When Bay Area transplant and guitarist Ken Koga was looking to put a blues band together in Colorado Springs last summer, he posted an ad on Craigslist.
As fate would have it, vocalist Wendy St. Cyre saw the ad, and the Wendy St. Cyre Band was born. The two soon were joined by Bret Major of Colorado Springs on bass and Bobby Perez Jr. of Pueblo on drums.
The band makes its debut at a Pikes Peak Blues Community Showcase at Stargazers Theatre & Event Center on Thursday, opening for Boulder-based Erik Boa & The Constrictors.
“Wendy’s gotta be the best blues singer around,” said Koga, the band’s leader. “She’s something else. I think people will be surprised with her voice. She can really scream.”
St. Cyre, a Castle Rock resident, once performed in an all-female AC/DC tribute band in her previous town, Raleigh, N.C.
Koga, who founded and led the Deja Bleu blues band for 12 years in the Midwest, started volunteering for the nonprofit PPBC when he moved to Colorado Springs a couple of years ago. He was quick to say “Yes!” when PPCC President Jim Sesters asked if Koga’s new band wanted to open the showcase.
“The blues scene is building here in the Springs, and this year we are trying to bring more of our local talent to the showcases,” writes PPBC on a Facebook invite for the showcase.
Koga said the band will perform a set of cover songs, including Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and “See Saw” by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa. The band also favors music by singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi.
“We’re doing all covers for now — a mixture of blues and R&B. We do a more modern type of blues,” Koga said. “We just want to perform. We’re all pros. We do it for fun, and it’s serious fun.”
Koga likens his guitar-playing style to that of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“I’m kind of an in-your-face kind of player. I’m very aggressive when I play,” he said.
His favorite part of performing? “It’s the excitement, the interaction between the crowd and us.”
The band rehearses weekly and expects to be ready to book more gigs starting this spring. Koga recently started a Facebook page for the band and regularly posts videos from rehearsals.
“We’re pretty new. We have nothing booked after this gig. We’ll be rehearsing for three months or so before we play on a regular basis,” he said. “We’re happy for the exposure.”
MICHELLE KARAS, THE GAZETTE, MICHELLE.KARAS@GAZETTE.COM