Just added to the #VWRadio 24/7 licensed library — it’s North Carolina’s Cliff Wheeler Band!
Cliff began his musical journey playing bass with the hard rock band Knight Heir in the early eighties. A converted guitarist he quickly learned to love the lights of the stage.Always the songwriter, Cliff wrote all of the lyrics and helped with the arrangements for this band’s original songs.
After a few years, Knight Heir had run its course.
Meanwhile, Cliff had met a guitarist new to the North Carolina music scene, Gary Orlando. The two joined forces to form MZ Dangerous and several bands thereafter including Synergy and again, Cliff wrote the lyrics and the two together wrote the arrangements. The bands including this combo thrived and found themselves opening for national acts passing through the region and garnering interest from record labels. In the early nineties Cliff and Gary began to go their separate ways musically and Cliff returned to his roots doing one man acoustic shows with Gary joining him occasionally.
The two reunited in the late nineties for a short run with Cliff’s newest musical venture “Twister”, an alt-country band. Although the band met with modest success at the club level and released an EP, it didn’t last and was likely ahead of its time.
Following the end of Twister and being a new husband and father, Cliff took a hiatus from performing and writing.
Meeting Robert Watson several years later changed that. Cliff and Robert began performing as Watson-Wheeler doing acoustic shows, which they still do today and also with a full band as The FOG Blues Band, a blues rock band covering Texas, Delta and Chicago Blues.
Cliff’s time with the FOG reignited the fire to write that had been smoldering for nearly a decade. In the summer of 2016 Cliff went into seclusion on Oak Island, North Carolina for ten days and the songs on Wheeler are the result.
Cliff’s son, Garrett, now plays bass for the band. Garret was born to play. As Cliff’s son, some of Garret’s first memories are listening to Twister rehearse in the family’s garage.
After experimenting with drums, guitar and keyboards, Garret found his true calling, bass. After learning the basics with a little input from his dad, he soon began wowing Cliff’s contemporaries at jams in the barn. His ability to improvise with much more seasoned musicians forecast the future.
After a couple of public shows with Cliff to gain stage experience, Garrett spread his wings and formed the award winning power trio Bad Sign.
Garret is currently studying music technology when not performing with the CWB.
The Cliff Wheeler Band is:
Cliff Wheeler – Lead Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Vocals
Gary Orlando – Lead Guitar
Garrett Wheeler – Bass Guitar
Johnny Handy – Drums