|Joey Welz, The Rockin' Piano Comet
A note from Joey to BlackCat Rockabilly Europe:
Joey Welz was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1940. He grew up listening to rhythm & blues and country music and began playing the piano by ear before he was ten. He was influenced by Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis and later by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, all of whom have since become personal friends of Joeys. In 1953, Joey went to see Bill Haley and the Comets play live and was turned on to this new kind of music then known as rockabilly. He began to hang out with the Comets and act as band boy for the group when they played in his hometown. Way back then he had a dream which years later became a reality. He became one of Bill Haley's Comets. Heres how it happened. Through the inspiration of Haley, Joey formed his own band in 1955 known as the Jay Rockers. On one of Haley's shows Joey and his band opened for the Comets at the Dixie Ballroom. Rudy Pompilli, the Comet sax man, pointed out to Bill how well Joey played the piano. Bill agreed and after Joey got out of the service, signed him as a featured pianist with the Comets.
In 1957, Joey formed a new band known as the Rqck-A-Billies. The line up featured: Lou Hinkle on drums, Charlie Shirner on lead guitar and Flurry on stand up bass. By this time, Joey was using the Monumental Studios in Baltimore, and got a more professional sound with Wil Taylor at the controls as engineer. Joey formed BAT Records in 1959 and scored with his biggest hits to date: "Boppin' The Stroll Again" and "The Vhistlin' Piano Man". Then he was sent to AFN Berlin (West Germany) while in the army and became a DJ and recording engineer for the next three years. "Summer Scene" and "Oh How I Want You Near" were recorded at AFN Berlin. In the 60s Joey went on to have hits for Canadian American, Palmer, Audio Fidelity, Swan, Fraternity and Music City Records. In the 70s Joey recorded for Disc-Go, London, and LeCam Records, but did not have major success until the 80s when he worked as president of A&R for Caprice Records. With writing and producing Joey has had 4 chart records on Caprice proving that rock 'n' Roll is here to stay and the Welz can really play...
Source: Rockabilly Years (Hydra Records)