The much-loved C-U area band, Killer Bee Honey (KBH), which made waves from 2011-2020, has announced their reunion for a one-night-only performance at Boomerangs on Sunday, May 28th. Alongside KBH, three additional bands will perform to pay tribute to their friends lost during the grim early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jim Means, on of the band’s guitarists, first encountered his future bandmates in the hard rock scene of C-U. Before KBH, he was a part of Slow Intentional Damage, a metal band, where he served as the guitarist. They even managed to secure a label deal and toured successfully around the Midwest. But by 2010, Means had grown weary from the constant grind and decided to step back.
“By the end of 2010, many of us had left our respective hard rock bands, and I, for one, was done with the never-ending gigs and road trips,” says Means. “That’s when some friends and I thought, ‘Why not just hang out and have a bit of an acoustic jam in my living room?’ It turned out to be quite enjoyable.”
During one of these jam sessions, Jim’s wife Cathy (also known as Queen Bee) was passing through, carrying a load of laundry, and she spontaneously sang a portion of the song they were playing. The unsuspecting bandmates were left in awe of her talent. This led to regular practice sessions with an electronic drum kit and acoustic guitars in their living room, which eventually led to their first gig as Killer Bee Honey at Friends and Company in Charleston on Thanksgiving Eve in 2011.
For nine years, KBH toured around Central Illinois, playing at various venues, including their favorite spot, Friday Night Live in downtown Champaign. They experienced a fair share of success and managed to remain self-sufficient throughout their run. However, like many in the live entertainment industry, they could not withstand the harsh blow of the pandemic. Coupled with personal priorities like family obligations and new business ventures (Jim established a dispensary in Arcola called Friends in High Places), they decided to disband in 2020 but have maintained close friendships.
During the band’s hiatus, tragedy struck when two friends of the band, a couple, passed away within months of each other, leaving behind their two daughters. Wanting to honor their beloved friends, Blaine and Heather Kurth, they organized a tribute show for Sunday, May 28th, at Boomerangs in Urbana. The band is reuniting for this heartfelt event, alongside three other bands that were close to the Kurths: The Tom Grassman Band, Mustache (who are also reuniting for this show) from Greenup, and Main Street Echo from Charleston.
The Killer Bee Honey lineup includes Lon Ray on guitar, vocalist Cathy Means, Aaron Burnett on drums, Josh Dodson on bass, Jim Means on guitar, and Bryce Johnson as another vocalist.
Admission is free, but donations at the door are encouraged, and all proceeds will go directly to the daughters of Blaine and Heather Kurth.
Here is the schedule for the tribute concert:
- 12 p.m. – The Tom Grassman Band
- 1:30 p.m. – Mustache
- 3 p.m. – Killer Bee Honey
- 5 p.m. – Main Street Echo
Tribute Concert for Blaine and Heather Kurth
1309 E Washington St
Su, May 28th, 12 p.m.
Free (donations accepted at the door