One knows, when performing Tom Waits, that you should bring everything but the kitchen sink. Check that: bring the sink too. And a plunger. The Bleeding Romeos bring the whole kitchen, the spare bedroom, and most of the cobweb-covered workshop.
John Wies' commanding stage presence, distinctive vocals, and inspired lyrical interpretation establish the mood. Performing locally as as a soloist and in various bands including his own Weiswald, he brings a serious yet playful Waits persona that elevates the troupe far above 'just another cover band'. John has also taken the stage in far-flung locales such as Japan and Korea, had his work showcased in Alaskan theatrical performances, and received air-play on Mongolian radio.
Jon Lanthier’s piano has been drinking, not him. With his sinister menagerie of keyboard parts, Jon transports listeners to the gin joints, street corners, and drunk-tanks of Tom Waits' milieu. Whether adding plaintive piano, ominous organ, or malicious marimba, his versatile accompaniment and improvisation inhabit the washed-up, broke-down core of Waits’ music. A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Jon has performed synth-pop, jazz standards, dive bar blues and more up and down the west coast. He was listening to Tom Waits before he knew what pasties were.
Lee Whalen assumes the guitar in this group, providing the jagged guitar parts and drunken jazz riffs that are the hallmark of many Waits songs. Lee has spent nearly two decades building a successful recording and performing career as a musician on both coasts. Through originally trained as a jazz musician, Lee has crossed genres, mangled metaphors, and amazed audiences of every stripe - he has shared the bandstand with theater orchestras, rock/blues/R&B groups, jazz and fusion ensembles, country-western outfits, Cajun/Zydeco rambles, and gypsy-jazz bands.
Jerry Anderson brings the bass to the party, swinging the low-end through the full Waits oeuvre from cabaret jazz to heartfelt blues to stadium rock n' roll. Jerry studied jazz and classical bass at Cornish before becoming a founding member of Seattle's neo-R&B band, Red Dress, in the 70's. He went on to play in bands around Seattle ranging from free-jazz to big band swing, blues and rock. In the 80's Jerry pickup up and moved to Paris, France where he lived for nearly 30 years and was a popular sideman in jazz combos all over the city. Back in Seattle he jumped on the opportunity to join the Bleeding Romeos project - Waits speaks directly to his soul.
Steve Smith rattles the drums in the group. A deft hand with sticks, brushes, or palms, he brings a deep understanding of multiple genres having performed in every dive bar from Port Angeles to Portland... twice. From Big Band to Blues Combo and back again, Steve swings with the best and keeps this unruly group from going completely off the rails.
"Skinny" Lynn Cook is on horns and assorted madness. An in-demand session, combo, and studio cat, he lays down the fat and slinky horns necessary to any proper Waits tune. A pedigreed performer, Lynn has pieced together horn sections for some of the most in-demand acts, variety shows, and events since the mid 80's - regional and national notables the likes of Sheldon Reynolds (EW&F), Elliot Easton (Cars), Nona Hendryx (Talking Heads), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Spike Edney (Queen), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Alan White & Chris Squire (YES), Tom Bowe (TOP), Simon Kirke (Bad Co.) and many others.