Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Grandfather of the Jersey Sound Puts on the Ritz; Jukes Will Play Songs from the '70S, Whatever Feels Right

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Grandfather of the Jersey Sound Puts on the Ritz; Jukes Will Play Songs from the '70S, Whatever Feels Right

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

Everybody knows Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

But Southside Johnny Lyons and his Asbury Jukes were also rocking the Stone Pony and other iconic Jersey Shore venues in the mid-1970s with co- founder (and longtime E Street Band member) "Miami" Steve Van Zandt.

Lyons, the so-called "Grandfather of the New Jersey Sound," and his revived Asbury Jukes are bringing that brass-heavy rock 'n' roll to Jacksonville's Ritz Theatre Sunday.

Lyons and a 7-member band that now includes Glenn Alexander on guitar, Chris Anderson on trumpet, Neal Pawley on trombone and John Isley on sax play about 100 concerts a year.

"It is a strange mixture of rock, rhythm and blues, blues and chaos. I love to make music but it changes year to year," Lyons said. "The core of it is what we did in the '70s, but we have been making records for 40 years. Having horns and having the band I have to work with is very versatile. We can play anything that comes to mind. We can play anything we want and the great freedom is you really make music."

The Jukes were born like many bands in the 1960s and '70s, Lyons said - playing the rock music they heard growing up in the Tri-State area. Lyons and Van Zandt joined forces in the early 1970s after playing in bands in Asbury Park, N.J., at the same time Springsteen and other future E Street Band members were playing the same venues.

"We were all in bands in the '60s, the band of the week. You would con a club owner to play and we all played the same songs of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones," Lyons said. "We would try to play and make a few dollars, then we realized we wanted to be real musicians. I wanted a horn band and to do some R&B and blues. It was really just a chance to make the music you wanted to make."

Along with playing together in the early days, Springsteen and Van Zandt helped create the songs for the Jukes' debut "I Don't Wanna Go Home" album in 1976. …

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