Born in Pasadena, Ca. in 1954, Kenny grew up in a music-filled household. His dad Don was a big-band swing nut and played drums, guitar and tenor sax. When his brother and sister became "folkies" in the early sixties and brought everything from The Kingston Trio to Dylan into the mix, Kenny at 7 years old, joined in with his ukulele. When his hands grew, Kenny inherited his brother's Sears Silvertone guitar and started playing Peter, Paul and Mary stuff. When the Beach Boys and the Brits collided in 1965, Kenny started borrowing electric guitars from anybody who would cave to his whining.
Finally getting his own electric in 1967, Kenny began emulating Hendrix and Clapton while doing school dances with local bands in Sacramento, Ca. where the family had moved in 1960. Teaching and repairing guitars at a music store, as well as playing in several copy-bands kept Kenny busy coming out of high school. Learning bass as well, he continued his music education playing in the local junior college jazz big band. This is when he learned to appreciate the genius of jazz greats Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. When the busy studio session boom in L.A. began to excite the cocky 17 year old, Kenny moved to L.A. in 1973 and after a short stint at another music store, immediately went on the road with a Top 40 rock band.
When he returned in mid 1974, Kenny began working with Dave Schecter of Schecter Guitar Research and helped start the guitar parts business still growing today. Near the end of 1975, Kenny met his bride-to-be, pianist, singer, songwriter Diane Steinberg and began playing bass for her trio. Kenny and Diane began to co-write songs and in 1976 Diane got her second record deal on ABC Dunhill. This introduced Kenny to the hip and lucrative studio session scene that Kenny had been trying to break into for 2 years. Playing with Jeff Porcaro and all the other "cats", Kenny began to work up to double-scale status as an in demand bass player.
Eventually in 1978, Kenny got his own record deal on EMI/UA with his band "Pieces" and was constantly writing songs. As Diane went on to become "Lucy in the Sky" in the cult movie "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", Kenny joined up with other band with a record deal. The drummer for that band, Gary Mallaber, had already made his way onto platinum records, including Steve Miller's greatest hits. Kenny and Gary became co-writers and eventually broke away to form their own band. In late 1981, while working on that project, Steve Miller called Gary one day looking for material for an album he needed to deliver to Capitol Records pronto.
Thinking that he might take a song or two, Gary and Kenny sent Steve all eight of their songs that they were working on. Surprisingly, Steve Miller took all eight of their Tascam 80-8 masters, and transferred them to 24 track format! Adding his vocals and a few guitar parts, Steve added two more out-takes from his previous album, and "Abracadabra" was released in the spring of 1982, selling over five million worldwide! Steve asked Kenny to join the band after the mixing sessions because as the Joker put it himself, "Since you played on over half the record, you might as well join my band and tour with me!"
Credited as one of the songwriters who gave Steve Miller "personality," Kenny Lee Lewis chose to stay in the background by composing for other artists. His "Cool Magic" on the Steve Miller Band's Abracadabra album reached Billboard's Hot 100 chart and his co-produced "Shangri-La" on Italian X-Rays was described as "the LP's standout track."** More recently, Kenny's co-produced "Why Can't I Fall in Love" has become a college cult favorite off the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack album and his "Midnight Train" was picked as a single on The Steve Miller Band's 1993 Wide River album. Numerous songwriting credits appear on such labels as A&M, Capitol, Elektra, ABC/MCA, BMG, Sony, Warner, and UA/EMI. Other movie soundtrack credits include Protocol, Spring Break, Iron Eagle, and Night of the Comet.
Kenny has expanded into writing the underscoring for motion pictures and television and two Smooth Jazz instrumental solo acoustic/electric albums. As a session player, Kenny Lee has been in demand by other top performers. He has recorded with such artists as B.B. King, Billy Preston, Eddie Money and Dave Mason. His talents have also been sought out by many top producers ranging from Quincy Jones to Bill Conti.
With the natural ability to perform for demanding crowds and a style guaranteed to please mass listeners, Kenny Lee Lewis' time to be in the spot light has arrived.