King Tonga (a.k.a. the Velvet Foghorn)
Don't mess with King Tonga, he's a big fella
Here, King Tonga "encourages" one of the guitar players to turn down
(a.k.a. the Velvet Foghorn) spent his formative years southwest of Chicago -- the home of the blues -- in one of the high and dry suburbs known as Los Alamos, NM. The mean, dusty streets of Los Alamos toughened King Tonga (we sometimes call him King or Tonga or, when he's been drinking, simply Sir). As a teenager he made his way selling nuclear secrets on the street corners. But he soon realized there was no future in this wayward life so he took a job as a roadie with a German Oompah band, made up of descendents of the German refugee scientists sent to Los Alamos to work on the Manhattan project. A strapping lad, Tonga had no problem carrying around large tubas and other brass instruments. But he yearned for more. It wasn't long before he graduated to duties as the sound man. Tragically, just as he felt his career was taking off, he developed an allergy to lederhosen which resulted in a very uncomfortable rash. Distraught, the King sold all of his leather pants, Alpine hats, and brass cleaner and headed east.
About the same time as Tonga arrived in the Philadelphia area, the Voodoo DeVille band realized that they were ready to take the next step. Their recording sessions using a Mr. Microphone
and a Malibu Barbie tape recorder seemed to somehow not to capture the subtle colorings and moods of their blues sound. The live sessions often degenerated into a race to see who could turn up the loudest the fastest. T-Bone bumped into King Tonga breathing nuclear fire on South Street in Philadelphia and the rest is history.
The King made a great leap forward in his musical career when he stepped up to the microphone one night while the boys were practicing. Needing a fuller sound from the backing vocals, Stacks called the King up to the mic to help out on "Flip, Flop & Fly" (T-Bone and the Delaware Destroyer were simply too shy and retiring to lend their vocal prowess to the mix). Living up to his size (we told you he's a big fella), the King filled the room with his booming voice, forever earning him the nickname "The Velvet Foghorn."