jack bio

Born in Chicago, Illinois I came from a musical family and have played music all my life. When I was 6 years old my dad showed me some chords on the ukulele, by 10 I was playing harmonica and guitar and at 14 I got my first electric bass.

Leaving home at age 15, I moved to San Francisco where I spent the next three years watching some of the greatest musicians in America perform.

In 1971 I moved to rural Oregon and lived in a commune where I played in a band called "Peat Moss" performing at barn parties and road houses.

I continued north to Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 1973 and became a professional musician doing my apprenticeship in burlesque clubs and pubs.

1973 - 1976 saw me join forces with the amazing piano man Doc Fingers and backing the likes of singer/songwriter Bruce Miller, and legendary Vancouver musician Joe Mock.

1976 - 1977 were spent performing with "Teen Angel and the Rockin' Rebels", including a 9 day tour of BC with the notorious DJ Wolfman Jack.

In 1978 I became a founding member of the award winning "Powder Blues" and wrote many of their hit songs over the next 5 years.

1985 saw me hosting Saturday and Sunday jam sessions and serving as house band leader at the Yale Hotel on Granville St., Vancouver. With my band, "The Demons" (incarnations included Checkered Demons, Wailin' Demons, Demons du jour) I was given the opportunity to hire some of the greatest bluesmen in North America and play as long as 6 night engagements with:

Stave Bailey Henry Butler Mark Dufresne Big Joe Duskin
Tony Flaime Lowell Fulson Amos Garrett Johnny Heartsman
Mitch Kashmar Lazy Lester Liz Mandeville Cash McCall
Kathi McDonald Pinetop Perkins Gary Preston A.C. Reed
Fenton Robinson Tad Robinson Otis Rush Eddy Shaw
Guitar Shorty.

to mention just a few.

Moving to the Fairview Pub on West Broadway, Vancouver in 1994, I continued to bring great blues to Vancouver with the likes of Shuggie Otis, Johnny Dyer, and Jeff Simmons as well as many local and regional artists.

The next decades saw me playing numerous club dates, festivals, concerts and tours with many fine blues men including:

  • Tours of BC and Alberta with Amos Garrett
  • Washington State Tour with Jim Byrnes, opening for Robert Cray
  • Shuggie Otis tour of BC, Washington and Oregon.

In the summer of 1999 I opened a small restaurant called the Cottage Bistro to live music and began a Saturday jam session which I hosted for the next 3 years.

During 2002, I formed a band with the dynamic vocalist Hank Lionhart called "the Kingpins". We played all the best venues in Vancouver's lower mainland and beyond and recorded two successful CDs.

In 2010 I began hosting "Blues on the River" at the Kingfishers Pub Bar and Grill, in Maple Ridge, B.C., for 8 years with my pals Marty Bernard (guitar) and John Nolan (drums).

Some of our local and international friends who performed with us were:

Pete Sweetzir Doc Fingers Al Foreman
Tim Hearsey Brent Shindel Bill Hills
Gary Koliger Brandon Isaak Al Walker
Mark Dufresne John Lee Sanders Mr. Boogie Woogie
Mitch Kashmar David Vest James Rogers

In 2018 and 2019 I was asked by the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival to do a performance/lecture on 4 regional blues styles. For these shows I was able to hire some of the best musicians in Vancouver. Both workshops were a resounding success and would likely have continued had the Covid 19 Pandemic not taken these kind of festivals out of the picture.

In 2018 I moved to Victoria, BC on scenic Vancouver Island. Having been there many times performing at clubs like Harpo's, The Sunset, New York New York and 94th Street, I had lots of friends and good times there. I was longing to live closer to nature in a less stressful situation and Victoria offered the perfect balance of these things while still allowing me to remain in the music business. Through this move I have had the opportunity to reconnect with several former bandmates (including Hank and several of the original Kingpins) and make many new musical friends.

Hank Lionhart and I go back to 1981 when he was hired to make cover art for Powder Blues's 2nd album Thirsty Ears. In 2002 we formed the Kingpins, an R&B band featuring Hank's lion-voiced vocals and a tight horn section. After 2 successful CDs and many festival, concert and club dates Hank moved back to his former home of Edmonton, Alberta in 2006. A dozen years later we reunited in Victoria with several other former Kingpin members.

Dave Harris has been a major force in the Blues scene in Victoria since 1977. I first saw Dave playing on Victoria's Government St. in front of Murchie's Tea Company in the early 1990s. His virtuosity and authentic blues sound were amazing and continue to impress me greatly. In December, 2018 Dave and I started playing together at local clubs and events and have created a large and loyal following.