December 21, 1959 |
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Mem Shannon (born 21 December 1959, New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American blues musician. He is currently signed to Toronto's NorthernBlues Music. Shannon is a former taxi-cab driver turned bluesman.
Shannon played both clarinet and guitar by the age of fifteen, due to being inspired by his father's collection of blues records. However, he started seriously practicing only after seeing B.B. King.
After playing in local bands for several years and enjoying local success, his father died in 1981 and he took a job driving a cab in order to help his family pay bills. His music career was put on hold until 1990, when he began playing in local clubs at the urging of his former bassist.
In the early 1990s, he formed a group called Mem Shannon and the Membership, who won a spot playing at the 1991 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Later in 1991, they competed for a spot at the Long Beach Blues Festival, but lost in the final round of the talent contest and did not get to appear.
First album and beyond
In 1995, after being impressed with a demo tape that Shannon had recorded, Joe Boyd of Hannibal Records contacted Shannon, and his first album, A Cab Driver's Blues, was released on October 15, 1995. Songs on the album featured snippets of actual conversations from his customers while in the cab.
In April 1996, Shannon announced that he was giving up driving his cab in order to make playing music his full-time job.
Shannon appeared as himself in the 2008 novel, Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry. He is one of several real-world celebrities who are in the fictional town of Pine Deep when monsters attack. Other celebrities included Tom Savini, Jim O'Rear, Brinke Stevens, Ken Foree, Stephen Susco, Debbie Rochon, James Gunn and Joe Bob Briggs.  Shannon's name and persona appear coincidentally in two horror novels: Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox and the aforementioned Bad Moon Rising.
- A Cab Driver's Blues (1995)
- 2nd Blues Album (1997)
- Spend Some Time With Me (1999)
- Memphis in the Morning (2001)
- I'm From Phunkville (2005)
- Live: A Night at Tipitina's (2007)
- Mem Shannon on MSN Music
- Brett Milano, Mem Shannon, Review, OffBeat (magazine)|Offbeat Magazine, 26 August 2007
- Scott Jordan, "Mem Shannon's Spend Some Time With Me & Andy J. Forest", OffBeat (magazine)|Offbeat Magazine, 24 March 2005
- A Cab Driver's Blues on allmusic.com
- "Blues take cabbie off the meter", USA Today, Life Section, Page 7D, 1 May 1996
- 2002 awards page Blues.org/bluesmusicawards
- BC Books Interviews Author Jonathan Maberry
- Maberry, Jonathan. "Bad Moon Rising". Pinnacle Press, 2005.
- Horror Chronicles Features Debbie Rochon
- MTV Artist Focus On Tom Savini
- Horror Unlimited Ingrid Pitt Award - Debbie Rochon
- Discography of Mem Shannon
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