As the son of world renown jazz vibist Ray Alexander, Hitman grew up knowing early on what he wanted to do – and that was to make music. Being a songwriter was part of that, and he started writing original tunes when he was around 13 years old. He soon realized that it wasn’t enough to just play and sing, people wanted to be entertained.
As his brother, magician Neil Alexander told him, “Our job is to give a cathartic experience. When people come to a gig they come to something special, and no matter what is going on in their lives, our job is to make them forget about that and just be glad that they came that night – because they‘ll remember this. It is something that will stay with them, and that is what we have to do”
Playing in original groups that covered the spectrum from pop, to progressive rock, to new wave, and even country, he finally realized the blues was music that resonated with him the most. But there was a problem – most of what he heard sounded pretty much the same. There were breakout artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, and Johnny Winter, of course. But all too often, he would go to hear a band and the songs were interchangeable.
He decided to go a different route. His songs weren’t quite blues-rock, but they weren’t quite traditional electric blues, either. Yet, they WERE undeniably blues. He decided to use the term “Modern Blues” to describe it.
Starting in 2004, Hitman began to tour internationally – first in the UK, then Europe. After a forced hiatus of three years, he began again in 2011, but this time he brought the entire American band with him! This included the newly minted three piece horn section, which is now an integral part of the sound. Beginning in 2014, he added two female backup vocalists, which also added to the stage show.
With the last four albums having been in the running for Grammy nominations, along with charting international airplay and features in various music magazines and online publications, Hitman is striving to reach as many people as possible with his music.
The young man’s desire for fame and wealth is long gone. Happily married, there’s no drive for adoring female fans or groupies. And having toured many times in his life, the need to see new places, while still there, isn’t a major factor anymore.
Hitman explains: “Success means making people happy. I tell my band: for a certain percentage of people, music is background noise. But for most people, music is a primal need. Some people live lives of quiet desperation. and I think music is a way of bridging that gap. When someone has troubles, music lets them know that not only are they not alone, but someone went through the same thing and got through it. And then they wrote and recorded a song about it! There have been times in my life when horrible things have happened. and one particular song or songs have helped me. And during good times, the right songs make it that much better. I believe the job of an original band is to enrich people’s lives. What better reason is there to keep going?”