(click a name to see the bio)
J.R. Hansard -lead Vocals / Guitar
Jim Wells - Lead Guitar / Vocals
Mike Chenoweth - Bass Guitar / Vocals
Todd Sprague - Drums / Vocals
Sandon Mayhew - Saxophone
Brian Bittick - Keyboard / Vocals
|J.R. & the Stingrays is a Boise based oldies show band, originally established in 1985. The Stingrays perform a Sha-Na-Na style oldies show with vintage flair reminiscent of the American Graffiti era, covering tunes from Bill Haley & the Comets, The Drifters, Beatles, Elvis, all the way up to BTO and ZZ Top. The Stingrays are best known for their oldies Rock-n-Roll and Doo-Wop show emulating the great harmony bands of the sock-hop era. Our retro music style crosses over virtually every age group and our loyal following includes rock fans and country fans alike.|
|Starting back in the early 90's Big Jack Armstrong, a popular radio personality, had taken the Stingrays to a whole new level by promoting the band as "the real deal" for the local oldies fans and the Stingrays were often featured as an opening act or backing musicians for famous groups in the oldies genre. Throughout the 90's we were regulars of Kool 104 oldies radio special events and concerts. The Stingrays were also on the road playing night clubs, concert venues, casinos, car shows and festivals all over the western states.
Here is a short list of national touring acts that we have opened for:
Paul Revere and the Raiders
Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Three Dog Night
Gene Chandler (Duke of Earl)
Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits
The Box Tops
Tommy James and The Shondells
Blues Brothers Tribute Band
Elvis Tribute artists
Meet the Stingrays....
J.R. Hansard - Lead Vocals / Guitar / Miter Saw
(AKA "Jonny Ringo")
Raised in the small mountain town of Lake Isabella California, J.R. taught himself to play the guitar at age 14, playing along with Elvis and the Beatles records; it's pretty obvious that they were heavy influences on his retro musical style. J.R. was kicked out of the high school choir because music teacher said he couldn't sing a lick, but one year later J.R. was asked to sing AND play guitar for the high school recording club by that same music teacher. In 1980 J.R. moved to Boise and started a trio called "Bandit" playing a variety of oldies rock and classic country music, J.R. has been the lead singer and front man of J.R. and the Stingrays since its inception in the early 80's. Today J.R.'s road-worn Les Paul "Maude" continues to write checks that his showmanship can easily cash.
Jim Wells - Lead Guitar / Vocals / Bacon
(AKA "Styles Bitchley")
Also originally from Lake Isabella California, Jim has been rippin' it up with J.R. on various musical projects ever since high school, Jim also moved to Idaho in 1980 and immediately jumped into the local music scene playing rhythm guitar and singing with several not-so-popular top 40 cover bands around the Boise Valley during the infamous "hair band" era. On the weekends Jim could be seen hanging out at the local night clubs and jam sessions watching and studying the local "top shelf" guitarists, hoping to pick up some cool riffs in hopes of advancing his lead guitar aspirations. In the late 80's Jim once again teamed up with J.R. in the band that would eventually become J.R. and the Stingrays. Jim is also a huge fan of traditional rockabilly, Jump Swing, and big-band era music.
Mike Chenoweth - Bass Guitar / Vocals / Glide Slope
(AKA "The Singe")
Raised in Orofino Idaho you may have spotted Mike playing a trombone in the high school band or zipping around the hills of northern Idaho catching some "sweet air" on his dirt bike, Mike also joined the band in the early 80's, His straight forward bass style was a perfect fit with the Stingrays vintage sound and his musical background helped propel the group into the local spotlight. One of Mike's musical highlights was his gig as the bass player for Charlie Thomas' Drifters on the 2011 Concerts at Sea Cruise on the Grand Princess, Mike jumped in like a pro with the rest of the Stingrays in the audience cheering him on like proud parents. Mike's personal musical taste includes The Eagles, Steely Dan, and Crosby Stills & Nash.
Todd Sprague - Drums / Vocals / Counseling
(AKA "Dash RipRock")
Todd is the newest member of the band, He got his “Mickey Mouse” drum set at the age of nine and destroyed it within two weeks. Todd began playing percussion for the elementary school choir at 10, (because everyone knows that chicks dig drummers…), Throughout his younger years Todd was a dependable fixture in the various public school system band programs, by age 16 he was recording professional level drum tracks for 20 bucks a song at the local recording studio. After High School Todd was awarded a full-ride music scholarship to play for the University of Nevada-Reno Marching band and the Jazz band. After his freshman year he ventured out seeing this glorious country from the windows of his Ford van, making a few bucks along the way playing music. Todd is the quintessential seasoned road dog, playing drums and singing lead vocals in some of the Northwest’s most popular bands such as "Stretch Wabash", Black Rose, The Secret Agents, Hoolybob (GO VANDALS!), Eazy Loader, and Spindlebomb (BSU). Somewhere in the middle of all that giggage Todd was able to return to college and grind out his Bachelor's degree in Music Composition at the U of I, and Music Education at BSU. Much to his former Jr High teacher's delight, Todd is now himself teaching Jr High and elementary band to energetic kids in the public school system, Talk about Payback! Todd has eagerly jumped onto the drum throne for the Stingrays, and he's loving every minute of it!
Sandon Mayhew - Saxophone / Tambourine / Egg Shaker
(AKA "Mr. Sandman")
Sandon is the newest Stingray and has been practicing safe sax in the Boise valley since his days at Meridian High School, as a performer, Sandon has played in literally every conceivable format, style, and group size, but most frequently playing tenor sax in jazz trios and quartets. Sandon is a member of the jazz saxophone quartet called "FOUR" as well as his working jazz group "THE NEW TRIO PLUS"; they have been together for over 16 years and are frequently commissioned to perform in special projects. As a recording artist, Sandon's smooth and tasty sax solos have been featured on over 50 albums not to mention earning horn arranging credits on a dozen of those recordings. One of Sandon's most significant accomplishments to date is the fact that over the years he has cultivated his unique signature sound and style that sets him apart as one of the most sought after musicians in the Treasure Valley. The Stingrays are extremely proud to have such an accomplished seasoned musician in the band.
Brian Bittick - Keyboards / Vocals / Baked Goods
(AKA "Mix Master B")
Brian was playing piano by ear at the tender age of 5. His life was changed forever when at age 9 he took lessons piano from Bob Jetter, a touring keyboard player for the iconic 60's group "The Kingsmen". Just one year later, Brian recorded a solo piano album and was invited to perform on the Lawrence Welk show. As a pre-teen, he studied classical piano, violin, and music theory at the College of Idaho. When he was about 16, Brian's dad would sneak him into local honkytonks to jam with musicians. Throughout high school, Brian participated in every band and choir class offered, playing any musical instrument that you didn't have to blow into (sorry Sandon, spit grosses him out). After high school, Brian attended college on a full-ride music scholarship until he mortified his parents by dropping out and touring the U.S. with a pop-country band. It turned out to be a smart move. Over the years he's had the opportunity to share the stage with or open for nearly 100 national acts including Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Big & Rich, and Toby Keith. Brian has also played in many popular local bands including Cimarron, Redstone, The Saloonatics, and Silverado. Some of Brian's musical influences include Nick Rhodes, Howard Jones, Jonathan Cain, Bruce Hornsby, and Jerry Lee Lewis.