Inducted into The National Heritage Foundation BLUES HALL OF FAME as “Great Blues Musician” & named Blues Ambassador to San Francisco.
RALPH J. GLEASON said,”MONICA DUPONT sings like MUDDY WATERS & looks like MARY TYLER-MOORE”. BUDDY GUY compared her to JUNIOR WELLS.
She started recording in 1961 at age 13 & retired from music in 1983. Recent popularity of her old recordings convinced her to return with a new, All Star CD “Life Goes On” in 2008. SHE IS NOW 63 YEARS OLD.
Complete Bio inside
* M O N I C A * D U P O N T *
Legendary Blues singer/guitar player/songwriter, MONICA DUPONT is back after a 25 year absence from music,at the age of 61,with a CD of diverse and thoroughly modern Blues. Her exceptional, original songs showcase her powerful,unique vocal style & the production is brilliant.
☆ SHORT ADDITION after the fact ☆
Monica’s first Television appearance was on KQED San Francisco, at the age of 8. At the age of 11, she won a local talent contest and appeared on Lucille Lando’s Teen Time, on KSAY radio, where she performed and was interviewed. When she was 13, she recorded her first record, “Oh” and recorded periodically throughout her teens , plus appearing on Bill Gordon’s Luau & then on AM San Francisco-both on ABC TV Channel 7.
Then she started a full blown career ~ here’s some of the story………
☆ WHO/WHAT/WHERE ☆
From the day , at age 17, when she walked into the personnel office of I. Magnin’s, (to get a part time job) & was discovered by a scout from New York advertising giant, McCann Erickson & signed to do Buick ads, which appeared in all top national magazines, (Please look in her pictures for 1966 Buick Riviera magazine ad),Monica Dupont,has had an extraordinary career.Her Blues years alone,found her leading bands including, Bobby Forte’, Johnny Heartsman , Luther Tucker , Mel Brown
Tom McFarland, Troyce Key, JJ Malone, Mike Wilhelm, Johnny Nitro, California Slim, Jonny Seven & many others. The infamous Stench Brothers were her rhythm section for several years & then,Artie Wafer and Greg Williams. Her main drummer was Ron Wilson, of ” The Surfaris”, responsible for the world famous drum solo on, “Wipeout”. He was replaced by prolific Larry Vann. Monica’s first drummer was brilliant percussionist, Kenneth Nash. Her regular”fill in” bass players were, Rocco Prestia, from,”Tower of Power”, “Starchild”, from “Confunkshun” & Willie Riser.Tim Kaihatsu, guitar & Jerry Olsen, drums (Charlie Musselwhite’s band) played for her when Musselwhite wasn’t working. She opened for Jimmy Witherspoon in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Palace Hotel on New Year’s Eve 1977 as vocalist, frontman & guitar player for the California Slim Band.
☆ THE FILLMORE DAYS 1968-1971☆
Bill Graham “made” her a lifetime free pass to the Fillmore Auditorium on a small brown grocery store bag he wrote, in big letters with a green crayon, “LET HER IN !”. She got to meet & become friends with people like , Howlin’ Wolf & his whole band, which included Hubert Sumlin & Otis Fiske, Buddy Guy and his band too, which included close friends, A.C. Reed plus Jack Myers.Buddy Guy once paid her guitar payment and grateful, she lent him her Martin D-28, named Luigi, so he could play an acoustic set at the Fillmore Auditorium. Then Albert King, James Cotton, Booker T+the MGs,(she became instant friends with Duck Dunn),all the Paul Butterfield band -the list is amazing and endless,it stretches from J.B Hutto to Tim Buckley. She used to stay at Carlos Santana’s house,when he had just started,”The Santana Blues Band” & jammed with him & the others regularly . Her best friend dated Elvin Bishop & she spent many evenings as the third wheel, taking taxis between the Fillmore+The Avalon Ballroom with them.She even went to Hollywood as guest of the Electric Flag when they recorded “A Long Time Comin” & stayed with Peter Tork of “The Monkees”. While there she got to hang outwith L.A. music royalty like Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison & David Crosby. At the time,she was dating Taj Mahal.She was a musician, not a groupie & had very few romantic relationships.A few years later she became the girlfriend of Buddy Miles,(who she’d known since the Electric Flag days), during the time when he was in the Jimi Hendrix band+she got to spend time with Jimi.Her manager then was Ron Polte who she was referred to by James Cotton’s manager, Gordon Kinnearly. Ron Polte’s company was named “Westpol”.They also managed The Quicksilver Messenger Service & included, Julius Karpen, who managed Janis Joplin and George Hunter who represented “The Sons of Champlin” & “The Charlatans” (Dan Hicks & Mike Wilhelm).Nick Gravenites another old friend from the Electric Flag days was part of the Westpol agency & wanted to produce her . He had just produced “One Toke Over the Line”by Brewer & Shipley , but timing was wrong for both of them,she had other projects & he had a deadline. Bugsy Maugh, called her, “Sunshine”, Mike Bloomfield called her,”Brigitte Bardot Jr.” – and best of all, Eric Clapton called her , ” The Big German “.
Nobody could have been better connected than Monica & this list is only partial.Her favorite moments?All of them! BUT jamming for 4 hours with JB Hutto,having Howlin’ Wolf take care of her when she was sick & then Phillip Wilson,Butterfield’s drummer rushing her to a hospital+actually carrying her up the steps,when she had pneumonia+was really weak & having Charles Wright ask her to re-record “Loveland” for him, (Monica on vocal)certainly stand out in her memories, along with her very close friendships with late Mayor George Moscone, Joe Williams, Leonard Feather,Tina Mayfield(Percy’s widow)& her last manager Jimmy Tolbert, Lester Young’s nephew who paired her with people like Sweets Edison.
She was also managed by Bumps Blackwell,who managed Little Richard & started a project with his brother , Otis Blackwell who wrote classics,”Don’t Be Cruel”, “Great Balls of Fire” & a lot more top Rock & Roll hits. Pete Welding nabbed her for Playboy Records to pair with Philip Walker.
Monica knew Al Bell, she knew Norman Winter, she knew anybody & everybody that she needed to know to have a career, but nobody could figure out HOW to package and produce Monica, who is distinctive and stands out as being an instantly recognizable singer , who does not at all look like she sounds . Others who tried , included Michael Dilbeck of Columbia Records and Johnny Otis who, would always invite her to his recording sessions for Shugi (studio A at Columbia) & when she showed up,he would tell her that he wanted to record Linda Lu with her. An old friend from Warner Brothers tried to turn her into a female John Cougar Mellencamp . Tom Donohue asked her to record ” It’s a Man’s World ” & bill herself as “The female James Brown, “The Captain”(before Tennille) told her that she should to do songs like”Hard Hearted Hanna”, lying on a piano at , “The Troubador” in LA , while he backed her up & call herself, ” The new Mae West “.
☆ YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT ? ☆
Her first recording career began in 1961 and continued until 1982 . For years she recorded only songs provided by producers who only gave her just the current Folk Songs & Rock&Roll,trying desperately to match her voice to her looks . They repeatedly tried to make her sing soprano, too high for her baritone voice, but she strained & would do it.She recorded songs like ” Peanut Butter “,” Monday, Monday “,” 500 Miles “,”Pleasant Street”, “Blowing in the Wind”, ” Once I Was”,”The House of The Rising Sun”and dozens of forgettable current hits & standards, all cover tunes. Nobody would allow her do her original material , in the correct key for her real voice & she was miserable.Then,when she married Bard Dupont in 1971 (bass player for, The Great Society, Grace Slick’s first band) she continued to record & started her performing career with him at famous
San Francisco club, “The Coffee Gallery”. They first formed a duo called Mr. & Mrs.Dupont & then later, a band with young Johnny Nitro on guitar.
☆ RECORDING ☆
In 1975 she decided she’d had enough of the senseless recording & she went out on her own to record some memorable Blues singles, including her 1975 original recording of, ” Too Much Alcoho l” dedicated to her old friend , JB Hutto , going on to record ,” The Blues In The Night “, ” Meet me at the Deluxe Inn ” ,” The Lord is Recalling Sinners “,” When I Woke up I was Over You”, then her all time classic single,”Try To Find Another Man” & a handful of other Blues 45s.Her aptly named last recording was ” Checkin’ Out ” , done in 1982 , with the Seabury brothers, members of the band, “Psychotic Pineapple” . She’s also to be found on several Blues compilation records,such as JSPs 1984 LP, “Going to California”, along
with Roy Brown,Don & Dewey,Model T Slim,Cleo Paige&Sugarcane Harris.
☆ BLUES CLUBS ☆
She then retreated to playing Blues clubs only and while on the thriving Oakland/San Francisco Blues scene, ( from 1975-1983 ) she was a top act. She consistently played all the of Blues clubs & smokey after hours juke joints and progressed to appearing at the top venues in the area. Monica , is especially proud of the fact that she got the chance to play twice at the world famous, original , ” Hungry i ” while it was still in San Francisco’s North Beach and that besides being touted regularly by BAM Magazine, they picked her band as the only Blues Band to join the top rockers to play at the historical, 1977 “Rock Against Racism”. Her band at the time consisted of her husband Bard on bass, notorious, “Fast Floyd” from Mink Deville on guitar- Roger Thompson,drums & MASTER of the chromatic harmonica , Red Archibald , then known as “Marin Red”,(who sadly passed away a week before he was to record on this new CD),
☆ THE MEL BROWN BAND ☆
In 1980, Monica&Bard divorced , when she left to form a band with the great Mel Brown and also start her own group. She was playing 4 to 6 nights a week in those days, because besides being a member of both bands , she was hired , regularly as a guitar player by many top Blues musicians.She was also known for her excellent,original material,being performed by many local bands,like “Lamb” & Janis Joplin. Almost every group in the area in need of fresh material would go and see Monica .
☆ BYE BYE BLUES ☆
In 1982, she naively signed away the rights to all her songs & soon she had to quit playing music completely , when she suffered a stroke at the height of her career, in January of 1983. Her good friend,Troyce Key, also the owner of “Eli’s Mile High Club” refused to let her stop.He really believed in Monica & he helped her through almost 8 months of grueling physical therapy to help her prepare for what was her last performance,The 1983 San Francisco Blues Festival, featuring Blues royalty, Willie Dixon , Albert King, Ron Thompson, Irma & Rufus Thomas, Duke Robillard, Joe Liggins & more. She wasn’t able to play her trademark guitar, JB (named after close friend JB Hutto) due to the severe damage the stroke had done to her hands,but managed to sing 2 songs.
” It was a great way to retire ! ” , she’s quoted as saying.
☆ HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD ☆
Monica, then moved to Hollywood & went on to be a seasoned Television writer & show host. She wrote screenplays, sitcoms, a miniseries about Ann Boleyn, 2 Milo King mysteries, a novel,”Tomorrow is Christmas Eve” a book of art+Beat poetry,”Don’t let that Whiskey drink your Dog” & then “Windows”,which sold exclusively at prestigious places like, The L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art and San Francisco’s City Lights book store. She can also be seen as “the blond”, doing small walk-on parts in about a dozen major motion pictures,like “Naked Gun, Tequila Sunrise, Wired, Sunset Beat, LA Stories, Wedlock & appearances on prime time TV .
☆ THE MUSIC IS BACK ☆
In October of 1998 , she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area , to peacefully live with her cat and her memories, BUT This was not to be , as in 2004, some of her early recordings were reissued on a CD called “Early Eighties” (HoddymanRecords). Monica started getting great reviews,massive worldwide airplay and fan letters & gifts in the mail.Encouraged by all of this,she called old friends that she hadn’t seen or spoken to in 25 – 30 years & asked them if they would record a new album with her and every one of them agreed eagerly. All the talented players on her new CD, added music out of love & respect for Monica & reviewers agree that some of them played better than ever before.The result is a beautiful and inspired musical gathering!
☆The new CD, “LIFE GOES ON” ☆
Monica wrote 7 of the 10 songs on the CD . Each song was chosen to specifically showcase the diversity of her music and of Blues music in general . They’re each very different , but they all share the Blues root.Peel away layers of each tune, (except for “The Man from New Orleans”- stripped down to 2 guitars playing classic Delta Blues) the rest are very standard Blues with a lively embellishment and fresh original approach.This is really a most enjoyable and exciting Blues CD ! ” Life Goes On “is being critically acclaimed as Monica Dupont’s finest work to date and we sure hope it gets your feet tapping & puts a big smile on your face !
See more: http://www.myspace.com/monicadupont