By Michael Lello
The number two will figure prominently into Jaimoe’s weekend at the Peach Music Festival. He’s one of two drummers in the Allmans. He’ll playing two shows with the ABB at the festival in Scranton, and he’ll be performing in two different bands: The Allmans and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band.
And although he’ll turn 70 and said he’ll have surgery on two knees in October, the drummer doesn’t see the ABB calling it quits any time soon.
“Because when you know what works, you know what works. If it’s a fuckin’ mess, what do you do? Maybe get rid of Gregg Allman?,” Jaimoe said with a laugh during a phone interview with Highway 81 Revisited.
Jaimoe has had one of the best vantage points in rock music history, perched behind a set of drums for the Allmans. Besides a brief split in the 1980s, Jaimoe has been there since the ABB’s 1969 formation, helping propel the unique rhythms of the band’s double-drumming tandem along with Butch Trucks.
Although to Jaimoe, it’s not all that unique.
With two long shows scheduled for Peach, there might be some new songs – or at least songs most attendees haven’t heard before – the drummer said.
“A number we learned in February for the Beacon run,” he said, referring to the band’s annual string of shows at the Beacon Theater in New York. “A few we played once or twice. Lots of them would be songs they didn’t know.”
The Allmans will headline the main stage – the Peach stage – Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17, while Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band will perform on the smaller Mushroom Stage at 3:45 p.m. Saturday. The Jasssz Band released its first studio album, “Renaissance Man,” in 2011. The record is a collection of classic soul and r&b covers as well as new tunes.
When asked to compare his role in the Allmans to his role in the Jassz Band, Jaimoe said “one drummer,” laughing, but there are other differences. The Jassz Band take a subtler approach, and there’s nary a trace of Southern rock, not even when they play a tune like the Allmans’ “Melissa,” as they do on “Renaissance Man.”
In addition to Jaimoe, the group includes Junior Mack on guitar and vocals, David Stoltz on bass, Bruce Katz on keyboards and Reggie Pittman and Paul Lieberman on horns.
The relatively unknown Mack plays a key role in the band, not only as a singer and musician, but also as a songwriter. Jaimoe said his manager introduced him to Mack.
“He came over and said, ‘Jaimoe, this is Junior Mack.’ I said, ‘Oh, hey, how ya doin’?’ and he couldn’t get his hand out of his pocket fast enough to give me a CD.”
With a busy summer and fall touring schedule for the Allmans, and Jaimoe’s knee procedures on the horizon, the Jasssz Band will not likely be playing or recording soon.
The Allmans, however, might, in the not-so-distant future, be doing something they haven’t done in a decade: release a studio album. Jaimoe said the band has some “songs that aren’t complete” that guitarist Warren Haynes has to finish.
Speaking of Haynes, we asked Jaimoe what Haynes, who joined the band in 1989 and then again in 2000, and fellow guitarist Derek Trucks, who joined in 1999, have brought to the band as its youngest members.
“Warren and who? Oh, Warren and Derek? Oh, shit, I don’t think anything,” he said, chuckling, but then grew somewhat serious. “They pulled the testosterone out of us that we didn’t even know we had.”