book of Spells, followed two years later by Shake the Planet. Both albums found them building upon their work in Was (Not Was) and investigating their blues and funk influences.

In the early 2000s, Atkinson left the group to tour as a backing singer with Lyle Lovett. In his absence, Jacobs paired with singer Malford Milligan for 2001's Pouring Gasoline. Milligan was also on board for the 2002 concert album Put Some Booty on It, Vol 1. Around 2003, Milligan parted ways with Jacobs to start his own band, paving the way for Atkinson's return to the Boneshakers. Jacobs and Atkinson heralded the reunion with the release of 2006's Put Some Booty On It , Vol 2., which documented the group's first-ever live performance in San Francisco in 1997. In 2015, they joined saxophonist Mindi Abair for the concert album Live in Seattle. Two years later, they again collaborated with her for the studio album Eastwest Sessions. Also in 2017, Atkinson issued his sophomore solo album, Get What You Deserve, which included contributions by Abair, Jacobs, Keb' Mo', and others.

  • ORIGIN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • FORMED
    1994

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