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RIVER WYLDE – River’s career began at the age of four singing gospel music with her parents and brothers in the Williams Family Band. When she was seven, her parents brought home a bass, a guitar, and a set of drums, decreeing that whoever learned to play a particular instrument would get to play it on stage. The drums chose River. For over fourteen years the Williams family toured the U.S. and Canada, playing venues from county fairs to Las Vegas.
Her drumming was influenced by Buddy Rich, Danny Saraphine, Gene Krupa, and later, Phil Collins. While she can play hard rock or soft jazz, fancy fills or backbeats, she is known in the music community as The Metronome for her ability to keep the beat on any song under any circumstances. Exposed to vocal styles from early 1920’s jazz, Broadway, torch singers and current R&B and Rock, River has the ability to sing any style from any era she wishes. And she does.
Growing up on the road with musical influences from two countries and seven decades, River developed a unique musical presence. She doesn’t just play and sing, she puts on a show. And you never know when she will pick up a different instrument and surprise you with her expertise.
River has been the leader, drummer, and lead vocalist for successful bands in Arkansas and Colorado. She moved to Oregon in 2007 to study music and sculpture at Portland State University and graduated with a BA in Art Studies. After performing with several bands in the Portland area, she founded Hot Flash Express in the spirit of her long-time motto "Chicks rock!"
JOANNE MEAD – Joanne has loved music all her life. She began teaching herself piano at age 4, and at the age of 6 she was given a ukulele for her birthday. She learned to play many songs until one day she left it in a chair and her father sat on it. Her father then bought her first acoustic guitar and she spent her teenage years playing and singing country music. Life happened, and after teaching school for 12 years and raising a family of five, she decided it was high time to fulfill her dream of being in a band. So, at the age of 65, she did just that.
Joanne has received instruction from nationally known bassists such as Chuck Rainey (one of the godfathers of bass), Mel Brown (The Tonight Show Band), Bobby Vega (Tower of Power), Anthony Wellington (Victor Wooten Band), and various other excellent local teachers in Portland. It shows!
Dubbed “Grandma Funk” by the local music community, Joanne is now 72 years old, an accomplished and creative bassist, and living her dream. In addition to playing bass and singing for Hot Flash Express, Joanne also plays bass for Drop Dead Red and sits in with several other bands in the area. Soon to be featured on OPB, Joanne’s motto is: It’s never too late to try something new! The enthusiasm that she brings to the stage is an inspiration to all. You won’t be able to stay in your seat.
KELLY DUNCAN – At the age of five, when her older brother was given piano lessons and Kelly was told she was too young, she stole her brother’s book and taught herself. This sense of self reliance led her to hold positions of resident organist at her church and school. Eventually she played piano, organ, and flute for local weddings and community theater performances.
Kelly studied music at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, while performing with small jazz ensembles, show bands, musical theater orchestras, and the Australian Army Reserve Band in and around Brisbane. Kelly played piano and led the house band aboard a small cruise line that ventured to several South Pacific islands.
In 1996, Kelly exercised her dual citizenship to take a walk-a-bout to the United States. She traveled around the country performing with independent groups, small musical theater productions, and accompanied the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C. Kelly moved to Portland in 2003 and joined a fun-loving local party band, The Renegade Monks.
Her world travels, musical education, and extensive experience show in uncontested keyboard artistry. But she also plays guitar, flute, and percussion and sings both lead and harmony for Hot Flash Express. Kelly brings infectious enthusiasm and excitement for live music to every stage performance.