Jeecy and the Jungle
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Jeecy and the Jungle

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"Jungle Boogie"



By by Mike Ross

Published: July 13, 2011

If you've been paying attention to the music that's risen out of Detroit in the last 30 years or so, chances are you've run across the Algebra Mothers' "Strawberry Cheesecake" single. It's a hot, post-punk-new-wave 1979 burner that represents the only recorded output of that short-lived band. The record's resurgent popularity via word-of-blog in recent years — Henry Rollins even picked one up recently — might lead you to wonder where the hell they are they now. In the case of guitarist, songwriter and singer Gerald Collins, the answer's easy. His new combo, Jeecy & the Jungle (Gerald Collins = GC = Jeecy, geddit?), kicked out the jams at this year's Hamtramck Blowout fest in March with a batch of striking new songs in a set that left no patch of G of C Lounge carpet unclaimed. It was a house full of dropped jaws. Truly. We had to know more about this band.

Turns out this guy Gerald Collins has not been frozen in time between '79 and March '11. Living and working between Detroit and New York through the '80s and '90s in a series of bands that lasted "about a minute — or less than a minute probably" including Warrior Soul and 67 Riot ("in New York City they probably didn't get the reference, so that might've been a wasted name") — Gerald landed back in Ferndale in the early '00s, working for a hotel chain. A few years ago, his prog-rock cover band (yes, a prog rock cover band) called Chromophobia was tapped to play Blowout: "That [prog rock cover band] was just me warming up the hands again, 'cause I hadn't played in a long time," GC says. The band sparked Collins' interest in writing and creating music again. Hence, Jeecy & the Jungle.

Offstage, Gerald tells absurdist jokes; he's self-effacing and sports a catchy laugh, a funny man in the "ha-ha" sense. Onstage? He's a dude on a mission. From his unhinged screeches and howls to his Beefheart-meets-James White guitar solos, Collins sings and plays as if every second onstage is his last on earth. And he's assembled a killer machine of a band that charges through the post-punk-new-wave-funk of his songs like haywire tentacles of some beautifully crazed robotic octopus.

Here's a conversation with Gerald that covers the genesis of J&J, his plans for it, and electricity that can be generated from an old wooden box with strings.





Metro Times: When did you start thinking about making music again?

Gerald Collins: About two years ago, it struck me that this is what I always wanted to do ... that I'd be willing to carry the equipment into a dark, dank club in the middle of the night and make some noise and see what would happen with it, so we ended up putting this band together in December of last year.



MT: How did this lineup come together?

GC: When I had come up with some music that I wanted some friends to hear, I had them come by and listen. A lot of my friends are musicians, and I really hadn't intended for anybody to get drafted into playing music with me, but it just kinda turned out ... I had a friend who played drums, a friend who played keyboards, a friend who played bass, so we decided to piece it together. We ended up playing at my New Year's Eve party. ...



MT: Are these new songs? Any older ones?

GC: There's maybe one or one-and-a-half that are more than 10 years old, but, for the most part, this stuff is new.



MT: It's an interesting mix of punk, blues, R&B, soul ...

GC: James Brown was definitely a big influence, just trying to see what I could do in a funk type of vein because I really hadn't done a lot of funk stuff before; I'd played blues, and various hybrids of music ... I thought, "Wow, James Brown's pretty exciting stuff, and I did want to do 'Please Please Please,' so if I go ahead and learn this song and then see what I learn from learning it, what I learn about the genre in general" — and that was pretty eye-opening, so I ran with that, and just kept throwing in stuff that I always do, which is like a high-energy, wanting-to-pull-your-hair-out kind of music. ... I felt it was at least worth pushing to the next level.



MT: There's definitely a country-blues influence ...

GC: If you play long enough you start to hear everything you've digested, and you go "I forgot I ate that."



MT: I think that first performance in March surprised a lot of people — it was a statement. Did it surprise you?

GC: Definitely. You don't really know what to think, but when you get some musicians together — especi - Metro Times


"Jungle Boogie"



By by Mike Ross

Published: July 13, 2011

If you've been paying attention to the music that's risen out of Detroit in the last 30 years or so, chances are you've run across the Algebra Mothers' "Strawberry Cheesecake" single. It's a hot, post-punk-new-wave 1979 burner that represents the only recorded output of that short-lived band. The record's resurgent popularity via word-of-blog in recent years — Henry Rollins even picked one up recently — might lead you to wonder where the hell they are they now. In the case of guitarist, songwriter and singer Gerald Collins, the answer's easy. His new combo, Jeecy & the Jungle (Gerald Collins = GC = Jeecy, geddit?), kicked out the jams at this year's Hamtramck Blowout fest in March with a batch of striking new songs in a set that left no patch of G of C Lounge carpet unclaimed. It was a house full of dropped jaws. Truly. We had to know more about this band.

Turns out this guy Gerald Collins has not been frozen in time between '79 and March '11. Living and working between Detroit and New York through the '80s and '90s in a series of bands that lasted "about a minute — or less than a minute probably" including Warrior Soul and 67 Riot ("in New York City they probably didn't get the reference, so that might've been a wasted name") — Gerald landed back in Ferndale in the early '00s, working for a hotel chain. A few years ago, his prog-rock cover band (yes, a prog rock cover band) called Chromophobia was tapped to play Blowout: "That [prog rock cover band] was just me warming up the hands again, 'cause I hadn't played in a long time," GC says. The band sparked Collins' interest in writing and creating music again. Hence, Jeecy & the Jungle.

Offstage, Gerald tells absurdist jokes; he's self-effacing and sports a catchy laugh, a funny man in the "ha-ha" sense. Onstage? He's a dude on a mission. From his unhinged screeches and howls to his Beefheart-meets-James White guitar solos, Collins sings and plays as if every second onstage is his last on earth. And he's assembled a killer machine of a band that charges through the post-punk-new-wave-funk of his songs like haywire tentacles of some beautifully crazed robotic octopus.

Here's a conversation with Gerald that covers the genesis of J&J, his plans for it, and electricity that can be generated from an old wooden box with strings.





Metro Times: When did you start thinking about making music again?

Gerald Collins: About two years ago, it struck me that this is what I always wanted to do ... that I'd be willing to carry the equipment into a dark, dank club in the middle of the night and make some noise and see what would happen with it, so we ended up putting this band together in December of last year.



MT: How did this lineup come together?

GC: When I had come up with some music that I wanted some friends to hear, I had them come by and listen. A lot of my friends are musicians, and I really hadn't intended for anybody to get drafted into playing music with me, but it just kinda turned out ... I had a friend who played drums, a friend who played keyboards, a friend who played bass, so we decided to piece it together. We ended up playing at my New Year's Eve party. ...



MT: Are these new songs? Any older ones?

GC: There's maybe one or one-and-a-half that are more than 10 years old, but, for the most part, this stuff is new.



MT: It's an interesting mix of punk, blues, R&B, soul ...

GC: James Brown was definitely a big influence, just trying to see what I could do in a funk type of vein because I really hadn't done a lot of funk stuff before; I'd played blues, and various hybrids of music ... I thought, "Wow, James Brown's pretty exciting stuff, and I did want to do 'Please Please Please,' so if I go ahead and learn this song and then see what I learn from learning it, what I learn about the genre in general" — and that was pretty eye-opening, so I ran with that, and just kept throwing in stuff that I always do, which is like a high-energy, wanting-to-pull-your-hair-out kind of music. ... I felt it was at least worth pushing to the next level.



MT: There's definitely a country-blues influence ...

GC: If you play long enough you start to hear everything you've digested, and you go "I forgot I ate that."



MT: I think that first performance in March surprised a lot of people — it was a statement. Did it surprise you?

GC: Definitely. You don't really know what to think, but when you get some musicians together — especi - Metro Times


"Jeecy and the Jungle Pile it On"



By Jeff Milo

Published: September 26, 2012

Jeecy &; the Jungle's Twist and Scream Psycho Circus, celebrating the release of the EP of the same name, features Six & the Sevens, Phantom Cats, the Crooks, Steffie & the Dirty Virgins, burlesque by Chloe Bowie, Detroit Circus performers, the Retro Girls and Eddie Baranek. It's all at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; doors are at 8 p.m.; $7 21 and older, $9 18-20.

Gerald Collins says he just wanted to take old-school rhythm & blues and "try something modern with it."

That resulted in a magnificent mutation of herky-jerky, soul-splintering, prog-boogie jams rocked by local quartet Jeecy & the Jungle.

Local audiences were immediately astounded, discerning ingredients as disparate as King Crimson, Bad Brains, James Brown and the MC5. Wait, what's this? Rhythm & garage? New wave & blues?

"I feel like sometimes if you can recognize what the influences are," singer-guitarist Collins says, "then it's time we throw in a couple more." Just to keep throwing listeners for a loop.

The element of surprise is integral for Jeecy & the Jungle. They baffled crowds at their debut during Blowout 2011 with their erratic elegance. Here was a group no one had heard of just tearing it up, at floor level. People were jostling to get closer and closer to the action. Given that presence, it sounds odd when Collins says he "tricked" his bandmates into joining the group.

Bassist Raquel Falcon, drummer Dana James Ares and keyboardist Paul P. Meyers were coaxed by Collins into rehearsing a few songs he'd prepared for a special one-time-only jam at his New Year's Eve house party, dubbed the "Party of the Century." Former WDET music host Ralph Valdez recalls the insanity of a "houseful of people crammed into a small basement" with "TV monitors covering the performance set throughout the house for people he couldn't fit downstairs."

"He's thoughtful like that," quipped Valdez, who played bass with Collins back in the early '80s in their new-wave-punk project the Algebra Mothers, "Not to mention, he's sometimes overly ambitious."

With Collins feeling so good about this new group, "all of them from different parts of my life," he angled for a spot on the forthcoming Blowout festival. Falcon was "so moved" by the "instant connection" and enthusiastic response "that we thought something was being pumped into the room through the vents or something."

Falcon half-joked that her initial onstage makeup (big band across face at eye-level, recalling Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner) was preemptive disguising just in case that show went bad. Surprise — it was a marvel.

"So we said: 'Maybe we should keep doing this,'" Collins remembers, "and we went into overdrive. I said, I'll see how long I can keep these guys on the bus before any of them realize: 'Hey...I wasn't supposed to be doing this. ...'"

Valdez said Collins seems "drawn to the idea of a band being a fun family of unique people," each representing "a different gender, race, sexuality, musicality, worldview or whatever" and each adding something special to the mix.

He also credits Collins with an "adventurous, kaleidoscopic, encyclopedic" musical mind. While he and Collins were taking cues from the No-Wave scene back in the A-Moms days, they were both digging a "jagged noise-rock style."

Jeecy, Valdez says, is a logical extension of the veteran Collins' previous projects, including groups out in New York during the '90s such as Warrior Soul and 67 Riot (the latter considered "a Detroit band stuck in New York," as Collins puts it).

And Valdez calls Jeecy's 17-month whirlwind a display of "high energy, deconstructed blues-punk-funk amalgamations." And it's all translated from stage to disc on the new Twist and Scream EP thanks to savvy live-style producer Jim Diamond.

For the release, Collins aims to top his "Party of the Century" this time with a "Psycho Circus." Burlesque diva Chloe Bowie joins the acrobatic contortionists of Detroit Circus for dynamic mingling between a packed bill of performing rock-pop bands.

"Take it all the way up to the top where it would almost kill you and pull it back a notch," Collins says.

Now, sure, Collins is a bad-ass guitarist, he's dazzlingly cool and crazy up on stage, but he can also be affably down-to-earth. He sums up the psycho-circus idea with a Seinfield reference: "Why would anybody wanna do 'regular pain relievers' when they know there's a 'maximum-strength' available? There'll be things moving constantly, no waiting to be entertai - Metro Times


"Jeecy and the Jungle Pile it On"



By Jeff Milo

Published: September 26, 2012

Jeecy &; the Jungle's Twist and Scream Psycho Circus, celebrating the release of the EP of the same name, features Six & the Sevens, Phantom Cats, the Crooks, Steffie & the Dirty Virgins, burlesque by Chloe Bowie, Detroit Circus performers, the Retro Girls and Eddie Baranek. It's all at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; doors are at 8 p.m.; $7 21 and older, $9 18-20.

Gerald Collins says he just wanted to take old-school rhythm & blues and "try something modern with it."

That resulted in a magnificent mutation of herky-jerky, soul-splintering, prog-boogie jams rocked by local quartet Jeecy & the Jungle.

Local audiences were immediately astounded, discerning ingredients as disparate as King Crimson, Bad Brains, James Brown and the MC5. Wait, what's this? Rhythm & garage? New wave & blues?

"I feel like sometimes if you can recognize what the influences are," singer-guitarist Collins says, "then it's time we throw in a couple more." Just to keep throwing listeners for a loop.

The element of surprise is integral for Jeecy & the Jungle. They baffled crowds at their debut during Blowout 2011 with their erratic elegance. Here was a group no one had heard of just tearing it up, at floor level. People were jostling to get closer and closer to the action. Given that presence, it sounds odd when Collins says he "tricked" his bandmates into joining the group.

Bassist Raquel Falcon, drummer Dana James Ares and keyboardist Paul P. Meyers were coaxed by Collins into rehearsing a few songs he'd prepared for a special one-time-only jam at his New Year's Eve house party, dubbed the "Party of the Century." Former WDET music host Ralph Valdez recalls the insanity of a "houseful of people crammed into a small basement" with "TV monitors covering the performance set throughout the house for people he couldn't fit downstairs."

"He's thoughtful like that," quipped Valdez, who played bass with Collins back in the early '80s in their new-wave-punk project the Algebra Mothers, "Not to mention, he's sometimes overly ambitious."

With Collins feeling so good about this new group, "all of them from different parts of my life," he angled for a spot on the forthcoming Blowout festival. Falcon was "so moved" by the "instant connection" and enthusiastic response "that we thought something was being pumped into the room through the vents or something."

Falcon half-joked that her initial onstage makeup (big band across face at eye-level, recalling Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner) was preemptive disguising just in case that show went bad. Surprise — it was a marvel.

"So we said: 'Maybe we should keep doing this,'" Collins remembers, "and we went into overdrive. I said, I'll see how long I can keep these guys on the bus before any of them realize: 'Hey...I wasn't supposed to be doing this. ...'"

Valdez said Collins seems "drawn to the idea of a band being a fun family of unique people," each representing "a different gender, race, sexuality, musicality, worldview or whatever" and each adding something special to the mix.

He also credits Collins with an "adventurous, kaleidoscopic, encyclopedic" musical mind. While he and Collins were taking cues from the No-Wave scene back in the A-Moms days, they were both digging a "jagged noise-rock style."

Jeecy, Valdez says, is a logical extension of the veteran Collins' previous projects, including groups out in New York during the '90s such as Warrior Soul and 67 Riot (the latter considered "a Detroit band stuck in New York," as Collins puts it).

And Valdez calls Jeecy's 17-month whirlwind a display of "high energy, deconstructed blues-punk-funk amalgamations." And it's all translated from stage to disc on the new Twist and Scream EP thanks to savvy live-style producer Jim Diamond.

For the release, Collins aims to top his "Party of the Century" this time with a "Psycho Circus." Burlesque diva Chloe Bowie joins the acrobatic contortionists of Detroit Circus for dynamic mingling between a packed bill of performing rock-pop bands.

"Take it all the way up to the top where it would almost kill you and pull it back a notch," Collins says.

Now, sure, Collins is a bad-ass guitarist, he's dazzlingly cool and crazy up on stage, but he can also be affably down-to-earth. He sums up the psycho-circus idea with a Seinfield reference: "Why would anybody wanna do 'regular pain relievers' when they know there's a 'maximum-strength' available? There'll be things moving constantly, no waiting to be entertai - Metro Times


Discography

"Twist and Scream" (EP) September, 2012 on Hiros Rise Music

Photos

Bio

Jeecy and the Jungle is an experience. Their live show is a train-derailing stomp that combusts with an intensity that has left local writers and radio show hosts breathless and scrambling for new adjectives.
The sculptor of many bands around many sounds, Gerald Collins (guitar) decided it was time to let three lifetimes of influences rip, and knew he'd need a supergroup to help him do it. Disguised as a one-time show for a New Year's house party, Collins coaxed some of the best musicians he knew to learn a few of his new songs, rounding up Dana James Ares (drums), Paul P. Meyers (keyboards) and Raquel Falcon (bass), to execute his vision and bring The Jungle to life.
Since their explosive “official” debut in 2011,, audiences of all stripes have discovered their high energy live performances blending a sound influenced by an unexpected combination of psychedelia, punk rock, 70’s funk and Delta blues, resulting in a non-stop buzz in and around Detroit.
Jeecy and the Jungle released their first EP, Twist and Scream, in September 2012. Recorded with legendary Detroit sound master Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders, the 5-song screen-printed EP skyrocketed onto a number of top ten lists.
Now they’re taking this one-of-a-kind show on the road to invite a wider, national audience to the party. Jeecy and the Jungle want to take you to some fun, crazy, and intense places so drop what you’re doing and hang on!

“They take all the visceral parts of blues, R&B, soul and punk and package it together into one crazy head trip. Lead singer and axeman Gerald Collins is a f**kin’ monster on guitar.”
Metro Times
“It's a little bit soul, a little bit new wave and a whole lotta rock 'n' roll.”
Detroit Free Press
“One of most unlikely buzz bands in Detroit in recent months with its soulful swing, guitar and heady rhythms; there are sing-along moments, swaying moments, drinking moments, and moments of strong, simple, outsider purity.”
Metro Times