It was with a hefty heart that we learned last night that guitaristJohn Warren Geils Jr.— aka J. Geils, beginning member of the J. Geils Band also — passed away in his physical home of Groton, Mass. at the age of 71, apparently of organic causes. For many Detroiters, the J. Geils Band was a Detroit act. "Although living in Boston, the band had constantly taken into consideration Detroit their second residence because of their massive popularity tright here," to quote the Wikipedia entry for Full Housage. "Two of their three live albums were recorded in Detroit at miscellaneous venues. The third live album was videotaped in Detroit and Boston."


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It appears that the entire Creem staff were fans; Lester Bangs even played a "solo" onstage on a typewriter during one of their songs. They wrote and recorded among our favorite songs around Detroit (watch above). The band was played on Detroit radio through the kind of regularity and also pride booked for neighborhood heroes, while a hip-hop cover of "Flamethrower" by The Scene maincontinues to be Felix and Jarvis was a regional hit. Even their later on and new-wavier, MTV-era product acquired airplay from the Electrifying Mojo, and you can"t rack up higher Detroit cred points than that. In current years, once the J. Geils Band played reunion shows, they tfinished to organize them just in Detroit and also Boston; they were homecoming events, as opposed to large, revenue-generating tours. Naturally their Top 40 smash hits choose "Centerfold" or "Love Stinks" are what many civilization think of when they hear the name, however in Detroit we celebprice their soulful stripped-dvery own pre-fame jams, their "no-bullshit, non-Southern party rock band also at the elevation of the prog era," as Ann Arborite and also future Third Man film series programmerDustin Krcatovich puts it. Lifetime Michigander Chris Porter reminisces seeing them as thefirst concert for his 13th birthday. "They videotaped those September 1982 shows at Pine Knob and finished up releasing the Showtime album, the group"s 3rd live LP videotaped in Michigan — an odd point for a band from Boston, yet the J. Geils Band was so popular right here that they were the Motor City"s adopted sons," he states on Facebook.
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J. Geils himself, in April of 1972. Picture by Robert Matheu.
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Poster for the J. Geils Band (show where they tape-recorded "Full House"), through the Grande"s Stanley the Mad Hatter as master of ceremonies
Lori Tucker-Sullivan, who teaches at Wayne State and is executive director of the Independent Booksellers Consortium, writes that she scanned via many type of write-ups on social media last night by her high institution girlfriends, "because we all loved J. Geils and attended multiple shows," she says. "Eincredibly winter at Cobo; eincredibly summer at Pine Knob. They weren"t necessarily good-looking, they were just the embodiment of rock and blues and also good-time party music. It"s amazing that some bands separated us — I loved Queen, others went for Elton John, yet others loved Black Sabbath, yet we all loved the J. Geils Band. You simply couldn"t be a rock music boy in Detroit in the late "70s and also not be a fan. Detroiters always kbrand-new that we were the best rock audiences and this band also recognized that with a actual affection." Promoter and also chronicler Willy Wilkid writes, "You realized that you were witnessing something special and the band also was going to play until you and them both dropped in a sweaty mass from shaking your rump. They were a blue-collar party band also that fit the mold and also feel of what Detroiters wanted to hear and also see. No bullshit, simply an excellent time from a band that would certainly blow your challenge off — leaving you a little drunk, a tiny sweaty and also a little bit of a ringing in your ear, And then you couldn"t wait to see them when even more, to see if they couldn"t pull it off aget — and the band also always did." John Neilkid writes that""tough R&B" is part of the Detroit DNA. The Motor City constantly adopted harder rock, but additionally Funkadelic, Motown, Westbound and also various other funky sounds, and the 2 combined (on the radio at least) even more in Detroit than most places. Mitch Ryder"s Detroit Wheels might steamroll most other white R&B pop of the "60s. Our proto-punks were motivated as much by James Brown and also Sun Ra as by the Kinks and also the Yardbirds. A band also choose J. Geils that did hard-driving R&B covers was a herbal in Detroit." Photographer Robert Matheu, who generously lent us these rare photos below, enthprovides that"J. Geils were the sound of Detroit, as Doug Coombe declared — it was the blues, it was R&B, it was every little thing we essential when we left the factory."

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