Sonny Hunt was born in Memphis, Tennessee on October 19, 1956. Sonny has one sister who is two years younger than him. His parents didn't play music but he has a cousin who is a successful songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee as well as a very good country guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist. Sonny also had an uncle who was an accomplished country guitarist with a style very similar to Chet Atkins. The three of them recorded a cut on an album Sonny did about 10 years ago. That was a special time for him!
Sonny started playing drums when he was about eight and he was always playing in neighborhood bands with his buddies. They did a few charities that was televised locally and also recorded a 45, which was a cut record, not pressed like most people would remember now. His favorite song to play on drums back then was "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix. He really loved that song and would go nuts and overplay the drum breaks. He started playing the guitar when he was 16. As a teenager he was consumed with his guitar and how to become the next Jeff Beck!!! Later on he picked up the bass guitar and also spent a couple of years on keyboards. The first rock band he played with was "Timber". They played high school dances etc. In his senior year he joined "Wake", a rock band that would practice for hours every day after school. They played colleges through out the mid south. After that he played in and with so many of his friends and also with the Tony Spinner Band!
Musically speaking he was influenced by (too many to name them all): Jeff Beck, Al Dimeola, Steve Lukather, Neal Schon, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, the Monkees (especially their drummer Mickey Dolenz!) and last but not at all least Tony Spinner!
Talking about challenges in his life; well it would have to be all the musicians he has worked with over the years. There were so many he looked up to. Taking the time to sit down with them and learn a new chord or a new riff. To Sonny, that's what it's all about, then trying to incorporate what he has learned into his guitar style.
As far as highlights: playing drums with a studio band they put together to warm up Ronnie Milsap (a country act) about 20 years ago. As far as guitar, it was definitely when The Tony Spinner Band toured The Netherlands back in April 2004: "The response we got from the audience while we were there was overwhelming!"
He enjoys listening to most anything that's tastefully done, especially if there is some good guitar work!
Sonny really enjoys the material they are playing in The Tony Spinner Band. Lately he's been trying to pick up some country chops that he might be able to incorporate into his guitar style. One of the main reasons he wanted to play with Tony is that he thought he might be able to steal some of his chops!!!
Sonny owned a recording studio in Jonesboro, Arkansas for about 25 years. In those years he had the opportunity to work with several musicians that excelled in many different types of music like rock, country, gospel, jingles and rap music, to name a few. Sonny stayed busy as a session player doing guitar, drums, bass and some keyboard tracks. He cherishes the learning experiences in the recording studio as much as playing live.
Sonny started playing with Tony and the guys in February 2001. He started getting to know Tony when he did a session along with Kim Edens and Ron Coleman at his recording studio in about 1985. Most of the time Tony would just bring his own players in to record and there were times that the both of them would just record the tracks themselves. Tony would do vocals, guitars and bass tracks and Sonny would do the drum tracks.
Sonny used to go to clubs where Tony was playing to check them out, hoping he would ask him to come up and jam. Tony would get him up there and they would do a little Hendrix, along with some blues and funk jams. They used to say to each other: "someday we need to play in a band together"! Then along came February 2001.
Sonny heard that Tony, Mark and Kim were trying to get a band together and he called him up and said: "Tony, you think you might need another guitar to back you up while you?re soloing"? Tony invited him to come out and see what it would sound like. About a month later they did a gig in Cape Giraldo, Missouri and then the band asked Sonny to join them.
Tony has been a great inspiration to Sonny. He has never played with anyone that has the love for the guitar and music like he does.
"I know I have to be at my best when the band performs. That's the way it should be and I know I'll become a better player because of it".