Mac Arnold's biography
Mac Arnold’s first band included James Brown on piano. Mac moved to Chicago and Muddy Waters hired him on the spot. He toured and recorded with the Muddy Waters Band and recorded LPs with Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. Mac moved to Los Angeles and produced Soul Train with his friend Don Cornelius. He even played bass on the Sanford & Son television show when he wasn't playing bass for Otis Redding and B.B. King. He retired from show business to be an organic farmer. Mac is back with his own band and a "plate full" of CDs, building a new foundation in blues, soul and funk.
Mac Arnold must have known at an early age that his music career would read like a “Who’s who” of Blues/R&B Legends. His high school band “J Floyd & The Shamrocks” were often joined by none other than Macon, Georgia native, James Brown on piano. After deciding to pursue a professional music career, he joined the Charles Miller group until 1965 when he made the move to Chicago to work with recording artist/saxophonist A. C. Reed.
In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Elvin Bishop. The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin’ Wolfe, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker’s “live “album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann’s classic recording “The Blues is Where It’s At”.
After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed the Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70’s, he moved Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and LAFF RECORDS (Redd Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80”s.
Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at the age of ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy’s home-made guitar. Going back to his roots. Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, “Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues”. The band consists Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals, Max Hightower on harmonica and vocals, Rick Latham on drums, Mike Frost on bass, and Mac Arnold on vocals and Gas Can Guitars.
Mac & Muddy Waters
In 1965, having already established himself back home as a bass player, playing with J Floyd & the Shamrocks including James Brown on keyboard , Mac Arnold decided to take a trip to Chicago to check out the Blues scene. He was obviously impressed because 3 months later 24 year old Mac packed up and moved to the Windy City to expand his music career.
There was a club called the Green Bunny Club on 77 & Halstead St. where Mac first met his sax man A. C. Reed who at the time needed a bass player. Mac was the right man for the job. He played with A. C. for only a short time when he got a chance to play with Muddy Waters. He was asked to come out to Big John’s Grill on the North side to sit in with the band. Muddy asked him where he was from, he replied Greenville, South Carolina. Muddy said, “son, if you’re from the South, then you can play,” and so he did for over a year. His first gig with Muddy was the Mother Blues Club. The band’s line up was Luther Johnson on guitar, Sammy Lawhorn on guitar, Frances Clay on drums, Otis Spann on piano, Mac Arnold on bass, and Muddy on guitar and vocals. The band would play most of the show and Muddy would play the end of the set. On occasions he would play every other set. This gave the guys a chance to show their stuff. Mac had an edge because he’d been working with James Brown in the past. A lot of people had yet to of heard of James Brown, so when Mac would play that funky stuff, it got a lot of people’s attention. Mac is a left handed bass player, and if you listen to some of his early recordings, you will hear he was way ahead of his time.
The band would tour from the East to West Coast and all points in between. Cruisin’ in a 1965 Fleetwood Cadillac, all 7 band members and the driver (Bo) at the wheel. Bo could drive almost non-stop from St. Louis to San Francisco with no sleep. One time they were passing through Mississippi, they stopped in to see some of Muddy’s relatives and wound up doing a show. Mac stayed at Muddy’s cousin’s house, and when L. A. he would stay with George Smith and his family of 6 kids. While touring the West Coast, Mac fell in love with the California weather. When he returned to Chicago he told his wife “we’re moving.”
Mac talked to Muddy and told him he would give him time to find another bass player. Muddy wished him luck and said “he would have him back any time,” and that was it. Mac is one of the last surviving members of the Muddy Water’s era, and so Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues begins.
Austin Brashier – guitar & vocals
Austin Brashier, guitar slinger and vocalist, has
been exposed to music his whole life being from a
very musical family. But it was the exposure of
guitar monsters like Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray
Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Albert King that sent
him spiraling through the tunnel of Blues. Not
wasting any time, he took his band on the road
after high school, released a CD, and had the
privilege of opening for or playing with many
Blues greats such as B.B. King, Koko Taylor,
Tinsley Ellis, Derek Trucks, and Nappy Brown.
When he was not on the road, Austin was backing up many Blues artists traveling through town such as Eddie Kirkland, Phil Guy and the list goes on.
Max Hightower – harmonica
Max was born and raised in the Upstate of South Carolina. At age 12, he bought his first Blues cassette tape Muddy Mississippi Live by Muddy Waters. The new and mysterious sound of the music had such an immediate impact on him that in no time he was banging around on his Grandmother’s Silvertone guitar. However, it was the Harmonica that became his instrument of choice. He found that there was something almost spiritual about having an instrument that close to his voice, giving every breath meaning. That little 10 hole harp led him down the path of composing his own songs, playing the piano, bass, guitar, singing, teaching and producing. As one of the founding members of Plate Full O’ Blues, he now tours the USA, Canada and Europe. He has even shared the stage with some of the very legends that fueled his passion for the music, like Hubert Sumlin, Willie Smith, Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw and Leon Everette to name a few.
Rick Latham – drums
Rick Latham is among the rare breed of drummers that easily fits and moves within many musical styles and performing situations. Considered by many as a
Guru of Contemporary Drumming, Rick literally “wrote the book” when he penned his classic Advanced Funk Studies which Modern Drummer Magazine names among “The Top 25 Drum Books Ever Published”. This book, along with his Contemporary Drumset Techniques has shaped modern drumming, as we now know it. Rick earned his Bachelor Degree of Music from East Carolina University, where he studied with Harold Jones. He was then granted a Full
Scholarship - Teaching Assistantship to The University of North Texas, while working on his Masters in Percussion. The Southern born “Stickman” recently
relocating back to his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, has spent the past three decades as a member of the vibrant Los Angeles Music Scene, performing, touring and recorded with artists from all genres, such as QUINCY JONES, THE EDGAR WINTER BAND, JUICE NEWTON, CHUCK RAINEY, B.B. KING, DAVID FRIEDMAN, RICK DERRINGER, NEAL SCHON and PAT TRAVERS. His versatility has also been highlighted in television themes, jingles and motion picture soundtracks including FAST FORWARD, GONE IN 60 SECONDS, DAREDEVIL and SPIDERMAN. Along with performing with Mac Arnold, Rick stays busy as a much in demand session drummer, teaching privately and performing drum clinics and masterclasses around the globe. For Rick, “It’s All About The Groove.”
Mike Frost - bass
A native of Queens, New York, Frost studied under jazz legends
Pat Martino and Jaco Pastorius. More than a band leader and
bass player, he is a composer, studio musician, educator,
recording engineer and designer. If bass is the backbone of
music, Mike Frost is the heart and soul. Frost is clearly all
about that bass.
He is an authentic crossover musician with a deep melodic
pocket and soulful, creative solo approach, transitioning
seamlessly from jazz standards to Blues to funk to rock-n-roll,
incorporating a unique and imaginative interpretation to his
Mike has recorded and performed with a long list of high-profile musicians including Jesse Colin Young, Donald Vega, Wycliffe Gordon, Jorma Kaukonen, Jimmy Bruno, New York Voices, Delfeayo Marsalis, Greg Osby, Gregg Bissonette, Tommy Igoe, Chester Thompson, Esteban, The Gypsy Kings, David Mann,
Manolo Badrena, John Miceli, and Jules Radino ( BOC).
Mike has currently joined Blues legend Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues.
Mike proudly endorses Clifford Roi basses, Genzler Amplification, QSC, Hipshot, and Mogami Cable.