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James Gang

With the emergence of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience during the late '60s, the path was cleared for other hard-rockin' "trios." Arguably, the finest to emerge from the subsequent American crop was the James Gang. Despite penning a few of classic rock radio's most enduring songs, the James Gang ultimately failed to deliver on their initial promise, as constant lineup juggling ultimately derailed the group.

The Gang's roots stretch back to 1966 in Cleveland, OH, where drummer Jim Fox formed the group with a few fellow Kent State University students, guitarist Glenn Schwartz and bassist Tom Kriss. But when Schwartz left to join Pacific Gas & Electric, Fox and Kriss opted to carry on with new singer/guitarist Joe Walsh. The James Gang's debut album, Yer' Album, followed in 1969, and while it didn't spawn any hits, it did set the stage perfectly for their next few releases. (The album was also one of the first recordings that noted producer Bill Szymczyk worked on.) Prior to sessions for the group's sophomore effort, Kriss exited the group, and was replaced by Dale Peters, resulting in the James Gang's definitive lineup. Peters soon proved to be the missing piece to the puzzle, as evidenced by the group's subsequent album, 1970's classic Rides Again, which spawned the rock gem "Funk #49." Although the song didn't come close to the top of the singles charts at the time of its release, it later became one of rock's most instantly identifiable tracks, and also established Walsh's talent for penning exceptional guitar riffs. (Pete Townshend became a vocal supporter of Walsh's guitar skills, and the Who took the James Gang on a European tour around the same time.)

Although it appeared that the James Gang was just hitting their stride, Walsh was growing increasingly disinterested with the group; he longed to launch a solo career. He managed to hang in there for another top-notch studio album, 1971's Thirds, which spawned an additional classic rock radio standard, "Walk Away." Around the same time as the appearance of a live set later the same year (Live in Concert), Walsh departed the group, first focusing on solo work before joining up with one of the '70s' biggest bands, the Eagles. Once more, Fox opted to keep the group afloat and expanded the band to a quartet, greeting new bandmembers Roy Kenner (vocals) and Domenic Troiano (guitar). Walsh's shoes proved hard to fill, though, as two lackluster albums released back-to-back in 1972, Straight Shooter and Passin' Thru, failed to expand the group's following.

Troiano exited the group to join up with the Guess Who, leaving the James Gang's guitar slot vacant once more. Troiano's departure proved to be a blessing in disguise, however, as the guitarist who replaced him, Tommy Bolin (supposedly at the recommendation of old friend Walsh), instantly breathed life back into the floundering group. Bolin's red-hot and versatile guitar playing (as well as compositional talents; he and songwriting partner John Tesar wrote the majority of the songs) helped reinvigorate the group, as two fine yet underrated albums followed: 1973's Bang! and 1974's Miami. However, just like the previous guitarists to play with the James Gang, Bolin grew disenchanted quickly, and exited in 1974. Following in Walsh's footsteps, he subsequently launched a solo career of his own before briefly serving as a member of Deep Purple. Sadly, Bolin passed away from a senseless drug overdose in 1976.

The James Gang decided to call it quits after Bolin's departure, but not for long. Fox and Peters launched a new version of the group in 1975, complete with new members Bubba Keith (vocals, guitar) and Richard Shack (guitar). Predictably, the latest version of the group only lasted for a pair of ignored recordings, 1975's Newborn and 1976's Jesse Come Home, before the James Gang finally called it a day for good. Subsequently, little was heard from the group besides the appearances of several best-of compilations (including 2000's Greatest Hits). By the late '90s, the group (with Walsh) reunited for sporadic appearances, including a performance at the 1996 election rally for then-President Bill Clinton at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center, as well as an appearance on The Drew Carey Show. In February of 2001, the James Gang played at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, and performed a pair of sold-out shows the same week at the Allen Theater. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

say it like it Iz!!!!
nik_dangr
I never get tired of The Bomber.
jjbluz
Don't read this because it actually works.You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life.However if you don't post this you will die in2 days.Now that you started reading this so don't stop.This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes.When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on your screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
James Gang is missed. Joe Walsh is tasty guitarist.
Nice. Been a while since I heard this one!!
The bomber what a great rock song Walsh is great but the bass lines are even greater so is fox on drums as good as zz top for a trio if not better red white and blue all the way
All I know is joe Walsh = James gang = joe = eagles
Tommy Bolin is the best James Gang was one of my fav. Bands Tommy was say (From Another Time) the late JH couldn't string Tommy's guitar anyone can play with distortion . You don't hardly see anyone covering Tommy's songs
Jim Fox is one of the best early 70s rock drummers... swinging, loose, but driving... and those HORN RIMMED glasses, man!
falch6
Joe Walsh is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time!!
shempdog2002
I wish pandora would play some james gang with bolin. The devil is singin our song, from another time, standing in the rain, ride the wind. Check out albums Miami and Bang.
was this one of the songs from the movie Joe dirt
Love this song........ . . . . . .
Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale were amazing together that was Joe Walsh at his very best....
Accidents happen...
psisk0318
senseless drug overdose? are there any that MAKE sense??
iehouseof8
My sister babysat for Jim Fox in the 90's. His kids called Peter Townshend Uncle Pete. She said the house was full of him and who's who in music along with all the gold albums. Never know who your neighbor really is some times.
come taste the band
james gang bang
Let's boogie, time I get out of bed, smoke a joint, & start partying mode
Joe was too good for the Eagles but the money was too good to walk away from. His best vehicle was the James Gang, absolutely. The Eagles nearly destroyed his soul. Since Joe's cleaned up he plays as well as in the old days, which is wonderful!
Joe Walsh was the driving force behind Dan Fogelbergs Souvenirs album. Also songs that included tracks w Don Henley, and Glenn Frey as well.
Alexus is a true classic rock ballad featuring Tommy Bolin, and is my favorite James Gang tune .
@repkin525 - now THAT is a great memory to have!
69nymets86
Just of funky groove
repkin525
In 1970 we were lucky enough to book The James Gang for our High School Prom. Great show at the Malibu Beach Club in Long Beach, NY
kvons1
Crazy JOE!
I like the music but HATE Walsh's nasal, whiny voice.
...good rock n' roll...
I had great tickets to James Gang the day before Walsh left. THe concert sucked
keota76
OHHH old high school memories at keggers!!!
n4speed50
A nice time to be into the music...The James Gang and others..
brings back good memories
naturalsound
there is a great version of BLUEBIRD originally a Buffallo Springfield gem on the James Gang first release 'Yer Album that brings back great memories and is really a nice piece (another rock song with a brief BOLERO interlude).. . . Damn, I remember hearing it on commercial radio.... but no more..... hats off to stations like Pandora!
michaelhigh5
the bomber rules
lindusky1
Just heard Tend My Garden- reminded me of my best friend who died of cancer 18 years ago. The gang rocked us from MSP to Indy for the '71 nationals, bathtub of beer and all! Garlits got smoked by Carbone in the TF finals!
JOE IS THE MAN...HEARD HIM PLAY IN A LITTLE CLUB CALLED JD'S IN KENT,OH BACK IN THE HIPPY DAY'S
Hotel California may go down as Henleys masterpiece, BUT ! Without Walsh, put on some headrhones. Where the Eagles lose walsh is anytime they play outside the studio. Don loosen up, for joes sake.
nik_dangr
I can't believe they used a picture without Joe. It's like Cream without Clapton.
ehsviking201 0
footloose jacked the melody of its title song from the guitar riff in Funk #49
Yer album has been out of production for many,many years. took me forever to find it on CD. A really good album, particularly BLUEBIRD
He's best when he's playing his Paul Reed Smith private stock guitar!
dave.mizda
A friend and I were looking through his older brothers high school yerbook and there was Joe and the Gang pictured jamming at the Senior Prom.
When Joe joined the Eagles I thought one of two things would happen: Either he would bring them up or they would drag him down. Alas, I think the latter happened. He still is a guitar god. Go Joe!!!
@ jdools maybe because Rocky Mountain Way was Joe Walsh solo, not the James Gang.
His PRS has them all beat.
No offense to Joe, but I think Carlos Santana has him beat in that department (ugly guitar face)
Joe Walsh!! King of the UGLY GUITAR FACE!!
graber4
@ shelly. Lol. No way does a Flying V provide thicker tone or sustain than a Les Paul. It simply doesn't have the mass, heft, or pick up configuratio n . Flying V's are way more tinny and designed for high-gain/tr e b l e leads like those played by guys like Dimebag Darrell, Dave Mustaine, Rhandy Rhoads, even Hendrix played one sometimes. You simply cannot beat a '57-'59 Standard Paul in the neck pickup position for sustain, tone, and thickness no matter your level of crunch or distortion.
agreed!
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