They considered calling themselves the Five Blind Boys of Alhambra, but after ESPN ran a special on horse racing, they stole the name “Brother Derek” off a stud in Kentucky. Come to find out that the horse was named after a Mormon missionary.

The Brother Derek Blues Band is a collection of professional actors and gifted musicians featuring Chris Flanders on guitar/vocals, Drew Wicks on bass/vocals, Kahlil Sabbagh on drums/vocals and Ginger Smith, vocal performer-extraordinaire/blonde hottie.

Each one has an impressive talent rap sheet. Smith is known for her roles in “Loves Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder,” “ASC-DCI StEM,” “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” and Sister Act 2. She also worked as a costume designer and acted on Callback. Flanders’ acting career has landed him on “24,” “Law and Order,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “The United States of Tara,” “Brothers and Sisters” and more. Wicks has appeared on national ad campaigns for Big Red gum, Budweiser, Mercedes-Benz, Taco Bell, Tropicana and Keystone Beer. He’s been on shows like “Scrubs,” “Angel,” “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “Kisses and Caroms.” Sabbagh, has acted in films such as “ASC-DCI Stem,” Callback, Legend of the Mummy, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Demolition University and Dissent. As a music consultant he worked on the TV series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and as a composer, writer and producer on the award-winning film “Boyz Up Unauthorized.” As an outside interest, the guys in the band are all triathletes, and together have done the Iron Man and other local races. These guys can play all night. Smith boasts that her marathons involve running around the block.

At gigs, the Brother Derek Blues Band runs until midnight to 1 a.m. This is when they allow any brazen drunk to sing on stage with them.

Sabbagh clarifies, “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

The drummer, who is Lebanese, fancies himself a “combination of Robin Williams meets Tony Robbins.” If true confessions were to be told Kahlil would tell you, “Blues is only fun for me if I’m playing and really, I feel it is my mission in life to help white people become better musicians.”

Wicks shares, “We look forward to playing together because we have a good time going through tunes, and there’s a drive to hit new territory, especially with Ginger whose got a driving ambition to break new ground.”

Their first album, Cold Shot, is in homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s song. In his somewhat misspent youth, Flanders, a rabid fan of the bluesman, stole one of Vaughan’s guitars. He later named his own son Vaughn. His wife asked him, “So we named our son after a coke-snorting, whiskey-drinking guy?”

“Exactly, but he got clean before he died. And it’s better than calling him Dime Bag Flanders,” exclaims Flanders.

Their next album will showcase Smith, who has become the principal songwriting force for their material. Those who have influenced Smith musically include Becky Barksdale, Lou Ann Barton, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Suzy Williams and Teresa Tudury. Her vast experience in musical theater, vocal arts performance, voiceover work, R&B and jazz make Smith a powerhouse entertainer.

It’s clear they love performing. Smith explains, “We can change our vocals dramatically each time because our style gives us a lot of freedom.”

They create an experience for their audiences through their performances on stage knowing they can do something different every time.

One evening Sabbagh wanted to share some news publicly about Wicks and turned to get the OK from him before speaking. Wicks, assuming Sabbagh was going to announce the good news of his most recent gig in a Regents Bank commercial gave the nod to go ahead. Little did Wicks realize that the “news” Sabbagh decided to share was the fact that Wicks had just gotten a vasectomy. He just thought the people would want to know.

Brother Derek Blues Band performs Sept. 29 at TRiP in Santa Monica. For more information, visit

Suzi Fox is the founder of an organization that offers a venue for musicians, writers, actors, artists and others to post their work for FREE for the world to see!