Tag Archives: J. Geils Band

Chatting with Michael

Never imagined yesterday morning that when I tweeted my two cents’ worth about the J. Geils Band’s prospects for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I would wind up discussing it with a gent who knows a bit about rock and roll and fame.

Our brief exchange:

I would like to go to Cleveland and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday. My friend Larry was there this summer. Judging from Larry’s pictures, it looked like the Hall of Fame had a bunch of fun stuff.

But that’s the extent of my interest. You go ahead and vote for this year’s nominees. I’ll sit it out.

I’ve never been particularly interested in who’s in …

That said, of the 19 nominees for the Class of 2017, I’d vote for the Electric Light Orchestra, Chic, Janet Jackson, Joe Tex and the MC5 before I’d vote for the J. Geils Band.

… nor outraged at who’s not …

That said, Harry Nilsson, Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton and Warren Zevon are not in. Def Leppard, Yes, the Guess Who and the Moody Blues are not in. Just the tip of the iceberg. So many more are worthy as well.

Now for that brief discussion with Mr. Des Barres, who has been rocking and rolling since the earliest ’70s and whom I listen to weekday mornings on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius XM.

I’m still not sure the J. Geils Band merits enshrinement, even though I once wrote a fan’s guide to all 14 of their studio and live albums, which I have.

The J. Geils Band was a tremendous live band. They fortified their act by rescuing vintage soul, R&B and blues singles from obscurity and introducing them to new, younger audiences over the first half of a 15-year recording career that started in 1970. Those energetic covers have seemingly better stood the test of time than the original songs by Peter Wolf and Seth Justman that dominated the second half of that run.

In other words … “First I Look At The Purse,” “Lookin’ For A Love” and “(Ain’t Nothin’ But A) House Party” > “Love Stinks,” “Centerfold” and “Freeze-Frame.”

That said, I do wish them well and certainly would applaud their election.

I do. Yes, I do.

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“I Do,” the J. Geils Band — then billing itself only as “Geils” — from “Monkey Island,” 1977. Also available digitally.

It’s a cover of the Marvelows’ 1965 hit. This is the studio version. They also do it live on “Showtime,” their third live album, which came out in 1982.

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Filed under October 2016

The rest of the story

When last we left you, the kid with the red bag was sharing his finds from last weekend’s Green Bay Record Convention.

One of them was this record, which I’ve had since the ’70s.

j geils bloodshot

“It’s on red vinyl!” the kid with the red bag said.

Ooooh, I thought, wish I’d found that. But then I let it go. It was more fun for the kid with the red bag to have that red vinyl.

Fast forward to today, a week later.

I walk into Rock N’ Roll Land, one of our fine indie record stores in Green Bay. I am scarcely two steps in the door before my friend Todd reaches behind the counter and pulls out a record.

“Here you go! I knew I had a copy” he said, smiling gleefully.

bloodshot my red vinyl

Not only did Todd have a copy, but it was one of the dollar records. It has a bad skip or scratch. Doesn’t matter because I already have a good copy, albeit on black vinyl.

Thanks, man. It’s a fun thing to have, a wonderful gesture and much appreciated.

Proof again that you should visit your local record store on Saturday afternoon. You might find a nice record like this.

j geils blow your face out lp

“(Ain’t Nothing But A) House Party,” J. Geils Band, from “Blow Your Face Out,” 1976, one of the greatest of all live records. Also available digitally. It’s the scorching live version of their cover of The Showstoppers’ 1967 hit, first recorded by the J. Geils Band for “Bloodshot.”

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Filed under March 2016, Sounds

The kid with the red bag

gb record show march 2016

They drove 75 miles just to spend two or three hours digging through all the vinyl at the Green Bay Record Convention on Saturday. A dad and his son.

The son — who seemed to be 13, maybe 14, so probably a seventh- or eighth-grader — carried a red canvas bag. By noon, it was full of his finds.

The kid with the red bag eagerly chatted with Steve, the friendly gent selling bowls made of old vinyl records in one of the far corners of the Eagles Club. They compared notes on all kinds of bands, but mostly vintage metal bands. They chatted for a long time, getting deep into specifics.

I eavesdropped. You recognize it when you’ve been down that road. That laser focus. That tremendous detail. That just might be an Asperger’s kid, I thought. Which is cool.

vinyl record bowls

Thinking that gracious vinyl bowl seller might need a break, I started chatting up the kid with the red bag.

“So, what did you find today?”

The kid starts pulling LPs from his red bag.

led zep 3

“That’s a good one.”

Then he pulled out a Krokus record. Sorry, I’m not up on my Krokus.

elo face the music

“That’s another good one.”

Then he pulled out some more — he had about a half-dozen in all — including this record.

j geils bloodshot

“Oh, that’s a good one, too.”

Then the kid dropped the bomb on me.

“It’s red vinyl,” he said.

“Oh, I gotta see that.”

The kid hands it over, and I pull out the record. Yep, rich, red vinyl.

Gotta be honest. One thought flashed through my head. You know the one. Ooooh, wish I’d found that. Never mind that I’ve had it on black vinyl since the ’70s.

Then, just as quickly, that thought passed.

Nope, it’s more fun for that kid to have that red vinyl.

I didn’t look close enough to see whether that was the original red vinyl from 1973 or last year’s reissue on red vinyl. Doesn’t really matter, and I suspect it doesn’t matter to the kid with the red bag.

As he pulled out his records, a small piece of paper floated to the floor at his feet.

“That your wish list?”

No, the kid said, they’re my notes. Indeed, as he made the rounds at the record show and chatted up dealers, he wrote down their tips on what kinds of music to check out next.

Then Dad turned up, carrying three plastic bags with a couple dozen LPs in them. Dad’s in the picture above. He’s the tall guy in the light blue cap and the adidas jacket, digging away on the left.

Dad and the kid and Steve the friendly vinyl bowl seller chatted for a while longer, again in tremendous detail. Guessing Dad might be Asperger’s, too. A lot of us in the record-digging business might be. Which, again, is cool.

Hope the kid with the red bag enjoys these J. Geils cuts as much as I did. When “Bloodshot” was released in 1973, I wasn’t much older than he is now.

“Back To Get Ya,” “Don’t Try To Hide It” and “Southside Shuffle,” J. Geils Band, all from “Bloodshot,” 1973. Also available digitally.

Be sure to check out the rest of the story!

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Filed under March 2016, Sounds

The 6-pack: Happy anniversary to us

When the last week of February rolls around, it’s time to celebrate at AM, Then FM. It dropped into the blogosphere six years ago this week, way back in 2007.

For the six of you who have remained regular readers all this time, thank you.

There are more than six of you, of course, but the glory days of music blogs seem to have come and gone.

Oliver Wang wrote about that the other day over at Soul Sides in response to a reader’s question. “Blogs … peaked in saturation about five years ago and have been on the wane since then.” It’s a drag to go through the bookmarks and see the blogs that have gone dark, especially in the last year or so.

However, a few of us keep on keepin’ on.

So we celebrate the beginning of our sixth year with a six-pack. Six songs by six artists from their sixth studio LP. The songs had to come from my records, and they had to be vinyl rips.

neildiamondtaprootmanuscriptlp

“Soolaimon,” Neil Diamond, from “Tap Root Manuscript,” 1970.

One of the first LPs I ever had. Also my introduction to world music. Also for my friend Glick, who has been digging music with me for 40 years.

ccrpendulumlp

“Molina,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Pendulum,” 1970.

I once really dug the “Green River” and “Cosmo’s Factory” LPs. “Pendulum” not so much, but this is a good song. I like the sax. Creedence was one of my faves when I was in my teens and 20s, but I’ve found them almost unlistenable since John Fogerty released “Centerfield” in the mid-’80s. I didn’t like that record and it somehow soured me on Creedence.

ojaysbackstabberslp

“Back Stabbers,” the O’Jays, from “Back Stabbers,” 1972.

Those of us of a certain age are blessed to have grown up in a time when you heard elegant soul like this on the radio.

jgeilsnightmareslp

“I’ll Be Coming Home,” the J. Geils Band, from “Nightmares … And Other Tales From The Vinyl Jungle,” 1974.

Not long after starting this blog, I wrote a Complete Idiot’s Guide to the J. Geils Band for the blog that eventually became Popdose. I’m qualified because I have all 14 J. Geils Band LPs. Idiot completist. As I listened to all 14, this struck me as one of their best records. I almost picked “Gettin’ Out,” a keyboard-driven rave-up with a bunch of showy solos, but went instead with this slow groover. It has sort of a Latin beat and features Jay Geils on mandolin and Seth Justman on piano and that slinky organ.

denniscoffeyinstantcoffey

“Theme From ‘Enter The Dragon’,” Dennis Coffey, from “Instant Coffey,” 1974. (The LP out of print but the song is available digitally.)

Detroit guitar legend Dennis Coffey is one of the artists I’ve rediscovered since starting this blog. I have a bunch of his records now.

isleybrotsbrothersisleylp

“The Blacker The Berrie,” the Isley Brothers, from “The Brothers: Isley,” 1969. (The LP is out of print. The song isn’t available digitally that I can find.)

Likewise the Isleys, who I somehow knew almost nothing about before starting AM, Then FM. I have a bunch of their records now, too. This cut also is known as “Black Berries.”

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under February 2013, Sounds

Johnny’s Goat

So GM is dropping Pontiac. I wonder what Johnny thinks of that.

Thirty years ago, I lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at a place called Beaver Lodge. Three of us were students. Three others were out of college, but still living the life. Then there was Johnny.

Johnny spent a little time on campus, but he wasn’t a student. He was a different cat. Johnny often talked about having some money, or soon coming into some money, but his life seemed to suggest otherwise.

Johnny often looked like he’d just gotten out of bed, unshaven, his clothes rumpled and his wild, thinning hair all over the place. But that was Johnny. He wasn’t into appearances. He was pretty laid back.

Especially, thankfully, on the day we crashed the Goat.

1969gto

That’s what Johnny called his Pontiac GTO. Johnny’s Goat — I think it may have a ’69, like the one above — once had been a sweet ride.

But it wasn’t by the end of the ’70s, when Johnny was driving it to his job as a security guard. It rode too low to the ground, and it wasn’t a low rider. It needed shocks, springs and body work.

When he wasn’t working, Johnny liked to fish. He’d tie his aluminum canoe on top of the Goat and take off. A muscle car with a boat on top. That was Johnny.

One day, the Goat was blocking another car in our driveway. I asked Johnny to move it, and he just threw me the keys. I hopped into the driver’s seat of the Goat, thrilled to be behind the wheel of a cool car. The thrill faded almost immediately. The inside of the Goat looked and smelled like a landfill. That, too, was Johnny. So I moved the Goat and went back inside.

A couple of minutes later, we heard a loud, scraping noise. Then we heard the crash.

The Goat had rolled forward on our sloping driveway and smashed through the basement garage door. When Johnny’s canoe hit the house, it slid off and came to rest at a 45-degree angle, with one end against the house and the other end on the driveway, the Goat underneath it.

Johnny’s often bleary eyes grew wide. He put his hands to his head and swept them back through that wild, thinning hair. His mouth dropped open, but he didn’t say much.

“John,” I assured him, “I set the parking brake.”

“It doesn’t work,” Johnny said.

Remarkably, though, neither the Goat nor the canoe sustained much damage. The scraping we heard was the Goat dragging its rear end on the sloping pavement, slowing its trip toward the garage door.

Johnny was cool about the …

jgeilsmonkeyislandlp1

“Wreckage,” the J. Geils Band, from “Monkey Island,” 1977.

Our landlord was not cool about the wreckage. He tore out the garage door, bricked it up and filled in the driveway. That said, it made my basement bedroom — the one in which I often listened to “Monkey Island” — that much more comfortable.

Where’s Johnny today? I have no idea. Not sure I want to know.

Johnny, after all, was a guy who liked to bring his fish back to Beaver Lodge, then throw his catch into the freezer without cleaning it or properly wrapping it. Our roommate Mikey took one look at Johnny’s fish staring at him from the freezer and threw them out.

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Filed under April 2009, Sounds

I am curious

In the news in the last couple of days is word that Velvet Revolver and lead singer Scott Weiland have parted.

Of course, that hardly qualifies as news. It seemed inevitable.

Velvet Revolver played the big outdoor tent at our local casino in the summer of 2005. I went to see that show, curious about what a supergroup is like these days. It was a great show, even though I don’t really care for either Guns N’ Roses or Stone Temple Pilots, the bands that spawned VR. Weiland has a remarkable stage presence, and Slash can really play guitar.

Later this week, tickets go on sale for another show I’m going to see, again mostly out of curiosity.

Kid Rock is playing our local arena in about six weeks. Some of his stuff I like. Some I don’t. But I’m going to check it out anyway. I want to see how he pulls off that mix of rock, rap and R&B.

An added bonus is that Peter Wolf, once the lead singer in the J. Geils Band, is one of the co-starring acts. He, like Kid Rock, appreciates and taps into vintage American rock and R&B.

Our local indie newspaper reported recently that Wolf stole the show with some of those old J. Geils tunes when they played in Milwaukee earlier this year. I’m not surprised.

I drove two hours to see the J. Geils Band live in Milwaukee on Jan. 30, 1982, as they opened the second leg of a long tour to support “Freeze Frame.” It was ridiculously cold outside and impossibly steamy inside the Riverside Theater as we waited … and waited for the band to take the stage. The show was well worth the wait, energetic almost beyond description.

If you wonder why Peter Wolf is on the same bill with Kid Rock (and Rev. Run of Run-DMC), this tune ought to give you some idea.

jgeilsblowfaceoutlp.jpg

“Must Of Got Lost,” the J. Geils Band, from “Blow Your Face Out,” 1976. Recorded live in Boston and Detroit in the same week of November 1975. One of the best live albums ever.

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Filed under April 2008, Sounds

Made loud to play loud

That’s what it says on the back cover of the album we’re featuring tonight over at our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker.

Here’s a little taste of it, although this is not one of the loud parts.

You know where to find the rest of Side 2 of one of the best live albums ever.

jgeilsblowfaceoutlp.jpg

“Intro (Lookin’ For a Love),” the J. Geils Band, from “Blow Your Face Out,” 1976.

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Filed under November 2007, Sounds