(L-R: John Prichard, James Percy, Eric Burkhart, Steve Epstein, Alan Novidor)
"Little Buffalo plays Rhythm & Country, and funky Rock & Roll, with a whole lotta laid-back, swampy Americana soul!" - Reverb Nation
Little Buffalo's current gigging lineup includes the following band members:
Eric Burkhart is a fourth-generation SF Bay Area native, born in San Jose, CA and currently living in Berkeley. He absorbed many styles of music and art growing up, including some of the seminal artists that shape his songwriting and the sounds of Little Buffalo: J.J. Cale, Mark Knopfler, Creedence Clearwater Revival,Bob Marley, Mad Magazine, Monty Python, and the Three Stooges, to name a few.
Eric learned to play snare drum in a marching band at age 7 (thank you, Ringo!), then took up saxophone (cheers to Cannonball!), and towards the end of high school, guitar and drums (way more girls!). At the suggestion of a bandmate, as well as through the mentorship of a high school English teacher, he started writing songs that would work well with his baritone (1-1/2 octaves...maybe?) range.
Although Eric has played in and around the Bay Area for many years, it wasn't until the creation of Little Buffalo that he began to find the "sound" he'd been hearing: music that has a strong rhythmic center, but is soaked in killer riffs and uses melody, harmony and storytelling to evoke wide-open spaces, human stories, and a laid-back, funky good time!
EB won a song-writing contest through an East Coast radio station (WWUH - Hartford, CT) back in 2000, which jump-started his desire to turn his newly-aquired home basement into a recording/rehearsal space. He eventually wrote, recorded, mixed and released his debut album as Little Buffalo (along with his musical partner, audio engineer Guy Lento - see below) in 2016, and has been rehearsing and performing locally since then with a stable of talented bandmates.
He is currently writing and recording new material and figuring out what LB's next moves are in the midst of current affairs. Stay tuned!
At the age of 16, while serving a 20 year sentence at the Allenwood State Penitentiary for outstanding parking warrants (and there were quite a few), Steve subscribed to the Mel-Bay correspondence course for personal hygiene and pedal steel instruction. Having achieved a status of "non-violent inmate," he was recruited to join the prison band (see photo). Apparently the correspondence course was moderately successful as he is still a "work-in-progress" on personal hygiene.
Upon release from Allenwood, Steve had few employment or romantic prospects so in order to survive on the "outside," Steve drew from his certification as a hygienist and created an equivalent ponzi scheme the local county health department used on local tattoo parlors that resulted in "Stainless Steve's Certification for Subcutaneous Ink Infusion (Tatoo)." Few parlors subscribed but enough did to allow Steve to purchase his first Sho-Bud Pedal Steel Guitar in 1975.
One night, while sitting in his living room watching the Joe Pyne Show, he witnesses Eric Burkhart perform the Bonzo Dog Band cover "In the Canyons of Your Mind." And speaking of minds, Steve's was truly blown. He began to stalk Eric's every move, and one day, Eric took notice and asked, "Are you stalking me?" Steve confirmed that he had and stated that things could be easier on both of them if they just started a band together. The rest is unrecorded and unwritten history and both would prefer things that way. Currently, Steve holds a woman and two children hostage in the hills of Lafayette, CA. They would prefer to be known as his wife and kids.