The KingmiXers - The Players

A great lineup of seasoned players; Gary Preston's fiery harmonica, piano and soulful vocals are supported by Anita Bonkowski's deep rhythmic grooves on bass and drums. It's all capped off by the tasty guitar stylings of David Schade, and for the 4 piece, with the steady and powerful bass playing of Rick Erickson. We perform as a duo, as a three piece, or a quartet. No matter the group size, you get humor, energy, and a surprisingly wide range of styles - from lonesome harmonica to polyrhythmic New Orleans grooves.

A triple threat on vocals, harmonica and keyboards, Gary Preston plays the blues with a strong personal style. He has performed from Toronto to Detroit to Vancouver, as well as in Europe and the Caribbean. Gary has been a regular headliner at the Vancouver Harmonica Blast, and instructor at the Hornby Island All Stars blues camp. He's also been featured in major festivals such as the Island MusicFest, Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Vancouver Island Blues Bash, Calgary International Blues Festival and the International Jazz Festival. Gary has also been heard nationally on CBC Radio, and has made numerous other appearances in recordings, jingles, television and radio. Over the years, Gary has shared the stage with Eric Burdon, James Cotton, Lee Oscar, Colin James, Dutch Mason, The Ray Charles Orchestra, Otis Rush, John Hammond, Mark DuFresne, and the late harmonica master, Junior Wells. It was Junior who, after hearing Gary play, pronounced him to be Good - Damn good!

Anita has worked nationally and internationally as a drummer, bassist, composer and arranger. Since earning her Masters Degree in Music, she has been playing in various blues bands, including performances with Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, David Vest, David Gogo, and Bill Johnson. Anita also freelances with jazz and R&B bands, musical theater, and show bands. Also a composer and arranger, Anita's pieces are heard on recordings and radio in Canada and the US. She has played numerous festivals and clubs across North America, Europe and the Caribbean. Anita has backed performers such as Johnny Mathis, Englebert Humperdink, The Moody Blues, and recently she performed in the house band for the David Foster Miracle Concert, playing with Sarah McLaughlin, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Ruben Studdard, and The Canadian Tenors.

A brilliant blues guitarist with a unique style, David began a life-long relationship with the blues after being exposed to the music of Elmore James in the 1960s. He was fortunate to have seen club gigs by many of the greatest generation of electric blues players like Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, Muddy Waters and countless other masters.
After a decade of playing professionally, David became obsessed with understanding the nature of the universe and dropped guitar for 25 years to study physics and astronomy, observe on many of the world's greatest telescopes, and work for Cambridge University and the University of Toronto before coming to Victoria. David is deeply indebted to Hugh Fraser for encouraging him to return to music which has been a joyous experience. The high point of his musical career was walking into Saint Nick's Jazz Pub on 149th St. and St. Nicholas in Harlem and being greeted by the band leader: "Hey man, did you bring your axe?". David believes that science and music are both, fundamentally, the act of people trying to explain the universe to one another.

Talented and versatile, Rick is gifted with great ears and lots of musical savvy. A bass player’s bass player, his groove on bass is wonderfully understated. Rick has played in Western Canada and across North America, and after a long stint with Bill Johnson’s band, is a great addition to The KingmiXers. Rick is also a noted recording engineer and producer, with a long list of credits and accomplishments, and the records on his wall to prove it.