Steve Ditzell learned to play the blues on Chicago's south side. He has shared the stage with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Keith Richard, Robert Plant, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnnie Winter, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks and many more. Steve and his band Blue Lightning play rocking blues featuring both original and traditional songs with great intensity. Their style is steeped in the Delta, with rock and roll influences. The band lays down fat grooves while Steve piles on emotion-drenched guitar solos and passionate vocals. From Carnegie Hall to the corner bar, their goal has always been the same--that the good times roll for all.
MUSICAL BIOGRAPHY 1968/69 Played in the Blake Street Gut Band in New Haven Connecticut. 1972-4 Played with Goin' Home and Central Heating in Ithaca New York. 1975 Moved to Chicago and played with New Earth Rhythm Band. 1976 Joined the House band at Theresa's Lounge in the South Side of Chicago. Played with Sammy Lawhorn and other members of Muddy Water's Band. Jammed with Johnny Winter. 1977 Joined Fenton Robinson Band. Toured U.S. and Canada. Jammed with Otis Rush. Performed on Blues Stage at Chicago Fest. 1978 Played at Kingston Mines with Sonnyland Slim, Paul Butterfield, Hubert Sumlin and Sam Lay.. 1979 Joined Koko Taylor and the Blues Machine. Performed at several festivals which included Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin' Hopkins and Willie Dixon. Performed at Juneteenth Festival in Houston, Texas and Chicago Fest. Toured Mexico with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Son Seals, and Blind John Davis. Jammed with Willie Dixon and Little Brother Montgomery. 1980 Performed with Koko Taylor, opening for Bob Marley and the Wailers in Santa Cruz, California. Featured as lead guitarist with Big Mama Thornton and the Jay McShann Jazz Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Also played with Koko Taylor at Carnegie Hall. Recorded live with Koko Taylor at Chicago Fest. 1981-84 Played in Junior Wells and Buddy Guy Blues Band. Toured U.S.and Canada extensively. 1983 Played at Chicago Fest with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Played at Antone's in Austin, Texas; jammed with Brian Setzer, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Vaughan. Performed at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. 1985-88 Performed with The Kinks at the West End in Chicago. Performed with Junior Wells, James Cotton and others at Checkerboard Lounge, as well as with Keith Richard and Chuck Berry. Jammed with Tom Waits at Checkerboard Lounge. Performed with Robert Plant and Junior Wells at Checkerboard Lounge. 1989 Toured Brazil with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Etta James, Albert Collins and others. 1990 Performed at King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas with Junior Wells and Robert Junior Lockwood. 1991 Played Chicago Blues Fest with Junior Wells. 1992 Played Taste of Chicago with Junior Wells. 1993 Formed Blue Lightning Band. Guest guitarist with Junior Wells at Chicago Blues Fest. 1994 Performed at W.C. Handy Awards with Junior Wells. Played lead guitar, toured France and Switzerland with Junior Wells. Played for Junior Wells during California Van Morrison tour. Jammed with Lou Rawls at Jack's Sugar Shack in LA. Began studio work for Blue Lightning Band with guest artist Junior Wells. 1996 Played at annual RAMI Awards with Broadway Blues Band. Won Best of Rockford Award and played at On The Waterfront Festival with Blue Lightning Band. 1997 Nominated for RAMI Award. Performed at various venues in Chicago area. Performed at Rockford Blues Festival. Won Best of Rockford Award and played at On The Waterfront Festival with Blue Lightning Band. 1998 Nominated for RAMI Award. Performed at various venues in Chicago area. Performed at Rockford Blues Festival. 1999 Won Best of Rockford Award and played at On The Waterfront Festival with Blue Lightning Band. Nominated for RAMI Award. Opened for Guess Who at Brookfest. Featured performer at Chicago Blues Festival with Lee Oscar and Jr. Wells Alumni Band. Performed at Rockford Blues Festival with Blue Lightning Band. Special guest guitarist with Koko Taylor at Rockford Blues Festival. 2000 Featured performer at Groove Walk. Performed at Rockford Blues Festival. Played with Jody Noa at annual 4th of July Bash. Played with Brooze Brothers. Played with Dan Noland and Blues Plus. 2001 Featured performer at Groove Walk. Performed at Rockford Blues Festival. Played with Brooze Brothers band at House of Blues. 2002 Nominated for RAMI Award. Won Best of Rockford Award and played at On The Waterfront Festival with Blue Lightning Band. 2003 Nominated for RAMI Award. Played for Harley Davidson "Ride Home" at Kegel's Motorcyle Company. Toured with Liz Mandville Greeson. 2004 Played at Chicago Blues Exchange with Big Fun Blues Band and Liz Mandville Greeson. Nominated for RAMI Award. Recorded solo album "9 String Blues". 2005 Played at Mendelssohn Club with Bob Levis. Nominated for RAMI Award. Played at On The Waterfront Festival with Blue Lightning Band. Released "Blues For Theresa" CD. 2006 Played at Mendelssohn Club with Ann Rabson & Bob Levis. Nominated for RAMI Award.
Have you performed in front of an audience?
All shows are live!
Your musical influences
Band sounds like Cream meets ZZ Top with some Freddie King and Otis Rush.
What equipment do you use?
I make my own guitars. Use the Fender Hot Rod DeVille for my amp.
I also custom make guitars for others. It's all about the tone.