The blues lost another great blues/rock guitar player when Alan Mirikitani died of a heart attack in the recording studio last weekend.

Alan was known to many as BB Chung King, and his band BB Chung King & The Screaming Buddaheads has been a fixture in the LA Area since the 1980s when I can remember first seeing them.

I’ve seen Alan many times as he has played Arcadia Blues Club which is fairly nearby.

Alan was always a gentleman to me and the other blues players in the area. When I was young and new to the area we used to converse via email periodically and he was always helpful.

Alan will surely be missed in my area, and likely in yours as well. So today I pay a tribute to Alan and if you’ve never heard his music I hope you’ll take some time to listen.




    95 replies to "RIP Alan Mirikitani"

    • Robert

      I have been a fan of this band for years. After another listen to the CD “I Wish That I Everything I Want” I think that is his best album. From the start to the finish it’s great. His singing, feel and direction flows freely. It’s one of those albums that you need to listen to over and over again. Great stuff!

    • Val Hicks

      Man I can’t believe it, never did get to see him at Arcadia Blues club when I lived in California. Blues had a baby has always been one of my favorite CD’s and Howlin at the Moon is always in my work truck. Definetly lost another great in my book. Thanks Alan you will be missed!

    • Byker Bob

      Just blown away. I first saw and heard Alan sometime in the late ’80s at an MMA event up in the valley. Later, we saw him at Rosie’s in Rosemead, and the Sunset Club in Sierra Madre. We were at the Sunset the Friday night after Stevie Ray passed away, and when Alan launched into “Sweet Home Chicago”, (the last song Stevie ever played) my lady and I had to dance to hide the fact that we were crying. I don’t know how he played and sang the song, because I could clearly see that there were tears coming down his face as well. Alan could stand up against anyone in a cutting contest, he was just that awesome a player. We were some of his fans, and he took the time to talk with us on several occasions, and one time, jumped down off the stage at Rosies, and played next to us while we were dancing to his version of “It’s All Over Now”. Thank God we got to see him and appreciate his music.. RIP, BB. God’s got another awesome guitarist in His band!

    • Jazzy Al

      Nice if these posts had dates. It’s now going on 8 months AFTER this amazing cat’s passing, and I ONLY JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT HIM/THEM!!! I HAD heard of them in passing, but now knowing if they were good or a ‘flash in the pan’, and never running across them in person, I never got into them or heard them on the radio that I can recall, until a local DJ played them on our local college station WFDU in Teaneck, NJ @ 89.1, and I thought, ‘this stuff is really cool’. So I LOOK THEM UP, and IMMEDIATELY SEE THAT ALAN ‘BB CHUNG KING’ had PASSED!!! SHOCK & PANGS of SADNESS, another musician/blues cat gone WAY TOO SOON, and younger than ME, even!! So sad, now I will never get to see the band w/Alan in the lineup, and wont get to see the greatness all here seem to be talking about. Sounds like he was as amazing a cat as he was a PLAYER!! RIP Alan. Say ‘Hi’ to Johnny and Jack (Bruce) for me. They just got there recently, too- so maybe you guys can JAM!!! RIP.

    • Mike Birbeck

      Damn, I was running through my CD collection today and came across two BB Chung King and the Buddaheads albums I bought online here in the UK and decided to catch up on the band only to read, belatedly, of this great blues man’s passing at such a young age. Truly sorry that I never got to hear Alan and the band play live. Alan, like the late great John Campbell gone way too early but their music will never die. RIP.

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    • Joyce

      A guy named Gary Hatfield whom I knew many moons ago played me “Softly I fall” in 1977 I’ll never forget how amazing the words were and how Great the melody was. RIP Angel your music was great and the melody a great love song I’ll never forget .

      • Joyce

        1997 was the year not 1977

    • Dominik Lubomirski

      I just found their music, so it saddens me greatly to hear of his passing. Love their music. Gonna miss more.

    • Oak View Jeff

      I was shocked and saddened to hear of Alan’s passing away today. We first saw him at Yolies in Ventura, where he did several gigs over the past few years. One of my favorites is “In the mood for love”. We always enjoyed talking with him between sets and buying his CD at the shows. RIP Alan, we will always love you and the music you left for us.

    • JimmyJ

      I worked at the Marina Del Rey Red Onion in L.A. from 1986 to 1989 and I had the honor of watching Alan and his band at the time, Liquid Blue, play 1 week runs every 5 weeks. They rotated amongst 4 locations and they were spectacular. They played Top 40, some Jazz, some Blues and I got to watch them warm up and do 1-off jams. Alan was an amazing player and went on to do his own thing and make his mark in the Blues world. He was also one hell of a nice guy, and truly humble. I’ll never forget the day I brought him a VHS tape of Steve Vai to borrow. Five weeks later he brought that tape back to me, plugged in and made his Strat Whammy SCREAM!! He always played just a tad more aggressively after that and often would throw in a few extra notes for me during a jam. 🙂 Alan, you are and will be missed. Say hi to BB, Jimi and Stevie Ray. See ya down the road!!

    • GUS (uk}

      HE SOUNDS BRILLIANT,I WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN HIM PERHAPS YOU COULD DO A VIDEO OF HIS MUSIC RIP

    • GUS (uk}

      he sounds brilliant, sorry to here of your loss, i wish i could have seen him rip.

    • TDiers

      Griff, sorry for your loss. The world did lose a great blues/rock player. It saddens me that I hadn’t heard of him prior to this. Thank you for introducing us to his great talent and music!

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    • Joey Pafumi

      Such a shock to loose such a talented man & friend.We made some amazing music together and it will live on.He will always be one of the best of the best!

    • Gaston Collin

      great lost!God bless!

    • Janet Morrison Minto

      My husband Chris Minto who was one of Alan’s producers over the years and I want to express how shocked and saddened we were at the news of Alan’s too-early passing. He was such a gifted artist, Chris had such a wonderful experience with him in the studio. He will be sadly missed by his many fans and admirers.

    • James

      Wow! Indeed a great performer, a great sound, and a great inspiration. I’m sure he will indeed be missed by those budding guitarists like my self. I’ve never heard of him but I intend to hear whatever I can in future. Thanks for that Griff. I think the saddest part is that his work has come to an end.
      James.
      Victoria, Australia.

    • Kevin Romanis

      Wow Griff what awesome music, ya know down here in Australia we have a massive lack of good blues music. This guy is someone I am definitely guns get into, it’s very sad that being so far away from an electric land of blues why is it we only here about these type of guys after they have passed. But hey thanks for sharing Griff my thoughts and prayers are with you brother. Cheers!!!

    • Stevie Rey

      Yes, I would also like to have the tabs and chords to the rhythm part of “Fire and Gasoline”. This guy has (had) a very cool sound. I love going to see artists like this in small venues.

    • Mike H

      Wow hell Griff what can i tell ya – amazin – wish I could have listened to him before he passed – thanks mate. If you have any other bluesmen/unknowns that you feel we should know about please show us before they pass on. xx

    • Strobey

      Love his sound and the class of this memorial. RIP.

    • Al Danino

      So sad when this happens may the good Lord rest his soul. Never heard of him until now and he touches you man.

    • Grandpajams

      What a terrible loss.living here in the central valley we don`t get to hear some of talent from down south. great guitarist,thanks for sharing Griff.

    • Robert

      Griff, can you post a video or at least the tab to that rhythm riff
      that Alan plays on the song fire and gasoline.

    • Sam Hill

      You got anymore great axemen hiding out on the shakey side? How about sharing before they take the dirt nap.

    • DH

      A wonderfully soulful BLUES Master. The music scene has lost a very talented artist. So thankful for your SHARE re: Alan Mirikitani, Griff. Sorry for your loss!

    • Joe

      The man made good blues
      salute

    • Julie F.

      Wow! what a fantastic guitar player. No I had not heard of him. I wish I would have. Thanks for sharing about him Griff.

    • David Fortney

      So sad. Been a fan of the Buddahheads for around 3 years and looking forward to the new studio album…thanks for letting us know,Griff. RIP Alan.

    • Butch

      Thanks for sharing Griff. One of the things I really love about you is that you often post links to fantastic musicians that for whatever reason might not be in the mainstream or top of mind of the general public. But you help them by unselfishly introducing them to us via your posts. Please keep it going…and lets encourage everyone to support these musicians while they are still with us…I just bought his album Go for Broke off iTunes. RIP Alan / BB Chung.

      • Joey Pafumi

        We had a blast making that CD Butch! You will enjoy that CD to the fullest extent!

    • IamCanadian

      Thankyou very much for this tribute. What an awesome musician. He seemed like he loved what he did. Thank you for sharing his music with us, Mr. Hamlin.

    • Fred

      Great guy and a fantastic musician. 60 is too young to pass. Alan will be missed.

    • Keith

      I saw BB Chung a couple of times at the Simi Valley Blues Festival and thought he was great player. I’m sorry to hear that he has left us. The Ventura Blues Society
      and his followers will miss him.
      Keith (Scotland)

      • Roxie

        There are no words to describe the sadness in our hearts, from his passing, throughout our society. He played a huge roll from the very beginning. He was more than a blues artist, he is a part of our family. He will forever be greatly missed, but never forgotten. RIP BB.

    • Shane LeRoy

      You’re fortunate Grif to have known Alan Mirikitani. Had it not been you I really would’t have known about him. Alan sounds just natural & that’s a quality of a a good musician.He plays well & there’s no show off element in him.I’ll try to get his CD’s if it’s possible.
      Thank you Alan Mirikitani for giving us the gift of your ‘blues’ & RIP.
      Shane

    • BAS

      Sadly another bluesman has been called up!!
      Sooner than those of us left behind would like.
      Never heard of him till seeing this but from what listened too I can bet every show he did had people rocking!!!
      RIP ALAN!!
      Sorry for the loss to his family and friends..May God give you strength in this difficult time.

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    • LouisVA

      I’m listening right now to ‘When the Blues Catch up with You’ and it is smooth and precise like one of my favorite artists, Peter Green of the original Fleetwood Mac. The Mac is not to be confused with ‘Meatwood Slack,’their name after Green left !

    • "JD" Gemmell

      Never had the privilege of seeing or meeting Alan but thanks to your tribute Griff, I could hear and see what a great talent he was – and an inspiration to a beginner blues player like myself.

    • Mark Arnold

      Sadly another bluesman leaves us but he left a great body of work to listen to thanks Griff loved when the blues catch up with you that’s some kool stuff RIP Alan !!!!!

    • Rob Boyd

      I was fortunate to see B.B. Chung King (aka Alan Mirikitani)three times and wish that it had been more. He always shredded and of the three festivals that I caught him playing in, for me he was the best player in the house. He was also a nice guy off stage who took time to talk to and joke with those meeting and speaking with him. I’m sorry that he won’t be with us any more. Thanks, Griff, for paying tribute and allowing your students to get a glimpse into the music of this talented player and person.

    • Wazhalpening

      Not only was BB Chung King and the Screaming Buddaheads one of the best names in Blues, my favorite track by Alan is “At 10 she’s a 2, at 2 she’s a 10.” Classic!

    • Kevin

      Thx for sharing this. I saw his name on marquees and in advertisements in the LA area during the 80s, but never caught his show. He got to live his life doing what he loved.

    • Rich Hughes

      WOW….amazing musician…great guitar player….I’ve never heard of him, but being on the east coast I probably wouldn’t. So young, heart disease picks no favorites. I hope he spends some time in heaven with RIley B. He will be missed. RIP Alan

    • Andrew

      Great guitarist. Sad to lose someone so young.

    • Bob L

      I will never forget Alan, I discovered him in the early ’90s when I lived in Palm Springs and went to see him play a number of times..local Ca. bar maybe 50 people there all night, and he just killed it !! I have over 50 mp3s of his music and play his music all the time.. RIP Alan..”When the blues catch up to you “

    • Ernest Ayo

      Gotta love him. Only in America can you find an Asian dude dressed Western mastering Black music. And master it he does. If that ain’t living the dream, what is?

    • Andre Jarreau

      Really loved When the Blues Catch Up With You. Sounded a lot like Billy Bibbons. Really liked the multiple voicings and technique. Great blues Griff. Thanks

    • Dan Austin

      If you gotta go as we all do that’s the way to do it. Boots on, guitar in hand.

    • Paul Warner

      I guess the only thing good you could say about this is that at least he got to do what he wanted to in life. I personally don’t recall if I have heard of him or not but obviously after listening to these videos he was pretty damn good and I am sure he had plenty of recognition in the areas he played.
      These are sad days when we lose good people like this.

    • Steve

      Like some of the others on here I never had the privilege of listening to “BB”. Great stuff, I hear some Robben Fordish sounding pieces in the “when the blues catch up to you”. He will certainly be missed by by all by especially you folks on the “Best Coast” who got to enjoy him all these years.

    • John

      Lots of talent…too short of time..we need to set goals and achieve them, only then can we play like him, more than that, throw ourselves into our music…no matter what level were on.

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    • Mark A

      Very nice set of three different types of feel for the Blues , covers all the classic styles and knows how to do it with the subtle feel and texture plus good vocals . Nice fitting tribute Griff and to one of the millions of blues players the world never gets to see but deserve our admiration and respect . So R I P fellow muscion and humble human being ==== Alan Mirikitani .

    • Gary Hylton

      Thanks for turning me on to BB Chung King. I’m sorry he passed, but that is a path we all will have to walk some day!

      His song “When The Blues Catch Up With You” is played with real feeling. I hear a touch of Robert Cray in his vibe which is not a bad thing. I plan to listen to more of his work!!!

      Old School & Still Rockin’

    • Fabian

      Very sad. I like his style.

    • Mike

      I am very saddened to hear about this. I loved BB Chung King but never knew his name. The Buddaheads are an awesome group. They were known here in Texas too. Very very sad.

    • Jon Messenger

      Sad that Mr. Alan Mirikitani/BB Chung King has left this earth. I enjoyed the three videos that you have shared and will search for more of his great work. His tone and over all sound was a pleasure to listen to. The guitar work ranks right up there with the greatest. And the smoothness of his voice really nice to hear. He, his family, friends and love ones are in my prayers. Thank you Griff for everything that you do and for bring this great artist to everyone’s attention. You know he and BB King will be jammin’ together in Heaven. May they both rest in peace. God bless the Blues and those who keep it alive.

      Take care and may God bless
      Jon

    • Papa

      I didn’t realize you knew him. I “discovered” Alan’s music about the same time as yours. Every time a trip was scheduled to So Cal, I checked to see if he was playing during my visit. It was never to be. Here is one of my favorites of his. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWfBy0qnXCM

    • John

      RIP Brother

    • jim pyron

      Where’s this guy been all my life. Here on the east coast Screaming rings a bell for me but I never heard them til now. He had charisma, great songs and chops. How did he get that backwards guitar sound live? He should have been nationwide. Sorry for the loss of your friend. RIP
      Jim

    • MikeS

      I’ve been following Alan since the 90’s. Unbelievable guitarist. I have his music in my constant rotation. He will be deeply missed.

    • Bob Hill

      Thanks Griff. I did not know of Alan Mirikitani but he is fantastic, love the blues, RIP.

      Sydney, Australia.

    • Scott B.

      Recently discovered BB Chung King and the Buddaheads. The Howling at the moon CD is one I will have in my rotation forever. So sad. I was truly looking forward to hearing some new stuff.
      RIP Alan.

    • Scott B.

      Recently discovered BB Chung King and the Buddaheads. The Howling at the moon CD is one I will have in my rotation forever. So sad. I was truly looking forward to hearing some new stuff.
      RIP Allen.

    • Doug Casper

      You could see he brought a mixed bag of technique to his Blues playing. It’s a shame his uniqueness has been silenced. My sympathy to all who knew, and loved him. RIP

    • tony

      I think that i heard of this guy on a progressive radio station on long island sound . He has a unique flavor to his music . sorta reminds me of big head todd and the monsters . He looks young in the videos sad to say but only the good die young.

    • Mark A

      Sad news my heart goes out to his family and friends but thanks Griff I enjoyed all three tracks loved the sounds he got from his guitars I will be checking out his CDs

    • Wib

      Just heard a good friend of his in concert at Gravenhurst Ontario Canada…Coco Montoya he did a great tribute to Alan and BB King. He said he had recorded some of Alan’s songs and would be doing more. I must admit I hadn’t heard of Alan but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your posting…..we don’t get many ” Bluesmen ” up here unfortunately. What better tribute for a man’s legacy than for others to continue to honour and record his music!

    • Juan Carlos

      A good Bluesman I have never heard his music and his style reminds me to; Gary Moore
      So sad!!!!

    • Jimd1290

      This was real beautiful.
      A clauses master as such- If he ever came to New Orleans;he would have been welcomed as a Native Blues Artist. If he did come anytime when I was an Adult, it
      Wasn’t broadcast at anytime I was listening to the stereo while traveling to and from work.
      I’m a native Louisian. I loved
      The clips I know I’ll never become
      a blues player of this Excalibur.
      There’s not enough time;however
      I love listening to the blues.
      I know his music won’t be forgotten.

    • Steve Priest

      That is of course tragic. He can’t have been that old. Obviously he will be sadly missed and a great loss to music.

    • Chris hutchison

      Thanks Griff. Always love to find another “unknown” blues man. The third clip reminds me of the BGU lesson in b minor with that exquisite gmaj7 to F sharp minor move. RIP. Chris hutchison.

    • Billy F

      It is sad that with all the talent out there, that sometimes we don’t ever pay attention to them until they are no longer with us. RIP he will be missed

    • Michael Chappell

      Correction Alan Mirikitani a Famous Blues Guitarist-RIP
      Michael – Sydney – Australia

    • John Page

      Yes, very good player, sad loss for you local guys.

    • Michael Chappell

      Hey Griff,
      Thanks for sharing with me this talented Blues Guitarist Alan Miritkit who is unknown to me but surely not in the Blues Guitarist world.

      Maybe all celebrity Blues Guitarists should follow in the Hall of Fame for their contribution to the music that creates & brings that Blues Feeling Alive.
      Thanks
      Michael -Sydney-Australia

    • geoff

      Love it griff cheers, please ceep them coming
      Loving strumming and rhythm mastery.

    • Peter

      Well done Griff. I didnt know this great guitarist, but now I will look for his music.

    • BobbyP

      Nice sound he will be sadly missed

    • Terry

      Guess he called one more home. Great sound and tone. RIP.

      • Chris

        I got to work with him as his engineer at a rehearsal studio called Hot Dog for a couple years. Him and his band were the most professional band that came in there. He would bring in a different vintage amp in all the time. He worked at a custom / vintage amp shop that was well known. As was he for his knowledge about amps. He was a great guitar player and could really play the blues. Most of all, he was a great human and genuinely nice guy proud I could call my friend.

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