Dave Lenef Music Bio

My Musical Journey

The first rule of musicianship is to show up.

I followed in my dad’s footsteps, playing trombone as a youngster. But it wasn’t long before I found rock and was soon taking guitar lessons in a Colorado accordion/guitar teaching studio.

When I was in junior high school, my parents bought me a black Harmony guitar, which soon led to garage bands where we covered The Doors, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, and such. In high school, I discovered the blues by way of Clapton, the Allman Brothers, and other inheritors of the genre. I didn’t understand Blues yet, but I was captivated by its simplicity and emotional power.

I majored in jazz guitar performance at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Then, after touring polyester jumpsuit lounges during the disco era, I became a founding member (guitarist and composer) of the seminal Chicago fusion band, Juggular.

Through the 90s, I performed with the TVK Orchestra, a Chicago-based special events and wedding band.

I took a break from music from about 2000-06. When I picked up the guitar again, I returned to one of my original musical passions — the blues. This led me to play with Elmore James Jr. and other Chicago blues artists, including the Blues Persuaders (a.k.a. 60-Grit) 2006-07 and Debra Jackson 2010-2012.

I enjoyed an eventful journey with The Hybrids, a funky blues/rock power trio, from 2013-2016, ending in a surprising and disappointing breakup just as were peaking and preparing to record our first EP. The band continues under drummer/singer, Chandler Marino.

Current Bands & Projects

  • Derrick “Suede” Stout (also The Turnstyles, DSO Orchestra)—A pop-rock enterprise that ranges from backroom duo to 15-piece orchestra.

Past Bands

  • The Hybrids—A gritty blues/funk/rock power trio.
  • The Red Apples—Acoustic ensemble with originals and covers in a fusion of Texas Cowboy and Eastern European genres (honest).
  • Juggular—All-original instrumental fusion-rock band that toured the midwest in the 1980s.
  • TVK Orchestra—Weddings and corporate events in the 1990s.
  • A myriad of musical projects that ran their course or broke down.

Music is an avocation for me, but a core passion and driving force in my life. I have tremendous admiration and respect for the hard working folks who make their living through the performance and teaching of music. Hat’s off!
—Dave Lenef