Garden Party Band
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Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri

GENE ACKMANN plays keyboards, guitar, bass guitar and sings. Gene has been playing music professionally since 1978. He lists Rick Nelson, Johnny Rivers, Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry, Billy Peek, Don Henley, Vince Gill, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Beatles as his influences. Gene is a current member of Butch Wax & The Hollywood’s, Soul City, and Garden Party. He has played in Ruckus, Windfall, The Billy Peek Band, Route 66, Coyote, and The Big Chill…

I love the stuff we are doing in Garden Party and it’s great to have an acoustic guitar in the band. John and Darren are great bandmates and friends and we have a blast playing together. Butch Wax is still the main band but it’s a lot of fun to go out and play some smaller shows and do a bunch of oldies, acoustic music, and rockabilly.

Gene Ackmann
Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri

DARREN HANK I recieved my first guitar at age 12 and was taught the basic chords by my father and older brother. I had a passion and an ear for music early on, and still play by ear. I joined my first band at 13 and started playing school dances and talent shows in junior high. I spent countless hours in my room listening to a wide variety of music and teaching myself guitar riffs to the point that my mother would beg me to come out of my room and go outside and play. But I was the happiest when I was playing my guitar, and my guitar was my best friend. I played in several bands, but the most well known band I played in was Coyote, where I met Gene. After quitting music for a while to raise my two daughters, I was contacted by Gene about forming a trio which I was in one hundred percent on the idea. This is when I met John, and we hit it off right away. I still get excited and nervous every time I play. The passion is still there, and I don't see that ever changing. I think it is something every artist feels.

Darren Hank
Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri

JOHN VIDACAK plays Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and Sings. John has been playing music since he was 6 years old. “My dad taught me the basics at that age and It has been my passion ever since. I grew up listening to Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Rick Nelson, and of course the great Chuck Berry. I can still remember going out on Halloween dressed as Elvis and singing Hound Dog and of course, that was when you actually had to perform a “trick” to get a “treat”. As a young boy, my biggest influence was Chet Atkins. I think my dad thought that if I was going to play guitar I should learn from his personal favorite and probably one of the best in his time. As a teenager, I was more influenced by artists like Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry and The Beatles”. John has played guitar and sang with many St. Louis bands over the years including Bob Kuban, Clique, Nugget, and Walter Scott. He also toured with the original “Up with People” show in 1970.

John Vidacak
Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri

LIZ HENDERSON is no stranger to the stage. By high school graduation, she had performed in several musicals and had appeared at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and then moved to Nashville where she had the opportunity to sing and dance in shows at Opryland USA and perform with Porter Wagoner, Brenda Lee, and other country music legends on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Liz moved back to her hometown of St. Louis to be closer to family, raise her two (now teenage) kids and work with her mom in real estate for Coldwell Banker Gundaker. She has been singing in St. Louis for several years now and joined Butch Wax & the Hollywoods and Garden Party in the fall of 2016.

Her musical influences include Nancy Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, Anita Baker, Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, Patsy Cline and Stevie Nicks. “I have met some wonderful people in my musical journey and feel privileged to be a part of two incredible St. Louis bands. I am so grateful for the gift of music and thankful for the many wonderful fans that appreciate what we do and come to hear our music.”

Liz Henderson
Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri

ED CALLISON started in the music business in his 7th grade marching band as a drummer. He bought his first drum set in the 8th grade and started singing and playing in a few bands including a band with his 3 brothers. The band “Travis” was later formed in 1971 with his brother Richie and a friend from high school, Jon Gillespie. After many high school dances, concerts, battle of the bands, wedding receptions, and Chuck Berry Park gigs, Ed broke off and formed another band called Kasper. He recorded an album with Kasper and after 2 years, the band split and he took a long break from the music business.

In the mid 90’s, Ed, Richie and Jon started a new band called "Blue" and performed all around Missouri and Illinois on almost every weekend throughout the next several years.

Early musical influences for Ed were always the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Free, Trapeze, Rod Stewart, Bread, Elvis Presley, The Guess Who, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Hall and Oates, Boz Scaggs, James Brown, Chicago, Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and anything Motown.

Later musical influences for me throughout the 80's and 90's were Aerosmith, The Cult, ACDC, Collective Soul, Sade, Luther Vandross, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Kenny Loggins, Alabama, Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bad Company.

There are not a whole lot of genres of music that I have not been influenced by over my lifetime and I love to perform all styles of music when possible and enjoy making music and singing with the “Garden Party Band”

Ed Callison
Garden Party Band - St. Louis, Missouri






Performing California Country Rock, Oldies, and Classic Country - from The Eagles, Rick Nelson, Patsy Cline, Vince Gill,
Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Rivers, Elvis, Brooks & Dunn, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Tammy Wynette,
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Three Dog Night, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, and More!