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Memorial for Ron Thompson

Saturday, July 31 @ 6:00PM |
Doors 5:00PM

Event Info

The Empress Theatre in Vallejo will host a Memorial for Ron Thompson, Bay Area native and masterful blues artist on guitar, vocals, harmonica, piano, and mandolin. Ron was born in Oakland, CA, grew up in Newark before living in Marin Co, Madera, CA, and back to Hayward where he died on Feb 15, 2020, at 66 years old. Ron started playing blues as a teen in high school.

By his early twenties, he was playing in funky blues clubs in Oakland and North Richmond with Little Joe Blue, KC Douglas, Sonny Rhodes, and others. In the mid-70s Ron was backing most blues legends coming through the Bay Area, Jimmy Reed, Roy Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, Percy Mayfield, Snooky Pryor, James Cotton, Paul Butterfield, Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy McCracklin, Jimmy Rogers, BB King and more. Thompson joined John Lee Hooker’s Coast to Coast Band In 1976 and stayed 4 years, playing on Hooker’s LP “The Cream”. Ron eventually started Ron Thompson and the Resistors in 1980 and swept up many Bammie Awards.

Ron started playing with drummer Mick Fleetwood by the mid-80s, continuing that working relationship for 20 years. Over the next decade, Thompson recorded and played with Etta James, Chris Isaak, Mick Fleetwood, Tina Turner, Elvin Bishop, Carlos Santana, and many other prestigious names. Known for his frenetic energy onstage, Ron would perform two to three-hour sets without a break, wearing out many Resistor rhythm sections.

Thompson continued performing when he was battling diabetes and other health issues. All the musicians performing at this Memorial have worked and knew Ron for years. It is a labor of love for all of us.

Musicians are Texas Blues Queen Angela Strehli, Van Morrison’s longtime vocalist Lady Bianca, Rockaboogie pianist Mitch Woods, guitar greats Jr Watson, Steve Freund, Rusty Zinn, Franck Goldwasser, Harmonica men Gary Smith, Mark Hummel, Dave Earl, Neil Barnes, and Andy Santana, Red’s Blues, pianists Bob Welsh, Sid Morris and Kevin Zuffi, bassists Randy Bermudes, Henry Oden, AJ Joyce, drummers June Core, Gary Silva, Larry Vann, sax man Terry Hanck(Elvin Bishop) plus special SURPRISE guests!!

The Memorial /Benefit’s proceeds are going to Music Cares (the Grammy Foundation’s arm of musician support) and Alameda Food Bank.

Contact Mark Hummel-510-206-7930 for info or Carolyn Phillips at
Guidelines for Empress Lounge and Empress Theatre
Out of an abundance of caution and concern for our patrons and our community, we require ALL patrons attending a performance in the Lounge or Theatre to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Patrons will be required show proof of vaccination. If you are vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask, although a mask is encouraged.
Thank you for your cooperation.


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Empress Theatre

330 Virginia St, Vallejo CA 94590

Box Office

Tue – Sat, 11AM – 4PM