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The Pulsators Biographies



The Pulsators Biography

The Pulsators formed in 1989 and released four albums over the following years. Their first CD, titled THE PULSATORS, prompted a Northern California music magazine to call them “one killer band with irresistible hooks.” The Press Democrat’s “On Q” responded to the second album, HERE’S TO YOU, with “this firecracker band proves it’s only getting better with time,” adding that The Pulsators reproduce “the hyper essence of their live shows, along with a tight professional musicianship”. The Petaluma Argus-Courier wrote that the album “captures the easy groove and good-time feeling that the band projects.”

Rooted in the fertile musical soil of the Sonoma County Wine Country the Pulsators are a five piece band that plays its own brand of music. With a get-up-and-dance kind of orchestration, their music has been defined as a spicy blend of driving blues, New Orleans-funky R&B, rock steady reggae and rock-and-roll. Their music supports an ever-growing legion of faithful fans who keep coming back for more. The Pulsators have been voted a Sonoma County fan-favorite four times in reader's choice polls given by The Press Democrat. In the Bohemian's music poll they won best rock band in 2009.

On their home turf, The Pulsators play festivals, nightclubs and private events but have also toured extensively throughout the western United States and began collaborating with New Orleans music pioneer Art Neville, who signed a publishing deal with them and lent his talent to HERE’S TO YOU, by performing on three of the album’s tracks. Art invited the Pulsators to open for the Funky Meters at Tipitina’s in New Orleans; they later played numerous shows with the Neville Brothers in Louisiana and California, including the House of Blues in Hollywood and the Fillmore in San Francisco. The band has been billed with such artists as Bob Dylan, Little Feat, Chris Isaac, Al Green, Taj Mahal, The Radiators, Buddy Guy and B.B.King.

The Pulsators recently finished their much anticipated fourth CD, "LIVE!". The new album is filled with new Pulsators originals, a couple cover songs and live versions of Pulsators favorites that rock. It’s a combination of “make your feet move” dance music, great grooves and soulful harmonies with a lot of tasteful horns.

"I've been knowin' Johnny and these cats for a long time. They sound as good as me! I always knew they were cold blooded and throwin' bricks. Check these dude's out!" Art Neville NOLA

The Band:
Johnny Campbell- Singer-songwriter and drummer.
Douglas Ian McKenzie - Blues purest on guitar and percussion.
Mick Whittington - On bass and vocals and percussion.
Rick Clifford- St. Louis saxophonist, vocals and percussion.
Glenn Sulllivan- Big Guns on trumpet, vocals and percussion.



A Brief History of the Pulsators

The Pulsators formed in 1989 as a trio. This original trio consisted of Johnny Campbell on drums and vocal, Douglas Ian McKenzie on guitar and John "Schu" Schuster on bass and vocal. Their first live show was at the infamous (but now defunct) Cotati Cabaret. They soon added a fourth piece, Bill "the Doctor" Griffith on saxophone in late 1989. In mid 1990 John Schuster switched to 6 strings from 4 and the Pulsators became a quintet with the addition of Michael "Mick" Whittington. Last but certainly not least is Scott Gilroy on sound support.

The Pulsators have released their first CD first CD on Venture Beyond Records in May of '93. Having signed a publishing deal with Art Neville's (The Meters, Neville Bro.'s) Sweet Loraine Music the CD has done well locally and on tour routes.

As the tides turn so do the Pulsators. In '98 John Schuster and Bill "the Doctor" Griffith left the band. Soon after Rick Clifford (saxophone) and Steve Long (trumpet) joined the Pulsators. Steve Long decided to devote his time and money to helping out Native Americans and their casino efforts. Rick's good friend Glenn Sulivan stepped in an took his place.

The second CD was released January '99. Art Neville has contributed some inspiring keyboard parts.

Karl Marinko joined the Pulsators for the new millennium adding keyboards to the band. The Pulsators latest CD, "Can't Put You Down", is available now from this web site and at all the shows. It features our current lineup with Karl and the horn section. The Pulsators feel it's their best yet!

The Pulsators cannot do their thing without support, so we must mention Phyllis Wendorf who helps with the merchandise and Steve Edwards who helps Scott with sound and stage technicalities.

Tours include the west coast from Seattle to San Diego and the South from Texas to New Orleans. Currently they have a touring schedule locally (north San Francisco bay area) and the Western US.


Johnny Campbell's Biography     email Johnny johnny@pulsators.com

One of ten brothers and sisters in a boisterous household with artistic parents, Johnny Campbell started life out in the Los Angeles area. He fell in love with the drums at eight years old, and took to playing them immediately. He moved to Northern California as a teenager and started performing in bands around the Petaluma area. After finishing high school, song writing became a passion of his. Because of this, he began playing guitar to help his song writing. Heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones, and American roots music he played with various Bay Area blues bands. Shortly after he discovered reggae and Bob Marley's music. Around this time, the San Francisco punk scene began to explode along with Johnny's new band the Impostors. The Impostors were signed by San Francisco's influential 415 records where Johnny's song writing finally got exposure. They released two records and Johnny got a reputation as a professional drummer. He then played with other bay Area bands including the Tazmanian Devils. After a SF gig he was approached about auditioning for a band called Tiggi Clay who were signed to Motown records. He got the gig and recorded on a release by the famed label. (What the hell is white punk boy doing on Motown records?!). During this period he decided he wanted to pursue his song writing talents. While moonlighting with Teresa and the Brewers, he met Douglas McKenzie, they developed a friendship and began jamming with former Impostor John Schuster and and the seeds of the Pulsators were sewn.

Douglas Ian McKenzie's Short Biography     email Doug doug@pulsators.com

Douglas Ian McKenzie started playing guitar at age 13. Being the youngest of six, his older brothers had an influence on his musical exposure. Soon Chicago blues had a definite influence on his playing. Artist such as BB King, Otis Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Sonny Boy Williamson were a part of his musical diet. Of course there were other influences such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Allman Bros., and Yes.

In 1979 he joined his first club band with his sister Teresa on vocals. The band was short lived however because Douglas was off earning his Physics degree at Sonoma State University. The music couldn't wait and soon the Below Zero Blues Band was formed. The band played extensively in the north S.F. area backing local blues stars such as Sonny Rhodes and Mississippi Johnny Waters. Then in 1984 Below Zero disbanded and Teresa and the Brewers were formed. The Brewers developed a faithful following in the bay area. During one of their recording projects they hooked up with drummer Johnny Campbell. The Brewers disbanded in late '86 and Doug went on to form his own band, Rock House Blues Band. This band was relatively short lived Doug being more of a support artist than a band leader. Shortly after Johnny Campbell gave him a call and the Pulsators were born.

Michael "Mick" Whittington's Biography

"Mick" was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and moved often throughout the South and Mid West, he eventually settled in Napa, CA. During this transitional period Mick's mother played Fats Domino and Johnny Cash 45's. One night Mick's mom invited him to watch The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, which had quite an impact and started his musical career. He started playing guitar soon after his father taught him a few chords.
Mick began playing bass in 1978. Heavily influenced by the Beatles, he also learned many of their songs on guitar. His first professional band was Exxe, which played gigs with the Imposters, (Johnny Campbell's pre Pulsators band). Mick joined the Pulsators early on when John Schuster, switched from bass to guitar. He is also influenced by Led Zeppelin, the Who, Yes and early heavy metal bands such as UFO and early Scorpions. Before joining the Pulsators, a friend turned him on to the Neville Brothers, paving the way towards the Pulsators' musical influences. Mick full stage name is "Mick the Family Man Whittington", reason being is his son Anthony and daughter Elizabeth.

Rick Clifford's Biography     email Rick froggy@pulsators.com

Rick Clifford's first interest in music was sparked by playing guitar in church in 1966. His interest soon spread to saxophone in High School playing swing, jazz and Mo' town in St. Louis. For the next ten years Rick played with a big band featuring ball room dancing styles of music. He's interested in music therapy and utilizes his skills while working with emotionally disturbed children. Rick received his bachelors degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri in 1985.
Rick came to California in 1991 and made his home in Sonoma County. He immediately hooked up with local musicians including; Volker Strifler, Willie Jordan, Eric Lindell and Animal Farm. In 1997 Rick was asked to fill saxophone duties in the Pulsators. From his depth in tonal qualities, he is know as Froggy.

Glenn Sullivan's Biography

Glenn was born in San Francisco and moved to Sonoma, CA at the age of 5 years old. He started playing trumpet in the 4th grade in the school band. “My mom bought me a trumpet and GLENN would play and the dogs would howl!” GLENN fell in love with the trumpet and my mother saw an ad in the paper that there was a guy teaching trumpet in Terra Linda and his name was Joe Alessi, Sr. who played first chair with the SF Symphony. Glenn realized more and more in my life how truly blessed Glenn have been to study under this great musician. Glenn played in Junior High and High School in the Jazz Band and then to the JC to play with Dan Gelart and Bennett Freedman. All during high school, and until Glenn was in his early 20’s, Glenn played in a Rock Band called “The Web”. We played Uncle Charlie’s, New George’s, The Stone, and Mubahay Gardens among other places, once opened for Huey. The band broke up, as rock bands often do, and Glenn started playing with a local band called “Animal Farm”. There is where Glenn met saxophone master Richard “Froggy” Clifford. We even one “Band of the Year” in the early 90’s. This band featured Preston Booker and Brett Phoenix both on guitar. Playing with these three guys was a blast and Glenn learned a lot. After Animal Farm broke up, Rick Clifford invited me down on a Friday night to play with Willy Jordan’s band, “Case of the Willy’s”. Rick had been playing with them for quite some time. Great band, great people! There Glenn met guitar player and vocalist, Volker Striffler, extremely talented Carl Bowers on bass, and of course the great Willy Jordan, lead singer and drums. Glenn started playing with these guys around 1996 and still enjoying the occasional gig. Then, once again, the great Froggy invited me to play with another great band called “The Pulsators”. He had left Case of the Willy’s to make a full time commitment to this band. David Shrader another well known and great sax player in the area had taken his place. As luck would have it, they were in need of an emergency trumpet player for a couple of gigs. Glenn had been a fan of “The Pulsators’ for quite some time. To be able to play with them Glenn knew would be a great time. Playing with Johnny Campbell, Mick Whittington, Douglas Ian McKenzie, and of course my true blue buddy, Froggy, was the icing on my already well frosted cake. As luck often strikes twice, Glenn got the gig for good. The Pulsators have a sound like no other in this area. Johnny Campbell, band leader, is constantly coming up with original new music to keep us fresh. Our audience can’t keep from dancing with our funky beat!

Karl Marinko's Biography
Rest in Peace Karl, August 2nd, 1961 - September 27th, 2007

Karl's father was a Jazz organ and piano player. At seven years old Karl was inspired by him to start playing the keyboards. At 13 years of age, he joined a band in high school named "Sequoia" in Marin County, CA. He played with the band for years before moving to Oregon. There he played keyboards as a hired gun, playing with more bands than he can remember, blues, zydeco, R & B... and so on. Through this experience he gained exceptional versatility.
Five years ago Karl moved back to Marin County where he hooked up with local bands such as Red Eye, Walt the Dog and Eric Lindell. During a show he did with Red Eye he met the Pulsators who were looking for a keyboard player. Karl's main influences are the classic blues and jazz players, like Jimmy Smith, Joey D'Francesca and of course Art Neville from the Meters fame.

Scott Gilroy's Biography

Scott went to Junior High school with Johnny Campbell. They hooked up musically shortly thereafter in the Ozone Blues Band. After a short stint in the Air Force, Scott returned to Sonoma County to help the Impostors out with sound and technical support. Scott has also spent some time on the road with bands such as the Clash and Icicle Works. When he returned from the road he worked at Cotati's Famed Cabaret. He was one of the main tech's there, sound, stage, lights and so on. He still works with Bill Graham Presents and the Luther Burbank Center when not doing sound for the Pulsators.

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The Pulsators
P.O. Box 602
Petaluma, CA 94953
Booking Information: Johnny Campbell
Phone: 707.795-6789
or email: johnny@pulsators.com

©2003 The Pulsators