Lucious Spiller was born in 1962 in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Lucious Spiller Sr., gave his son a guitar and taught him his first chords when he was only four years old. Spiller honed his skills playing bass in church as he grew up. He moved to Arkansas at the age of eighteen and graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock with a degree in elementary art.
Spiller was born into a family filled with legendary blues artists. His uncle Samuel “Magic Sam” Maghett, cousin Edward Harrington, also known as Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, and cousins Vernon and Joe Harrington are just a few of the relatives from Chicago, Illinois, and Macon, Mississippi, who would play at family reunions and put their feet under the table at the Spiller home in St. Louis. Spiller's grandfather, Perie Spiller, along with Perie's brother and nephew, Preston and Doc Spiller, formed one of the earliest string bands, the Salt and Pepper Shakers. They are mentioned on the Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Macon as founding fathers of the Black Prairie Blues.
Spiller placed second in the Solo/Duo category at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. That same year he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Influential Musicianship and Stage Mastery at the first annual Bass Players Ball in Little Rock, Arkansas. Spiller's self-produced CD is titled Born to Sing the Blues. The early chords his father taught him set him on a path that would reveal his natural abilities, taking him through nearly endless influences and eventually returning him to his very core, where his music commands all of his heart and genius.
Still frame from Pryor Center video interview with Lucious Spiller at Bubba's Blues Corner; Helena, Arkansas, 2015
© Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, University of Arkansas