Bleu Lane was born, William Forrest Lane, on July 14th, 1950, in Asheville, North Carolina, as provided in the North Carolina Bureau Of Vital Statistics in the birth dates section. Born to Jo Sherrill Lane (B. San Antonio, TX, 6/20/1927, D. 01/28/2011, San Marcos, Texas) and James Stuart Lane (B. Milwaukee, WI, 6/6/1924, D. 03/06/2003 San Marcos, TX). Lane's father worked as a public relations specialist and was editor of the weekly plant paper, "The Enka Voice", in the plant then called Enka Rayon now called Enkatron while his family lived in Asheville.
While working there Lane's father, who had attended South West Texas State Teachers College & later South West Texas State University (where he met his future wife) during WWII at which time he became befriended by Lyndon Baines Johnson who was teaching at the school at that time. Shortly after moving to Asheville he began attending attending University Of North Carolina in Chapel Hill earning a Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1953. During the time that the Lane's lived in Asheville both Bleu and his sister, Deborah, were born.
In the Spring of 1957 Lane's father moved the family to 2115 8th Street in Monroe, Wisconsin, to work in a hardware store run by his sister Letitia's husband, John Barnes (Jack) Greiner, and to attend the University Of Wisconsin in Madison. During his stay in Monroe Lane's father earned Master's Degrees in English, History, and Education graduating in the Spring of 1961. He was hired by the Unified School District in Racine, Wisconsin, a small industrial town between Milwaukee and Chicago where he had grown up by Elizabeth Williams, who was the head of the Racine Unified School District's English Department. The family moved during the Summer of 1961 into 800 Blaine Boulevard in the West Racine section of town.
The family lived there while Lane's father taught at Washington Park High School and later moved to Sturtevant, a small community 7 miles west of Lake Michigan to 9605 Racine Avenue (now Durand) once Lane's father began to teach at Jerome I. Case High School. Lane attended Starbuck Junior High, Washington Park High School, and Jerome I. Case High School during the time that his family lived in Racine. He graduated from Washington Park High School in June of 1967.
Lane went into the USMC on June 16th, 1968 and served until June 23rd, 1970, on active duty receiving an Honorable Discharge from active duty the Marines. His service included attending OCS in Quantico & being assigned to an undercover sting shortly after graduation from OCS while assigned to duty with the Provost Marshall's Office that led to a drug ring being broken up with drugs coming from Viet Nam to Quantico and then to the Naval Federal Prison (NDC) in Portsmith, New Hampshire. Lane went to the prison as undercover agent where he was able to root out the parties involved in the drug smuggling. He was promoted to the rank of 1st Lt. before being sent overseas where upon his return he had advanced to the rank of Captain. All the while family and friends were led to believe that he had been stripped of all rank and sentenced to a prison term under the guise of Lane taking an unauthorized leave from the Marines. All the while he was developing skills as a undercover detective which he would find extremely helpful later on in his life. Lane was reactivated as a Marine during his time with the CIA and DEA in the early 1980's.
During his tour at his last duty station in Jacksonville, Florida, Lane started hanging around the west side of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach were he began to become involved in a number of lesser known bands that often opened for bands like, "The Second Coming" when they would perform in town, Tampa, or in Daytona Beach, Florida. He also hung around bands like , "The One Percent", at local clubs and soon became befriended by members of each these bands that later evolved into the, "The Allman Brothers Band", "Lynyrd Skynyrd", "Atlanta Rhythm Section", "Wet Willie", Grinderswitch", and "The Outlaws". This gave Lane a ground floor seat learning guitar first hand from each of these band's guitarists and bridging his playing from Blues to Southern Rock to Rock and later Hard Rock.
Lane rented an apartment in Atlanta in the Fall of 1970. Lane lived in the Atlanta area a number of times in his life with stops in LA (1971, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977) Orange County, California (1985 to 1987), Denver (1973, 1975), Phoenix (1982), Austin (1987-1988, 1990 to 1995, 1999 to 2000, 2003 to 2010), Chicago (1978), Cleveland (1978, 1979), Nashville (1978, 1979, 1980, 2009, 2010, 2011), Jacksonville (1969 to 1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1989 to 1990, 1995 to 1996), Memphis (1982 to 1985) and Chattanooga (1980-1981), before moving back to Texas after his father's death in 2003 from Atlanta (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1979 to 1981, 1982, 1987, 1996 to 1999, 2000 to 2003) and Kyle, Texas (2010 to present day). His main residence is near Asheville, North Carolina where he built a house on a mountain ridge overlooking the city. He has a homes in Franklin, Tennessee, just 20 minutes south of Nashville off I-65 where he works out of when the band is touring or recording and in Kyle, Texas, just minutes south of Austin, close to his sisters in San Marcos.
He has released three solo albums after minor releases with some of the lesser known bands before putting together, "Bill Lane & His Band Of Renegades", in 1999, in Austin, which later became, "Bleu Lane", in September of 2000 as a suggestion from Kansas front man, Steve Walsh, who co-produced a demo with Lane arranged by attorney and close friend, Howard Russell Osofsky, whose personal trainer, Chip Simone, put Osofsky together with Walsh. Chip Simone also covered the session as a photographer and the cover photos on the demo were shot by him.
The demo, "Bleu Lane" "Back In Blue", produced 4 songs including the autobiographical, "Church Of Da Blues". Lane used the demo to take to Nashville where he and Osofsky attempted to contact labels for releasing a full album. Lane was aided by Country Rock Icon, Mark Collie, who took Lane around Nashville making introductions for him. One of those introductions led to Tommy Spurlock who had played with, "The Flying Burrito Brothers", and had a recording studio in a train just beneath I-40 and I-65 in the train yard below Demonbruan and 12 Street South.
Nothing came originally from these trips from Atlanta to Nashville until Lane met with Butch Lowery at the Lowery Music Group in Atlanta who signed Lane to a publishing deal and gave him the money to record with Spurlock in Nashville. Over 4 days in early September in 2002 Lane brought together top session players and members of the band to record 12 songs over 36 hours and headed back to Atlanta with a full album of material. Lowery surprised buy the output had figured to have a great demo to shop labels but then decided instead to sign Lane to a recording contract with his in house label, Southern Tracks Records, and release the album.
The album released in 2003 has 12 songs including the salute to the bands Lane came to know in the title track, "Just Livin' My Rock & Roll Life". The album of 12 songs recorded in one take and mastered by Rodney Mills who had mixed many of the best Southern Rock albums of all time was expected to do very well.
This however was marred by Lane suffering a heart attack the week the album was released in May of 2003 and Lane's return to Austin to be near his mother and sisters in San Marcos in mid 2003 after suffering a mild stroke in July of 2003. Lane has gone through a number of surgeries beginning back in mid 2000 to counteract his degenerative spinal bone and disc disease as well as several more heart attacks in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010 which required Stent implants inside his heart in blocked arteries. After major back surgery in 2008 Lane had begun to become active again and reformed Bleu Lane with original members, Lee Coate on Bass Guitar, and a member of Bill Lane & His Band Of Renegades, guitarist John Ellard. Both of whom have since left the band leaving Lane to go searching for new members from both Jacksonville and Nashville in 2009 and early 2010. A new album was to be released some time in 2010 after nearing completion several times with Lane addressing health issues before it's completion. The two disc CD and DVD release titled, "There's Good Rockin' Tonight" (live DVD) and "Midnight Train To Memphis" 15 song CD finally became available 01/01/2013. Attempts to get the CD recorded in Austin, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, failed to produce the recording Lane was after and he finally went in to the studio on the QT in his new home near Asheville and finished recording in the studio he built in to the sub basement. The live DVD was shot during road shows in the Spring and Fall of 2012.
Lane continues to tour and is currently working with a band put together with Nashville, Jacksonville, and Asheville musicians along with permanent band members to fill in the Bleu Lane Band. He has continued to play major venues in the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, China, Australia, Africa, South America and on USO tours through to the current day. He still lives between Nashville, Asheville, and Austin, where he can often be found jamming in nearby clubs when not on tour.
Lane has 3 sisters, Sherrill Josephine Lane Baebler (B. 10/11/1945, San Marcos, Texas), Deborah Stuart Lane (B. Asheville, N.C., 10/13/1952), and Letitia Lucille Lane Tunnell (B. 03/03/1958, Monroe, Wisconsin). Lane's sisters currently live in San Marcos, Texas, on a 165 acre farm where his mother's family lived while his mother was growing up. Lane's father and mother moved to the farm after Lane's father retired from teaching in Racine in 1982. The farm which was in poor shape was restocked with cattle, horses, & chickens, and remodeled by his father and mother including the addition of an office, storage shed, and an apartment above the office as an out building close to the main farmhouse. This building has since been modified in to a 3 bedroom home that his sister, Letitia's children live in. Since his mother's death in 2011 his sister Letitia lives in the main farm house while sister's Deborah and Sherry live in new homes built on the farm in the 2000's. A metal barn was also added along with an addition to the main farm house where his mother resided until her death on January 28th, 2011.
During 1977 while on tour in California as a support act for Boston & The Outlaws his band, Carolina, left San Bernadino headed for Atlanta via I-10. Tired & weary from months of constant touring the band took motel rooms in a high desert town in Riverside County called Banning to get some rest. During the night Lane's room as well as the other band members were broken into by 4 Black police officers who beat & shot Lane along with several other band members. Lane's girlfriend as were other band members girlfriends and wives were raped and sodomized while they were left helplessly to do to anything to stop what was happening. They were later transported in to the desert outside of Palm Springs & left to die. The women were taken to a whore house in Calexico, Mexico, just across the Mexican border where they were kept on heroin & used until they expired from drug overdoes when they no longer could be useful to the whore house. Lane's girlfriend was given a "hot shot" (lethal dose of Heroin and Speed) the morning Lane came to recover her wioth special agents from the California Department Of Justice, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, and the DEA. She expired in his arms at a hospital across the Mexican border before she could get medical attention.
After the savage and brutal attack Lane led the group back to the highway (I-10) where they were discovered walking naked back towards Palm Springs and then were transported by the California Highway Patrol officers to a Palm Springs hospital (Frank Sinatra wing) for treatment from their injuries & were later released. Lane bought a car in Palm Springs the following day & returned to Banning where he began to take pictures & filmed the police officers who were caught on film running prostitutes, drugs, guns, & money from drug dealers including a carefully worked out arrangement with a local airfield where cargo planes dropped off drugs from South America & Mexico. The drugs were transported across the border of California & Arizona using an Indian Reservation bridge across the Colorado River where they could be distributed to Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
Lane took this information to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department & helped the undercover detectives with the investigations of the bad cops and DEA Agents. Lane joining the sheriff's department investigation helped lead officers to all of the bad cops (28 of 35 officers including the police chief in Banning) and more than 2,700 drug dealers across the USA who were arrested, prosecuted, and were given long prison sentences for their crimes including the murder of 17 drug dealers in California, more than 200 women who were turned over to white slavery rings in Mexico and were killed when they were of no further use. The 4 cops who had shot Lane and kidnapped his girlfriend resisted arrest & were shot during their attempted arrest along with 2 DEA agents who were involved with them when arrest warrants were served on them to affect their arrests. After testifying in most of these cases & working with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, California Department Of Justice, CIA, and the DEA which helped to find more of the bad DEA agents (32 agents) who were found & arrested, tried, convicted, & sentenced to long prison terms.
Lane then went after the Special Agent In Charge who had been running the drug smuggling operations across the US and South America who had fled California just days before the other agents were arrested. Carrying warrants from the State of California, Riverside County, and U. S. Department Of Justice, Lane chased the bad DEA agent to Winnipeg, Canada, before chasing him to Chicago, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, and later to the Caribbean while attached to the DEA on loan from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Lane found him on a large island where he had run to while in hiding from law enforcement and along with other DEA agents from the Internal Affairs Division of the DEA, went to affect the arrest of the DEA agent. While serving the warrants the rogue agent resisted arrest & was killed along with 9 of his associates.
Lane returned to Atlanta and began putting his life back together in the music business. After 4 years of going back and forth from performing to working on the cases in California and chasing down the rogue DEA agents he finally was free from the cases he was involved in. Lane rarely speaks about his experiences during this period of his life except to family or very close friends. When interviewed in 1988 in Austin by news reporter, Ed Mayberry, for KLBJ radio in Austin he said he would prefer to leave well enough alone and let things die off. Sadly the memories of that time still haunt him and drive his music. Later he confided to his father just before his death in March of 2003 that it was a living Hell to have gone through but expected his story one was of many from those who had lost their lives in Banning at the hands of the bad cops, drug dealers, and rogue DEA agents. He was grateful to have met & been helped by Riverside County Sheriff's Department detective, Winston Pingrey and others members of the Crimes Specific Unit along with the California Department of Justice and the DEA. To this day Lane returns to the graveyard where Joy Ochoa is interned every Summer to place flowers on her grave in Palm Springs where her family lived and are now buried next to her grave site.
Musical Equipment used by Bill "Bleu" Lane: Lane has used a number of guitars and amplifiers over the years once he began playing professionally. Going back to 1970 Lane was using a modified Fender Telecaster he had purchased from a pawn shop while in the Marines. He used a Fender Twin Reverb set on a Marshall Speaker cabinet once he joined several Jacksonville bands after his discharge from the Marines. He used a Fuzzface distortion pedal and a Maestro Echoplex along with a Maestro 3 stage Phase Shifter with a Maestro Volume pedal during this period. After the pickups fell out of the Fender Telecaster just before going on stage as the opening act on a bill with The Allman Brothers, the James Gang (featuring Joe Walsh) and Blues Image (featuring lead singer, Mike Pinera, who was the lead singer for Iron Butterfly) Duane Allman who had witnessed the pickups falling on the ground and gave Lane a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Dark Cherry Sunburst told him that he could keep it until he got the Fender Telecaster fixed. Lane had a Roadie break the neck off the guitar and had him throw the Telecaster in a dumpster after the show. The Gibson Les Paul Standard was used by Allman and was a guitar that had been owned by Blues Guitarist, Luther Tucker, for which Allman had traded Tucker a Red Gibson ES 335 which became Luther's main guitar until his death in 2002. Lane soon began using 100 watt Marshall Amplifiers modified with a master volume/preamp 12AX7 tube with Marshall speaker cabinets loaded with 30 Watt Celestion Speakers and changed his effects to MXR floor pedals (Distortion+, Dyna Comp, Flanger, Line Driver/Noise Gate, DOD Overdrive, Ibanez Analog Delay, Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah) to compliment his sound. He changed to Korg Professional Modular Effects floor pedal while living in Memphis.
During the 1970's Lane continued to buy a number of vintage Gibson Les Pauls and several Fender Stratocasters but mainly has used Gibson Les Pauls during his musical career while switching amplifiers to Peavey Mace Amplifiers with Black Widow speaker cabinets during the mid 1970's. While in Memphis Lane used a Peavey Renown set on a Marshall speaker cabinet with the Korg floor pedal effects. Lane also acquired a number of Gibson 1965 Firebird V guitars along with several 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG models during the late 1980's which he still uses in the studio. Lane has switched back to Marshall Amplifiers and speaker cabinets after using a rack mounted Peavey Classic 120/120 dual mono bloc tube 240 watt amplifier with Marshall 300 Watt speaker cabinets during the late 1980's. He has used Digi Tech rack mounted effects processors and preamps since 1991. His most recent acquisitions include a number of Gibson Custom Shop Les Pauls and highly modified Firebird V models. His stage rig consists of a rack mounted Marshall model 9200 amplifiers with Digi Tech rack mounted processors (GSP 21 Legend and GSP1101) and a Hafler Hellrazor T3 3 stage tube preamp. For smaller gigs Lane uses a hybrid Marshall 100 Watt JCM 900 combo amplifier and a Vox AC30 Top Boost amplifier with Celestion speakers.
References: North Carolina Bureau Of Vital Statistics, Wisconsin Bureau Of Vital Statistics, Texas Bureau Of Vital Statistics, The Racine Journal Times (newspaper), The San Marcos Record (newspaper), The Milwaukee Journal (newspaper), The Washington Park Beacon (high school newspaper), The Austin Chronicle (weekly Arts newspaper), KLBJ Radio (Austin), KWLS Radio (Atlanta), KLOS Radio (LA), Jacksonville Florida Times Union (newspaper), The Atlanta Journal Constitution (newspaper), LA Times (newspaper), Orange County Register (newspaper), My Space website link (www.myspace.com/bleulane), Noisehead web page link (www.noisehead.com/mypage/bleulane), & Reverb Nation web page link (www.reverbnation.com/bleulane). Additional information from, The Austin American Statesman (newspaper), Memphis Commercial Appeal (newspaper), and Creative Loafing (Atlanta Journal weekly Arts newspaper) from articles written about Bill Lane, The Carolina Band, The Renegade Band, Bill Lane's Renegade, Bill Lane and His Band Of Renegades and Bleu Lane.
This posting was edited by Clarence Connelly Lane. Original posts were made by Katherine Huff Lane and edited as needed to update information.