A Bio of J.R. Getches, by Scott Bucholtz:
These Bio’s are supposed to be brief. J.R. Getches has a resume of experience that is anything but brief. The more I talk to him, the more I shake my head in disbelief. Who else in the Lowcountry Blues Club has played side by side with B.B. King? (he even had the opportunity to play the REAL Lucille). Who has toured Russia with Steve Vai? By the way, Steve Vai was the opening act for J.R.’s band! Who else in the blues club has been on the cover of Billboard magazine? Had his picture in Rolling Stone? Get this: he’s even had a #1 selling children’s song (check out his full length children’s’ CD “Julie the Starfish & Other Lullabies” on Amazon.com or iTunes) . Should I continue? He has composed ballet for the Princeton Ballet and the Annabelle Gonzalez Dance Theatre (which was reviewed in the NY Times). He has contributed the theme song to a PBS special. He’s recorded with a variety of groups on about a half dozen different major record labels. In addition to these exploits, he’s toured Central America, Asia and Europe. Oh yeah: He’s an accomplished photographer and he started Celebrity Wake-Up Call with The Pamela Anderson. Do I still have room for any details?
As the son of a career Army officer, he was born in Fort Lewis, Washington which was just one of the many, many posts in the U.S. and abroad. It was high school before he attended the same school two years in a row. He started playing electric guitar a week before his 13th birthday while on vacation in Penang, Malaysia. Why? He heard Jimi Hendrix 'Band of Gypsies' roaring out of a pirate record store. He instantly bought the album and a cassette tape and played it non-stop for several days. He received a Mosrite electric for his birthday and never stopped playing. He sat in his room with 'Band of Gypsies', Santana's 'Abraxas', and Led Zeppelin's first couple of records and tried to learn all the licks. Sound familiar? (with the exception of the Malaysian part!) Note: Years later, J.R. had the opportunity to hang out and also perform with Band Of Gypsies drummer Buddy Miles (on bass was none other than Stanley Jordan).
He heard about the Blues Club via word-of-mouth and dropped by a ‘Dough’ jam about two years ago. He keeps coming back because he loves the energy. He also identified what we all hope to feel: the validation that can only come from a room full of your peers. The Lowcountry Blues Club can certainly provide that.
Obviously, his influences and inspirations are Hendrix, Santana and Zeppelin (a Holy Trinity?). He also mentions Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, Humble Pie, Mott The Hoople, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. When you see him play with The Louie D Project, you’ll see him utilize all of these influences. You’ll probably even be able to identify them but you will marvel at how he manages to use them to construct an original sound and style that is uniquely J.R. Getches. Today, he says his favorites are The Black Crowes, Ravi Shankar and Peter Gabriel. Ravi Shankar? I’ll bet you haven’t heard that name in a while… That might explain some of the other-worldly sounds that J.R. can create!
Currently, he has been in Charleston Sound Studios working on a full length CD of dance and party tunes (among other surprises) with the Louie D Project. He shared a rough mix of the lead track with me. It’s a super-hot track named “Don’t Take Sand To The Beach”. I can’t wait to hear the rest! He’s also writing some new children's music projects and scoring films and videos.
Some of his favorites for jamming are ‘Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd, 'Dear Prudence' by The Beatles, 'My Prerogative' by Bobbie Brown, 'Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers' by ZZ Top, 'Dreams' by The Allman Brothers, 'Frankenstein' by The Edgar Winter Group. If you ask him who his favorite Blues Club jammers are, he’ll wisely say: “There are so many, but Dan Wright, Sarah Cole, and Allyson Taylor”.
His band resume includes the following: Back in Virginia: The Motive, and The Projects. In New York: Native Tongue, Venus For Breakfast, Soluble Fish, The Poppies (CBS Records), Christine Lavine (Rounder Records). In Los Angeles: Flowers, The Bette Williams Band (Euphoria Records), Humble Servants of The Groove, The Patrick Dennis Band (Curb Records). Charleston, SC: Flyin' Blind, Mac Daddy, Partymouth, Kurt Ginsberg, Smoking The Ghost, The Bad Signs and The Louie D Project.
I highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunity to not only see/hear him play but, if possible, pick his brain. I see him as the “Yoda” of our Blues Club. He and I were recently discussing what it is like to return to performing after having been away for an extended period. We agreed on the fact that you really do appreciate it more after being away. The increase in clarity and focus is surprising.
Our discussions were reminiscent of an interview I recently read with Warren Haynes of the The Allman Brothers, “It’s cliché’ to say, but I’ve said several times and a lot of people have said the same thing; a musician can walk onstage and physically feel bad, have a temperature of 103 or something, and as soon as you walk onstage and start playing music and feeling the wave of energy, you start feeling better in a very healing way. I think music has healing properties. If you walk onstage feeling good, you’re going to feel even better. It’s pretty amazing. And again, it sounds kind of stupid to say, but I really believe in the healing power of music.” As he says: “I don’t know that I could live among people without music”.
While it’s trite, it’s true: music really is magical. To be able to say that I’ve shared a stage with J.R. is exciting. I feel like I’ve been touched by greatness. I have certainly heard and felt it. Can you think of a better prescription? I can see you shaking your head too!
This weekend you can catch J.R. with the Louie D Project downtown Saturday night at The Brick. As always, there is a plethora of great live entertainment this weekend. Shovels and Rope is at The Tin Roof Thursday night. Sarah Cole and The Hawkes are at Loggerheads on Folly Thursday and at New Moon Pizzeria & Pub on Friday. Plane Jane will be at Wild Wings in N. Charleston on Friday. Mac Leaphart will be at the Charleston Pour House Saturday. Also on Saturday, Johnny Mac and the BootyRanch will be at Jimbo’s Rock Lounge. Check out my friends in Fowler’s Mustache Sunday night at The Windjammer. Next Tuesday, you can find Shaniqua Brown open for Pile at The Tin Roof. Finally, I will be with The Mason Dixon Band at Birdie & Sharon’s in Walterboro Friday and Saturday night (Feb 18 & 19). This weekend we have special guest JoJo Wall sitting in on Harp. Come check us out!
Also, the Lowcountry Blues Bash continues on for one final weekend, so check the schedule at www.bluesbash.com, and get out there. Be sure to thank Gary Erwin for a wonderful blues festival, when you get the chance. Of course, we also continue with our Wednesday night club jams at Home Team/WA, so don't miss that, for sure! We hope the blues bash and the jams inspire you to practice up some new songs that you can try out at one of the next Wednesday night jam/parties...
It's time to pay your dues for 2011 if you haven't already done so. Just come out to a jam, and give us $10 for an individual, $25 for a band or family, or $100 for a corporate membership. Or you can mail dues to The Lowcountry Blues Club, P.O. Box 814, Isle of Palms, SC 29451.
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February birthdays are Pink Anderson (1900) and Johnny Winter (1944).
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LMW, February 17, 2011