Richard Anaston Martinez – Vox
You may not have heard of Richard Anaston Martinez, but there might be a chance you know him if you’ve been around the N/W burbs music scene. Known as Rick Martinez, raised in Chicago and the northwest suburbs, Richard has music in his blood! Coming from a musical family where his Father plays piano/keys with four Big Bands and introduced Richard to music at a very young age when his Father was playing in Latin Jazz bands. He learned to sing from the likes of The Beatles, The Eagles, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Donovan, Boston, Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Yes, Rush and so many more and if you ask him what his favorite kind of music his response will be, “I like just about everything and say there’s a time and a place for every kind of music. It’s just that I make less time for certain kinds.” Having a large variety of musical influences to draw from, Richard can push his vocals in several directions.
Blue Line isn’t Rick’s first foray in to the blues. He played bass primarily and sang harmonies and back up vocals in a few blues/rock bands that were popular in the northwest burbs. Messin’ with Texas, with his brother Chuck (R.I.P.) and Dan Koby, was his favorite. If it weren’t for MwT, Rick may not have met Dan Koby or Mike Smith!
Rick uses an Audix OM7 Microphone and has a Shure SM58 as a back-up.
Mike Smith – Guitar, Backup Vox
Born and raised in the NW suburbs of Chicago, Mike has been playing guitar since the age of 13. His first encounter of musical instruments is when his father would play the spoons at family gatherings, and play harmonica on random occasions. But Mike really couldn’t help but be curious about his fathers guitar sitting in the basement. Growing up listening to hard rock, Mike has been influenced by guitarists such as Pete Townsend, Tony Iommi, Robbie Krieger, Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett and many others. Current musical influences range from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Duarte, Albert Collins, Albert King and a slew of local Chicagoland blues artists. Mike plays Fender Stratocasters through Orange amplification driven by Ibanez Tube Screamers and altered through Boss, DigiTech, MXR, Crybaby and Morpheus.
Dan Koby – Guitar
Born and raised in the NW suburbs of Chicago, Dan got involved with music in his early teens with influences from the 90’s grunge scene. Artists that were main influences were: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden among others. During this time he fell in love with the blues which turned him on to artists such as SRV, Albert Collins, Rory Gallagher, Albert King, B.B. King and Allman Brothers. Dan plays Gibson, Fender and Cort guitars through Fender amplification with FX from Ibanez, Radial, and DigiTech.
Mike Arnold – Bass, Backup Vox
Born and raised in the southern suburbs of Chicago, Michael picked up the bass freshman year of high school for jazz band after years of playing the clarinet. Once Michael got a taste of electric bass it was inevitable that blues and rock found it’s way into his soul. Michael’s early influences included everything from Stanley Clarke & Rufus Reed to Steve Harris, Stu Hamm and his all time favorite – Geddy Lee! Michael currently plays on a assortment of basses ranging from a Fender Jazz Geddy Lee Edition, Brawley 4 string, Ibanez 405, 1975 Gibson Ripper(modified), Washburn Bantam to a Michael Kelly Frettless Acoustic and uses Mark Bass tube amp and pedals through a Mark Bass bottom.
Jay Rocha – Drums
Jay has a pedigree that is long and varied. From being the current drummer for Animation, RUSH tribute, to an active member of the Live Band Karaoke family of musicians. He’s played his drums all over the Chicago area, in to Wisconsin for Summerfest as well! He’s a master of his art and the rest of us in Blue Line are glad to have him as our rhythm specialist!
ALL HAIL JAY! ALL HAIL JAY! ALL HAIL JAY!