Who is WildcatOne?
He is... John Bockelman, grandson of noted Galveston Prohibition-era musician Lee Roy McLendon. Classically trained on piano and music theory from early childhood through his teen years, John entered the Houston professional music scene in the early seventies emerging first as a guitar-playing troubadour with Andy Quinn, playing originals that the two composed. This led to gigs with several groups, playing the club scene as the bass player and vocalist for East River, a popular band on the circuit. While in Kansas City, John also was a lead guitarist with the Young Brothers Band. John backed out of the grueling schedule of club work during the last six years of the 70's and spent every spare hour of his time practicing, composing, and studying music at home.
In late 1979, he received an offer to join Hard Times as guitarist and vocalist, a project that lasted until 1980, bringing more gigs and success with Clover Roll, then the Rollercoasters. In 1983, John joined the Blind Dates on bass and vocals. In 1984, John recorded a solo album at Rockstone Studios, produced by Colin Kennedy who now lives in L.A., working pro audio sound for the major movie studios. When this album was completed, John and Colin founded The Temperature Men, one of the most popular bands in Houston in 1985. When the band was relocated to L. A. , John stayed here and started Lucky 13 Studio with David Weiss, a compadre from the Hard Times years.
Between 1986 and 1990, John spent 2-3 nights a week in the studio recording tracks, playing all the instruments, performing all vocals, and using the studio as a creative tool. The music he made ranged from light pop to classical, blues to jazz, rock 'n roll to heavy metal, a capella arrangements of songs he had written, as well as layered textures of experimental stream-of-consciousness material. When John joined the Kingfishers in 1990 as the bass player, he had recorded 67 songs at Lucky 13 Studio, copyrighted 99 songs with the Library of Congress, and played on 212 sessions at the studio. His 3 years with the Kingfishers were some of the most enjoyable and successful years he had ever seen in music. The band played to packed houses at Rockefeller's and several Cultural Arts Council gigs, as well as being booked into private parties, Montrose, and Heights-area clubs. The band played traditional blues and also featured some of John's original blues material.
In 1993, the band shifted personnel and changed their name to Big City, continuing their schedule at Rockefeller's, the Red Lion, and several festivals and Art Council shows for the next two years. This band eventually evolved into the Citykings, a combination of the first two names of the band, when John moved into the guitar slot and Randolph Arrington joined on bass. Bill Gibson joined a year later on guitar and vocals, and an all-original music format was adopted by the band. The Citykings are still together, have an album out, and have played all over town at several clubs and festivals.
At the 2001 Seabrook Music Festival, John met Lynn and Brandi Raggio who performed at the festival with their band Truth in Wine. John was a stage and sound tech for the festival and also performed there with the Citykings. The trio became friends and John invited Lynn and Brandi to sit in with the Citykings at their gigs at the Stag's Head. Lynn and Brandi invited John to sit in with Truth in Wine at their gigs. When the Wildcats, John's roadhouse group, started a bi-weekly open-mike jam in Southeast Houston, Lynn and Brandi were regular performers and contributors. One night, John was playing keyboards at one of these jams and Lynn asked him if he would like to play keyboard for Truth in Wine. Yes!
The band evolved into Shakedown and Slide Effect (Brandi, John & Lynn unplugged) from that day. The onstage complement of Lynn's guitar playing and John's keyboards increased the band's potential and diversity on an exponential scale. John enjoyed and fit in nicely with the group and had a solid five year stint working with the top-notch talent of Lynn and Brandi Raggio. At needed times, John included a second keyboard for playing bass, simultaneously performing as bassist and keyboardist.
In late 2006, John left Shakedown and Slide Effect to concentrate on the Citykings and to join many other top acts as one of Houston's most reliable sidemen. His style follows the classic rock 'n' roll performances of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Alan Price of the original Animals, as well as John's own style of roadhouse boogie-woogie and blues. John's music is the product of many decades of experience and savvy, and it continues to evolve and progress into 2007 and beyond.
"Life is good." -- Johnny Keys