Jo Jo Gunne

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Jo Jo Gunne is a rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1971 by Jay Ferguson (keyboards, vocals and guitar) and Mark Andes (bass guitar and vocals) after they had left Spirit. The group's name is derived from "Joe Joe Gun", a Chuck Berry song that peaked at #83 as a single in November 1958.

Career[edit]

Jay Ferguson (born May 10, 1947) and Mark Andes (born 19 February 1948) started the band with the addition of Mark's brother Matt Andes (born Feb 6, 1949, California) (guitar, vocals) and William "Curly" Smith (born 31 January 1952, Wolf Point, Montana) (drums, vocals and harp), they were signed to Asylum Records.

Jo Jo Gunne had a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart with the song, "Run Run Run", taken from their first album, Jo Jo Gunne (1972), which peaked at 27 in U.S. charts, and received airplay on U.S. album-oriented rock FM radio stations.[1]

The group did not maintain the commercial momentum of their first release. With Jumpin' the Gunne's tasteless album cover being blamed for drastically falling sales, they broke up in 1975.

Personnel changes[edit]

Following the first album, Mark Andes left the band after a falling out with his brother Matt and Ferguson and was replaced by Jimmie Randall. Randall introduced a brighter bass sound and helped increase the band's overall volume.

Matt Andes left after Jumpin' the Gunne, and he was briefly replaced by Star Donaldson. A more permanent replacement was found in John Staehely (born 25 January 1952, Austin, Texas), who had played on Feedback, the Spirit album that followed Ferguson and Andes's departure. Staehely's overdriven guitar was a complete change from Matt Andes's Ry Cooder style slide guitar.

After the band broke up, Ferguson recorded several solo albums, including the hit singles "Thunder Island" and "Shakedown Cruise", and scored TV shows and mostly non-notable movies. Andes joined Firefall and, later, Heart. Smith went on to have a successful career as a session drummer, and also played with Spirit in the 1980s and Boston from 1994 to 2000.

Reunion[edit]

The original line-up temporarily got back together around 1992. In a July 1995 interview in Vintage Guitar Magazine, Mark Andes recalls: "Curly Smith called me up and noted that it was the twentieth anniversary of when that band had formed; Steve Lukather took us into the studio and we recorded a lot of new material, but it didn’t go anywhere". They had better luck in 2005 and began recording again, once more with the help of devoted friend Steve Lukather. Although the group ultimately failed to return to the stage, their recordings from this period are cherished by fans for the wicked slide of guitarist Matt Andes and the off-beat writing of the group, contributed mainly by Jay Ferguson. The 2005 recordings were eventually put out as an album, Big Chain.

Recordings[edit]

The band's first album Jo Jo Gunne was released in 1972 and the first single Run, Run, Run became a top 40 hit with the album riding the charts to #57 on Billboard's Top 100 Albums.

Jo Jo Gunne's second album Bite Down Hard skirted the bottom of the Billboard Top 100 Charts rising no further than #75 and the fact that there was no breakout single failed to generate interest and sales for the band. The album was produced by Bill Szymczyk who was best known at the time for his production work on Joe Walsh's Barnstorm and B.B. King's Completely Well which featured the hit single "The Thrill Is Gone".

The band's third album Jumpin' the Gunne failed to rise any higher than #169 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. This was partially attributed to a controversial cover of an overweight naked woman jumping over the band who were in a bed as she attempted to reach a baby pig. The gatefold jacket had the same woman with the album credits written on her in black marker as she cavorts with a piglet. [2] The lack of a strong hit single doomed the second album to the bottom of the charts. Szmczyk occupied the producer's chair again for the album. Guitarist Matthew Andes left the band after the completion of the third album.

The band's fourth album So...Where's The Show? featured new guitarist John Staehely (who, ironically, had replaced Randy California in a short lived version of Jay Ferguson's former band Spirit). Staehely's harder edged sound complimented Ferguson's songs giving the band a much harder rock sound than on their previous efforts. [3] Nevertheless, the album floated no higher than #198 on the Billboard Album Charts. After the tour to support So...Where's The Show, the band fragmented and was not heard from again until the 2005 release Big Chain, which featured re-recordings of their previous album tracks mixed in with new material.

in 2000 Rhino Handmade issue the band's four albums plus five unreleased bonus tracks as The Asylum Recordings Volume 1 and 2. The Rhino Handmade set sold out. These were reissued by Wounded Bird minus the booklet in 2013. In 2012 the band's four albums were reissued on a two CD set by the British Edsel label without the bonus tracks included on the Rhino Handmade release.

Albums[edit]

  • Jo Jo Gunne (1972)
  • Bite Down Hard (1973)
  • Jumpin' The Gunne (1973)
  • So...Where's The Show? (1974)
  • Jo Jo Gunne/Bite Down Hard/Jumpin' The Gunne/So...Where's The Show?(2012)
  • The Asylum Recordings Volume 1(2000, reissued in 2013 by Wounded Bird)
  • The Asylum Recordings Volume 2 (2000, reissued 2013 by Wounded Bird)
  • Big Chain (2005)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 283. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Allmusic.com
  3. ^ Foss, Richard. Allmusic.com

External links[edit]