Debbie Lee - lead vocals
I was born on October 11th 1954, in Pontiac, Michigan. to a family of 8. I always liked music - even as a child. We had a big family and money was always tight so we found ways to earn money to buy, or do, special things. I mopped floors for my Aunt Bessie on Saturdays. By doing this I eanred enough money so I could go roller skating and buy 45 records. I still have my 45's, today.
As a teenager, when I was 14, I began baby-sitting for a family of musicans.
The father, Martie B., had heard me singing to myself. One night he said, "You've got a great voice and it is very unique.... You should be singing in a band." I was very shy and did not know how I could get up in front of people and sing (without fainting). But Martie took me under his wing and worked with me to get me over the shyness. He then gave me the stage name of "Debbie Lee". With his help and the help of "Gene Farris and the Ten High Drifters" I became a professional singer at age 15!
The "Ten High Band" played at a bar in Clarkston and they had jamborees every Sunday. This is where I started and I remember my first time on stage. I was so nervous I couldn't even look at the crowd. I forgot a couple of the words but no on one knew, except me. And then I heard the applause of the audience and I knew, right then and there, I wanted to be a singer for the rest of my life.
Martie's two sons and I formed my first band, called "Billy Joe and the Country Four" featuring Debbie Lee. We played weddings and private affairs until I was old enough to get in the bars. After I was old enough I joined Martie's band, called "Martie B. and the Rovers featuring Debbie Lee. I went on to form my own band called "Debbie Lee and Girl Power". Then I played with "CURLY WILLIAMS AND THE NIGHT HAWKS" at Savoy Lanes in Pontiac for a short time. I played all over Pontiac and Waterford doing bars, clubs, fair, private parties, and festicals. After three 3 years I met Jerry Foust and formed "Jerry and United Country featuring Debbie Lee..... (band names seemed to be long back then!). The 4 years we were together went by fast. I then left the band and went out on my own again.
I opened up for, and played with, Johnnie Rodriguez, Bobbie G. Rice, Red Sovine, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Sha Na Na. I moved to Riverside, California and played at the Moose Club and Eagle's CLubs througout Orange County. One of my greatest challenges was singing the National Anthem for a local baseball team in Riverside. I moved back to Michigan after two and-a-half years and I met up again with Jerry Foust. We then formed "The Snake River Band"; that was 23 years ago and I still sing lead in the band today. My most special memories were playing for the VietNam vets and Desert Storm Troops and when I sang "God Bless the USA", acapella, to the World War II vets in downtown Flint.
We also work very closely with MDA. For over 20 years we have done benefits, each year, and have now helped raise over $70,000.00. We also work with the "Make a Wish Foundation" and with a group of mentally challenged adults in Lapeer (for the last 10 years).
Some of my biggest influences were Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson. Most people say I sound like Patsy Cline. I played country music most of my life. Although I like all types of music I really wanted to play and sing oldies because it was in my heart and soul. When I heard songs by Connie Francis and Neil Sedaka, it would instantly bring back happy memories and my feet and hands would just start just start rockin'. I knew this was the type of music that I wanted to sing - I lived it, I felt it, and I loved it! Because of our love for the oldies the band decided to change it's format and name. After 23 years, the "The Snake River Band" became "Debbie Lee and the Kruizers" (playing oldies, classic rock, and blues). We are still playing clubs, bars, etc., but now we are doing classic car shows and having a ball!
A life long dream of mine is becoming a reality with the release of our first CD; titled "Kruizin' the Classics" it will be released in late 2004. It was recorded at Topaz Studio in Flushing, MI. and was produced by Norm Coleman. Thanks, Norm, for making my first recording experience an amazing one and something I'll never forget.
I have so many people to thank for getting me to where I am today. First there's God above who watches over me and has given me the talent to sing the music love. And then there was my mother, who was a big part of my dream to become a profesional singer. Through all the hard time we had as kids, and despite her medical troubles, she inspired me with her will and her fight to not give up and to always make the most out of a any situation. Her courage was amazing. Also there is my cousin Jenny, who always believed in me and my dream and gave me encourgement. Most improtantly she never let me stop believing in myself. Also thanks to my brother Scott who always encourages me and believes in me. There are my special girlfriends - TERRY, LORAINE, SUE, RUBY, & GAYLE. There are many other friends that have helped me along the way - too many to name. But you know who you are!!!
To the three wonderful guys who are the band...
Thank you and God bless you...