Mojo Gurus
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Mojo Gurus

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The best kept secret in music

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Musicianship – 9 out of 10

Of late, there seems to be a resurgence of love for the sounds of Southern Rock, Rockabilly, and good ol’ Rockin’ Country/Blues music! No doubt, the popularity of Country bands like Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry and Gretchen Wilson that glorify the ‘Rock’ while staying firmly rooted in the traditions of the South, have helped in this effort! Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, and Marshall Tucker, at the same time, keep the flame alive by performing all over the world! Many even had an opportunity to perform at the Grammys along with Kid Rock this past year! Yep… fans are finding something they like in that raw Rock and Roll sound!

Into this atmosphere, we introduce a band from St. Petersburg, Florida by the name of The Mojo Gurus! Led by their high-energy frontman Kevin Steele, the band rips off tune after tune at full speed, never slowing down until they hit the end of the CD, or the end of the set! Propelled forward by awesome drummer Tommy Weder, and his partner in crime Vinny Granese (bass), they tuck in tight and provide an unrelenting rhythm section for guitarist Jeff Vitolo, who plays like a man possessed! At one moment, he is playing grungy, bluesy Rockabilly rhythms, and the next he’s playing Delta Blues slide packed with feeling and emotion! Fully assembled, The Mojo Gurus are a Rock and Roll machine that only needs a little bit of diesel to get them there, and a stage from which they can unleash their music!

Songwriting – 9 out of 10

To me, a songwriter has to be convincing in his work, or you pretty much laugh their work off as a joke. Seeing Motley Crue do a Jazz tune, or Sinatra rapping are ridiculous examples that come to mind immediately. I don’t know how the guys in Mojo Gurus spend their time on a daily basis, but their songwriting is convincing enough to make me imagine that they are all good ol’ boys who like to party, drive fast cars, chase loose women and play Rock and Roll! Songs like (Race With the Devil), (Who’s Been Driving My Cadillac), (Baddest Mother’s Son) and (Linda Marie) are well-written tunes that have a good hook, great instrumentation and a truckload of spunk! In fact, these are the best tunes on the record! Admittedly, there are also songs included that are a bit clichéd (Fool’s Hall of Fame and Shakin’ in the Barn come to mind), but the rest of the tunes make up for that lack in my mind!

I honestly think that these guys have the drive, the grit, and the determination to make a name for themselves in the business. Already, I have watched them take their music from Indie DIY distribution to worldwide distribution via Empire Musicwerks; believe me, they hustled to get to the point they are at, using the internet and word of mouth to spread their music everywhere! Still, all of that would have been a waste if their songs sucked. Songwriting is essential for a group to make it big, and in my opinion, The Mojo Gurus have still got a lot to look forward to! If they keep writing good tunes like the ones on this record, they will definitely be making a lot more noise!

Sound Quality/Professionalism – 9.5 out of 10

The sound quality of Shakin’ In the Barn is excellent! I especially like the way that the band’s sound is built upon their true foundation, the rhythm section of Vinnie Granese and Tommy Weder! These guys are excellent musicians, and their solid performance brings a high level of quality to the whole CD! With powerhouses like Empire MusicWerks behind the distribution, and legendary producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, NY Dolls, Aerosmith, The Who, Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, David Bowie) at the helm of the project, how can the band have gone wrong?

In the tradition of great Southern Rockers that have risen up from the Gulf States of the US, The Mojo Gurus have made a great record with spirit, incredible sound, and a whole lot of bravado! And, I think they’re just getting wound up! Keep your eye on these guys!

Packaging – N/A out of 10

I received a promotional copy of the CD, and as such, I’ll refrain from comment on the packaging.

Favorite Tracks
Who’s Been Driving My Cadillac?
Wild, Wild Women
Race With The Devil
Baddest Mother’s Son
Linda Marie

Overall Rating – 9 out of 10

When you think of bands that are fun to hear, you think of animated, lively, humorous bands that also Rock! And, in a nutshell, that is how you can quickly describe The Mojo Gurus! They kick ass, and have a lot of fun doing it along the way!

I enjoyed hearing Shakin’ in the Barn! It was toe-tapping fun from the first song to the last, and their Southern-Fried Rockabilly helped me to get in touch with my “inner redneck”! Honestly, the songs don’t get much better than (Wild, Wild Women), (Race With The Devil) and (Who’s Been Drivin’ My Cadillac?)!

Be sure to get a copy of Shakin’ In the Barn! I think that you’ll enjoy hearing it over and over again, and, at the very least, it will be a - MidwestBands.com


Mojo Gurus are 'barn shakin:' Something that will excite enthusiasts of the local music scene is Shakin' in the Barn, the new Mojo Gurus album in stores now. Fans of the Gurus, from St. Petersburg, know to expect the band's trademark foot-stompin' punky blues. Others will be impressed to hear the disc, released on Empire Musicwerks, an offshoot of Universal Records, was produced by Jack Douglas, who's turned the studio knobs for legends such as Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and the New York Dolls.

Douglas' manager caught one of the Gurus' New York live shows - think of the swaggering Dolls in cowboy hats, a bit grimier, with the same musical grit - and he became an instant fan. He passed along Hot Damn!, the Gurus' last CD, to Douglas, who offered his services for Shakin'.

The title track is getting all kinds of radio airplay on FM stations and over the Internet. The album is filled with Southern tunes, some with real rockabilly raunch, revelling in partying, pretty girls and punching people out. Check out You'd Have To Tie Me Up To Tie Me Down, Baddest Mother's Son and Wild, Wild Woman.
- Tampa Bay Times


Mojo Gurus - Shakin' In The Barn
Empire Musicwerks

With the retro/classic rock resurgence in modern music, the world should be prepared for the music of Mojo Gurus...or should they? Standing the retro genre on its ear and kicking in the accelerator like a 65 Mustang, this Tampa band takes early Sun Records era rock and puts a raunchy, punky guitar blast into it. If the Stray Cats got in a back alley rumble with Social Distortion it could sound like this. Yes, the world SHOULD be ready for this in your face, butt kicking act. URL: http://www.mojogurus.com - Music Morsels


Editors Pick

Mojo Gurus — Shakin' in the Barn

Rockabilly has seen a bit of a resurgence lately with folks remembering that Elvis did it right back in the ‘50s. Mojo Gurus is one reason for its resurgence with their brand of ‘50s R&B, rockabilly, Americana, and Southern rockin’ gospel. This is a band straight from the bayou who haven’t forgotten who’s King. Blues rock this good must be shared outside of its Tampa Bay, Florida headquarters, so grab hold of this out-of-control railroad car of great rock-n-roll. If you remember my review of their “Hot Damn”, then you’ll know how amazed I am that they could top it.

- J-Sin
- Smother.net


Jump, Jive & Harmonize: Mojo Gurus
Shakin' In The Barn

By: Beverly Paterson, Jump, Jive & Harmonize (Contributor)
2005-09-15

Artist: Mojo Gurus
Title: Shakin' in the Barn
Genre: Roots Rock
Label: Empire MusicWerks
Website: www.MojoGurus.com

Mojo Gurus hold nothing back. Just one quick glance at the song titles on the Tampa Bay, Florida, band's new album clues you in on where their heads are at. Should "Baddest Mother's Son," "Wild, Wild Women" and "You'd Have to Tie Me Up to Tie Me Down" evoke thoughts and visions of Black Oak Arkansas or some other hideously scruffy band of similar intent, then you're not too far off the mark.

Geared to take the listener on an exhaustive excursion through smoky bars, soggy swamps and streets buried under piles of trash, Shakin' in the Barn features a menacing mix of blues, country, rockabilly, and garage punk sounds. The energy is natural, the emotions are naked and there's soul to spare. Renowned producer Jack Douglas twiddled the dials on the disc, which adds an extra smart and sassy touch to the party. Yet a raw edge still prevails.

As long as there are bands like Mojo Gurus around, rock and roll will never die.

- Music Dish


MOJO GURUS
Shakin' in the Barn
Empire Musicwerks 2005
www.mojogurus.com

What’s the 4-1-1?
The Florida based rockers have their fourth CD filled with the Southern rock, blues, and roots music they’ve used to make a name for themselves.

Genre
Rock / roots rock / southern rock

The Good
Well if you are looking for a foot stomping rocking good time, this just might be you album. Vocalist Kevin Steele has a big expressive voice with a sardonic edge to it. If you combine that with the down and dirty guitar work from Jeff Vitolo, wow, you’ve really found something. The band crosses a bunch of different musical genres on this album. There’s the hard rocking “Baddest Mother’s Son.” They’ve got the very country music tinged “Fool’s Hall Of Fame,” and other swamp rock tunes like “You’d Have To Tie Me Up To Tie Me Down” and “White Line Fever".

The Bad
There’s nothing overtly bad about the album. Some of the songs I enjoyed less than the others, but all in all, it’s not much to complain about. The one song I didn’t particularly care for was the title track “Shakin’ In The Barn”.

The Verdict
You’ve got 12 cuts here and they are all full on rocking tunes with no ballads to slow the pace of the album down. The album is just over 38 minutes long, but in that short amount of time, Mojo Gurus, put a their definitive sound to good use.
This album is quite good, and it sounds like a CD that would feel right at home spinning on the player at any down home party.

Did You Know?
The album Shakin’ In The Barn was produced by Grammy winning producer Jack Douglas. His credits include working with John Lennon, Aerosmith and the New York Dolls.


- Rock Is Life


MOJO GURUS
Shakin' In The Barn
Empire Musicwerks

Mojo Gurus brings forth a pretty decent album with “Shakin’ In The Barn.” With a combination of country, rockabilly, 50’s rock and roll, and a dash of punk spirit thrown in, Mojo Gurus is sure to have something for everyone. This is classic rock without sounding old. Mojo Gurus brings a fresh sound to the rockabilly genre that they will get lumped into but don’t necessarily belong in. Less punk then Tiger Army or The Horrorpops, more punk then Eddie Cochran or Brian Setzer, and not as annoying as Revered Horton Heat. This is a great blend of my personal influences and I will be listening to this disc for a while. Good job! (JK)
- All Ages Zine


Mojo Gurus
"Shakin' In The Barn"
Empire Musicwerks/Universal
by Jonathan Mariante

Yee haw and hot dang! What have we here? The Mojo Gurus are a bunch of rockin' rednecks who jam out some hot, honky tonk Southern tunes. Their music is basically Southern-style blues/rockabilly, with some country and bluegrass in a few songs. You'd expect to hear this kind of stuff in a smoke filled roadhouse club, and it evokes that kind of atmosphere. Every song is a rollicking tune that you can shake your booty to, and all are odes to the whiskey drinking, woman chasing redneck lifestyle. Hard to keep your feet still when you hear this! The band are influenced by everyone from Bill Haley and Elvis to Charlie Daniels to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Georgia Satellites to The Stones and CCR. This is, in a word, fun. Party hardy Southern honky tonk all the way! This album WILL have you "shakin' in the barn", or whatever building you happen to be in! http://www.mojogurus.com

- Ball Buster


Mojo Rising
Ringleader Kevin Steele brings his old Gang into the present.

By Scott Harrell
Published September 28, 2005

Sitting at the big, beautiful old dining room table in the big, beautiful old St. Pete house he shares with his girlfriend Linda, Mojo Gurus frontman Kevin Steele looks a bit tired. He's got every right to; it's still early morning on Rock Time - not yet noon - and the lanky 39-year-old singer-songwriter is still recovering from leading his band through a series of showcases in New York City, and he's been home less than 12 hours.

Smoking a Marlboro Light, brushing his long hair away from his face and the sleep from the corners of his eyes, Steele says the shows went well. What he remembers most vividly about the trip north, however, is something other than the concerts themselves.

"It's so cool to walk into Tower Records and see the display for your band's record in there," he says, smiling and shaking his head a little. "It's been so long since I saw that."

About 15 years, actually.

As ringleader for glam-rock act Roxx Gang, Steele enjoyed many of the accoutrements of ascendant stardom: a major-label contract; MTV airplay; a handful of relatively successful singles (most notably the Headbanger's Ball staple "No Easy Way Out"); world tours supporting the household names of the era. But Roxx Gang's fate was inextricably entwined with that of the hair-metal scene with which the band had instantly become associated - a situation that still rankles Steele.

"I never really associated Roxx Gang with Poison or Warrant," says the singer. "Our glam-rock roots were Mott the Hoople and the New York Dolls and stuff. In my mind we were always a little darker, we weren't doing 'Unskinny Bop'."

In any case, when Sunset Strip cock-rock faded from the national spotlight, so did Roxx Gang.

As many of its former peers scrambled to keep up with whatever the next trend was in guitar-driven music, Roxx Gang continued to record and release what were recognizably Roxx Gang records, albeit with a significantly lowered profile. But a subtle shift was taking place, a move away from provocative riff-rock and toward something a little more classic. The group's penultimate effort, Mojo Gurus, was conspicuously more influenced by primal, soulful proto-rock styles, and when the band played a bluesy, low-key gig under that name in '99, it was obvious to Steele what should happen next.

"We just decided to call ourselves that," he remembers. "We had a blast, we got a great reaction and we said, 'This is the way to go.' If you think back to those times, there were a lot of bands in what was our genre, I guess, that all of a sudden grew goatees and started wearing combat boots. But I'm about to turn 40, man. This hasn't been an unnatural thing - overnight going blues or something. It's been a real, 10-year natural transition.

"Even in [Roxx Gang's] heyday, I would get back to the hotel and say to myself, Mick Jagger wouldn't be singing 'Live Fast Die Young.' I always wanted a more blues-based rock 'n' roll band. And I got one. It was a real thing; it came out of a real love for that stuff."

After a period of waffling over whether to leave the Roxx Gang moniker behind for good - a 2000 album called Drinkin' TNT & Smokin' Dynamite has been credited to both Roxx Gang and Mojo Gurus by different sources - a clean break was made. Mojo Gurus dove headfirst into three-sets-a-night gigs at the seediest Bay area bars that would have them, re-cutting their teeth, plumbing classic blues, country and R&B tunes, and refining Steele's emerging knack for penning rootsy, rip-snorting songs that evoked rockabilly, swampy Delta twang and roadhouse stomp while keeping just a touch of classic-glam's cheek.

It all came together on 2003's Hot Damn!, a record that surprised the shit out of everybody who assumed the Roxx Gang guys were just dabbling in some country crap, or whatever. It's a good album, full of fun, fire and spit, and lending very little credence to any allegations that Steele, guitarist Jeff Vitolo, drummer Tommy Weder and bassist Vinnie Granese were mere tourists.

Hot Damn! enjoyed enviable success, garnering airplay on college and community radio stations nationwide, and landing on the FM Roots Rock Top 35 chart for three weeks. It also did exceedingly well on dozens of Internet radio stations, largely due to tireless promotion by a few web-savvy supporters.

"We have a fan, Rich Troost, who's been an invaluable friend to us," Steele says. "He's a total Internet geek, and he just started working the thing, and it blew up."

The commotion was noticed by Empire Musicwerks, a Universal Records subsidiary, which began courting the band. It also caught the attention of legendary veteran uber-producer Jack Douglas, who's worked with everyone from Miles Davis and John Lennon to the New York Dolls, The Who and Aerosmith.

"Every year, we went to New York and L.A. to do showcases," says - Weekly Planet


MOJO GURUS: SHAKIN' IN THE BARN (EMPIRE MUSICWERKS) B

Mojo Gurus began life as a roots-rock side-project/alter-ego for Tampa area glam merchants Roxx Gang. The alter-ego ultimately overtook the host, and the Gurus now find themselves with major-label distribution and producer Jack Douglas (the good Aerosmith albums) behind the boards.

"Shakin' in the Barn" may have a little more sonic oomph than the Gurus' independent releases, but it stays true to the band's revved-up, smoky, rockabilly sound.

The band's at its best when its glam past bum-rushes the rockabilly proceedings, as on the title track. Jeff Vitolo's sleazy slide guitar keeps things nice 'n' nasty throughout.

- Tampa Tribune


Discography

Mojo Gurus
Drinkin' TNT & Smokin' Dynamite
Hot Damn!
Shakin' In The Barn

The Mojo Gurus recent chart success:

# 22 XM Satellite Radio X-Country Top 50 Chart

# 93 Americana Music Association Radio Chart

# 25 Roots Music Report Top 100

# 10 Roots Music Report Roots Rock Top 50

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"The Mojo Gurus CD is a rough and rowdy traipse through some true Suthin' music. Every track sounds like it was borne screaming from the Bible Belt. This band is soulful....Hotter than a double dipped crawfish, rawer than steak tartar." - JAM Magazine

Singer Kevin Steele formed the Mojo Gurus in 1999 in Tampa Bay, FL. The band cut their teeth in Florida’s seedier rock and blues clubs and quickly earned a reputation based on their hot and nasty live performances. See, the Gurus play good ol’ American hoodoo voodoo, born on the bayou style rock-n-roll with a classic taste that makes most of today's alternative flavor of the month bands sound downright silly.

The band features the songwriting of singer Kevin Steele (whose eclectic influences and sardonic wit have earned him comparisons to a young Bob Dylan) and the riff hard rhythm and booze playing of guitarist Doc Lovett. Bassist Vinnie Granese lays down a bottom thicker than mud from a Louisiana swamp. Together they mix all their favorite ingredients: blues, psychedelic, hillbilly, glam and gospel into one goat’s head soup of a sound served simmering!

The Mojo Gurus released their debut disc in 1999 to great critical acclaim. The bands video "Tiger Lily" received heavy rotation on Canadian music video channel Much Music and helped the band sell over 20,000 copies of their debut CD. This was quickly followed by “Drinkin’ TNT and Smokin’ Dynamite” which along with their powerhouse live performances helped the band build an impressive following around the world. The Gurus third release “Hot Damn!” enjoyed a six month success story on FM radio that included over one-hundred-nineteen FM stations playing “Hot Damn!” including sixty-five CMJ reporting "core" stations and three weeks on the FM Roots Rock Top 35 charts! Roots Music Report gave the band a five star review saying, “Hot Damn is right! The Mojo Gurus ‘Hot Damn’ is a fantastic roots rock release.”

The success of “Hot Damn” led to the band signing with Empire Musicwerks/Universal Records and recording a new CD entitled “Shakin’ In The Barn.” The bands hard work ethic continued to pay dividends when after a NYC showcase they were handpicked by Grammy award winning producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith, NY Dolls) to be his next recording project. On “Shakin’ In The Barn” Douglas captured all the energy from the band’s amazing live performances. Jack Douglas said the following about the new CD, ”This CD makes me want to drive out on the highway ‘pedal to the metal.’ Pull over at a truck stop, hang for a while and play a game of Texas Holdem with a gang of bad bikers while Jerry Lee Lewis screams on the juke. Mojo Gurus writes and plays real deal American roots rock, all the fun and adventure included. Don't be surprised if you suddenly start off-roading in your Caddy SUV as the CD spins in your player. It was a blast to produce.”

Always experimenting with many different musical styles the Mojo Gurus have refused to paint themselves into a corner. They are unique in today's music scene with intelligence behind their unbridled raw power, prolific songwriting and a mastery of the live performance that makes them one of America's greatest rock bands.