J Geils Dead at 71

This article by Barry Kerzner is a re-post from American Blues Scene.


The founder of the J. Geils Band, John Warren Geils Jr., has died. Giles was 71 years old. Giles’ body was discovered in his home in Groton Massachusetts on Tuesday. At this time, police are not describing the death as suspicious.

Geils was born in New York City on the 20th of February, 1946. Before picking up the guitar, he had played the trumpet. During the 1960s he studied mechanical engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute even as he was involved in a trio that included bassist Danny Klein and harmonica player Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, called Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels.

After a move to Boston, the group added singer Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and changed the name of the group to the J. Gels Band. Later they added keyboard player Seth Justman and issued their eponymous debut album in 1970 having been signed to the Atlantic label that year.

Eventually, the band scored three Top 40 titles over the next several years including “Give It to Me,” “Looking for Love,” and “Must of Got Lost.” In 1980 the band issued their Love Stinks album, and Freeze Frame followed in 1981. Freeze Frame included the number one single “Centerfold,” which lifted the album up the charts.

Over the next couple of years, Wolf went out on his own to start a solo career and the band broke up.

For a while, Geils enjoyed his love of cars founding the KTR Motorsports company, bringing new life to vintage automobiles. There was a band reunion in 1999 (without Bladd), and in time, the group toured again with Geils, and as recently as 2015 were opening for Bob Seger.

The band has been nominated four times for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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