Phil Gates was born in Chicago Ill., into a family of musicians that helped form his musical style and ability. He began playing musical instruments while listening to a wide array of music that has always been his main source of inspiration. Phil has played venues from small clubs, to the U.S. Air Force’s "Tops in Blue" World Tour, which performed in sixteen countries as well as the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl.
In his early years Phil had the opportunity to listen and study great talent. As front of house engineer at the Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Centre in Fort Worth, TX, Phil worked with some of Blues and Jazz's greatest performers including Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King, Dizzie Gillespie, Wynton & Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Eartha Kitt, Dianne Reeves, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and many others.
Phil’s style is reminiscent of the early high energy Buddy Guy, mixed with a special blend of flavors from Jazz, Fusion, New Orleans, and the Chicago, Delta, and MS Blues styles. He and his band have performed at many Southern California venues and were featured for five consecutive years on Hornblower Cruises “Friday Night Blues Dinner Cruise.” This event that started in April 2007, only for the summer, was extended through to 2012 because of sold-out shows.
The Phil Gates Band won the “Beale Street Blues Kings” Competition and competed in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis. Phil has been steady contributor to the blues community in Southern California founding the Los Angeles Blues Society. He has judged the IBC as well as the Guitar Center “King of the Blues” competitions in Hollywood, CA. Phil has performed at great venues such as B.B. King’s, Cozy’s, Biscuits and Blues San Francisco, Highway 99 Seattle, WA, The Coach House, CA, The Monterey Bay Blues Festival, The Santa Clarita Blues Festival, The Topanga Canyon Blues Festival, The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival, Blind Raccoon’s showcase, The Blues Nights Gossau (Blues Festival in Gossau, Switzerland), The Rock und Blues Festival in Gams, Switzerland.
Phil is an accomplished session guitarist, performing on such projects as the Philip Bailey CD "Life & Love," with artists Kellie Blaise, Billy Shields, Maurice White, Zac Harmon, Preston Glass, L.A. Stlyz and Seabron. His session work playing guitar has included many tracks with artists such as Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Deniece Williams, Jody Watley, Howard Hewett, Teddy Pendergrass, Brian McKnight, Ruben Studdard and Maurice White.
As a producer, Phil co-produced the award winning blues record "The Blues According to Zacariah" with Zac Harmon, and recently has been a co-producer on an album project with Little Richard. Phil also produced “Too Much Car For the Road” by Toni Dodd, “Urban Legacy” by Julia Jordan, daughter of renowned guitarist Stanley Jordan, who also performed on the CD. Phil scored an AFI film “My Normal Life.” Phil’s albums - “This Side OF Me,” “Should I?,” “Addicted To The Blues,” “In The Mean Time” and “Live At The Hermosa Saloon” - are available on iTunes and digital retail outlets worldwide.
Phil has three full endorsements with Ernie Ball/MusicMan Guitars, Evertune Bridges, and Ultimate Support music stands.