'JOE JAMMER' PRESS ARTICLE
"The Who - and Joe Jammer Just Keep Rockin"
INSIDER MAGAZINE: Elmhurst, IL
7/26/06 Issue #14: Vol. #1
by: Will Petty / Managing Editor-Staff Writer
It was 1982 the last time The Who released a new full-length album. Reagan was in the White House. The Cardinals won the World Series. And Chicago-born guitar virtuoso Joe Jammer was on a world tour with French rock star Julien Clerc.
But music, like most other aspects of our culture, is retroactive. And the history of The Who and Joe Jammer - as he prefers to be called - is inter-connected . That's why it's so fitting that after decades removed from the American musical landscape, their returns are paralleled. Joe Jammer - a former Who roadie - has recently moved back to the Second City for the first time since graduating high school on the South Side. Meanwhile, The Who just kicked off its first world tour since the 80's, finishing gigs in Europe before playing through the United States, South America and Asia, stopping at Chicago's United Center on Monday, September 25, 2006. (This month The Who also released its first new material - a mini rock opera, 'Wire & Glass' - in over two decades, with more to come this fall.)
It was the summer of 1968 when Joe Jammer, soon to be a high school senior, went on the road with the British quartet for several shows in Wisconsin and Minnesota, assembling and caretaking the late Keith Moon's drum kit.
But that summer gig was just the beginning for the young Chicagoan, who'd gotten his foot in rock's door by befriending a roadie for Jimi Hendrix outside Roosevelt University's Auditorium Theater in 1966 and worked as Jimi Hendrix's guitar roadie during that show. Joe Jammer's Viking-esque physique, persistence to party and genuine guitar talent laid the foundation for his explosive future, which began to take hold shortly after graduating high school in 1969, when drove to the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and became a new roadie for Led Zeppelin. His relationship with Jimmy Page - who gave him his nickname - quickly blossomed into an opportunity for Joe Jammer to move to London with the band and work professionally with Zeppelin producer Peter Grant and a bevy of rock legends.
Four years later, after playing concerts around the world and recording on countless albums,
Joe Jammer met with The Who again, playing rhythm guitar with the band in 1973 in London during the first staged performances of the rock opera 'Tommy.'
Now after three decades of using the guitar as a passport to the world, Joe Jammer is in Chicago to stay (for now), performing week-to-week at clubs throughout Chicagoland with his new band,
Joe Jammer and The Five Bucks. With a set composed primarily of cover songs, the frontman has been able to tailor his show to suburban audiences as well as celebrate his own musical history and experiences. Shows typically have two sets of what he calls "post-Zeppelin material," with songs including Bob Dylan's 'Rainy Day Women,' Eric Clapton's 'Before You Accuse Me,' and James Brown's 'Here We Come, Here We Go, Here We Are.' But what ultimately makes every song a delight is Joe Jammer's story behind it - from the times he jammed with Brown to the parties he shared with Page, Beck and Clapton.
Though Joe Jammer may not be performing with The Who at the United Center, (though he previously had performed before the 20,000 seat, sell out crowd and graced the stage at the original Chicago Stadium with Maggie Bell opening for Bad Company on their world tour in the late 70's), you'll be kicking yourself if you miss hearing his history with the band live at his own shows.
"Joe Jammer's New American Adventure & Re-Discovery of America Continues"
THE JOE JAMMER SAGA (2008)
Joe Jammer is truly a man of the times: born in Chicago 1951, his destiny awaited him. A modern day Renaissance man speaking 6 languages, his Viking-esque physique laid the foundation for his explosive future, traveling throughout the world playing music that flows from his fingers like magic. He knew from the age of 9 that all he wanted from life was to play his music, his way. Movies, TV, radio, live performances, print media and recorded music is his domain. He was the first guitarist for “Supertramp”, live guitarist for Donna Summer, studio guitarist for “Stealers Wheel”, as well as Mick Jagger, Joe Crocker, and Ringo Starr. Not a stranger behind the scenes, Joe began his career as a roadie for “Jimi Hendrix” (1967), “The Who” (1968), and Led Zeppelin (1969). After moving to London at the invitation of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Joe appeared on over 150 albums within ten years. In 1973 Joe founded the “Olympic Runners” and wrote and recorded 6 albums and 10 singles and the theme song for the Joan Collins/Jackie Collins’ film “The Bitch” followed by a British tour. In 1975, Joe did a world tour with “Maggie Bell” opening for “Bad Company” (all managed by Peter Grant of Led Zeppelin fame). After doing a two year French world tour (three continents, 120 shows) with superstar Julien Clerc, the last concert found Joe in Montreal. He fell in love with the city, moved there and became the guitarist for Quebec superstar Robert Charlebois and harmonica master Jim Zeller for the next 20 years. Since returning to Chicago in 2005, “Joe Jammer and
The 5 Bucks” have been featured on “Svengoolie” with George Wendt from “Cheers”. Joe was also given much local coverage in the press, TV and radio for his Chicago White Sox victory song during their march to the World Series Championship in 2005. Local media also covered Joe’s song for the Chicago Bears in their successful drive to the 2007 Super Bowl. Recently, you can hear Joe’s guitar work featured on the incidental music (bumper music) for the Oprah Winfrey Show.
He is equally strong whether playing Rock & Roll, Blues, Surf Guitar, Funk or Rock-a-Billy in multiple formats from a four piece band, trio, duo, or one man show.
Joe Jammer can do it all………..
What can Joe do for you?
"Take 2" -Fridays Guide To Movies & Music
Article: Friday, June 13, 1992
Baseball, Hockey and Joe Jammer Converge At China Club
Article by: Mary Stevens
When one thinks of great Chicago sports bars, the China Club doesn't immediately spring to mind. But Friday, at least, baseball and hockey buffs just might find the China Club a hot place to hang out. According to local music promoter Bud Monaco of Sopro, Inc., players from the Montreal Expos and the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be in the audience when native South Sider/guitarist Joe Jammer and friends climb aboard the China Club stage.
What's the connection between Jammer and the athletes? A onetime regular at local venues ranging from the gone-but-not-forgotten Harlow's to the still-alive-and-well Connolly's and P.J. Flaherty's, Jammer has also globe-trotted as a roadie for Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and The Who. Those behind-the-scenes jobs led to playing guitar with British recording artist Maggie Bell, members of Foghat and Procol Harum, French rock star Julien Clerc and French-Canadian pop artist Robert Charlabois.
Eventually settling in Montreal (where Clerc and Charlobois have strong followings), Jammer's frequent attendance at the Montreal Canadien's hockey games and his reputation around Montreal's music scene let to his co-writing the Montreal Canadiens theme song "Le Blue, Blanc, Rough" that is now played at every Montreal Canadiens home games. Next thing Jammer knew, he was giving guitar lessons to numerous NHL players.
Then a few members of the Montreal Expos baseball team approached Jammer for lessons while he was a groudskeeper for the Expos at Olympic Stadium. Jammer and Monaco have also "pitched" theme-song proposals to both the Expos and our own White Sox. The Expos liked Joe's song "Let's Go Expos!" and have been using it as their theme song at Olympic Stadium during Expos ballgames. And while the Expos face the Cubs in Chicago this weekend, Jammer's facing the music at the China Club. We're not sure which team he'll be rooting for, but quite a few of his sports pals/students reportedly will be out rooting for Jammer afterhours..................The Adventure Continues....................
Joe Jammer Triad Article
JOE JAMMER: CHICAGO MUSIC SCENE: SEPTEMBER, 1974
TRIAD MUSIC MAGAZINE ARTICLE
TRIAD RADIO: STEREO CHICAGO WXFM 106FM
Once upon a time, but never twice, there lived on the Southside of Chicago the makings of a hockey-player cum C.P.A. named Joseph Edward William Wright- Joe Wright to most.
A “normal” sort of child with the makings of an All-American boy next door. Complete with frustrations, prejudices and the rest of those finer qualities which lead most of us through the standard, accepted syndrome of American life—high school, college marriage, mortgage, kids and the almighty job.
Somewhere along the line, around the age of eleven, he fell into a practice that was to free him of that cacoon of conditioning we all have enveloped around us by society.
He began to play the guitar. A pastime innocent enough at an age when “Wipe Out” and “Louie, Louie” were all the rave, and if one could play “Walk-don’t Run” from start to finish—he was the baddest guitarist on the block.
Tucked away quite safely in the neighborhood, he went about his usiness in a most dignified crew-cut type of way. School was no problem—a bright boy, who was smart enough to stay ahead of his fellow classmates, and even smarter still not to be on top.
A ladies man from the start, yet never a boy to be accused of being naughty—a clean marine, so to speak.
High school came and went—four more years of a catholic education during which football became an interest, hockey became an obsession. The guitar was still taking the back seat, although Joe was known to come right from the gridiron and onto the stage to play for the sock-hop---without even taking off his shoulder pads and spikes!
Still a conventional dresser on stage and off, there was no need for alarm, although his desire to wear a “wide tie” when all the rest of the band were sporting “skinny jobs and shoestring specials,” earned him the reputation as the “wierdo” of the band.
As one of the identical twin lead singers would comment to the beer-slurping bar flys from frat-dance to frat-dance: “every group has one.”
So it was with Joe. No one could quite figure out why he walked out of a “four-year-all-expense-paid-fun-filled-scholarship” to the University of Illinois after only two days of attendance.
No one could quite figure out why he, at a time when long hair meant politically revolutionary tendencies, started to grow his locks and began sporting porkchop sideburns only because, in his words, “it looks good.”
No one could quite figure out Joe. Period. Except Joe; and that suited his airy, libran nature fine.
Born September 27th, 1951, it took just 16 years of mediocrity and systematic bilge to taste his first taste of freedom. It came in the form of a long-playing record called “Are You Experienced?” with the words “be forwarned” written on the back. A black man – from Mars, he guessed from the photo on the front- a black man! Period. At this point Joe was so sealed up in convention and paranoia, that he’d never even seen a black man- “except on T.V.” – thinks “I didn’t know black people could make music!”
Such sweet ignorance!
On top of all that, this black man, named Jimi Hendrix, made the most unique sounds with his guitar Joe had ever heard. From the final frenzy of “Purple Haze,” Joe’s life had changed without his even knowing it. All other activities and involvements were immediately left behind and Music, in general, and the guitar in particular became everything to him.
His days of rhythm guitarist and sideman were over. He left the false security of the “house band” status and met up with neighborhood musicians who were also hip to the “new wave” in music and guitar, and began forming band after band in the quest unending to find the “lost chord” –to make the unheard sound- to play the highest note. He never questioned this new obsession- he knew not what made him tick- he only wanted to keep on tickin’. If Jimi Hendrix was the key, all Black Music became the door. Joe couldn’t (even to this day) get enough of WVON- the black station in Chicago. Every new black sound made him ask himself the same question: “Where have I been all my life?” Years later, in retrospect, the answer finally came: Hiding!- “I’ve been hiding- hiding in fear, hiding in ignorance of all life! I hid myself under that horrible blanket of white America, that we all hide under. Thanks to an excellent education of lies, thanks to a system that is based on hate and slavery of the self, thanks for nothing!”
“I am now 22 years old, and am still cleaning myself of all those horrid corrupt trips my “educators” have been clogging my pipes with since birth. Technically, my education started – I am a child of four (4) years—four years of life and love. And life could be no more beautiful!”
The next step came when Joe discovered the Blues. Although he went about it in the round-about way of listening to British Blues first, (John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, etc.) and then re-discovering the fact that his own sweet home town of Chicago was the Blues Capitol of the world! That did it- from that day forward- the Blues became the foundation upon which all of Joe’s sounds were built. But, before one can play the Blues, one must first live the Blues!
“To become a true musician, an artist, one must bare one’s soul to the world. There can be no restraining of emotions, there can be no restraining of emotions, there can be no wearing of masks. One must love all the joys and the sorrows, al the pleasures and all the pains of life. If this is not accomplished every day- every moment- then the person is a failure as a human being first, and as a musician second; although a person cannot be one without being the other.
To me- that is the Blues- we must be wide open to everything.”
Joe’s first major pain, (a prerequisite for the Blues, and artistry in general) came in 1968- the death of his father.
“From that dreaded day, I knew that I was on my own. Although I was still with my mother and brother, I realized for the first time that to become a success in any application of the word, I had to stand on my own two feet. My father was my crutch at that time, and it took his passing to shake me loose…there was no other way.”
By 1969 Joe was beginning to feel a musical stagnancy hovering over Chicago which affected him directly. “I knew I had to leave town—where to go—what to do- were questions I was not yet ready to answer. I was writing my own songs by this time, and there was nowhere to perform and develop one’s own style anywhere in Chicago below the concert level. All the white clubs catered only to rock-bands that played top-forty sounds. Anyone trying to do their own thing was treated as an outcast. It was a matter of economic. If one wanted to work in Chicago, then one had to play everyone else’s music, and for me that was nowhere. I did not realize it at the time, but I had to get out…”
That opportunity came to Joe under the person of Jimmy Page. At that time, leader of an unknown British band called “Led Zeppelin.”
“……I met Jimmy after his band did their first show in Chicago at the now defunked Kinetic Playground. Around 1968 sometime. Jimmy’s name to me was vaguely familiar due to his stint with the Yardbirds before they broke up. I went down to the Kinetic with no expectations…just wanted to see what he was up to. Since I was in charge of the jam sessions, I had no problem getting backstage to tell him how much I dug the show. Zeppelin blew me away visually, in much the same way Hendrix did. Their energy output was remarkable. They just cooked and cooked! With that kind of energy…the only kind… I knew they couldn’t be stopped. We became friends on a social level, and every time they came to town I would go say hello. With time we got closer and closer.
“By 1969 I had just about had it with the Chicago non-scene. I had yet to discover the blues clubs, and the white scene was a total mimicry of the British scene- I didn’t dig second-had sounds. I heard that Zeppelin was appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival that summer so some friends and I decided to cruise out there and check it out.
“I had a bone to pick with Jimmy so to speak. Last time they were in Chicago, a friend of mine who plays the bass wanted me to ask Jimmy for a name to give his group. Jimmy recommended that he call his band the “Wankers.” At the time, it sounded great! A few weeks later the “Who” came into town. I had begriended them and went on the road to help them out for a few gigs. One of the roadies- Tony Haslam- told me that a wanker was what we call a “beat-off”… I got very annoyed with Jimmy for pulling that fast one on us, so when I caught up with him at Newport I chewed him out. He was apologetic about it, and from then on he was by brother.”
“I heard that they were having trouble with one of their roadies so when they asked me to come on the road with them to help out, I jumped at the opportunity to be with Jimmy and the lads. To this day, I look upon that summer of ’69 as the most important move of my musical career.
“That was the year of my first trip to England. Between Jimmy and Richard Cole, I was taught the in’s and out’s, up’s and down’s of life on the road. They taught me everything about everything. I could go on for hours with stories about them. I love them all.
“My stage name, Joe Jammer, was born on that tour. At first it was a very in joke with Zeppelin. I always had my guitar with me, and on many, many occasions Jimmy was surprised to catch me jammin’ with the support bands, anyone else who felt like playing. Sometimes Jimmy would catch me jamming by myself and he would join me. John Paul and Bonzo were always up for a pre-gig jam too. Before I knew it, we would be giving pre-concerts for whoever would be unlucky enough to get there early!”
The name “Jammer” did not become official until Joe finally got to London in November, 1969. There, Jimmy introduced him to Peter Grant, his manager, who agreed to manage Joe and help him build a group. Then Chicago’s Joe Jammer made a major mistake.
“I couldn’t believe that Peter was actually going to manage me. So, instead of going to England alone, as he suggested, I went with a band I put together in Chicago during the summer. After a couple of months of rehearsals in London, we realized that we were being burned by our very own musicians. It became obvious that some of the band members looked upon the trip to London as a joyride out of someone else’s pockets, so on Peter’s advice, we sent the whole band back to America, and I stayed on alone. I was then introduced to Mickey Most, who was to me then a name I saw on many hit records under the word: producer. I didn’t even know what a producer was! But, I figured that you had to be heavy to have your name on every Donovan, Animals, Herman Hermits and Yardbirds record, no matter what title you had! So, Mickey says he’ll produce me-just like that and the next thing he asks me is what name to give the band. I said that I hadn’t a clue- I was more interested in why they were so supper nice to me.”
“Then Mickey says- don’t you have a nickname? (Joe Wright was definitely out—even my doctor in Chicago says it’s too middle-class!)”
“I said sure Mickey, but that was just a joke with Jimmy and me. Mickey says, forget it! From now on you and everything you do will be called Joe Jammer.”
It was official. Joe stayed with Mickey Most for just over a year. Joe was put in a very expensive apartment in Hampstead and the search for a band was on. “I only wish it was as easy to find good cats as it was finding the name! I must have gone through 2 or 3 hundred musicians in two or three years time. Mickey stayed with me for a year, but ater never ending ripoffs from bass players, drummers and vocalists who were only looking for a free ride to the top, he felt this trust was being violated. So there I was, paying my dues in a foreign country, seemingly surrounded by hustlers and con men all the way down the line.”
“My relationship with Mickey was beginning to wear thin anyway. After countless sessions of singles and one LP session, Mickey would never release any of it. One day he was knocked out by it, and the next day he thought it a looser.”
“Then I started to realize what was happening to me. Mickey said he wanted to make me into a cross between Herman Hermits and Led Zeppelin! …..can you dig that one? And what was worse- I was actually keen on helping him make it a reality! I was starstruck- I wanted to make it big at any cost- I was not being myself in any way, and it was no good.”
“Then I woke up! Realized that I was phony and suddenly saw another light. A man cannot be a success as a man if he has to fool people, and himself, to do so.”
“I wrote Mickey a 20 page essay on it all and said goodbye.”
From that day on Joe was out to pay his own bills. Looking back he feels that leaving Mickey Most was the best thing he could have done.
“I was looking for friends—not partners.”
Since then Joe Jammer set aside plans for a band in favor of studio work. He had seen enough bands begin and end in tragedy because they did not have the name of the contacts to put it all together. Joe discovered through Jimmy that “the fastest way to become established as a musician was to first make it on the session scene, then take it on the road, when everyone knows your name, and wants to see your face.”
Through one break after another Joe Jammer began doing LP’s for everyone in town. Because of his unique ability to organize and improve, he was in demand.
From 1971 to 1974, Joe Jammer has been directly involved with over twenty LP’s ranging from Jerry Lee Lewis’ London Session to Stealers Wheel’s second LP.
The Adventure Continues……………
Original web page courtesy of Sopromusic.com