Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
Music Hall at House of Blues
“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.
While still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes' trademark, and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, this new CD has a sharper, guitar-oriented, rock and roll feel to it. A harder edge for harder times. But, as always, the sheer joy of making music is obvious throughout PILLS AND AMMO.
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.
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. In 1975, they signed with CBS/Epic Records, and released the critically acclaimed I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME. 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. 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 new studio record released in June, 2010.
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.
When you distill Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, you come down to thirty-five years of great music and good times. . . and counting.
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