The Blue Band legacy started on June 10, 1981, and throughout their multiple year endeavors have acquired a dedicated fan base of all ages. They have also become one of Iowa's most revered and requested bands. The Blue Band has been tagged as "The best damn, rockin' soul dance band in the heartland" by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.
The Blue Band was originally called Bobby's Blue Band, which was an obvious tongue-in-cheek play on blues icon Bobby Blue Bland. The Blue Band is made up of six musicians who combine their talents into an eclectic blend of blues, soul, rock, and multiple rhythm tangents. The Blue Band includes founding member, bandleader Bob Dorr, who can also be credited with a 28-year radio stint at KUNI-FM. For his tenure at KUNI-FM, Bob Dorr was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in September of 2000. His unmistakable lead vocals with Molly Nova's five string electric violin and Jeff Petersen on guitar are some of the integral components of the Blue Band. Adding to the group's depth are Heathcliff Pattschull on tenor and alto sax, Bryce Janey, a second-generation Iowa bluesman (BillyLee Janey is his dad), on guitar, and Turk E. Krause on drums. On occasion the band is joined by guest musicians to create the multiple piece "big band" sound. These musicians include internationally recognized Telecaster guitar man Billy Lee Janey; one of Iowa's best Hammond organ players, Sam Salomone; one of Iowa's premier tenor saxophone players, Phillip Marlow; and organ player Tom Giblin.
The Blue Band plays between 125 and 175 dates a year. They can be found performing at live music venues, summer festivals, and private functions. The band generally travels within a 300 mile area of their home base in Eastern Iowa including Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Chicago. The band also performs in Summit County, CO, yearly and has performed at Bluestock International Convention & Festival in Memphis, TN.
Bob Dorr has been an influential member of the Eastern Iowa regional music scene for over two decades as the leader of the Blue Band and as host of many music shows on Public Radio KUNI-FM. Although Bob Dorr is talented on various instruments including the harmonica and percussion, his voice is his best instrument. Not only has Bob Dorr made his own band a success, but he has provided valuable exposure for other regional bands through the use of his highly popular radio show on KUNI-FM. Bob Dorr began his tenure at KUNI-FM in October of 1972 and has been entertaining listeners for 20 plus years with his solid knowledge of music history, and interviews with highly noted rock and blues figures.
Molly Nova, another founding member of the Blue Band, specializes on the five string electric violin, vocals, and bass guitar. Through the years she has retained her sense of style and maintains that she plays music that she believes in. Molly Nova grew up in Cedar Falls, IA, and started playing the violin in fourth grade and by the time she was in high school Molly Nova was playing the piano and guitar in addition to the violin. After high school Molly Nova started to improvise and play without guidelines. This style of playing has given Molly Nova the ability to leave her audience awe-struck. She wowed the 1997 and 1998 Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise Crowds sitting in with Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, and Chubby Carrier. Molly Nova has also jammed with the likes of Ann Rabson, Slim Jim Phantom, and Rev. Billy C. Wirtz. Throughout her career Molly Nova has held the concept of living each day to the fullest and proclaims that every night one should play like it may be their last.
Jeff Petersen, guitarist for the Blue Band, is one of the Eastern Iowa Region's best guitar players and a founding member of the Blue Band. He has performed for over 30 years, playing his favorite customized 1968 Gibson Flying V Guitar. Originally from Clinton, IA, Jeff Petersen started playing guitar at the age of 14 after hearing the Beatles, he was further influenced by B.B. King, the Allman Brothers, and Eric Clapton. After a ten year stint with the Headstone Band, Jeff Petersen helped institute the Blue Band, along side Bob Dorr and Molly Nova. He has played in a variety of venues and has opened for national acts such as Freddy King and Johnny Winter. Jeff Petersen claims that he's trying to find that one perfect note and takes life one day at a time. He explains that he doesn't care how big the crowd is, he just loves to play.
Drummer Turk E. Krause joined the Blue Band in 1997 and has added a new dimension to the band with his vocals. Turk E. Krause, who is a Cedar Rapids-area native, began playing the drums in second grade, following in his grandfather's footsteps. In fact, he plays the very drums inherited from his grandfather in 1969. Turk E. Krause has been a part of the music industry for over 20 years and has carried on the family tradition by playing with a variety of bands including, the Little Red Rooster Band with bandmates Bob Dorr and Molly Nova, and the Southern rock-sounding Headstone Band with bandmate Jeff Petersen. His performing philosophy revolves around entertaining the audience and bringing happiness and joy to the crowd. He tries to give every ounce of energy to the people and help the band be entertaining. He has always played and he is dedicated to it one 100 percent.
Guitarist and vocalist Bryce Janey joined the group in 1999. Bryce Janey grew up in the Cedar Rapids-based family band the Janeys and has been playing since he was 13 years old. His talented voice and raw guitar sound has captured national attention and has been featured in several trade publications. Since 1991, he has released four solo CDs; his solo endeavor Bare Wire met with rave reviews from many trade publications. He tries to come out and play like an original artist, not a carbon copy. He wants to play with simplicity and sound like an old master, rather than copying someone else.
Heathcliff Pattschull, tenor and alto sax for the Blue Band, comes from a strong family music heritage, which encouraged him to start playing the harmonica at eight years of age. He just started playing whatever he heard. If he could sing it, he could play it. All he knew was that it was fun and that he could do it naturally. Although he couldn't read written music, he could play by ear well enough to fool his teachers until high school. At that time he realized if he was to be an educated musician he needed to learn to read music. After professional lessons, he captured a few local and national classical performance competitions including awards from the National Association of Jazz Educators and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. It was during his college study of classical music that he realized his heart was not one hundred percent into his studies. With influences from John Lennon, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan, Heathcliff Pattschull joined a rock & roll band in 1992 and then became a member of the Blue Band in 1996. Heathcliff Pattschull feels that he is back at a place with the Blue Band, where he can play more like he did when he was a kid.
The Blue Band kicked off their 20th Anniversary Celebration with the release of their CD The Blue Band in November 2000. ~ Larry Belanger, Rovi