Lenny Kerley Today
Lenny, a Benton,Illinois native, played with the following bands prior to joining The Cryan' Shames: The Kingmen, Galaxies,and formed his own group The Novos prior to a tour in the U.S. Army. Following the Army, he was in The Squires with Al Dawson (who was later to join The Cryan' Shames with Lenny.)
In early 1967, Lenny took Gerry Stone's place as guitar player for The Cryan' Shames, and his newly written song "Mr.Unreliable" became one of their next hits.
As quoted from the May 1968 Cryan' Shames National Fan club Newsletter:
"His musical talents are many; self-taught to read and write music and play guitar, bass, and drums. Lenny is a lover of many things: true honest people, good music, fine cars, and fresh air in the open country."
Lenny and Al Dawson met the hompage staff at the Lyons Brewing Co. in Lyons, Illinois, where many musicians have improvised jam sessions. Unfortunately the stage was under construction, so we didn't get to see them perform that night. We did get to interview Lenny and Al,and had a very enjoyable evening with them.
After The Cryan' Shames, Lenny was a member of Possum River (1971), which included Shames members: Tom Doody, Al Dawson, Dave Carter and Dennis Conroy, along with Dave Curtis from the Novos and Jan Knopek. They recorded a vinyl LP under the Ovation label before disbanding. He then played with another Chicago group called Good Foot with Marty Nicosia and Greg Johnson (who were both present at the homepages interview). Following Good Foot, he worked with Gene Cotten from Areola Records in Nashville, TN for one and a half years. Lenny then went on the road in the Houston,TX area as the back-up band for Gary Smith, before forming his own group "Blues Priority"
He wrote the music for Tanya Scarlett's blues R&B cassette "Fashionably Late," and is currently playing blues in his own group, "Lenny Kerley" with Danny Granier (slide guitar) and has a CD in the making (more info to be announced later).
Lenny is now living by a beautiful mountain area of California ,close to a large lake where he enjoys bass fishing in his leisure time. He is a commercial/residential contract painter when not pursing his music interests and his second love, bass fishing.
After the interview, Al and Lenny played for us some original studio recordings from The Cryan' Shames "Synthesis" and "Possum River" albums which featured tracks with and without vocals and some previously unreleased Shames songs...the quality of which was breathtaking especially considing they had been origninally recorded 30 years ago. Al had previously converted the reel-reel tapes to CD on his computer.
Homepage staff present at interview: Barb and Pat Malott, Sue Christenson and Kerri Sands.
Lenny Kerley in 1996
When he's not playing guitar, or writing music, you will find Lenny Bass Fishing.
Photo courtesy of: Sue Christenson
Lenny Kerley in 1968
The Cryan' Shames L-R Tom Doody, Al Dawson, Jim Pilster,
Dave Carter, Lenny Kerley, and Isaac Guillory
Photo courtesy of: Al Dawson
Interview Photos of Lenny Kerley and Al Dawson June 21st. 1998
Lenny Kerley My Space Page