THE JIMMYS INTERVIEW
What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Oddly, I didn't teach myself piano until I was 17 or 18 years old. Unfortunately I was listening to mostly radio then, it was the 80's...need I say more? But for my High School graduation ceremony, I did "Vienna" by...yes I know....Billy Joel. I played in the High School Band (I flunked my Junior Year, that's another story) and chorus, but this was the first real taste performing by myself, at the piano....I was hooked
When did you start writing about music—and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I quickly moved through influences of Billy Joel, Supertramp, Elton John, briefly into styles of George Winston where I wrote some instrumentals that had a mix of these genres stirred together. The silver lining with those influences was learning left hand styles that have stuck with me even today. But, I soon started writing lyrics that didn't match the music. I then found Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, XTC, and joined a band in college covering these bands, and writing originals with the group. after college I joined a couple of groups and played frequently. That's when Stevie Ray Vaughn hit the mainstream......I heard the Hammond B-3 organ really used like I wanted to use it when hearing Reese Wynan with SRV. I then went backwards in time to discover my biggest and most favorite musicians like Charles Brown, Otis Spann, Jimmy Smith, and was always trying to emulate Dr. John, Steve Winwood and of course Ray Charles. I once told someone that I was a little embarrassed to admit my George Winston, Elton John...etc influences. "Son, we all started somewhere." Elvin Bishop
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD's?
I love bands like The Bel-Airs, Jimmy Vaughn, Nick Moss band, Tab Benoit, Little Feat, The Band. But again I now am leaning towards, Charles Brown, plus good old stuff like Albert Collins
Do you get nervous before a performance ?
I get nervous before every gig, big or small. I always play with the same intensity either in front 80 or 8,000. It's good to be so, I feel it keeps you alive and awake and on top of your game at all times
How do you promote your shows?
I hate to say it, but Facebook has become quite the promotional tool for us. I still send out a newsletter once per month (anyone can join at www.thejimmys.net) But we do a lot of radio spots, or will even get on TV by request for festivals, etc
What's your outlook on the record industry today?
I don't want to shoot my foot off here, but I know record companies are struggling, in part because it is so easy to make your own music, and promote it as well. They are necessary, but only seem to be able to help the '"big" acts
What's your claim to fame?
Gosh, so many hahaha!! I've been awarded best Keyboardist in our state a few times, the band has been rewarded Best Band statewide and regionally NUMEROUS times. The Jimmys new CD "HOT DISH" made it to the first round of the 2016 Grammys and is currently #7 on the Contemporary Blues Radio Charts!
Again, I flunked High School Band my Junior year, I didn't read music, and didn't "Practice good behavior"
I come from a fifth generation Purebred BrownSwiss dairy farm that was homesteaded by my ancestors in 1854 (That's an old farm here in the New World :-)We milk 200 cows and farm 1500 acres of crops. I help out almost every day....almost
What inspires you to do what you do?
Interestingly, I was expected to be a farmer by many. Our farm is world renowned for it's breeding stock, and it was/is to be my destiny. But to prove I'm a worthy musician to myself, is to be as successful as my family has been in Agriculture. A tall order, indeed.
What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?
Ha!!! Ok here's one. There is a great comedy show called Saturday Night Live. They had a 40th Year anniversary about one year ago. Of all people, Miley Cyrus did a very cool version of "50 ways to leave your lover" by Paul Simon. It WILL be the next song we cover :-)
If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?
Well since I didn't win the latest $1.3 billion Lottery, I would probably stay at the farm, or fulfill a life long wish of becoming a lion trainer...which ever is safer
Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?
Well, there is no question we want to tour more through out the world! We will be in Norway in June, and probably back in Romania in November. So if anyone is interested in booking us, LET ME KNOW!
Where would you like to find yourself in ten years?
Certainly doing what I'm doing now, making a decent living at what I love to do. Just that simple. If it doesn't become more than it is now, I'd still be happy, I have a great band with wonderful friends, a beautiful and understanding wife, a nice place to live, and a supportive family and fan base. Everything a man could want! Well, except for $1.3 billion :-)