Johnny ScrollerNow listen up, because I’m only gonna say this once; well, this year anyway. You have one, and only one, chance to witness the musical phenomenon that is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes live in the UK this year. Sorry to anyone living outside the home counties, but this one’s in London, at The Forum on Thursday June 22. Now, go on, ask me why you would want to see (and hear) Mr John Lyon and his soulful/bluesy/funky/rockin’ rebels? It’s easy; they are dynamite live, with years of experience behind them, and a lot more in front of them. But why are they so good? Well, it all dates back to the Jersey shore in the early seventies. If you’ve read Springsteen’s excellent autobiography, you might have noticed the name Southside Johnny crop up once or twice.

They played in the same bars on the Jersey shore and they learned the same lessons. You had to be good and you had to work hard; five sets a night wasn’t uncommon. It’s a philosophy Bruce, Johnny and Steven Van Zandt (Little Steven or Miami Steve) share; get the best musicians you can and work them hard every night. If you don’t, then good musicians get bored and fractious. So the E Street Band and The Jukes play long sets where the written setlist point roughly in the direction of the actual set. Both singers like to throw the band curve balls to make sure the attention doesn’t start to drift; Bruce picks requests from placards in the crowd and Johnny calls the tune that he thinks continues the journey best. With a huge back catalogue of great songs written by Springsteen, Little Steven and Johnny himself (along with keyboard player Jeff Kazee) and the odd cover, the band never plays the same set twice. You might get lucky on the night and hear an a cappella version of “Walk Away Renee” (or at least part of it) that will stop you in your tracks, or you might hear a horn solo suddenly morph into full-blown New Orleans jazz. You might hear bass player John Conte sing “Tutti Frutti”; you just never know.

And that’s why Southside Johnny still has a fanatical following in the UK; you go to a Jukes show with only two expectations; you’ll be entertained by great musicians and you won’t know what’s coming next. And those expectations will be met, and surpassed, every time. It’s real songs, real instruments, no autotune, no sneaky recorded fill-ins or ‘vocal reinforcement’; it’s for real. You can find out just how good they are at The Forum on June 22. See you down at the front.

And, in a bit of breaking news, Southside’s new vinyl EP “Live from E Street” made the Billboard Blues Album Chart last week at #10.

NightlifeOK, so just to save a bit of time, we all know about Eddie Manion, yeah? Whaddya mean, no? Where have you been for the last forty years? You really should get out more. If you want the whole nine yards, check out his Wikipedia entry, but, just for the moment, his first major gig was with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and since then he’s played with Dion, Dave Edmunds, Diana Ross, The Allman Brothers, Willy De Ville, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan and many, many more. He was part of the E Street Band for Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” tour and, more recently, he’s been touring Europe with the Light of Day Foundation raising money for Parkinson’s Disease research. His motto is ‘Have Sax, Will Travel’.

Eddie Manion plays tenor and baritone sax (mainly baritone when working as part of a horn section) as well as having a pretty good voice, which you can hear on his first solo album, “Follow Through”, released in 2004. At the end of the gargantuan “Wrecking Ball” tour, Eddie started work on his second solo album “Nightlife”, opting this time for instrumental interpretations of standards and not-quite-so-standards, rather than his own compositions. It’s a double-edged sword. Both ways you’re going to be judged; one way you’re compared with others’ songwriting, the other way you’re compared with previous versions of the same songs. So how does “Nightlife” shape up?

I guess it’s natural for anyone who’s spent their entire adult life as a professional musician to want to do their own thing once in a while. Eddie Manion’s spent a lot of time playing in horn sections in big bands where nuance isn’t always too high on the agenda, so when the window of opportunity opened, he pulled together a superb bunch of musicians to make an album placing his sax playing firmly stage centre against a backdrop that allows him to interpret songs with style and subtlety. From the album’s opener, a gorgeous version of the theme from the 1961 movie “Town Without Pity”, with its piano triplets and wah-wah trumpet, to the closer “”The Only One, from Roy Orbison’s final album, the album demonstrates Eddie’s ability to create flawless interpretations of jazz standards such as “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Stardust” whilst also combining Springsteen’s “City of Night” in a medley with King Curtis’s “Soul Serenade”.

Throughout “Nightlife”, Eddie Manion combines a jazz-styled finesse with a rawer rock edge to create a satisfying and varied set of instrumentals that embody great musicianship and sympathetic arrangements. If you value musical skill and the ability to pick a good tune, then you’ll love this; Eddie’s a superb player and he’s surrounded himself with like minds to produce a real musician’s album. As an added bonus, Eddie’s also a very good photographer and the CD packaging includes some of his own fabulous photos taken mainly on the “Wrecking Ball” tour; it’s the icing on the cake of a lovely album.

You can order it here.

 

BWB-WishForWhatYouWant titleSo what’s been happening to the Billy Walton Band since the release of “Crank it Up” in 2012? Well, apart from the non-stop touring in the USA, Europe and the UK, the band has had a few line-up changes. Tenor sax player Rich Taskowitz has moved on and Billy has brought in Ian Gray (trombone) and Sean Marks (tenor and baritone sax) to fill out the band’s sound, moving away from a jazz set-up with two soloists to more conventional rock and soul lineup with frontman and backing horn section. It’s a slight change of emphasis, but it creates a more cohesive full-band sound underpinned by the rock-solid rhythm section of John D’Angelo (drums) and William Paris (bass).

For their fourth studio album, “Wish for What You Want” (released in the USA on Vizztone on January 27), the band has enlisted the services of respected producer Tony Braunagel and keyboard player Mike Finnigan, plus a few special guests from New Jersey and the tweaks seem to have paid off. As you might expect from the Billy Walton Band, the album works across many styles and genres, featuring strong songs and the usual high quality arrangements and playing; oh, and a bit of fun as well.

The album opens in a blast of horns and guitar with the uplifting rock and soul of “Wish for What You Want” and the first of many proper endings – none of your lazy fade-outs here and a standout track. “True Lovin’ Man” has a mid-tempo 70s feel, particularly in the horn arrangements before the blues stomper “Mountain” bursts in with a huge guitar riff. “Come on Up” is an organ-driven straight-ahead rocker, building up a head of steam before changing down a few gears for the country blues of “Blues Comes A Knockin’” featuring Southside Johnny on harmonica. “Forgive and Forget” takes the tempo straight back up again with the full band with organ and horns laying the foundation for Billy’s wah-wah guitar fills and solo. If the album gets a vinyl release, this is the perfect way to end Side One.

Change” is exactly that, a brooding, atmospheric piece which channels Sergio Leone through Ray Manzarek before breaking into the straightforward blues chugger, “Worried Blues”. The next three tracks are probably the most commercial songs on the album; “Till Tomorrow” is a reworking of a “Crank It Up” song which adds a piano intro and plays down the horn fills. It’s a great song with a perfect guitar hook and in earlier times it would have been a perfect choice for a single. “Walk that Little Girl Home” is a Willy de Ville cover which mixes early Springsteen with The Drifters to evoke the Jersey shore perfectly and create another of the album’s highlights. “It Don’t Matter” has an E Street Band–inspired intro leading in to a “Take Your Job and Shove It” lyric which might or might not be autobiographical; it also features a great sax solo from Joey Stann; another former Asbury Juke. The album’s final track, “Hudson County Star” is loose blues/rock workout poking fun at corruption in the New Jersey political scene (a wide target, to be fair) which gives William Paris his customary shot at a lead vocal.

“Wish for What You Want” is another step forward for the Billy Walton Band. The band has evolved from the original power trio line-up focussing mainly on Billy’s guitar work to a rock and soul five-piece capable of covering a wide variety of styles. If you like your songs served up with big guitars and horns, then this one’s for you. If you decide that you like the album, then I’ve got a piece of advice for you; go out and watch the band live. You won’t regret it.

Released January 27 2015 on Vizztone.

Interview coverIt’s a couple of years since we last spoke to one of our favourite guitar players, Billy Walton, so I arranged an interview before his show at “Tropic at Ruislip”.  As an added bonus, the legendary Roger Mayer (search him online, but as a bit of a clue, he designed effects pedals for Jimi Hendrix) turned up as well because he’s been working with Billy for a few years now.  Here’s what happened.

Allan -- It’s been two years since we last did this, at Totteridge, and you were just about to release “Crank it Up”.  What have you been up to since then?

Billy -A lot of stuff, we’ve been playing the Jersey shore, tons of gigs; we’ve been writing, writing with friends.  There’s a lot of projects in the works right now.  We did a whole live thing over the summertime; we had a mobile unit follow us around and we did a lot of recording with that and we caught the fun vibes on the Jersey shore.  Right now I’ve been writing and I’ve got about eighteen or nineteen new tunes; maybe do another Billy Walton Band album we’re trying to work on then try and write with other people and have fun and put out some cool stuff.  That’s our plans.

Allan -- Before “Crank it Up” was released you were telling me that you thought the songs were stronger on that album.

Billy -- Well, songwriting always evolves and it depends on what you’re feeling. With that one we were going for a Jersey shore laid-back, more soulful type of thing instead of just guitar pyrotechnics like the albums before that.

Allan -- There were a few elements of early Bruce in there as well, the New Jersey feel.

Billy -- Being from New Jersey that kinda comes out it’s always gonna come out.

Roger -- It’s part of the DNA, isn’t it?

Billy -- It’s where you’re from; it’s always going to come out.  To dissect the Jersey shore music it’s kind of ahead of the beat, it’s driving all night, in a pumping club on the Boardwalk , and that’s what it’s about.

Allan -- And how are the songs for the new album coming along?

Billy -- There’s a good mix; I want to reintroduce more of the guitar pyrotechnics on the new album, we haven’t picked the songs yet so we just keep writing and we’ll figure out which ones are the best.

Roger -- You haven’t actually decided on whether the line-up for the record is gonna remain constant.  There would be no reason for every track to have the same personnel on it; is it fair to say that would be a step different from a production standpoint?

Billy -- Yes, absolutely.  On this tour we’re bringing two horns; Richie(Taz) is still playing with us back home but I brought these two horns with us just to switch it up a bit.  It’s all about the vibe of the night and it’s the same thing with trying to create an album it’s about getting that vibe and whoever it takes to make that vibe happen.

Roger -- If I can say one thing here:  I don’t think your records have ever tried to
capture you playing live.  You’ve done the live record, but a studio record is completely different from a live record because it gives you much more scope with what’s possible.

Billy -- And I think that’s what we haven’t captured on our last albums; that live vibe.  If you come out to a show, you know it’s controlled chaos.

Roger -- And I think that’s true of Bruce (Springsteen)’s albums too.  Live he’s fantastic but I don’t think his albums live up to the live performance.

Allan -- And it’s a great experience, a Billy Walton Band live show because like Bruce and Southside Johnny, you never know what you’re going to get on the night, do you?

Roger -- That’s true, when I was with Hendrix, we deliberately never played the same thing twice any night so you never knew what to expect and that’s a jazz thing as well, which makes it exciting.  It means you can see the band three nights in a row and get three and get three different and I think that’s cool, rather than some note-for-note rendition which gets stale very quickly.

Allan -- The last time I saw the band, which was at Barnet on the last tour, you played a solo where you threw the riff from “Kashmir” and the intro from the Chicago song “25 or 6 to 4” and that’s great because nobody’s expecting it.

Billy -- There’s no rules and that’s what I was feeling at that time so I thought let’s get into it.

Roger -- Well there are no rules, are there?  That is the rule; there are no rules.

Billy -- That’s right, the band’s having fun and if you saw us last night, tonight’s gonna be totally different and it’s got to be that way because sometimes even the band doesn’t know what’s coming next and that’s great.

Roger -- Should they know?

Billy -- They shouldn’t (laughs).

Allan -- I saw Bruce at the Olympic Park and, you know this is coming, but he walked to the front of the audience, pulled out a request placard, turned towards the band, lifted it in the air and the band launched straight into the song; that’s the mark of a really great band.

Billy -- Like us, the E Street Band are all music lovers.  Everybody you see playing that way, you know they have a load of Motown records, they have all the Stax records and they still put them on and that takes them back.  One night I went to hang out with the E Street guys in Philly and they played “Higher and Higher” and the place just erupted (Billy sings and finger-pops the chorus for emphasis) and afterwards everyone was just so excited that they did that song.

Roger -- Because a great song played by great musicians gets a great reaction.  It’s exciting and memorable.

Allan -- So you’re in the process of raising funds to make the album now; how’s that going?

Billy -- Well, there are many different things we’re trying to do and one is that we’re talking to this guy, Tony Braunagel who’s just produced Curtis Salgado, he’s done Taj Mahal albums and he’s interested in doing an album with us, but that’s not definite; it’s not in stone, we’re just raising funds for the next project.  There’s always gonna be a project, because we’re always writing and we’re always playing, but right now that’s the one.

Allan -- And that funding’s happening through indiegogo , isn’t it?

Billy -- That’s right, indiegogo.  The way the music industry has gone it’s a great way (to fund an album).  It used to be that the label that gave you the money, the producer pays everything, you pay him back, but now fan funding allows the artists to do it themselves and own it.

Allan -- And it allows you give something back to the fans that have funded it as well.

Billy -- Absolutely, they feel a part of it; they get packages where they get so many CDs and other deals.

Roger -- And that’s still only the beginning because it only takes you so far, you still have to try to get airplay. It’s still only the opening pawn move in a chess game.

Billy -- You need a fish to catch the bigger fish.

Allan -- Are there any guitar players that you listen to or you’ve worked with over the last few years that you would recommend to a UK audience?

Billy -- That’s a good question; there’s a lot of great players out there but to name one;  Freddie King!  There’s a lot of evolutions of Albert King and Freddie King out there.

Roger -- But the thing is can they write good songs?  Not that they’ve got some licks that they’ve served up in a generic way.  Can they write good songs? That’s what makes them stand out.

Allan -- When I saw you play with the Henrik Freischlader Band in January, it struck me that he can write a good song and he has a very soulful voice as well.

Billy -- The thing is, with players that I like, they have something that you can say “I can tell where they’re from”, they’re unique.  They’re not just generic  Clapton copies; that’s what I don’t like.  What I do like is, there’s a couple of bands in New Jersey that came up after Katrina from New Orleans and these cats can play and you could tell they were from New Orleans; you could hear it, you could feel it and that’s what I like.  And it doesn’t have to be a guitar player, it can be any musician.

Allan -- I was surprised a few years ago when I read a Bobby Bandiera interview and he was asked about new music he listened to and he said he didn’t listen to a lot but he did say that he liked Radiohead, which was a bit of a shock.

Billy -- Well, Bobby might have been messing with the interviewer there (laughs).

Allan -- We first met when you were playing with The Jukes; are you focussing on the Billy Walton Band now, or is there a chance that we might see you back with Southside in the future?

Billy -- Absolutely.  I’m friends with those guys, Southside is great; I enjoy the whole Jersey heritage and I still do gigs with them  once in a while but I’m really trying to focus on my stuff.  When you think about it there has to be more generations of music from Jersey.  Everybody speaks about Bruce and Bon Jovi but what about Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack in Atlantic City; there’s evolution there.

Allan -- We spoke briefly during the first interview we did about some of the Jersey Shore bands and musicians; what is it that makes that scene so special?

Billy -- There’s a lot to it.  In summertime the Jersey shore is a vacation spot; everybody from Philadelphia, Washington and New York City hits the shore and along the shore there’s a party every night in the summertime and there’s clubs all along the Boardwalk and everybody meets their girlfriends and they dance, it’s that whole scene.

Roger -- It would be like thirty miles of Blackpool but slightly classier.  And it’s better than New York because the clubs are bigger.

Billy -- What’s great about New Jersey too is the brotherhood of the bands.  There are clubs next door to each other and when you go on break, you walk out and go and jam with your friend’s band next door and they come and jam with you.

Roger -- A bit like New Orleans in a way.

Billy -- With those guys we all know what each other’s doing and the players are interchangeable.  We all get together and have fun and listen to music and talk music and that’s what’s different about it.

Allan – It’s great that Bobby (Bandiera)’s been on tour with Bon Jovi for what seems like forever now, but as soon as there’s a break in the tour he goes back to the Jersey shore and he’s playing  McLoone’s Boathouse and places like that.

Roger -- Because it’s fun.  If you’re a musician why wouldn’t you want to do something different if you’ve been on a tour round the world and it’s boring as hell.

Billy -- You’re right.  You’re away from it all and you’re in a bubble.  We played Churchill Downs in Kentucky in front of thousands of people with Bon Jovi and that night I got on a plane and flew home to New Jersey and played in front 150 people at a club, a jukejoint and I loved them both because I had fun.

Roger -- We used to do that with Jimi (Hendrix, of course); straight off the stage and straight down the pub and jam, every night.

Billy -- You wanna play, and you wanna have fun, youknow?

Allan -- Have you noticed any changes in the UK audiences over the last 2 years?

Billy -- Yes, there’s a mix; it’s not just the older demographic.  We get the traditional blues fans coming out to hear a guitar player. Then you have the Jersey people who buy into that thing of having a good time and having a party and you get the younger crowd so it’s a great mix.

Allan -- I noticed particularly at the gig in Barnet, on the last tour, there were teenagers wearing Billy Walton Band T-shirts and I thought that was great because I’ve seen a lot of blues players recently at shows where I’m the youngest person in the room, and that really worries me.

Roger -- That’s really sad, man.  You should look out for a band called the 45s; they sound like the Rolling Stones did in 1965 and Jimmy Page and the guy from Dr Feelgood gave them a bit of a leg-up, but this is guys that are seventeen and nineteen who wanna portray that energy.  So the energy is there with younger people; I’ve been working with some younger people who still like the kind of music we’re talking about so it’s obvious that the music goes right across the borders.

Allan -- And do you think we’re starting to see a move back towards guitar-based blues/rock again?

Roger -- In a way yes, but I think people just generally want to see someone perform.  You might not like “Strictly Come Dancing”, but at least it’s a live performance; whatever you say, the band’s playing live.  So that from that standpoint, nine million people every Saturday are watching celebrities dancing to a live band.  It can’t be all bad.

Allan -- I’ve noticed that over the last year I’ve seen some great young and enthusiastic British blues/rock bands and I wonder how much of that is down to what guys like you are doing?

Billy -- Well, you can find inspiration in many different ways.  It could be guy playing saxophone that makes you want to pick up an instrument and try that but just getting out there and playing, that’s the main thing.  I was fortunate to grow up in a scene in Jersey where I’d go out to a blues club and there’d be older guys and I’d sit in and I’d get my ass kicked every night and the there was a point when I’d go back down there and I’d kick their asses.  They introduced me all these songs that I didn’t know and it was ‘“Born Under a Bad Sign”, what is that, what the hell, I’ll play it’.  And it just opens you up and I was fortunate to have that, to be able to play with these people and let loose and go with it.

Allan -- And I hear you had a good time playing with Walter Trout this week.

Billy -- Yeah, Walter Trout, he’s a Jersey boy; he’s originally from Ocean City.  We had fun; I tried to take my amp off the stage after we opened up and that wasn’t allowed so it was great, we jammed an Elmore James tune and had some fun with it.

Allan -- And that’s what the Jersey scene’s all about I guess, isn’t it?

Billy -- Absolutely; one hundred per cent.  On tour, we have bands open up for us and most times we end the night with the band up on stage playing with us.  It’s the party, that’s what it’s about to me; what’s gonna happen that night and what picture’s gonna be painted that night.  And then tomorrow’s another one.

Allan -- Well, great to meet up again, it’s always good to hear what you have to say and I’m looking forward to the show tonight now.

Billy -- Thank you.

The Billy Walton Band are currently on the second leg of the UK tour, which finishes on November 26th at the 100 Club and you really should get out to see them.  Failing that, help
the guys to fund the new album and grab yourself some nice goodies as well.

Bobby Bandiera (Photo by Keith Golub)

Bobby Bandiera (Photo by Keith Golub)

I first saw Bobby Bandiera play in June 1995 at The Leadmill in Sheffield as part of an unplugged-style tour with Southside Johnny.  I know; it’s a huge surprise that I was at a Southside Johnny gig, but you have to take my word for it.  Looking back at it with the benefit of nearly twenty years of hindsight, the tour was probably an attempt to find out if Southside still had a following in the UK and whether a tour with a full band was a viable proposition.  On the night, Johnny and Bobby were outstanding; it’s surprising how much variety you can squeeze out of two voices, a guitar and a few harmonicas.  They played every request that came from the audience and proved that good songs are still good songs when all of the arrangements are stripped away.  Before the gig, I knew that Southside was a great singer and harmonica player; after the gig, I knew that Bobby Bandiera was a hugely talented guitar player and a very, very good singer.

Bobby played in various bands on the Jersey shore following his debut in 1968, building a reputation as a gifted player and was considered as a replacement for Steve Van Zandt in The E Street Band for Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” tour.  It didn’t happen, but in the following year he joined Southside Johnny and The  Jukes, following the departure of Billy Rush and kicked off a collaboration which has lasted for nearly thirty years.  I’m guessing that playing in The Jukes isn’t as lucrative as playing in the E Street Band, but it has other rewards.

I’ll come back to this later, but I truly respect any musician who naturally leads a band (whether it’s as a singer, guitarist or songwriter, and Bobby is all three) and can also take a back seat for a while and just be one of the players; Jimi Hendrix couldn’t do it, and he wasn’t the only one.  When Bobby joined The Jukes they were mainly functioning as a live act and releasing albums that only the dedicated fans were buying but, from the very start to the present day, they remain a live phenomenon and Bobby has always been a perfect fit for Southside’s live performances.  I’ve heard a story, from someone who knows, that Southside always likes to test any new Jukes (and there have been plenty of those) by suddenly, mid-gig, calling a tune that they haven’t rehearsed.  I’m willing to bet that he never caught Bobby out that way because according to Billy Walton, another hugely versatile frontman and supporting guitarist, Bobby’s memory for songs is legendary.

There must have been a settling-in period but I’m guessing that it didn’t take very long for Bobby to become a perfect foil for Southside and give the singer a chance to drop down a few gears during live sets by passing the baton to his guitarist for a few songs.  Leading any band isn’t easy, especially if you’re talking about nine or ten musicians and having Bobby Bandiera as a trusted lieutenant (in the same way that Springsteen has Steve Van Zandt in the E Street Band) helped keep the Jukes a tight live unit while adding another great voice to the mix.  Any musician who joins The Jukes has to be a gifted player; you don’t play the same set night after night and you never know which song (or version of a song) is coming next.  Apart from the challenge, the upside of this is that the musicians never get bored or complacent.

During twenty years with the Jukes, Bobby has also released three solo albums and continues to play live in New Jersey with the Bob Bandiera Band whenever he’s not touring in his current day job .  Did I forget to mention that Bobby has been touring as part of Bon Jovi’s live set-up since 2005 in a supporting role?  He’s usually described as rhythm guitarist, but I’m going to get all controversial on you here and say that there’s much more to it than that; the reason that Jon Bon Jovi wanted Bobby Bandiera in the touring band is that he needed a safe pair of hands.  If your lead guitarist has had well-documented substance and reliability problems, then you need a reliable backup plan and Bobby Bandiera is about as reliable as they come; a tremendous guitar player who also adds very strong vocals.  In April 2013, Richie Sambora left the tour at short notice and, in Canada, for one night only, Bobby Bandiera shook off the rhythm guitar tag and took on all the guitar duties, doing the job that he was brought in to do.  It didn’t last long, as another shredder, Phil X, was brought in the next day to replace Sambora.  And that incident kicked off all the predictable online spats between fans and friends on various sides of the debate (and not a serious word from any of the protagonists).

For what it’s worth, I’m not keen on bands bringing in extra players (for whatever reason)without giving them full bandmember status but, ultimately, it’s up to the players involved to do what they think is right.  I don’t think you can criticise a musician for taking a supporting role which (presumably) pays well without the dubious benefit of a spotlight and big-screen shot; it’s a hard world out there as a professional musician and it’s getting harder.

I know it’s difficult if you live in the UK, but the best way to appreciate the artistry of Bobby Bandiera is to see him live.  You can find YouTube clips of “C’mon Caroline” and covers of “Like a Hurricane” and “Baba O’Riley”, but the quality’s variable at best, and it’s almost impossible to find his albums online (at least at anything less than eye-watering prices). So, I guess the best I can hope for is that Jon Bon Jovi takes an extended break and Bobby comes back to the UK on the next Jukes tour; it’s unlikely but if it does happen, Music Riot will let you know about it then it’s up to you to go out and see him.

Some guitar players throw shapes and use smoke and mirrors (and the occasional wind machine) to grab your attention, but Bobby Bandiera doesn’t need any of that; he just has to play and sing.  He’s a very modest guy who seems to be happy just to be doing something that he’s very good at, and that always looks and sounds good on stage.  Whether he’s playing with his own band, The Jukes or a group of teenagers at a rock school, he’s always a great player to watch and he always looks like he’s having a great time.  What more could you ask for?