Brand "X" Live
The best in live music for your dancing & listening pleasure > young & old!
 

Wayne Lealess    [aka “Smiley”]

 [keys, blues harp, guitar]

It was the late sixties, the Beatles and the British invasion were upon us. After taking boring piano lessons as a child for several years, Wayne heard his first live rock ‘n’ roll band with electric guitars, sax, and drums on his first day at high school  - essentially an “out of body experience”. With a portable record player, lots of 45s and LPs, and a beat-up used acoustic guitar bought by his dad for $9 at an auction sale, rock ‘n’ roll music and the guitar became a passion.

The piano was abandoned in favor of a succession of electric guitars - Kent, Hagstrom, Gibson Les Paul, and Gibson Melody Maker.

Roll forward 15 years, having played guitar in several rock bands (the Establishment, Murphy & the All Stars, Zachary Polk, Bluewater Fountain, and “Il Vagabondi” ) throughout high school, university, and early working years, including a one year stint travelling on the road, it was time to retire from music and focus on family and career. 

Roll forward another 15 years and the piano beckoned – the basic skills from those early lessons were rusty but intact. The blues harp also beckoned. Many hours in the basement playing keys and harp provided satisfying right brain relief from the stress and anxiety of the working world.

Then an unexpected phenomenon – baby boomers still wanted to listen to and play music – and the next generation loves the music of the boomer generation. Having not been on stage for 20+ years, Wayne summoned the courage one evening (with encouragement from friends) to play the blues harp at one of the open mic jams which had became popular at local venues. Wayne met and starting jamming the blues with Kenny and other local musicians at the historic Aardvark in downtown Windsor.  This led to joining and playing keys and harp with the regular Thursday night jam group at the “Vark” (many thanks to Kenny and Scott Webster for their gracious encouragement!) 

Roll forward a year or so - Kenny had the vision to add a second keyboard to Brand X Live to expand the group’s orchestral flexibility, and asked Wayne to join. Kenny then encouraged Wayne to pick up the guitar again to perform guitar based tunes (Stones, Creedance, etc).

In addition to the immense personal satisfaction we all enjoy from playing great music that people love to hear and dance to, and the comradery, the Brand X Live guys are honored to have the opportunity give back to the community by performing for many charitable events throughout the year.