& The Shuffle Kings
Bugs Henderson was born in Palm Springs, California in 1944
and grew up in Tyler, Texas. Bugs had a burning desire to pick up the 6 string
at an early age. At the age of 6 he discovered his first love.
Beginning in the early 1960's he began working in a record
store in Tyler. As a teen he would sneak out of the house against his fathers
wishes just to catch live gigs in the local joints. Beginning his own band,
the Senors, at age 16 he soon joined his friend, Ronnie Weiss, in a band called
Mouse and the Traps. Mouse and the traps charted its first song, "Public
Execution" in 1966. This is where he earned his name "Bugs" over
shadowing his real name Buddy.
By the end of the decade, Bugs had made the transition from
fan to musician. As a house guitarist at the Robin Hood Studios, he played demo
sessions behind numerous performers from country to rock.
Bugs' signature sound was beginning to define itself during
the 1970s with the blues. Quoting Bugs, "Blues was all that mattered to
me; no other music was worth a damn." During this time, Bugs moved from
Tyler to Dallas in order to join the scene of a bar called The Cellar. "It's
really hard to explain that place," Henderson remembers. "It was this
big, black room. It had a red light that came on when the cops were coming in
and another light for fights. The waitresses wore just bras and panties, but
they ran three or four bands in a night and everybody played original music.
We usually didn't leave until four in the morning, and there was no other place
like it around. It was the best thing that happened to my music. I learned a
Henderson went from road crew to playing on stage opening for
artist such as the Allman Brothers, B.B King, and Leon Russell. Henderson described
it as "a big change."
Bugs and his love for blues got tired of the wide-open riff-oriented
rock, and friend Freddie King began pushing for Henderson to start his own band.
Bugs the assembled his first record "At Last" released on succession
of 11 albums spanning over four decades.
Success and it's spoils began wreaking havoc on Bugs' life
in the late 1970s. Bugs took time to take a good hard look at where his life
was and where it was going. "Most of the people I ran with are dead, in
jail, or just look terrible. With God's help and good friends, I came out of
it", Henderson says.
Bugs Henderson lives in East Texas with his wife Patty and
daughter Zoey. "The order of importance in his life is simple: Family,
Music, Career. Bugs explains, "I couldn't have the life I have now and
be a major star. Couldn't go to my kids' ball games. I wouldn't give up that
His mixture of searing blues, jazz ability, swing, funk, and
just about everything else that can be played on six strings; Bugs has the ability
to give his audience a sense of true musical art, applying enormous control
over his tone and coloration.
Bugs has played with guitar icons such as B.B. King, Eric
Clapton, Ted Nugent, James Barton and Stevie Ray Vaughn. To this day, Bugs'
guitar hangs in Hard Rock Cafe' in Dallas along side instruments donated by
Lee Ritenouer and Chet Atkins. "I tell people all the time that I know
you're supposed to stop and smell the roses as you go though life, but in my
case I stopped and moved into the garden."