A Story Steeped in Sound
WRITTEN BY JOE VIGLIONE FOR AMG
Danny Klein was born in New York City on May 23, 1946, and lived in New Jersey from when he was six to 17 years of age. His earliest musical influences came from listening to the radio: the Supremes, Motown, and mostly blues music from Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and Sonny Boy Williams; to the R&B of King Curtis, the Rolling Stones, and everyone else in between.The bassist spoke with All Media Guide on May 30, 2002: "[I listened to] New York AM radio, a whole lot of R&B, Otis and the Supremes, the Motown thing, the Memphis thing, and the New York thing, and all that, a lot of R&B in those days, a lot of black stuff...I guess before that like in the '50s you'd never hear that, the original artists doing the music, you'd hear Patti Page covers, you know that kind of thing. But at that time, in the '60s, it started to cross over...also there were shows out of the Bronx...goin' on at night...they'd play some really funky stuff and blues...so that's basically how I got it. We didn't even have a record player in the house 'till my sister got one, we were not a very musical family."
Klein went to Worcester Poly Tech (WPI), west of Boston, Mass. "I left Jersey, I would've gone anywhere to get out of Jersey at that point....Worcester was even better than Jersey, I was interested in science and stuff, that was the thing to do was go to college." At WPI from 1964-1966, a school known as "Worcester Tech," he met J. Geils and Magic Dick. They formed a jug band, mostly acoustic music with Geils getting into electric guitar. He asked Klein if he wanted to play drums or bass. They decided on a washboard bass for Danny Klein and though the band went through "lots and lots of drummers," they eventually hooked up with ex-Hallucinations percussionist Stephen Jo Bladd and his vocalist, Peter Wolf. "I took Chemical Engineering...J. was a mechanical engineering major and Magic Dick was an electrical engineering major...we never got through it. They never gave me the little funny cap and the train to drive. I said, 'That's what an engineer is,' so I quit. Actually, I went to see Muddy Waters in N.Y., actually we went on a field trip from school to Jersey and I went to a munitions factory and a fertilizer plant, and then we saw Muddy Waters in New York...and then I went home and quit school, and went back to Worcester."
The formation of the official J. Geils Band began a long and historic rock & roll ride starting with 1970's self-titled Atlantic release, The J. Geils Band, up to 1984's You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd, the only album recorded and released without Peter Wolf. After 17 albums and 17 years of touring, The J. Geils Band took a lengthy sabbatical from that 1984 release. Klein says he felt burned out and decided to pursue another passion. "I always loved to cook" he said, "so I went to Culinary School in Cambridge and for the next ten years I was a chef in restaurants around New England. As the economy slipped in the 90s, restaurants closed and few jobs were available. "That's when I decided to to get back into music. I realized I had really missed it!"
Then on June 19, 1999, The J.Geils Band reunited for their first time on-stage since the breakup, a gig at the Paradise Theater in Boston, documented on a bootleg Jake Geils Band: The Reunion Live, Paradise,and a three week re-union tour.
Having played on a record with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells in 1972, the blues was still an integral part of Danny Klein's life, and Johnny Copeland guitarist Ken Pino offered him a job playing bass with Blind Pig recording artist Debbie Davies. They toured America and Europe twice, Klein performing on Davies' 1994 release Loose Tonight. He and Pino left to form a blues/R&B group, StoneCrazy, with Ken Pino's harp-playing brother, Babe Pino, and drummer Steve Shaheen. They cut a lengthy demo as Stone Crazy with Shaheen moving on after the recording. Mark Hylander, formerly with Duke & the Drivers, colleagues and admirers of the J. Geils Band, was the perfect fit for Stone Crazy. They performed a Christmas party at Aerosmith's nightclub, Mama Kin, taped for television in December of 1998, and recorded some demos but were rudely interrupted by the J. Geils Band reunion tour in 1999.