Kingtones (Drums, vocals) (RIP) 1974-2008
Kingtones – 1974 to 2008 was the Crazy George/Big Jim Era. During these years, the Kingtones continued perfecting their dance beat and sound. With the strong drum beat provided by Crazy George and the Elvis like vocals sung by Big Jim, the Kingtones continued playing night clubs, private engagements, VFW Halls and Special Events.In 1990, the Kingtones played to a record crowd of over 300,000 people in WOOD Radio/Smith Industries “5th” of July Gala. In 1992, DISCoveries, a nationally renowned record collector’s magazine, published an exclusive 2 page article about the band. In 2003, WGVU-TV aired a documentary of the Kingtones. This program won the Aegis Award of Excellence in the Documentary Division. In 2006, the Kingtones received a “Certificate of Appreciation” from the Creston Memorial VFW Post 3023, in recognition of their outstanding support for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In November of 2007, the Kingtones played for their 50th Anniversary/Farewell Dance Party; Tickets for that event sold out in 7 hours. In June of 2010, the Kingtones were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. They were the top vote getter of all the groups nominated. From left to Right: Bruce Snoap (keyboards); Crazy George (drums); Big Jim (lead singer); Phil Roberts (guitar); Jay Fortier (bass).
When Don Henke, who served as the Kingtones’ booking agent, left the band, there was no one to do the job. It was also difficult to find a drummer that fit the Kingtones’ style and played the way that Phil Roberts wanted. Denny Newville, Louie Pane, and Dave Yeakey drummed with the band for varying periods of time before “Crazy George” Campbell came on the scene in 1974.
George Campbell was a conga player who had grown up in California before moving to Michigan. He had never played drums in his life before he bonded with the Kingtones. Despite the fact that Campbell was unskilled, Phil heard something that he liked, and George eventually learned to become the drummer that Phil wanted and a master at keeping time.