"Burning" James Scoolis (guitars, vocals and soul)
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, James has been setting the guitar neck afire while singing in blues, soul and rock bands for over 40 years. James is a captivating double threat: a soulful singer and greasy, funky and bluesy guitar player. His fretboard influences range from blues greats like B.B. King, Albert Collins, and Eric Clapton to soul and funk masters like Steve Cropper, Jimmy Nolen and Walter Washington. His vocal influences are many: James Brown, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke to name a few. James is a founding member, namesake and leader of the band "Burning James and the Funky Flames." Burning James is an accomplished performer; well versed in all forms of America Roots music and brings 40 plus years of performing experience to the stage.
"Bad" Billy Baxmeyer (bass and vocals)
Billy has been a professional musician for over 50 years. His powerful, driving bass lines provide the BIG bottom for the Funky Flames' deep funk grooves. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Billy first brought his love of People, Funk, and the GROOVE to Chico, CA. He was a founding member of the Spark n' Cinder Band, a world music, reggae, soul and blues collective. Spark's rhythm section RULED dance floors in NorCal for decades and shared the stage with legendary acts such as Taj Mahal, Sons of Champlin, Sly and Robbie, Los Lobos, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steel Pulse, David Lindley/El-Rayo X, and Bob Dylan. Billy’s influences include George Porter, "Family Man" Barrett, James Jamerson, Ron Carter, and Bootsy Collins. Billy Baxmeyer is a match made in paradise for the Funky Flames.
Mark Burnes (keyboard and vocals)
Mark Burnes was born and raised in Huntington Beach, Ca. and is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, performer, session player, and producer. Mark began his professional career at 18 years old playing bass and touring with Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and then with Orange County Rock & Roll legend, Greg Topper, and for 3 decades thereafter he made his living as a professional musician/entertainer with the always-in-demand “Mark Burnes Band.” Mark spent years as a regular act in Las Vegas, Reno, Laughlin, up and down the coast of California, and at County Fairs throughout the country as an endorsed artist with Gibson Guitars, along side the very biggest and best names in music. Thousands of live shows and hundreds of recording sessions later, Mark looks back on a long-standing, great and successful career in music, and, is happy to be back on the Central Coast playing selective shows and enjoying life to the fullest. He has played keyboards alongside many musical legends such as Albert Lee, Willie Nelson and is now delighted to be the newest member of Burning James & the Funky Flames.
Jeff Adoptante (drums and vocals)
Jeff Adoptante was born and raised in Southern California. He has played drums in various bands and projects for more than 20 years in the L.A. music scene. Early drumming influences vary from many different genres across several decades. Having moved to the Central Coast in 2014, he has now become an “explosive” addition to Burning James & The Funky Flames drum and horn heavy repertoire, and he intends to “ignite” your desire to dance and party!
David Becker (saxophone)
David Becker is one of the finest sax players anywhere. He has performed in live ensemble work in an array of settings including big bands, orchestras, cruise ships, theme parks and concert halls. Dave is also an in-demand studio player and bandleader on California’s Central Coast, writing arrangements for the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Pops concerts, arranging, directing and performing in “West Side Story” with the San Luis Obispo Civic Ballet, and Broadway shows for the PCPA Repertory Theatre Company. He has performed with many artists including Dianne Shuur, Ernie Watts, Wynton Marsalis, Manhattan Transfer, The Temptations and Marvin Hamlish. He also teaches applied saxophone at both Cal Poly and Cuesta College and theory, recording arts, electronic music and music appreciation Alan Hancock College.
Bob Bennett (trumpet)
Bob holds a Masters Degree in music and five years of touring experience with Brian Setzer’s Orchestra, Bob writes the killer horn charts. David and Bob together are the Funky Horns. The Funky Horns seriously raise the game of any Burning James performance and put the flame in the funk.
Burning James and the Funky Flames also give back to the community and as such have organized fund raising events/parties for “Mardi Gras” and Halloween that have resulted in over $6000 donated to local non-profit organizations.