The Pulsators Biography
The Pulsator’s brand of music has been described as California Gumbo, a spicy mix of hard driving
Rockin’ Rhythm and Blues, New Orleans style funk and Rock Steady Reggae with a steady dose of
the blues thrown in. That’s a mouth full, but it’s tasty and goes down easy.
Consisting of Johnny Campbell on vocals and drums, Doug McKenzie on guitar, Mick Whittington on
bass, Rick Clifford on saxophone, Glenn Sullivan on trumpet, and John Farey on keyboards. Their
repertoire features self-penned songs and a few of their favorites by other artists.
The Pulsators have a straightforward yet rough and tumble sound, one that blends many influences in
a way that is both unique and familiar. If you want to dance and party to a rootsy mixture of feel-good
music, the Pulsators are the band for you.
Here’s how fans describe the heart and soul of the band, starting with the Press Democrat:
“Although the band is best-known close to home, it’s still packing the house at venues all over the
North Bay and are admired for volunteering to play benefit shows whenever local musicians need
help with medical costs or other crises, the band enjoys a sterling reputation among leaders of the
local music scene.”
“This band continuously puts out quality music with the same commitment they had when they
started. With their dedication to making music that matters, combined with an infectious dance beat,
their audience will continue to grow” said Bill Bowker, adding “It's QUALITY that lasts. Good taste is
TIMELESS!”. There is a lot of truth in those words when it comes to the Pulsators' music.
“Great music and dedication to the community are why The Pulsators are such an enduring band”
said concert producer and music educator Jim “Mr. Music” Corbett. “It is not a simple task to keep a
band together for even five years, much less 30 years. Under the direction of Johnny Campbell, the
group not only survived, but thrived.”
“The Pulsators are cold blooded and throwin’ bricks, they’re a great band!” - Art Neville
The band has played extensively from California to Louisiana and is known for being a consistent and
dependable crowd pleaser. As Phil Reser said: “It’s a combination of ‘make your feet move’ dance
music, great grooves and soulful harmonies with a lot of tasteful horns.”
The Pulsators have repeatedly won local popularity polls, including three Press Democrat Readers’
With the success of their latest record “Let’s Play” the band is looking forward to working on a new
recording in the near future to accompany their previous releases: “The Pulsators”, “Here’s To You”,
“Can’t Put You Down” plus the Pulsators “LIVE” which proves that what many people say is true. The
Pulsators are one of the best live acts around.
Find the Pulsators at www.pulsators.com and let the good times roll
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. Karl passed away in September 2007. The Pulsators went without a keyboard player for a few years.
John Farey was recruited for his keyboard talents in 2014 after the Pulsators met him through his Bluestone Recording Studio.
The Pulsators cannot do their thing without support, so we must mention Phyllis Wendorf who helps with the merchandise and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
John Farey's Biography
Nationally known keyboardist, trombonist and singer John Farey grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Son of renowned traditional jazz trumpet player Everett Farey, he expresses a musical depth unique to a life long professional urban musician.
A career of recording, composing, performing and touring culminated in his recent founding of Bluestone Recording, a production, rehearsal and performance venue in Santa Rosa, CA.
John's credits include touring and recording with such artists as Sly and the Family Stone, Van Morrison, Zero, John Cipollina, Tom Johnston, Huey Lewis and many others. He has an extensive background in orchestral music as well as jazz and R&B. He released his own album "Lost At Sea" in 1985.
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.