In spite of his youth (it'll be years before he can buy the band a beer), Cannonball manages to hold his own whenever he plays with the band. T-Bone is trying to convince the lad not to go to college because he'll make all the money he needs as a blues sideman (yeah, right).
Cannonball was born southeast of Chicago -- the home of the blues -- in the mean streets of Gaithersburg, MD. Many people say Gaithersburg is a yuppie commuter community to Washington,DC. Not so (although the colors of one local gang was khaki). No, you grew up fast on those mean streets and Cannonball brings that experience to his music.
Many people think that Cannonball took his nickname in honor of the late, great sax man Julian "Cannonball" Adderly. While it would have been entirely appropriate to honor Cannonball Adderly in this way, our Cannonball's story was much different. To the surprise of many people, Cannonball started his musical career on the piano (true story). Though his piano instructor was teaching him the typical array of beginner songs like "Row Row Row Your Boat", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and "Mary Had A Little Lamb," Cannonball longed to play some boogie woogie. So he would sneak out the house each night and run down to the local bawdy house (okay, okay, we're starting to exaggerate a little here and it gets worse...). There, he would climb up to the old upright piano in the parlor and entertain the girls and their customers...er...I mean "guests" for hours with his boogie woogie piano.
Because of his youth and innocence, the girls looked out for Cannonball and did their best to shield him from the seamier side of their chosen profession. However it wasn't long before a new girl came on board and just seemed to take a real liking to young Cannonball. The other girls told her to stay away from him but after a while she just couldn't resist. So one night she sat down on the piano bench next to Cannonball, slid over real close and put her arm around the boy. Then she leaned up against him and whispered something into Cannonball's innocent ear. To this day, no one knows exactly what she said but whatever it was, it caused the boy to jump up off that piano bench and race back home. One of the girls remarked, "Man, that boy was moving so fast it looked like he'd been shot out of a cannon, just like a cannonball." And the name stuck. When questioned about it later, the young man wouldn't say what the new girl whispered to him. All would say was, "My mother told me that if I was sinful, I would turn to stone. Well, I felt like I was turning to stone, so I figured I better get the hell out of there!"
Needless to say, the whole experience soured Cannonball on the piano. So, he took up the saxophone (by way of the clarinet) and has never looked back.