Interview with Jay Geils and Magic Dick of Bluestime

Bluestime is heavily guitar and harmonica-based and focuses on material from Willie Dixon to Sonny Boy Williamson, as well as others of that era. With Magic Dick's harmonica innovations and vocals, and Jay Geils taste in classic '40's and '50's guitar-driven blues, Bluestime is reminiscent of The J. Geils Band's first two albums. The music of Bluestime for the most part is untempoed and with a heavy dose of vintage blues. Much to their credit, the genius of Bluestime is their ability to re-interpret classic blues songs their way.

GB - How and when was Bluestime formed?

MD-Bluestime was formed in Sept 92. I had returned from a fun trip to Holland during which I was fronting a Dutch Blues Band. I had a great time doing that, just touring all around Holland for a month. I was invited to play over there by a friend of mine. It was really great fun and when I got back I called up Jay (Geils) and I said " Hey Jay guess what I've been doing". I got the feeling for this thing when Jay and I started playing music back in the 60's. We started playing Chicago style blues. That was the music that actually brought us together and so for Bluestime we've returned to those roots. Those roots actually have the sort of roots that J. Geils Band had and the other half being Rhythm and Blues from the Apollo theatre era, stuff that was brought into us by the influence of Peter Wolf, Seth Justman and Stephen Bladd. With Bluestime were doing Chicago style blues and some Classic Jazz, the stuff that has influenced us since we were kids really. The Classic Jazz was the early influence when Jay and I first met along with Danny Cline which was the bass player for the J. Geils Band, we learned Chicago style blues together. It was a mutual experience, a learning and growth experience and we're still playing it. We still love it!

GB-How then does Bluestime compare to the early J.GEILS Band material?

JG - Well the early J.Geils music was actually based on the same music. As a matter of fact it was originally called The J.Geils Blues Band and we eventually dropped that because we started doing original material, but it's all from the same roots. It's the great black music heritage of America that for whatever reason just hooked us and we've been hooked ever since.

MD - An example would be an Otis Rush tune called "Homer" The .J.Geils Band reunited for a tour over the summer and we were performing it. It's a straight ahead blues tune and although we don't do it in Bluestime we could, but we just don't. We got a full plate of talent as it is (laughs).

GB- Any plans for the J.Geils Band to reunite again and perhaps make a new album?

JG - I think we're doing a show in Detroit on New Years eve. I don't think there are any plans for an album. There may be some other things but who knows, we'll see what happens.

GB-What's the blues scene like in Boston these days?

JG - It's great, there's a lot of Clubs. "Harpers Ferry" and a bunch of others There's a lot of young guys coming up, there's a lot of action and we're trying to get in on some of it.

GB-What do you think of younger blues guitarists like Johnny Lang or Kenny Wayne Shepard?

JG- Ahhhhhhh (laughs)

MD - We support any young artists who are attracted to blues or playing blues. I support them all because I think the fact they are young, they have a lot ahead of them in terms of knowledge and exposure to the greatest of the blues players. I find eventually that all people who are attracted to playing the blues grow a great deal as they learn to play more and more.

JG - They learn more about the history of the music because it's a great American story. I think one guy we have had contact with, who is probably at least in my experience one of the better guys who knows the history of it is Mike Walsh, who used to be called Monster Mike. He can play and he really kind of understands the history and the Heritage of it. I'm not sure everybody else does.

GB-What's coming up in the near future for the band?

JG - Hopefully we're gonna be making another record but we don't know when. We've done the cd's for Rounder Records and hopefully we'll do anther one.

Interview done in Fredericton, NB, Canada, November, 1999

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