The Thrill Is On

Based on a True Story


The Thrill Is On is the unique true story of two individuals: B.B. King, the legendary Blues entertainer, and Michael Zanetis, a young musician and entrepreneur. This film is the story of how their lives became intertwined and the significant impact they had on each other. It is the story of their struggle in an America that provided opportunity for both men and where truly any goal can be achieved and anything is possible. It is the story of B.B. King, who rose from picking cotton in the most extremes of poverty to perform for royalty and be recognized as the “King of the Blues” worldwide. It is also the story of a small town boy raised in the farmlands of Indiana, Michael Zanetis, the grandson of Greek immigrants, who through hard work and determination achieved his dreams of excellence by performing and recording with some of the world’s greatest musicians. This story depicts the dynamic lives of these two men and their extraordinary friendship.

From an early age, Michael Zanetis was banging on the drums. With the help of a mentor from the most unlikely of sources…Sister Mary Sarah, a Nun at the Catholic school he attended (who could rock n’ roll on the piano like Billy Preston)…Michael found his niche early in life behind a set of drums. Then one day the needle hit the scratchy vinyl and his life was forever changed as he was introduced to the music of B.B. King. After hearing “The Thrill Is Gone,” Michael knew exactly what he had to do. Risking it all, he packed up his drums and headed to California with his girlfriend Denice, and their aptly named dog, Hollywood. Partnering with his father, and his uncle, a well-known record producer from Nashville, Michael assembled a band made up of some of the world’s greatest session musicians. The Michael Zanetis Band, featuring Larry Carlton and Victor Feldman, recorded jam sessions that were soon being played on major LA radio stations. Life seemed unbelievably good and then suddenly and unexpectedly Michael lost his partner, his greatest supporter and best friend, his father. Not long after, fate guided Michael to a B.B. King concert. He was awestruck as he watched BB’s live performance of “The Thrill Is Gone.” After the show, Michael asked a young man selling T-shirts if he would give Michael’s album to BB. Much to his surprise, he was escorted backstage and into the presence of the man who from then on would become a mentor, an inspiration and his true friend.

Over the years, these two lives dramatically intersect. From their time together during BB’s performances at the Las Vegas Hilton to his performing at the Grand Opening of Michael’s legendary Supper Club in Southern California, and Michael’s remarkable promise, on the night BB’s father died, to get BB a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, there were many poignant moments. Eventually, after seven long years of persistence, Michael got the call that his efforts had finally succeeded…and BB got his Star. And then, on the night before the Star ceremony, Michael had a lifelong dream come true. His friend and mentor, the King of the Blues, invited Michael to join him on stage at a concert to accompany him on the drums. With sticks in hand, Michael’s eyes met B.B. King’s on stage and astonishingly they began making music together!

The Thrill Is On is the true story of faith, friendship and reaching for the stars that will entertain and inspire!

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