This story was published in the Abington Mariner on June 25, 2004.
Life after J. Geils
By Matthew Whorf
From the J. Geils Band to the late Johnny "Clyde" Copeland - that sort of combined rock and blues experience will hit the stage at the Purple Eggplant Cafe in Abington this weekend.
Danny Klein, bassist and founding member of the J Geils Band, has for the past six years found life after the Geils Band, much like his ex-bandmates in Boston's own long-running classic rock/R&B bar-band made good, guitarist J Geils himself and harpist Magic Dick.
For Geils and Dick, it's been the duo's well-publicized blues/jump-swing roots project Bluestime. For Klein, it's the equally blues-based but also more rock-influenced StoneCrazy, whom the bassist formed with three other well-traveled and seasoned rock and blues players from the Boston area back in the late 1990s.
StoneCrazy will be appearing at the Purple Eggplant this Saturday at 9:30 p.m., in the first of two featured club dates for the band in the South Shore area this summer. The second one will come in July at the Next Page Cafe in East Weymouth. The Eggplant show is one of the highlights of a full schedule of blues concerts and jam events happening all summer at the Route 18 plaza bar and restaurant.
"StoneCrazy has been a natural progression for me after 17 albums with the Geils Band," said Klein from his Hyde Park home. "Our sound has a lot of the classic Chicago blues style, but also a good amount of the Texas blues influence, which is more raw and rock-edged. A lot of the Geils music for so long came from both of those two sources.
"The obvious comparison for our band, I guess, would be to Bluestime, given that common element of ex-Geils Band personnel," Klein said "But I think there are some clear differences between the two bands in style. Bluestime is more traditional as far as playing the blues and swing roots styles. They use the acoustic standup bass and generally draw more of their material from the 40s and 50s. Our style is more rooted in 60s and 70s R&B, like Texas and Stax/Atlantic rock, R&B and soul, more electric and contemporary," Klein said.
Along with Klein on bass, StoneCrazy includes lead vocalist and harpist Babe Pino, his brother and guitarist Ken Pino and drummer Mark Hylander. Ken Pino was previously rhythm guitarist for 10 years and seven albums with the Grammy-winning Texas bluesmaster and guitar-slinger Johnny Copeland. Brother Babe was once called by Muddy Waters "one of the finest harmonica players in the country" and has opened in concert for Waters, B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt among other blues icons. Hylander has toured and recorded with Duke & the Drivers, the Swinging Johnsons and other notable bands.
After the Geils Band disbanded in the mid-80s, Klein was out of music for a number of years and worked mainly as a chef. His re-entry into the music fray came when he and guitarist Pino joined blues guitar diva Debbie Davies on tour in Europe for two years in the mid 90s. The idea for the two players to form their own band came along the way.StoneCrazy has recently completed its debut CD, containing four blues-rocking originals plus interpreted songs by Copeland, James Cotton, Delbert McClinton and a remake of Otis Rush's "Homework" much like the Geils Band performed as a concert staple for many years. The disc is produced by J Geils, who also plays on some tracks as does Geils Band keyboardist Seth Justman. The band is currently shopping around for a major or independent record deal as well as distributor for the disc.