Corona, CA: Redlands musician and his band to play at Inland Empire Blues and Roots Festival

Local musician Chris "Big Papa" Thayer and his band - Big Papa and the TCB - will perform Saturday at the Inland Empire Blues and Roots Festival at the Fender Center for the Performing Arts in Corona.

The band will be joined on stage with other blues acts including Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Kelly McGuire, the Jumpin' Jack Benny Blues Band and the Cold Comfort Blues Band.

Thayer, a high school teacher in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, and his bandmates will play a variety of hits from their own catalog, as well as covers from well-known artists.

"There was a lot of music in my house growing up, but I didn't play any music at the time," he said.

In fact, it wasn't until junior high school when he received his very first guitar from a friend, he said.

Since then, Thayer has been playing music and has become a staple in the blues community for his work with other artists and solo projects.

He met his other two bandmates - Ray "Mr. Pitz" Wilson and Steve "Ice Cream Man" Brown - through two classified ads 15 years apart.

"And this project just sort of took off," he said. "It wasn't where I thought it was going to go, but it took on a persona of its own. And I took to this project more than anything other that I was working on."

And hard work did pay off.

Aside from Saturday's performance, the band is also scheduled to perform at the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous in downtown San Bernardino later this month and will open for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in October at the Monte de Oro Winery in Temecula.

"Big Papa" Thayer is completely different the off stage. He is a married family man of three and teaches 11th grade American literature and yearbook at Arroyo Valley High School.

"I do talk about it, but I don't bring it up as much (with my class)," he said. "Big Papa is a persona, not who I am. You could call him my alter ego."

Saturday's concert will begin at 4 p.m. at the center, 365 N. Main St., Corona. Tickets are $15 per person. A car show will begin prior to the concert at 3 p.m.

Additional information on the concert can be found online at

More information on Big Papa and the TCB can be found at their website at

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