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"...writes strong songs" "...a fine performer with good vocal identity." "...played an immaculate set that was at times both exciting and enthusiastic."
MUSIC CONNECTION, LOS ANGELES

"...convincing with honest songs, a dense guitar sound and an emmaculate voice."
DER TAGES SPIEGEL, BERLIN

Wayne Grajeda began developing his soulful, melodic rock style in the music clubs and studios of his home town Los Angeles. It was there that, as a member of the band Eastfield Meadows, he signed a record contract with VMC Records and released his first album. Among the players on the sessions were Kent Henry, lead guitarist from Steppenwolf, and Mike Botts, famous for his drumming with Linda Rondstadt, among many others.

Wayne’s early travels led him to Munich, Germany. There he began performing in what would become countless clubs and concerts throughout the country and elsewhere in Europe. When he was offered the understudy part of Jesus in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar he headed for the then “walled city” of Berlin to join the cast. After the show lowered it’s final curtain he decided to stay. In Berlin, Wayne is still known as being a member of the Hagelbergers, a collection of singers, songwriters and musicians who acquired their name from the celebrated Hagelberger Strasse 14 address where many of it’s founding members once lived. These artists performed every night of the week until the wee hours of the morning during the most exciting years of the city’s music scene. In 1996, some of them, including Wayne, reunited to collaborate on an essentially “live in studio” album titled Hagelberger Street – Americans In Berlin. Recorded in Los Angeles, Toronto and Berlin, the CD and accompanying booklet containing personal Berlin stories written by each of the songwriters captures much of the intimate sound and atmosphere of that unique period.

The Berliner Morgenpost newspaper wrote: “HAGELBERGER STREET“ IS NOT ONLY A FINE COLLECTION OF HIGHLY-CRAFTED ACOUSTIC-SONGS, IT IS ALSO A DOCUMENT OF A TIME WHEN, BETWEEN TWILIGHT AND THE EARLY MORNING GREY, GREAT MUSIC RANG FROM SMALL STAGES.

It was in Berlin that Wayne teamed up with singer/songwriter Tom Cunningham and, armed with a demo they recorded together with then Donna Summer producer Pete Belotte, headed for England. One night Gerry Rafferty’s manager Ray Williams and legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer/writer Jerry Lieber saw Tom and Wayne perform in London. Within a month Williams and his partner Robert Wace, who had guided the career of the Kinks, became their managers. With their help Tom and Wayne formed a band and signed a world-wide recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. The group subsequently recorded an album with the Who’s producer, Shel Talmy. A single, written by Wayne titled Just Like In The Movies, was released. It seemed like the hard work had paid off and a dream had been realized but over time the members succumbed to the inner-band trials and tribulations suffered by so many music groups and they disbanded in disappointment.

In the mid-nineteen eighties Wayne returned to Los Angeles to begin a career in television but he never stopped performing and writing music. In subsequent years he collaborated with musicians who had played with the Doobie Brothers, David Bowie’s, Bonnie Raitt’s and Bruce Hornsby’s bands. He also composed music for a number of television programs.

Wayne also continued to work with music talents he had met in Berlin, most notably songwriter Robert Williams. They performed frequently in Los Angeles and Germany and recorded an album together called Staytrue Street. The title is another reference to their shared past. One of the favorite haunts of Berlin’s music denizens was a club called Go-In. Presenting acts every night of the week until at least four in the morning, Go-In was located at Bleibtreu Strasse 17. Bleibtreu can be loosely translated to mean “stay true”. Two of the album's songs, William’s Jumbo’s Clown Room and Grajeda’s Number 17 Staytrue Street, are surrealistic portraits in sound of the strange, seductive and beautiful inhabitants of Berlin’s renowned decadent nights, a world that, once drawn in, like so many others, neither artist could ever fully leave.

Der Tagespiegel newspaper wrote: THE DUO WAYNE GRAJEDA AND BOB WILLIAMS CONVINCE WITH BEAUTIFUL SONGS, A DENSE GUITAR SOUND AND IMMACULATE TWO VOICE HARMONIES”.

As if to prove the point, in 2002 Wayne returned to Berlin to live. He continues performing acoustic solo shows but is particularly excited about playing with a great new band comprised of gifted musicians from England and Germany. In 2006 Wayne released Chameleon, his latest solo CD, for the Bluebird Cafe Berlin label. " I chose the title because one of the album's songs is called Chameleon but also because my influences range from latin, rock and R&B to folk, jazz and even symphonic and "big band" music. The musical colors of these varying styles can be heard in my music."

Wayne also recently produced an album for fellow Hagelberger country/blues/folk songwriter, Francis Serafini. Meanwhile he continues to be fully active working in television, producing, writing and directing for both American and German production companies and networks.

 


Wayne Grajeda Band

 

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