The Chicago Kingsnakes were formed in 1983 by guitarist / vocalist James Anderson. He started playing guitar at the age of 8 on a homemade instrument crafted from a cigar box, rubber bands and thumb tacks. A lifelong resident of Chicago, he received his musical education on the city's infamous south side, where he played with the likes of guitar greats Buddy Guy, Albert King, Lefty Dizz and Son Seals, harmonica legends James Cotton and Junior Wells and the Queen of The Blues, Koko Taylor.
James has toured the nation with Sun, Chess, Bobbin, Stax and Malaco recording artist Little Milton. Anderson also played guitar with Johnny Twist's Rocka-Boogie Blues Band touring the midwest for three years.
In 1992 The Kingsnakes befriended Byther Smith. The band has become "Smitty's" road band and has accompanied him on tours of the United States, Finland, The Netherlands and Canada. In addition they played on Byther's "I'm A Mad Man" CD on the Bullseye record label. On June 5th 1994 Byther Smith andThe Kingsnakes performed on the Main Stage of the 11th Annual Chicago Bluesfest in Grant Park. This friendship is sustained by occasional tours with Byther.
The other musicians in the band have worked with such blues notables as Junior Wells, Cash McCall, Big Daddy Kinsey, Jimmy Witherspoon and more…
In 1998 The Kingsnakes released a CD of original material entitled "Blues Island" The Disk was very well received by the press. Blues Revue, a national blues magazine, called Blues Island "Essential". Chicagoan’s The Beat, said "Blues Island magnificently captures the live feel and heart of blues in a studio setting".
In 2003 The band released "Grass Roots" an unpluuged CD containing 9 original songs. Reviewer Craig Ruskey from Blues On Stage said, “This has all the elements of a Southern afternoon front porch jam and party with everything but the sound of friends whooping it up while dancing around the yard.” Kevin Toelle, from the Illinois Entertainer summed up the release, stating, “The whole affair is a fine downhome effort from a decidedly urban combo.”
In 2008 The band releases "Holiday Boogie" a CD of Holiday music featuring 4 original songs and 4 classic covers
The Kingsnakes are poised to carry the blues torch into the 21st century by staying true to the music's traditions as well as writing new material to reflect the blues of today and tomorrow.