The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies
Nashville, Tennessee (U.S.A.) -1.991
After a 19-year hiatus, Nashville, Tennessee band The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies return to their beloved Spanish fans for a limited number of shows.
During the 90’s, the “Wheelies” were regulars on the festival circuit, with their classic southern sound and the powerful voice of their singer, Mike Farris. They released their debut album on Atlantic Records in 1994, which they followed up with the classic ‘Magnolia’, before turning to Capricorn Records to release ‘Big Wheel’, only to break up shortly after. The band toured with the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynrd, ZZ Top and many others and tasted the joys of commercial success with a handful of Top 10 songs, including “Boogie King” the theme song to the movie ‘Bride Of Chucky’. Their song “Groove Me” was included in the final episode of The Sopranos. But when push came to shove, the band had already decided to go their separate ways.
2022 saw the reunification of the original lineup with Farris, Rick White (guitar), Bob Watkins (guitar), Steve Burgess (bass) and Terry Thomas (drums) for a series of concerts in their native Nashville and in New York, a home away from home for the group, which all sold out. “The overwhelming response to those concerts was totally exhilarating. To have been away for so long and experience that level of fervor is a testament to the power of music, and we couldn’t have been more excited.”
Meanwhile, Mike Farris, had stayed in the public eye. In 2007 he was named Best New Emerging Artist by the Americana Music Association and won the Dove Award for his 2010 live album ‘Shout! Live’ in 2010, followed by the Grammy for best roots gospel album with ‘Shine For All The People’. During the pandemic he decided to bring back his former band’s songs for a series of acoustic performances streamed online in what he called the “Wheelie Wednesdays,” and it was an inspiration to get the group back together.
“I wasn’t motivated to go much further. But then we started losing a number of our fans, not directly to covid but due to various illnesses, and that affected me deeply. That inspired me, for the first time in many years, to consider doing a couple of final farewell concerts for all those who had been with us all these years, through the good times and the bad. I can’t wait to be back on stage in Spain with Rick, Bob, Steve and Terry playing these songs again and celebrating with our extended family.”
Having been asked about his decision to return to Spain, Farris states, “Coming back to Spain to play in front of our fans was always part of the plan. They’ve been a huge part of this band’s history, and mine personally, so there was no way we were going to miss out on celebrating our return with some of our biggest fans.”
Since his days as Wheelie, Farris has beaten his addictions and rehabilitated himself. A ‘musician’s musician.’ He has been recognized by fellow musicians such as Buddy Miller, who said of him, ” Mike Farris has enough heart, soul, and power to light up a city. He mixes up the elements and turns them into something new, beautiful, and uniquely his own.” And Mary Gauthier writes, ” He takes people who are hurting, who are broken, who think they are alone and through just the sound of his voice he lets them know that they’re not…that’s MAGIC.”