2013 Nominee – Guitarist of the Year – 23rd Annual LA Music Awards
Donnie Pendleton started playing guitar at age 9 while living in West Texas. Back then, Donnie’s mother sang in a popular Texas country band and he grew up around country music legends like Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys and Ernest Tubb. His mother would bring him onstage for guest appearances and he played songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Kansas City” and the crowds really loved it.
In junior high, Donnie won his first talent show at Meadow Brook Middle School in Ft. Worth, Texas and he soon got an offer to play in a novelty act called, “STACY PFEIL AND THE COUNTRY GEMS” who were an all-kid band with an eight year old female vocalist. They played shows at The State Fair of Texas, Six Flags Over Texas, Seven Seas (Sea World), and many more places. Donnie’s band mates in the Country Gems also turned him on to Rock and Roll …. and this is when his passion for music really ignited.
In high school Donnie started his own band called, “COBALT”. They covered bands like Judas Priest, Triumph, Rush and Black Sabbath. They gained a lot of experience and made plenty of mistakes. They played parties and then the band graduated to playing clubs, resorts, and even at Air Force bases.
In the early 1980’s Donnie hooked up with some players in Dallas and it was awesome. This band was named “KEEPER”. As his confidence level grew, he started pestering some of the bigger bands to sit in with them and one night in Waco, Texas he lucked out and got to jam with Texas rockers “BLACKHORSE” and had a great time indeed. It was totally different than anything he had ever done before and Donnie got the opportunity to really let go and express himself musically.
Blackhorse was a regional touring band that already had an album out and they played big shows all over Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. What he didn’t realize at the time was that the band was on the verge of changing not only its name but its entire image. He joined Blackhorse. The band was already in the studio working on their debut album as THE CAUZE, so he became an original member of this new incarnation.
The Cauze signed to USA Records International. Their self titled release came out in 1984 and sold over 60,000 copies within the first 8 weeks. The band also released a video via the label called “No Way” which received airplay on MTV and VH1. THE CAUZE toured the U.S., opening for bands in large venues. They also toured with the world renown wrestlers Kevin and Kerry Von Erich, playing a 30 minute show right before the main events.
While in the Cauze, Donnie got an offer to play bass in a band called “RAFFERTY RULE”. Their management made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, so he quit The Cauze and joined up with the new act. Donnie helped them finish final production on their debut release “HARD TIMES EASY”. This band played shows with bands like HELIX and MOLLY HATCHETT. During this time, RAFFERTY RULE’s management asked him to help produce some acts in the studio. Donnie decided to take a shot at it. In the mid to late 80’s, Donnie was involved in the production of three acts, one of which was Ricky Lynn Gregg. Ricky was changing his style from Rock to Country and Donnie was involved with the demo which helped Ricky get signed to LIBERTY RECORDS. When Ricky went Country, his rock and roll band mates were left behind so Donnie moved to East Texas and joined them. These guys were fantastic players who had been all over so FOURPLAY was born, later to become the U.S.LORDS. This band played with everyone from ALDO NOVA to STARSHIP and won every “BATTLE OF THE BANDS” competition they entered. Donnie stayed in that band for over thirteen years, gaining an endorsement with JACKSON GUITARS during that time.
Thirteen years is a long time however nothing lasts forever. Afterwards Donnie started his own recording studio and helped up and coming bands get started while also hosting a jam on Sundays at MOM’S BIKER BAR in Longview, Texas. Donnie played in several different bands during that time while trying to find that special something. Mom’s is where Donnie met Alan Fox, an East Texas blues guitarist. They appeared together at a bike rally and have been together ever since.
Donnie was nominated for and received the award for “2012 Guitarist Of The Year” at The East Texas Music Awards and also received a surprising guitar endorsement from Goulding Lindsay Wilson Guitars in 2013.
Along with new music on the horizon with AFB, Donnie also appeared, engineered and produced the theme song “Your Tough Love” for the movie “Tough Love”, directed by Curtis French.
Also in 2013, Donnie was nominated for and received the award for “Guitarist of the Year” from the Los Angeles Music Awards.