Kingfish (band)

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Kingfish performing in El Camino Park, Palo Alto, California, on June 8, 1975. Left to right: Barry Flast, Robbie Hoddinott, Bob Weir, Dave Torbert, Chris Herold, Matthew Kelly.
Kingfish performing in El Camino Park, Palo Alto, California, on June 8, 1975. Left to right: Barry Flast, Robbie Hoddinott, Bob Weir, Dave Torbert, Chris Herold, Matthew Kelly.
Background information
OriginSan Francisco, California
Years active1973 - present
LabelsRound Records
Relix Records
Phoenix Rising
Past membersMatthew Kelly
Dave Torbert
Robbie Hoddinott
Chris Herold
Mick Ward
Barry Flast
Bob Weir
David Merrill
Arthur Steinhorn
Bill Kreutzmann
Barry Sless
Steve Kimock
Ken Emerson
Steve Shive
Danny DeGennaro
Michael O'Neill
David Perper
Anna Rizzo
Garth Webber
Terry Baker
Red Davidson
Rahni Raines
Dave Margen
Fred Campbell
Darrell Verdusco
Ralph Kolarik
Bill Hendrickson
Mookie Siegal
Steve Evans
Mark Neilsen
Ron Eglit
Ralph Liberto
Michael White
Bob Thompson

Kingfish is an American rock band led by Matthew Kelly, a musician, singer, and songwriter who plays guitar and harmonica. Kelly co-founded Kingfish in 1973 with New Riders of the Purple Sage bass player Dave Torbert and fellow San Francisco Bay Area musicians Robbie Hoddinott (lead guitar), Chris Herold (drums), and Mick Ward (keyboards). Ward died in a car accident later that year, and was replaced by Barry Flast, another keyboardist from San Francisco.[1][2][3]

In 1974, Kingfish became more well known, and signed their first record contract, after Grateful Dead guitarist and singer Bob Weir, a long-time friend of Kelly's, joined the band.[4][5][6] (Kelly had previously been a guest musician on the Grateful Dead album Wake of the Flood.) Weir toured with Kingfish and was a band member on their first two albums, Kingfish and Live 'n' Kickin'. When the Dead started touring again in 1976, Weir left Kingfish, along with Hoddinott and Herold, who were then replaced by Michael O'Neill (lead guitar) and David Perper (drums). (Kelly later appeared on the Grateful Dead albums Shakedown Street and The Closing of Winterland, and on Weir's album Bobby and the Midnites. In 1995 he became a founding member of Weir's band Ratdog.[3])

The lineup of the band continued to change, with Kelly and Torbert remaining at the core. Then, in 1979 Torbert and Kelly parted ways and Torbert formed a new lineup with Danny "Rio" DeGennaro and Michael O'Neill on guitars and sharing lead vocals. Also part of that lineup were Steve Shive (drums) and Ralph Liberto (keyboards, saxophone). Dave Torbert died of a heart attack in 1982.[7]

Starting in 1984, Kingfish would regroup from time to time and go on tour with a gradually evolving lineup of musicians led by Matthew Kelly. In 1987, Kelly also released a solo album called A Wing and a Prayer.

In 1999 Kingfish released a new studio album, Sundown on the Forest, recorded over a period of several years with different combinations of musicians, including Bob Weir and a number of other Kingfish veterans.[8][9] Kelly had left RatDog the year before, and was living in Hawaii.[2] Kingfish did not perform live again until February 2022.

Danny DeGennaro was shot to death on December 28, 2011.[10][11] Robbie Hoddinott died of liver failure on March 6, 2017, one day before his 63rd birthday.[12][13]

On February 20, 2022, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, Kingfish performed their first live show since 1999, with a lineup of Michael O'Neill (guitar, vocals), Steve Shive (drums), Danny Galvano (keyboards, vocals), and Paul Baroli (bass, vocals).


Kingfish released the following albums:[1][14]


  1. ^ a b "Kingfish". Bay Area Bands. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Knight, Brian L. (1999). "Kingfishing for Blues: An Interview with Matthew Kelly". The Vermont Review. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Matthew Kelly: Kingfish Founder". Phoenix Rising. Archived from the original on June 17, 2004. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Grissim, John (November 6, 1975). "The Dead After a Decade: Allah Means Business". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Selvin, Joel (March 21, 2004). "Dead Man Talking". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  6. ^ Renner, Chip. "Kingfish: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Vineberg, Andy (January 10, 2012). "Drummer Recalls Glory Days with DeGennaro in Kingfish". Archived from the original on January 17, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Metzger, John (July 1999). "Kingfish: Sundown on the Forest". The Music Box. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  9. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Sundown on the Forest". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Jason, Nark (December 30, 2011). "Noted Local Guitarist Danny DeGennaro Found Shot Dead in Bucks Home". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  11. ^ Chris, Palmer (December 30, 2013). "How the Killers of Danny DeGennaro Were Found". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 1, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  12. ^ Cleaver, Kaanii Powell (March 7, 2017). "Grateful Dead Fans Mourn Death of Kingfish Guitarist Robbie Hoddinott". Inquisitr. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  13. ^ In memorial: Robbie Hoddinott founding member and lead guitarist of Kingfish passed away last night due to liver failure
  14. ^ "Kingfish Discography". Grateful Dead Family Discography. Retrieved March 8, 2017.