Lofpro is thrilled to welcome Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes back to the Tarrytown Music Hall on Friday, April 15 2016 as they celebrate their 40th year making their wonderful music.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Juke…and I still do .” (Jon Bon Jovi)
“There’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do,” Southside Johnny confesses, “and that is to sing.” And he has been doing just that for over a third of a century. In a business where success is defined as getting a second single and longevity measured in nano-seconds, just surviving for forty years is a rare accomplishment. But Johnny and the Jukes have not just survived, they have flourished: over thirty albums, several EPs and a box set; thousands of live performances around the globe; a legion of dedicated and enthusiastic fans; dozens of classic songs; a record— HEARTS OF STONE —that Rolling Stone called one of the “top 100 albums of the 70’s and 80’s”.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes 2012 CD release Men Without Women: Live 7-2-11 was recorded live on July 2, 2011 at the Stone Pony with Little Steven Van Zandt. The disc featured live versions of the songs from the Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul 1994 album of the same name, along with three Asbury Jukes bonus tracks. 2010’s “Pills and Ammo” studio CD, with other recording highlights being the critically acclaimed “Hearts of Stone” and “Better Days” albums.
With a decades-long successful career, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue to deliver their soul-searing brand of raucous blues and R&B, with material mined from their 20+ albums – featuring their hits like “I Don’t Want To Go Home”, “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town”, “The Fever”, “This Time It’s For Real”, “Talk To Me” and their definitive fun-time cover of “We’re Having A Party” – and the story continues.
The iconic Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes have released the much anticipated SOULTIME!, their first new studio CD of all original material in five years, on Leroy Records. The new CD was written and produced by Jeff Kazee and John Lyon, and was recorded at Lakehouse Recording Studios in the Jukes’ hometown of Asbury Park, NJ. SOULTIME! celebrates the transformative power of ‘70s soul music and represents a return to – as Southside sings -“just letting the music take us away”.
The album was actually conceived in a giant superstore: “I was pushing my cart around, minding my business, and when I got to the liquors and wines, Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly’ started to play,” Johnny recalls. “I noticed how people were reacting to the music, bopping their heads. I thought, ‘It’s time to make people feel good again.” “You know how David Ruffin had that rasp in his voice?” Johnny asks. “There’s a rasp in my own voice that makes me feel like a soul singer. I like that texture. I guess it’s the voice of experience.”
SOULTIME! encapsulates everything that fans cherish about Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The pattern of horns plus rhythm – each song painted with catchy choruses, top-notch string arrangements and gospel charged vocals – keeps on coming. Highlighting the eleven tracks on the new disc is “Looking for a Good Time,” a show-stopping blast of unforgiving soul that’s tailored in tribute to Mayfield’s muscular 1970 “debut” album Curtis.
The tracks “Spinning” and “All I Can Do” summon the grittiness that Isaac Hayes and David Porter brought to their best work for Sam & Dave. The romance and tenderness of “The Heart Always Knows” might have been a B-side for the Drifters’ “This Magic Moment.” And, the funk flavored “Reality” sounds like it belongs on Bobby Womack’s soundtrack to Across 110th Street.
“SOULTIME!” features Southside Johnny on vocals and harmonica, Jeff Kazee on keyboards and vocals, Glenn Alexander on guitar, bassist John Conte, Chris Anderson on trumpet, John Isley on saxophone, Neal Pawley on trombone and drummer Tom Seguso. The band will continue to tour steadily throughout the U.S. and overseas.
To Johnny, it’s just what he does. “I grew up on music. We listened to Billie Holiday, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters and Big Joe Turner. My parents loved music, the louder the better.” Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, Southside’s fascination for the club scene started early. “My father played in bands for years, and my mother actually went into labor with me at some seedy New Jersey club. I guess some things were just meant to be.” Singing and playing in a number of blues and R&B bands at the now legendary Upstage Club, often joined by pals Bruce Springsteen, “Miami Steve” Van Zandt, and Garry Tallent, Johnny worked at making “meant to be” into “is.” It wasn’t easy. “We played for years on the shore, but it wasn’t until Bruce hit with ‘Born to Run’ that these A&R guys would drive to Asbury Park to see what was happening.”
Southside (so nicknamed because of his bent toward the Blues sounds of the Southside of Chicago) and his band, eventually called the Asbury Jukes, worked on growing their reputation as a dynamic live band through the late 60’s and early 70’s. “We built a big band, a home for lots of musicians, horns and all: sure we called it Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, but it was really just a bunch of guys getting crazy on stage.” Then, in 1975, they signed with CBS/Epic Records, released the critically acclaimed I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME, and a legend was begun.
What followed has been over three decades of recording and touring and solidifying a place in rock ‘n roll history. In 1992, the band released the fan favorite BETTER DAYS album, which found Southside reunited with his original Asbury Park collaborators, Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven, and relative “newcomer,” Jon Bon Jovi. In the wake of the record industry turmoil that followed, Johnny, never a fan of the “big record business,” took a hiatus from the studio, though he continued to work the road.
Johnny spent eight years working on the massive record collection he shares with E Street Band bassist, and childhood buddy, Garry Tallent, ruminating on life and his music, and just plain moping until 1999, when he returned to recording on his own terms and on his own label, Leroy Records. The result, MESSIN’ WITH THE BLUES, was a return to making music for the sheer joy of it; a collection of old and new true-blues songs that Johnny had long coveted but couldn’t record in the pop-single driven, major label environment.
MESSIN’ WITH THE BLUES was the catharsis Johnny needed to get the band back in the studio and himself back in the groove. “You can be free do what you want, as you want…we weren’t trying to be perfect…we just wanted to play…we were professional about it, while having a lot of fun.”
Recharged and reenergized, Johnny and the Jukes have kept up the pace since releasing GOING TO JUKESVILLE, the balls-to-the-wall, honest-to-goodness Jukes record in 2002; an introspective, soulful INTO THE HARBOUR in 2005; a live Internet stream of one of their legendary shows in 2008; a new live record of the legendary HEARTS OF STONE album in 2009; and PILLS AND AMMO, their studio record released in June, 2010 and their newest 2015 SOUL TIME! Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are brassing their way full steam ahead the same way they always have, with no holds barred, good time rock and roll.
“I’ll stack my group against any group out there. We enjoy playing, and the audience enjoys having a good time. Music is a shared emotion. We distill it down to that.” When you distill Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, you come down to 40 years of great music and good times. . . and counting.
Come out to Tarrytown Music Hall on Friday April 15, 2016 and see for yourself why so many consider Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes to be one of the best live bands around.
Tickets available at www.tarrytownmusichall.org or by phone 877 – 840 – 0457