The Thrillbillyz was born into the mind of Kerry Hurley in Southern California in the very early 90’s. He found some great L.A. musicians and brought his concept to life. He wanted this band to be limitless and have no boundaries musically but he knew he wanted it to have soul and be real. After lots of rehearsals and quite a few shows Hurley took his crew into the recording studio and recorded a 4 song demo that would later become the inspiration to record a full length album. In 93 Hurley left the West Coast and moved back to his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia and immediately recruited some of the town’s best musicians to reform The Thrillbillyz on the East Coast. More rehearsals and shows for the next year and then in 94 the guys went into Flat Five Studios in Salem, VA under the guidance of their friend Tom Ohmsen, who was a master engineer and happened to own the studio (and is also a world-class mandolin player). After more than 6 months in the studio “Romp!” was released in the summer of 1995 to critical acclaim. The album contained the song Franklin County Moonshine which was about a part of our heritage in Southwest Virginia and was an instant hit!! The biggest Rock radio station in the area 96.3FM WROV came calling and wanted to put the song in regular rotation and The Thrillbillyz enjoyed 5 years of awesome shows, opening for some big national acts like Government Mule, Storyville, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Matchbox 20 and many more!!! Ironically, Hurley wound up becoming a DJ on WROV and hosted and produced The Blues Show for 12 years. The Thrillbillyz have been through several different incarnations through the years but the guys that recorded “Romp” and played the most with Hurley were: Mike Maycock on guitar, John Rice on bass, Geo Russell on drums and Paul Salvey on keyboards. Two of Hurley’s musician friends, Jody Ensor and (the late-great) Brad “Buster B” Jones were guests on the album. The album had a great version of Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf with Reggae verses and a heavy metal chorus. It had some Bluesy stuff and some funky stuff as well. In 2000 Hurley disbanded The Thrillbillyz and all the guys pursued other musical avenues. Hurley joined The Fat Daddy Band, Maycock and Rice joined a group called Stone Groove and Salvey took a slot in Bananas At Large. Hurley would front the award-winning Fat Daddy Band for 14 years and it went through a bunch of personnel changes in that time. The Fat Daddy Band was busy and Hurley traveled quite a bit. All over the mid-Atlantic and 2 tours to Texas and back. He put out 2 cd's with The Fat Daddy Band as well "From The Soul" in 2003 and "Live & Lovin' It!" in 2005. They won several Blues contests and went to Memphis and competed in the International Blues Challenge and made it to the finals (one of ten bands out of 150 from around the world). But in 2015 after several members retired from the music thing, Hurley was the last man standing. He decided that it was time for something new (but yet old), it was time to resurrect The Thrillbillyz!! So after a 17 year hiatus The Thrillbillyz were gonna Romp again!! After a call to Mike and John he knew that it was meant to be because they were both into it!! Geo Russell had moved back to his home state of Florida and Paul Salvey was busy with several other groups so the three original members decided to recruit local stalwart drummer and long-time Flat 5 session guy, Billy Foster. Billy had been the original drummer for local favorite Loud, Clanging' & Bangin' and he was exactly what they were looking for in a powerhouse drummer. They also recruited their friend Bradley Carr who had spent many years as a guitarist in another local favorite Red Weather. Bradley has a soulful finesse that really adds something special to the band. The guys are always rehearsing and trying to learn more. They are writing new originals and working on a new album. They are playing as many shows as possible and are excited about the re-birth and future of The Thrillbillyz!!!
Like many musicians, Kerry started singing and performing when he was a kid in church. At age 7 he was singing solos in front of the entire congregation. Then came piano lessons to learn to read and write music. He really loved to sing though, so he concentrated on his vocals. He performed all throughout his school years, all the way up through college at George Mason University. The West Coast was calling him so in 1988 on a wing and a prayer he heads out to L.A.!! He settles in and meets some great musicians and starts to perform out there, singing in some experimental Rock bands like Acid Clown. In 1991 he came up with the concept of The Thrillbillyz and, along with the help of some great musician friends, was able to record a four song demo at Fox Studios in Glendale, CA and work with the owner/engineer Rich Fox. In 1993 ,after several years of performing around Southern California as The Thrillbillyz, Hurley moves back to the East Coast and his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke definitely is not as big of a market as L.A. but it has a growing music scene and Hurley jumps in head first. He re-forms The Thrillbillyz and starts playing shows like crazy. He continues to write and work on his originals and in 1994 takes his band into Flat Five Studios in Salem, VA and records the album “Romp!” and releases it in 1995. Ten of the eleven songs are originals and a few of the songs (Franklin County Moonshine & Sweet Leaf) wind up on the radio in regular rotation on the area’s biggest Rock station 96.3 WROV. The band played constantly in support of it’s record and through it’s association with Buzz Casey and WROV was able to open up for quite a few National acts like Government Mule, Storyville, Foghat, Loverboy, Johnny Winter, Matchbox 20 and many more!!! The band played and enjoyed success for the next 5 years and in 2000 everyone went their own musical ways. Hurley had been singing on the side for a Blues band called Blues Hangover from 96 to 98 and traveled quite a bit with them, winning several Blues Contests and traveling to Memphis, TN in 97 to compete in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. It was a great learning experience. In 2001 Hurley wound up joining The Fat Daddy Band and that very same year went down and won the Charlotte Blues Society’s contest and in 2002 went to Memphis again to represent them at the IBC and made it to the finals (one of ten bands out of 150). For the next 14 years he would front that band and continue to write songs. He put out 2 cd’s with The Fat Daddy Band - “From The Soul”(2003) and “Live & Lovin’ It!”(2005).
Mike has 30+ years of guitar playing experience and believe me it shows!! He developed a love for music at an early age and has been a stalwart of the Southwest Virginia music scene for many years. He has spent a big chunk of his life working in a music store as a lead instructor and salesman, constantly around music and musicians. He continues to teach today with a roster of at least 20 students. He has also served on the faculty of Community High School in Roanoke, VA as Band Director and Auditorium Manager. He loves inspiring young people to pursue their musical endeavors. Mike has worked hard at his craft and is technically masterful as well as super creative. He is a true artist!! He has written and co-written many songs in his music career (several of which have made it onto the radio) and he always has some insight and something valuable to add to any songwriting session. It doesn’t matter whether he’s playing his 2001 Gretsch Anniversary Jr., his 1978 Gibson ES350T or his 2000 Fender Thinline Telecaster, he can make them all say exactly what his soul is feeling. He has studied recording and sound engineering and is proficient in computerized audio editing. He has been voted “Best Musician” in a City Magazine reader’s poll for his hometown of Roanoke, VA. Mike has lent his musical talents to many bands throughout his long career - Full Tilt, Dejavoodoo, Extraordinary Action, Laughing Sam’s Dice, Stickman, The Thomas Wilson Orchestra, Acoudos, The Mike Mitchell Band, Overbound, Active Ingredients, Stone Groove, Monkey Fuzz, Runaway Jones and of course The Thrillbillyz!!! Mike was guitarist for The Thrillbillyz from 1994 - 2000 and played guitar on their debut album “Romp” which was released in 1995. He played many great shows with The Thrillbillyz and opened for a lot of great national acts like Government Mule!! In January of 2017 his former bandmate Kerry Hurley called him up and asked if he would be interested in getting The Thrillbillyz back together. He said that he was definitely interested and would gladly take his old spot!! Thrillbilly 2 is back and the rest is musical history!!!
In his junior year of high school John picked up a guitar and fell in love with playing music, playing in basements or garages with his friends. While in college he joined his first serious band called CatDaddy, but when another guitar player joined the band and they wound up needing a bass player, he decided to give the bass a shot and the rest, as they say, is history. John brought his bass talents to The Thrillbillyz in 1994 and played on the band’s debut album “Romp”, which was released in 1995. Several of the songs including Franklin County Moonshine earned their way into regular rotation on local radio. The band played many great shows and opened for quite a few national artists over the next 5 years. In 2000 The Thrillbillyz disbanded and went their separate musical ways but always remained close friends. John joined a band called Stone Groove after The Thrillbillyz and continued to hone his bass skills with them for several years. After Stone Groove he kept his chops up by playing guitar and bass in his church. He later joined up with several buddies who were veteran musicians in a band called Wilson Cab Company and played quite a few shows. After drummer Thomas Wilson (the “Wilson” in Wilson Cab Company) passed away the rest of the guys decided that they would not go on without him so they called it quits. John continued to jam whenever he could. In January of 2017 Kerry Hurley (his old bandmate in The Thrillbillyz) called him up and asked if he wanted to get The Thrillbillyz back together, and well, you know what happened!! John, his wife Chrisi and their 3 children (Jacob, Dempsey and Abby) are all musicians with tastes that run from Rock to Marching Band to Punk. I guess you could say that the music is in the blood for the Rice family!! John says that his main influences musically are Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and the Allman Brothers.
Brett was born in Upstate New York but now resides in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia.
Upon being taken to a Memorial Day Parade at a very young age; Brett remembers the sensation of drums in his stomach…. That was it! He knew he would play drums – it was his calling. At age 7, his Dad snuck him into a Buddy Rich Show at the Top of The Plaza in Rochester N.Y. This event inspired Brett to study drums/percussion at Duke Spinners School, Hochstein’s School of Music and privately with Jazz musician, Steve Curry.
While in college, Brett performed with the Finger Lakes Wind Ensemble. Brett perfected many musical genres, including Jazz, Rock, Blues, and Classical.
After college Brett had the unique experience of touring in Europe, Canada and the States with the Chesterfield Kings. While with the Kings, Brett recorded with Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones), Johnny Thunders (NY Dolls), Kim Simmons (Savoy Brown), Richie Scarlet (Ace Frehley Comets, Mountain).
Brett has since settled in Roanoke with his family, he continues to work in a variety of venues to include Pit work with Showtimers Community Theater, Studio work, and recorded with Carter Robertson (Waylon Jennings) at Flat Five Studio. Brett’s most recent recordings include Late Night at Hamills (Charlie Hamill Group) and JB III (Johnathan Barker). Brett continues to play in the Bill Hoffman Jazz Quintet and most recently, Brett is involved with The Dark Side Project, a Pink Floyd Tribute Band. Brett enjoys staying busy and is excited to be playing with the Thrillbilliyz. John and Brett compliment each other perfectly and work together on every note & every beat to provide the band with top-notch rhythm and a solid foundation for the rest of the team to build on!!!
Bradley fell in love with music as a very young man and started filling the Roanoke Valley with the sound of his guitar in the late 70’s with a band called The Outlets (influenced by classic rock, punk and new wave). He and his musical pals influenced and inspired lots of budding musicians to start bands in junior high and high school. That Outlets played until the early 80’s. After that a band called The Naildrivers took shape and played from the early 80’s on into the nineties, playing Classic Rock and Blues in bars, frat houses and anywhere they could. After The Naildrivers broke up in the early 90’s, Bradley took his guitar playing skills to a project called Nice Day For Something, keeping with the Classic Rock and Blues theme. In the 90’s he also played in a band called Tribe Of Clouds and they played everything from homegrown Space Rock/Prog Rock to Funk, Jazz and Blues. But he stayed the busiest with a band called Red Weather, known for their funky originals and psychedelic rock jams. They put out a cd and played on the road continuously for years, playing over a thousand gigs from the early 90’s into the next millennium!! After Red Weather called it quits, Bradley kept busy with a band called The Rockerfellas, playing hundreds of acoustic and electric shows all over Virginia until 2015. In 2016 Bradley hooked up with John McBroom, his life-long friend and old bandmate in Red Weather, for a project called MC Broom & The Jam. They are a jam band that plays Grateful Dead and originals. In late February of 2017 Bradley got a call from an old musician friend Kerry Hurley who had had a band called The Thrillbillyz in the mid-nineties and had played many shows with Red Weather. Hurley wanted to know if he would be interested in playing guitar in the new Thrillbillyz and he (to Hurley’s delight) said that he would love to!!! Bradley started rehearsing with the band right away and fit right in!! He brings many years of expertise on the guitar and a great natural feel to the band and adds something invaluable, a lot of soul!!!
Timbo Sims has been rockin' the ivorys since he was a young man!! He honed his skills with Red Weather in the 90's!! He has played with several local/regional bands like Kerosene Willy and The Buck & Grizz Show!!! He now commands the helm for The Thrillbillyz!!!